Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Enjoy or endure???

It's funny. I sit on Facebook and the worldwide wonder web looking at fantastic photos of cyclists out in wild places, pedalling their way up remote high mountain tracks into the back of beyond. It looks great! Then cut to the reality.... Us, puffing and panting our way up a pathetic few Km's of 10% ascent tarred road. Who am I kidding? There is only one way to be strong at climbing on a bike - Climb on a bike. And Guatemala certainly is a good place to build your strength.....

That slightly nauseous feeling I associate with travelling was with us at breakfast. Mel had recovered during the night to feel almost normal but I was quietly gagging on my scrambled egg on flimsy toast. I just knew I had to eat it as the day ahead would certainly require some fuel.
We had about 70km to ride with an overall descent of about 1000m but also some short punchy climbs (that added to about 500m in total) just to remind us that we were mere mortals.
The cool air, hot sun and lovely pine forest made for a pretty nice ride. We of course had the manic exhaust belching Chicken buses and the vicious speed bumps to content with but nevertheless we enjoyed it a lot

We had a few Km's of broken road, the workers were out in random places shovelling soil into the worst of the potholes. Sometimes it was just a single bloke toiling away, other times it was what we guessed were families, their kids possibly as young as 5 mucking in.

A little roadside drinks stop

There must be an election coming up as there are loads of what look like 'vote for us' adverts up at the roadside. I mean, honestly would you vote for this lot, just look at the guy on the right!

After another disappointing lunch (shite hotdog) we rolled and puffed our way down through gorgeous countryside and into the surprisingly prosperous town of Sacapulus (love that name as well). I kept singing it all day but replacing the Elvis song Bosa Nova with Sacapulus, trouble is I only know the bit that goes Bosa Nova, Bosa Nova dee diddy diddle, dee diddy diddle, dee diddy diddle dum so it got pretty repetitive over the 7 hour ride..
We saw what looked like vultures feeding on a roadkill dog. I swear that later on in the day during one particularly gruelling, hot climb those buggers were circling me, waiting for my spindly legs to give out.

A couple of beers overlooking the river from our salubrious hotel certainly hit the spot. 

Then after an ok ish but cheaper dinner we headed into town. 
What a result, the Christmas parade was on! Complete with Santa sitting on a rattan armchair on top of a fire engine, a brass marching band, 2 tottie dancers and a very 'well used' pick up truck with a massive PA in the back AND a twirly whirly disco light. 
Now all I need to do is go and screw down what sounds like loose steel plates on the bridge that is next door to the hotel and we might actually get some sleep.
The clanking metal on the bridge was the last of our overnight problems. Firstly there was the bed who's mattress resembled a relief map of the Himalayas with a few sample rocks thrown in for free. Then there were our fellow guests and what sounded like the whole rest of the town crashing the party. What were they doing?! Everything by the sounds of it. Shouting, running, crying, slamming doors, dancing, shouting, did I say that one already? F@ck me, it went on ALL night, I'm not sure I got any sleep at all.....

More scrambled eggs but this time with weird cheese and re fried beans fuelled us for our climb out of Sacapulus. And what a climb it was. This graph gives you an idea of it but it turned out to be about 12km long and took us about 3.5 gruelling hours to do inc all the stops.
The views were lovely but boy was it tough. The loaded bikes are just soooo heavy!!

Finally over the crest we rolled down into Cunen where Mel searched us out a pretty reasonable lunch.

Then we rolled down into a gorgeous green valley. Super fertile and green, loads of pine trees, wild flowers and little farms. It didn't last long enough though before the climb started again. On that graph it doesn't look too bad but what with the morning we'd had, the heat, some broken road (all great excuses) we were done in.  We must have been at about the 30km mark, half way up he climb when we decided enough was enough- Pick truck to the rescue again!!!

I had to force the £2 into the drivers hand, maybe he was thinking that we looked like we needed it more....

We're now in Uspantan, a dusty little town with not much to offer except according to the Lonely Planet book "blasting hot showers" at the wherever we are hotel. Hmm, they lied.....

1 comment:

  1. Glad Mel is feeling better. Hope you all stay healthy now. Recognize that cool t shirt and gloves Kate - well Faye did, anyway. So Christmas Eve today, and wondering how you'll be spending Christmas. Hope you find a nice spot and some decent grub. Happy Christmas and happy travels xxx