Friday, August 5, 2011

Sharana- Roubaix

As an aside that about two other people may understand, what is the obsession with every race that goes on rough roads in the states adding a "Roubaix" to the title to ensure that people understand how epic it is?  Got it, Paris-Roubaix is the queen of the classics, and it is one of the best to ever watch, but by definition it goes from Paris to Roubaix.  Or Compi├Ęgne to Roubaix more properly, but still Roubaix is the endpoint!  The only Roubaix in the US is in South Dakota, and I doubt that any race ends there.  Anyways, back to the blog.

Most mornings start the same for us here, in fact most days are about the same. We get up, curse the dust, get dressed and head out on our cross bikes for our own epic cyclocross adventure.  Being from New England our hearts lie with cyclocross in the wet, damp and cool of the falling leaves and sometimes the freezing snow.  Here it is a bit different.  Here, we ride in the dry, the dust and the rocks.  It is still great, and about the best part of the day other than sleep itself.  Our normal loop takes us around the entire perimeter of Forward Operating Base Sharana.  It is a rough track, in retrospect we probably should have brought 29ers, but we enjoy the challenge of skinny knobby on rough terrain.  Technically we are riding on dirt roads, but calling anything in this country a road is rather optimistic.  There are sections of deep sand, medium sized rocks, washboards for miles and ever-present dust (have I mentioned it is dusty here?) and one short stretch of good pavement right near our quarters.  All of this is at 7400 feet of elevation.  It is wonderful.  Because we work in the TOC, we spend our days inside with the only real views of the outside during meals or by watching feeds from intelligence assets.  Our morning ride is our exception and there is a certain harsh beauty to this country.  Last week there were some nomadic folks grazing their herds of goats and letting their camels wander a couple of hundred meters from the wire.  The hills roll off into the distance where we can see the Himilayas towards the Pakistani border.  One nice thing about the elevation and lack of humidity is you never get sweaty, it evaporates as it forms.

Other than that, our days are pretty much the same non-descript thing every day.  Get up, ride, shower, breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, work, shower, sleep.  On Sundays we go crazy and go to church!  It is what it is and it does pay quite well.  Still, we look forward to coming home to the states on leave, and we miss everyone at home, especially our cats.