As Stef's stomach pain retreated, Anton's back pain rose. For the final stretch of flat roads following the icy lake the pains were bearable, but soon enough the road gravelled up again and rose up towards our final pass. The final blow however came from the wind. Anton braved it for a while, struggling and dreading every crank. Some locals saw his suffering, forbade him to push his bike any further up the hill and guided him into their car to bring him up to the 4200 meter border crossing. Stef and Yuri, each at their own pace, battled with the wind and made slow progress. The uneven roads, uphill grade and low speed made their bicycles slip out from under them when the wind gave sudden bursts of gusts. This process was extremely tiring and frustrating, especially since we were told the border would be about 30 kilometers from our starting point, but our counters were showing 45 already and there was no end in sight.
After a final brutal climb we had reached the crumbling remains of what seemed to have once been a border crossing station. The new one was merely a small hut occupied by a single officer, a table and a stamp. After some smalltalk the officer sat down at his table, got to his stamping business and shook our hands congratulating us on conquering the pamirs. The only thing that still lied between us and new lands was 25 kilometers of unkept downhill terrain.
Snow started fading, greenery popped up everywhere and the unattended roads made for an exhillarating downhill mountainbike parcours. We forgot all about the struggles of earlier and our smiles returned as we worked our way through the rocky mud trail that crossed the small tenniscourt red colored stream multiple times without a bridge available. That, in combination with the clouds finally parting, plants and flowers popping up everywhere and countless marmotts screeching us on, made all of it seem like a dream. This is what we came on this trip for. Raw, challenging nature. The crossing into Kyrgyzstan went just as smooth as their neighbors and after hittin our 100 kilometer mark we found ourselves a stove in a nearby train conductor station to warm up and prepare our well deserved and all so familiar spaghooters bolognese.