Bike (USA) - - Grimy Handshake -

You are new to the sport and want to sam­ple what a cut­ting edge all moun­tain wheelset rides like? The M 1700 SPLINE range gives you the op­por­tu­nity to do just that, at any rim width you de­sire. From the 3D ma­chined Ratchet Sys­tem hubs to the butted, straight pull spokes, right through to the tough and light alu­minum rims, th­ese wheels epit­o­mize high-end. High-end you need when trav­el­ling at the speeds mod­ern day all moun­tain bikes can at­tain, speeds at which the M 1700 SPLINE wheels feel right at home.

The Sen­tinel

Within an hour, we’d lost more than a thou­sand feet of el­e­va­tion, and we found our­selves coast­ing into a wild­flower-filled pas­ture dot­ted with dozens of yaks and horses. Con­tent in the knowl­edge that our last day would be mostly down­hill, we whiled away the af­ter­noon in our tent, playing cards and pre­ma­turely cel­e­brat­ing our suc­cess.

Rip­ping through the dense ev­er­green for­est the next morn­ing, our sad­dle­bags emp­tied of the food we’d de­voured, we thought we were home free. The trail widened, with broad turns that al­most seemed pur­pose-built for moun­tain bikes. We made short or­der of it, with plenty of day­light left when the path de­posited us on a road that would lead back to civ­i­liza­tion.

To avoid bore­dom, we de­cided to take the ‘bonus route’: An­other trail we’d mapped out on Google Earth that ran straight through the heart of a yawn­ing river gorge. Com­pletely for­get­ting the age-old ax­iom that one should never en­ter a Chi­nese river gorge dur­ing mon­soon sea­son, we plunged head­long into it, de­scend­ing sev­eral miles un­til it be­gan criss­cross­ing a river that was rapidly ris­ing.

I was wor­ried. Each wooden bridge was in a wors­en­ing state of dis­re­pair, and wad­ing through swift, waist-high cur­rents quickly be­came the norm. Even­tu­ally our luck ran out: A bridge over some in­tim­i­dat­ing rapids was com­pletely de­stroyed, and we opted to march along the river­bank in the hope we could re­join the trail once it crossed back to our side.

It didn’t. The un­der­brush was so con­cen­trated that Sam started clam­ber­ing up a ravine, lead­ing us into an in­creas­ingly tech­ni­cal free climb. We didn’t have ropes, and the rain was pound­ing down ever-harder. I stopped, yelling to Joey that we should back­track and take the road out be­fore the river got too swollen to re­trace our steps.

As we waited for Sam to slide back down for a powwow, I no­ticed an­other raven watch­ing us from its roost on a tree limb. The black raven—a bird Ti­betans con­sider mag­i­cal. It let out a grat­ing caw and flew up­stream, cir­cling back above us once be­fore con­tin­u­ing its ae­rial arc up and out of the gorge. It was our sen­tinel. We had to fol­low it to the end of our kora.

Clock­wise from top: The Ti­betans be­lieve a com­pleted kora will pu­rify a life­time of neg­a­tive karma; ring around the rosaries; the author ex­plains the con­cept of sus­pen­sion to Kasi Vil­lage lo­cals.

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