Friday, March 14, 2014

Ride Day 173 Puebla to Tehuacan

I was up and packed but when I went outside it was still too dark to ride safely so I had to wait a half hour. I went and got a coffee and sandwich for breakfast while I waited for the sun to come up. I took off earlier than I should have on cobblestone roads. I had to go very slow to keep from hitting big stones or holes in the street. Mexico is kind of a crazy place with no liability so people leave wide open holes and other hazards like that which could seriously injure you if you are not paying attention. The problem is there is so much to pay attention to that inevitably you will have accidents. If you look down too much you will hit your head on a low hanging whatever. I did hit a few rocks too hard so I worry a bit about my bike when I do that. I did not blow any tires but that has as much to do with luck as with any skill.

It took me over two hours to navigate out of Puebla mostly because I had to go slow on the rough roads but also due to stop lights and traffic cops directing traffic. I was getting winded already and I was not even out of town yet. Riding at 7000 plus feet when I have not acclimated to the altitude could be dangerous especially with the strenuous work of riding a loaded bike up and down hills. I stopped and rested a few minutes here and there just in case. I don't want to keel over again only one day after the last time I did.

Finally I made it to the outskirts of town and the road became blacktop which seemed smooth to me after all the cobblestones even with all the potholes in the blacktop. Then a shoulder appeared! My speed picked up and I was feeling good. That lasted only about 15 miles then the shoulder disappeared and it was two lanes of road with no room for a bike and fairly heavy traffic. I managed to make progress but I frequently had to jump off the road and ride along the ditch which was dry but full of debris and broken glass. The hardest part of the off road riding was the soft sand that made me swerve all over the place. When the traffic gave me a break I went back up on the road surface. Sometimes I had no other option except the road surface and I had to just ride in as straight of a line as I was able to on the far right hand side and just hope I did not get hit. Sometimes the bus went by a bit too close for my comfort. My hands were getting sore from gripping the handlebars with such terror. My teeth were clenched for a good part of the ride also. Did I say the ride was a bit tense? Nerves of steel were required. Riding safely was a full time job. Not a single pic today, staying alive was more important.

I made it to Tehuacan which was about 80 miles of riding for the day. I started looking for a place to camp but then I gave in to a hotel for the night. I will ride again early tomorrow if my body permits me to. I did enjoy the ride today since it has been quite a long time since I was able to ride. 150 miles or so to Oaxaca which will be my next stop. Two days ride in this heat unless I am really crazy...

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