What goes up must come down. For every uphill I suffer through, I know that I’ll eventually get a downhill somewhere up the road. I was not disappointed this morning. As soon as I climbed out of Chilpancingo, I started a descent that was to last more than an hour and eventually cover nearly 30 miles…I was 30 miles down the road, or halfway through the day’s journey by 9 a.m. Excellent.
Here in Mexico, however, when we’re talking hills, you might as well add: everything that goes down must eventually come up. I had a feeling that might happen. As soon as I tweeted my glee at being halfway through the day’s journey only an hour and a half into it, the gradual climb began. Not excruciating, just enough to keep me at 9 to 10 miles per hour. Every once in a while I’d get a break, which kept my average pace above 15 miles per hour for the 64-mile ride. In fact, I probably could have rolled into Iguala at 11 a.m., but for my first flat tire.
There are a lot of thorny bushes along the roadside and one of them pierced my tire and tube. Out came the patch kit and after one false start we got it fixed and I was off. Between rest stops, bathroom stops and fixing the flat, I was an hour later than expected getting to Iguala de la Independencia.
It’s a semi-famous town and right in the thick of revolutionary history. It also has the biggest flag in all of Mexico on an equally big flag pole sitting on top of a hill over the city. You can see it from miles. Kind of cool. This is Tierra Caliente (Hot Country). That’s what they call the region. Basically I’ve hit three of the five regions of Guerrero on the trip. The first days were along the coast, then crossing into the central region on the way north to Chilpancingo, and now Tierra Caliente. I’ve never been along the Chilpancingo-Iguala road this time of year. I’ve only seen it in the dry season. What a treat! The big cacti that dot the steep hills along the canyon walls aren’t even the dominant feature on the landscape. I was pleasantly surprised by all the green and the flowers. It was a beautiful morning ride with lots of shade to the east, so I didn’t get much sun until I was out on the rolling open spaces around 10:30 a.m.
I’m tired today, probably because I got more sun that I wanted. I’ve got a little irritation at the back of my left knee as well. I’m not sure what’s going on with that, but after nearly 300 miles, my little body could use a day off. After the 20-mile climb to Taxco tomorrow, I’m off for a couple of days.
A few stats from today: 64.1 miles in 3:56; 2,730 calories burned, first flat tire.
I also got a call today from Moises Gomez representing a television program in Nuevo Leon called Hora Zero (Zero Hour). I think that’s what he called it. They’re going to join us on the road from Saltillo to Monterrey. He said they’ve been following the trip. I guess it’s kind of a big deal for a woman to ride a bike across Mexico for a cause. Mission accomplished on one front: to get people’s attention. Now all we need are donations. Buy some miles, folks. www.bethechangeok.org. Make this trip not only interesting, but worth it.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you a little about Don Gerardo and why I’m riding.