Apr 22, 2012

Fun in the sun on Tea Mountain

It is getting warm over here... the last couple of days its been shorts and tank top all day kind of weather! I love it but it does mean that HOT weather is fast approaching, and I mean HOT (think perma sweat)

Hello ladies
Unfortunately, we had to work this Saturday due to some sort of hour requirements that I don't quite understand?!? I find the 6 day work weeks difficult at the best of times; when it is warm and sunny out its even mentally worse for me... I just want to be outside playing.... Luckily, after school Andrew agreed to come running with me. We connected the dots of parts of a loop we found mid mountain of tea mountain last weekend. We ran it backwards to see if we could connect the start and finish of the trail we found. It was a nice warm evening to go for a run, and I thought it would help me get over my anger of having to work on such a beautiful day... well, it worked! We connected the trail and found a fun 2 hour run loop with a mix of terrain that is mostly hard packed single track! I am sooo happy we found this trail,... it does make me sad to think that it will be gone in the near future as there is construction nearing the parts closer to the bigger roads but I am sure it will be around for as along as we are around.... as for next year: my prediction is that there will be a huge road and some apartment buildings instead of a fun singletrack through the woods!

Going up
Sunday: we slept in, went to the local market and made a huge breakfast with lots of coffee!... after some chores we headed out for a ride up along tea mountain. We both cleared the tough dirt road climb up the mountain which was hot and exhausting but very rewarding to clear. We then rode on along the ridge until we found a new trailhead we hadn't yet explored.... we locked the bikes up and headed up the path to the knife edge ridge.. we had some nice views and met some excited chinese students! We took a different path down and ended up in the wrong place but eventually found our bikes and rode them back along the ridge and down the lumpy dirt road... We scarfed down some cold noodles, egg fried rice, and bubble tea after a long adventure out in the sun.


We were over there Overall, a nice training weekend for Great Wall marathon.

more pics HERE

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

Apr 16, 2012

We found singletrack and ancient chinese town..

The days are getting warmer, our time here is coming to a close, and adventures around Yongchuan are blooming. I miss many things about Vancouver (especially, my SUP fitness and paddling) but we have found some new  excitement around these parts over here. I think we may end our time here on a little bit of a high.

Our co-workers told us that the local circus was in town and I was all over for going to see it. There has always been and always will be a little part of me that wishes I put the effort into trying to get into the circus world. Being an ex competitive gymnast, I have developed a real soft spot for the circus and so was pretty into trying to go see a real chinese circus. Our friends bailed at the last minute but Andrew and I still wanted to go and so we did. Upon arriving into the back alleys of the electronics store section of Yongchuan we found ourselves entering a small round circus tent with shady seats and a rugged cage. The crowds were filing in and the place was packed. The entrance fee was a mere 15 RMB (2.5 CAD dollars), bargain!. I think we were the opening act without wanting or meaning to be: the people were thrilled that some foreigners came to watch the circus and even the performers were dancing with excitement at our presence.. Our little act of being ourselves and not acting strange earned us some free popcorn and a high five! The show was amusing and very amateur but I really enjoyed it. The acrobatics although not executed perfectly were very impressive on the ragged old looking equipment and over conrete non the less. This circus also had animals, a rare event back in the western world. I had never been to the circus with an animal show and not surprisingly was a little disturbed by the experience. I am proud though, that we as a human race have put a stop to the animal cruelty in western circus shows! I am sure eventually China will do the same?!?

