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A beautiful, still morning greeted the riders today. The cloud of smog had lifted overnight and before us lay a vista of snowcapped mountain peaks as far as the eye could see which made for a pleasant start after yesterdays battle with the wind and pollution. The draw of the next city and hotel had everyone â€˜up and adamâ€™ early. Staff and vehicles were scrambling early to keep up with the mass exodus of riders as almost as soon as they had descended on, and then devoured, breakfast. Other than the mountain scenery, the paved road was relatively similar to that of yesterday – paved, flat, dusty and full of vehicles to dodge and avoid. At this stage, dog owners in China keep their pets locked up so the dogs have maintained their distance from the riders (but not by their choice, I think!). The locals are curious folk. Quite often they will stare (but not acknowledge you. Considering the state and smell of us, I donâ€™t blame them!) or come right up, grab your bike and check it out (still not acknowledging you). Or even come right up and jump into the trucks for a look around (under the watchful eye of the African Roots boys who are quite protective of their vehicles). More often than not, they drive past with a look of total bemusement in their eyes and then offer you bottled water. So from the sanctuary of our hotel â€˜digsâ€™, our Chinese biking paradise, complete with pollution and snow-capped mountains, continues unabated and tomorrow. Exactly 6 weeks to go to Beijing!
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