Synopsis: Cool morning. Hot afternoon. Lovely downhills. Crazy headwinds.
I was up at 5 this morning as the sunlight came into my hammock, but I knew that the restaurant would open only by 7:30 and I tried to snooze for longer. By 6ish, I decided to get up and walk about for a while. The ladies running the kitchen showed up at 7 as I was making coffee and immediately started the B’fast service. So I had a good bit of food which was subsidised by the guy who checked me in. Awesome! It was good feed too, complete with oats and coffee.
By the time I hit the road it was nearly 8:30 and after a short stint of rolling up and down the hills, the proper downhill started. This was a long sweeping gentle down and it was wonderful to ride. The route was punctuated by occasional road works, but I should say it was never thrown in as a surprise, a gentle squeeze of the brakes and one could pass the rubble without batting an eyelid. Not all downhills need to be epic, rides like this one have a very special feel to them, it is like gliding by the side of the mountain while enjoying every bit of the scenery on offer.
The only trouble was that after the near 40 km stretch it was inevitable that I’d end up at the bottom of the hill. As I hit the 500m mark, the heatwave hit me like a ton of bricks. I was led to the leeward side and seemingly it probably does not rain in these parts. I landed in a desert, all yellow and dry and dusty.
Around noon or so I was getting near the town of El Rancho and I spotted a fancy hotel / restaurant. I thought I might spot wifi and rode in. Turned out the place had a nice swimming pool and I decided to buy a smoothie and make use of the internet and the swimming pool too. Sometimes cyclists can be cheap bastards. Ah well. It was a good soak, as cooling down go.
As I left the hotel, I realised I had misplaced my sunscreen someplace, bummer, need to buy one again and these things aren’t cheap. As I headed out, I saw a bus full of backpackers going from Samuck Champey to Antigua. A couple of the people talked to me and when I mentioned how beautiful the ride that they came thro was, they responded, “Oh Really! I was sleeping”. Made me realise once again why I enjoy cycling these parts instead.
I was on rolling hills the rest of the way and though it was at 300m it was steep in bits. duh. It did not help that the east winds returned in full force and stayed the rest of the way. Dang it was hard work 3% downhills would need me working hard to keep going, The scenery had changed to a desert and I slowly made my way down the small road towards the town of Cabanas. It was hard work, but I eventually got into town. The first thing I spotted was Bomberos! yippie!!
I asked them if they’d let me stay and they were glad to offer me a bit of space and their showers too. I walked into town and tried my luck finding food. The only place that could give me anything close to a veggie was a burger without meat and I took that and gulped down a couple. I spent the evening chatting with the firemen and women and after a evening of mosquito bites, called it a day.
Route: Rio Escondido (Biotopo Del Quetzal) to Cabanas
Distance: 90 km
Ascent: 609 m
Descent: 1837 m
Expenses: $ 13.90
Comment: Bomberos rock. Overtime they welcome me with open arms.