Saturday morning after a huge breakfast of egg, veggie scramble and coffee, and after some cleaning and chore type things we headed out for a what would have been a typical long run up our regular dirt road up Tea Mountain... Once we made it to a certain intersection Andrew mentioned that maybe we should explore a possible route down a different valley to a farm house he once noticed on google map. I am always up for exploring and adventure and figured this would add to our long run rather then take away. We were off on a fairly well beaten in single track through an old forest fire area. Like most tracks we have found in China this one came to a sudden stop in the middle of nowhere.. but we were determined to find a way to get through and so pushed on bushwacking through dead, spiky bush... We found paths here and there and eventually made it to a small peak where we could see over some hills to the next valley over. We managed to find some old tracks up on the peaks and followed those up and down small peaks but they lead to nowhere in particular. THEN, we spotted a potential track down on the bottom and to the left. We were pretty high up at this point with no trail in site... We did the obvious thing and just started bushwacking back straight down the face of the hill hoping we would avoid any cliffs. We eventually found the other end of the original trail that would have connected us without the bushwack and a cool little dirt road leading to the trail we saw from the top of the hill. We followed this trail, a smooth singletrack all the way to a giant statue I have been eyeing for the last month or so. This statue is located in a newly built park for the locals, with a man made lake (Fairy Lake) and lots of benches and paths. It is not too far from our regular running Lake (Pheonix Lake) closer to town. We grabbed some drinks and pineapple and finished off the last bit of running... A total of about 3 hours out and about 2.5 running hours. Not too bad for an intended 2 hour plain long run. We are hoping to head back in there with our bikes and test out the singletrack on our chinese ghetto mtn  bikes!

Saturday night we headed over to a co worker's house warming where I enjoyed Brie Cheese! I am sure I am going to be fat from cheese when we return to CAN...

Sunday we got out on the long anticipated  ride to Songji, a new toursist attraction in Chongqing area. Songji is known for a preserved ancient town situated on the banks of the Yangtze River. We have been waiting for the right weekend to head out on our bikes to explore this ancient town. It took us about 2 hours each way, mostly on nice country roads. The beginning and end were on bigger roads but it wasn't too bad at all. The bigger roads in China are kind of awful for biking as there are a plethora of huge, dirty, loud trucks, and a very small shoulder. I always it enjoy it when we find quieter country roads to ride our bikes. We arrived in time to enjoy our pre-made PB and Jam sandwhichs and fresh local strawberries. We then went off to explore the town.... The old town is definitely in a funny stage of  someone trying to make it "nicer" by adding ugly fake things to the rugged old falling down houses...very chinese indeed. I enjoy the narrow corridors and uneven stones walkways of the ancient towns in China (yes, we have explored a couple already). The afternoon sun was beating on us so we escaped to a local restaurant for some shade and food. Here we caused some chaos for being white (people were sooo curious about us) and we also met Tremor a very nice english speaking Chinese man. He ended up buying us lunch and in return we went for a walk along the Yangtze River with him to chat! It was very pleasant. On our ride home we got a big wave from our new friend, Tremor who was on the bus riding home to Yongchuan! We managed to get back to Yongchuan  in time for evening coffee, an episode of House (I am very very addicted to this show at the moment),  some laundry, dumplings by the University, and a little shopping at a local street store. Along with the TV series House I am also obsessed with 2.5 dollar tank tops! Its a phase....

I feel happy with the amount of "training...playing outside" we managed to get in this weekend. My thoughts are already working beyond the Great Wall Marathon in May and into summer and SUP racing. I want to be fit and ready to be back on top in that sport... It is difficult when I am unable to train the specific sport but when I look back to when I first started racing in SUP back in 2010 it was my general fitness that helped me along.....only time will tell!

A solid weekend of playing in the sun, eating good food, meeting new people, and experiencing new places and events. 10 weeks to go until we are back in the land where we can communicate with the local folk! ha

more pics on flickr

live, love, laugh,,...DREAM!

Apr 9, 2012

Hiking with the monks and monkeys

This weekend Andrew and I headed over to Sichuan Province to explore the famous (to the chinese) Mt Emei. It is one of the 4 sacred mountains of Buddhism in China. It is not actually too far from Yongchuan but without our own vehicle it requires many buses and taxis. I've wanted to hike up this mountain and thought it was good timing as it is low season and it could be good training for the Great Wall Marathon in 5 weeks.

