Without any pause we arrived in Soltaniyeh, 45 kilometers further, under two hours. We spotted the huge Soltaniyeh dome from kilometers away and decided to take a closer look at it, as it was only a ten kilometers detour.
Standing at the foot of the dome Oli suddenly noticed almost all his rear rim's spokes were barely under tension and one was broken. Repairs were made while we had a short chat with Murat and Maxim, a Turkish-Russian duo who passed by, interested in our bicycles. Murat tried to convince the man at the ticket service to let us in for free, but when this failed they depicted the interior of the dome to us, so we didn't have to pay the four dollar entrance fee. A good deal, and the outside was already impressive enough.
five kilometers further we were called to a halt again when Oli's rear tyre decided to give out. A double puncture. God damn it, and to make it worse a third hole made us start over from the beginning, the moment Oli reinstalled the rim in his bike frame the first time.
To fight boredom during this two hour setback, Stef and Yuri wrote Silk Road Cyclers in huge letters in the snow for everyone in the sky to read, Anton had a video call with his lady overseas and Stef monkey-climbed his way up an electricity mast to scout the terrain. "Land ho! Endless white plains ahead!"
By now we are used to mechanical tinkering and the delay didn't stop us from reaching Abhar after a 105 kilometer ride, which cost us less than four hours in the saddle. Our legs were strong enough to cover more than thirty kilometers in one hour time and we were proud to break Shukri's, our German friend from way back, hourly record.
Entering the city of Abhar, three locals invited us on three different locations to their homes to sleep the night away. We had to decline, as we were already acquainted with someone here. We awaited Farhad in the first Shirmoz (Persian word for Banana milkshake, our new love) bar we passed. Still under the effect of all the endorfines , we greeted him enthousiastically, and after he took our bill we followed him to our sleeping quarters. A bunch of cows welcomed us on the farm of his friend, our home for the night. Our bikes were left under the watchful eye of the farm's polarbear shaped guard dogs. Farhad was so kind to arrange our diner and his friend brought a Tavla game to kill the time during the regular after-dinner chai.