I’m buoyed by human contact and my haul of goodies, but the following stretch of road is a busy highway through farmland.
The steady stream of cars are allocated the lion’s share of the road and I have to make do with a narrow shoulder, beyond which the slower, bumpier path lies.
A couple of drivers cheer me up with their friendly toots, but never the tall white vans, rudely shuttling their tourist cargo between Irtutsk and Olkhon.
I pass a shrine and several monuments to reindeer, but the fields are devoid of life, wild or otherwise, and after a while my early start catches up with me, uncomfortably compounded by the general dreariness of the surrounds.
Enough! I hoe into the chocolate biscuits and bananas, but the energy rush that follows is clearly the work of the latter. I’d forgotten how amazing natural highs were.
My blood-sugar levels stabilised, things seem better and more balanced. Back on the highway, I’m entertained by a careering posse of wild horses, which stops traffic several times. Led by their enigmatic leader, the rest of the herd sprint to keep up. But when they run up a hill a second time, the horse at the back loses the pace and then just stands there looking dejected. Naw 🙁