We left Friday after school and took a 4 hour bus ride to Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan). We stayed at the Traffic In Hostel close to Xinnanmen Bus station. We needed to get up early on Saturday morning and try to catch the first bus out to Mt Emei. This is a well known tourist attraction and in high season apparently becomes very very busy. We chose our timing well as already we had been forewarned that we might not be-able to catch the bus we wanted without pre-booking it 5 days in advance. EEk. we got lucky!

We got on the 7:20am bus and arrived into Baoguo Station about 10:30am. We were a little tired of buses and just wanted to start hiking so we chose to hike from there. There are three other bus options to get up part or most way up the mountain but we decided we should be hardcore:)

We started hiking up. The trail is entirely made up of concrete stairs and concrete paths and pass by many monasteries and temples. The first part of the trail was up and down. It was pretty quiet, as it was the furthest left route. Once we arrived to a section where the buses could drop off a herd of tourists it got busy but only for a little while... We passed by funny moneys that would follow folks with food, and or just ignore everyone and laze around on the trail. We passed through gorges, bamboos and a varying of plants, trees and rocks. There were bridges, rivers, and monks.

We decided to stop around 5pm at the Elephant Washing Pool Monastery. The clouds were coming in, the rain was starting to drizzle, and our spirits were lowering. Lucky for us once we stopped got our room, ate veggie food with monks and some other hikers, the rain started to really come down and we were immersed in dense fog. It was pretty awesome to stay in a monastery but it is not for people who don't like simple. The rooms were simple and chilly but with electric blankets, and tiredness from a days worth of hiking we were content and closed our eyes fairly early. It is a good thing we went to bed so early as the monks rise at about 6am. We decided to eat our own breakfast and headed off up the mountain by 630am.

We managed to reach the top by  9am, there was snow and glimpses of sun rays. We took the needed pictures and then headed back down in a hurry as there were many buses to catch to get us home that day. As we hiked down the chinese tourists were coming up in herds... It was a little insane and I was so pleased we got up there when we did... phew!

We managed to get all the necessary buses, taxis, subway and Mcdonald's coffee before making it back to Yongchuan that evening!

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

Apr 2, 2012

Double Sunny Weekend in Yongchuan, CHINA. Spring is here!

Last weekend we got out and biked the backdoor way up to Tea Mountain. Went for a run/hike around the bamboos, tried to explore some different routes we saw from the peak and then headed back down in time for a cupcake party with the other canucks..

Sunday we headed for Cucumber mountain and failed to bring our cameras which was a little bit of a mistakes as it seems to be peach blossom season up there and the hill is covered with yellow, white, and pink flowers. We managed to bike the entire ridge down to a little ol' town and back up through a dirt road... not too bad for a chinese route.

This weekend:
Our friend Tyler moved out of the Maple Leaf Ghetto into a nicer and cheaper chinese castle. He finally had his house warming party... good times.


chinese country road

Youxi old and new

After a well deserved sleep in and some good faffing we got out at 11am and began our bike ride down a pretty ol' chinese country road. We decided to head for a yangtze river town called Jiangjin. This road was probably the nicest road we have biked on so far in China. This road was a good combination of nice scenery, twists in the road, hills, and little to no trucks. The road itself was in pretty poor conditions which is probably why there were so little trucks on it. We first found a town called Youxi where we stopped to explore parts of a remaining old town that they are obviously in the process of demolishing (sad).... Modern China just isn't as picturesque as old China. We stopped to check things out but I think there was a lot more of checking us out in the process...

Yangtze at sunset

Andrew by Yangtze

We then biked over another hill to the town of Jiangjin. We both really enjoyed this town. It seemed cleaner than most and was nicely situated in a big bend of the Yangtze river. We explored the town and tried to find the advertised bowling alley and swimming pool with little success only to find out they are advertised but not open (typical chinese). We hit the sack early and enjoyed a nice long sleep. We woke up to another sunny day for our ride back to Yongchuan. Once in Yongchuan, we enjoyed coffee and dinner on our balcony and some time just hanging out in the park.
Chinese black smoke

A pleasant two weekends.
more pics HERE

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!