After retrieving the Giant from its place of safekeeping and hauling it up four floors I began my flattest day yet. After realising an economics podcast on healthcare statistics was less productive for generating rhythm than terrible late 90s pop punk, I cracked on with what can only be described as an almost proficient performance. All to the sound of young men who must now utterly be ashamed of their musical legacy.
Aided by two of what my knees call a Paracetamol Power Hour, I covered the 145km in under 12 hours; inclusive of the time lost through being a point of curiosity for everyone I met.
Today was great fun, until the final approach to Donghe and leaving Hohhot, I had quiet roads and only a gentle headwind to contend with. To my north I followed the Great Blue Mountains (not blue, but great mountains) and to my south the Hasuhai Wetland, which would occasionally glimmer enough to warrant a mention here. It was also a strong debut for my new fold up stool (£1.50), which is keeping my bum warm at break time.
Today though, was all about being a curiosity to others. I was the first foreigner a number of people had spoken to and I got to make my first unplanned joke in Mandarin, whilst having my photo taken with three women I exclaimed "Look! I have three wives!" and received a rapturous response from their actual husbands. More Jim Bowen than Ross Noble, but you have to work the audience.
Rather than a donkey, I treated my body like a steam train today by chucking in a strawberry flavoured (loosely defined) muffin once an hour instead of coal.
Talking of coal, it was - swear coming up - fucking everywhere. Inner Mongolia is mining country and by the time I arrived at the hotel I looked like I'd done a real day's work, or made an unfortunate decision regarding an outfit for a provincial fancy dress party. My receptionist stared at me as if it was the later.
APRIL 13: HOHHOT to donghe- 145KM
Start Time: 06.50
Finish Time: 18.30
Hours Cycling: 10
Hours Pushing: 0.25 (on the flat, my knee felt funny for a bit)
Hours Being in Photos: 1
Number of Bottles of Lorry Driver Piss (viewed): 8
PHOTO EVERY HOUR - TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT: I can also do a joke about your mother-in-law
PHOTO OF THE DAY - Kilometre Burial
This is where I update on my progress. Expect lots of fabricated statistics and dated music references.