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Triangle Country

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It’s almost never all downhill from here. But here it kinda is.

Start – Stop: Zagar Pass – Sasashi

Distance: 23.2 mi

Elevation Gain: 1169 ft (and 6062 ft of Descent!!!)

Riding Time: 5:00

Time Awake Spent in Pursuit of The Trip, Roughly: 12:00

Day 06 Objectives & Points of Interest

  1. Get home. By which I mean to the van, because getting the van is—in my mind—getting home.
  2. Avoid drinking water from the defunct arsenic factory town.
  3. Stop 15 times to admire the glaciers. SO MANY GLACIERS.
  4. Ride down the hill for like five hours, just cruising, or “sendzies” as Daniel puts it.
  5. Wash bikes in a river that is not below a defunct Arsenic factory town but is below the only Stalin statue that we witnessed on our trip.

When it’s over it’s over, and THIS is the best kinda over. It’s one of my favorite feelings except it’s not really a feeling. It’s more of sensation based on some very simple but hella specific knowledge. If we wake up on top of the world and our mid-day Delica pick-up is waiting for us at the bottom of the world (and in this part of the world elevation +/- is remarkably and reliably Black and White), it’s all downhill from here. Also, it’s almost never all downhill from here because mountains don’t usually work the way five-year-olds draw them. But again, here they kinda do, this is triangle country. Point is, I love it when long things, even long fun things, end definitively. And because they so rarely do, it’s extra wonderful to wake up knowing it. It almost has a religious quality to it, which when you’re camped next to a gazebo-sized Alpine Orthodox church is maybe even amplified.

“For example, I didn’t put bibs on. That’s how I, personally, rejoiced and reveled in the religious-like knowledge that it’s all downhill from here.”

Brian and I had two cups of coffee made using beans he purchased from one of the many gas (as in propane) stations we stopped at on the way to Svaneti. The beans had been in his bag, unused, until this morning. They should come with a warning label, or at the very least a list of ingredients. We may never know what those beans were made of, or if they were indeed coffee beans, what they were laced with. Alls I know [that’s how you say it if you’re from Maryland] is that we saw colors and heard sounds that don’t exist on Earth, at least not on this plane. Also we sweated and shook for several hours incommensurate with the ambient air temperatures and our workload at any given time throughout the morning. The backside of Zagar was literally breathtaking. The light, the flowers, the colors, all of it—at least until we got to the downhill pumptrack in the arsenic grotto.

“I spent a lot of time, as I do in last hours, thinking about my first Coca-Cola. And the breakfast buffet at Rooms Tbilisi which, at that point, was merely 16 hours away.”

Rise & Shine, Zagarites

Brian bought coffee in Tbilisi. Then he carried it for five days. Was it worth it? Maybe.
Due to our use of guesthouses and trekking lodges we also carried two full bottles of gasoline with us for the majority of our trip. Buds, if you do this trip, don't bring this much gasoline. It weighs a lot and if not managed properly has the ability to light you and your bike on fire.
Coffee, round three. Or is it just one really long round?
The church was locked. But we didn't need to get inside to find sanctuary. #deepthoughts
Yes, Brian and I did coordinate our outfits. Before we got up for the morning we used a series of clicks and whistles to let one another know that it was definitely the right day for a gray top and black pants.
Our buddy James showed us this move in Bolivia. You clear the line by blowing the fuel out of the stove. If you want to add a bit of flair, hold a lighter up to the burner while you're doing this.
Preparing for takeoff.

Shut Up, Nerd!

A Brief Scientific Explanation of a Particular Georgian Experience & the Conversation That Sparked It. Science by Brian.

Kyle: “How much tire pressure are you running?”

Daniel: “I have no idea, it doesn’t matter, maybe?”

Tazer: “I haven’t touched my bike, it’s still working.”

Brian: “Currently, given the changes in altitude and temperature, it is hard to tell. Robert Boyle first described the relationship between pressure and volume in 1662. The physical law carrying his name states PV = nRT. P is pressure; V is volume; T is temperature; nR = some constants. It is intuitive; the equation expresses that the pressure will increase proportionally as temperature increases in a fixed volume system.”

Kyle: “SHUT UP, NERD!!!”


Here we go!
We just kept dropping.
And dropping.
And dropping.
And dropping.
And dropping.
And dropping.
We refilled our water here because below us there lay a defunct arsenic town. And the internet and common sense told us that we didn't want to refill our water there. It killed our momentum but it was worth the peace of mind.
The backside of Zagar Pass sees a lot less traffic than the road leading into Ushguli from the west. So we just went fast.
The glaciers just kept coming. One after another. I mean, just look at that craggy sumbitch right there! They were awe-inspiring.
Eye of the tiger. EYE OF THE TIGER!
Not true.
Never in doubt.
Below the village of Tsana the bush got thick.
Beep beep.
While we had made it back to the valley floor, we weren't out of the woods yet. LOL!
At this point we were looking for the Delica, a hose to wash our gear off with, and a Coke.
To the left of us is the only statue of Stalin we saw the entire trip. It was located in a fenced-off yard that included an immaculate, high-end Range Rover. The deal is that Stalin is from Georgia, but Georgians also know that he was a complete monster. So nearly all of the Stalin Statues have been torn down. Which means the dude that owned this house was probably a real piece of shit. HOWEVER! This kid's program is on point!

Home is Where the Delica Is

We met our driver at this bike washing station. So it made sense for us to wash our bikes. And ourselves.
These babies float!
If the bike washing station was good enough for bikes, maybe it was good enough for people too.
While we were washing our bikes, Brian sawed his cast off. We took it with us in the van because we thought we needed it as an artifact. It was only after driving with it all the way back to Tbilisi, during which it smelled truly awful, that we decided to just throw it away. So now, if you want this old cast, you just need to spend a little time digging around the Tbilisi metro dump. Should be an easy find.
Somewhere during the loading of this vehicle Daniel's seat bag was misplaced. As in, it didn't make it into the van. He had a nice jacket, some clothes, and a few other items in there that he was pretty bummed to have lost. Hopefully there is a Georgian strutting around Svaneti in these lost clothes with swagger that befits the original owner.
Somewhere during the loading of this vehicle Daniel's seat bag was misplaced. As in, it didn't make it into the van. He had a nice jacket, some clothes, and a few other items in there that he was pretty bummed to have lost. Hopefully there is a Georgian strutting around Svaneti in these lost clothes with swagger that befits the original owner.
Zip ties, paracord, and cardboard. It worked on the way out here...
So long Svaneti.
We'll take a few packs of those chocolate condoms you've got back there.
Madame Tussaud, if you're listening, we're going to run with this.
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