After weeks of struggling through the mountains, we were ready for something we had not done for a very long time. 100 Kilometers straight, ever so slightly downhill and with a gentle stroke of wind in our backs. Cycling had never felt easier. With newly built muscle from the mountains and hopes of warmer lands we cruised through the valley towards Miyaneh at a steady pace of 28 km/h. Our dreams were coming true; the sun was shining and the snow melting. The fast pace and slushy tarmac undid the cleansing of the previous day rapidly, but that made finding a good shower all the more satisfying. At the end of the day it looked like we were sitting on dirt with wheels, and it was time to give our bike a good cleanin' as well. We got carried away by the magic of slowly revealing every part of our bicycle again with the power washer, and Anton gave his steed too close of a wash, blowing 6 spokes away together with the dirt on his rims. After some asking around we found the sole questhouse of Miyaneh, priced right below the top-end of our budget. Here we met Nima, who introduced us to his neighbor, a bike mechanic, to undo the damage Anton Destructo had caused.
The improvisational spoke-mending had taken up more of the day than expected, and since the sun was showing its best side, we settled for an easy 50 kilometer day. We stopped at an abandonned house, in the middle of nowere, to hang out on the roof, gaze into the distance and exchange inspirational quotes. We decided that we had been living too comfortably the past days and wanted to go a bit more X-treme. Time to see just how good our new sleeping bags are.
Anton jumped on the roof and knew right away where he would put his sleeping mat: "I'm gonna sleep on the roof guys, temperatures are dropping only to about minus ten and here I can doze off under the stars. Wanna Join?" - "Sounds good" came the answer from below him, and his comrades heaved themselves up the roof.
When the sun started setting, some concerned locals tried to lure us off the roof with offers of warm beds and dinner, but our minds were set as firmly as our minds are set on Shanghai. "No thanks mister, this perfect!". It quickly got dark. Dark and cold. Conversation faded and everyone focussed on sealing their bags tightly and snuggling into the most comfortable position. The locals returned once more just to check if we hadn't changed our minds yet, and after the three minute sign language conversation about the many wolves and the cold, it was clear there was no way they could talk us off this roof. "Bye mister." We heard, as they spun their fingers next to their sleep to indicate we are mad and drove away. There was no backing out now.