QuickPeek: Hills. Steeper hills. Puncture. Pura vida.
After the on-again, off-again attitude the last few days, supported by Vendhan’s awesome repertoire of Indian cooking, I finally manage to get back on the road. Vendhan had been an excellent host and friend and we had some real good time around here. I suppose it was hard goodbyes for both of us, however I might have convinced him to make a trip south…
I had packed my bike up in the evening yesterday to avoid chickening out of the ride today. I was up at 6 and had a fill of the kichedi from yesterday’s dinner and some coffee. We headed out around 8:30 and I took the familiar downhill route towards Santa Ana. I scouted many options for my way out and after much thinking decided to take the middle way, with a few hill climbs and reasonable distance. The direct route had a 2500m climb on the first day and the highway was about 70 km longer. My route went thro the hills, might be quieter and had a 1000m climb. Score! Or so I thought…
Once past Santa Ana, I had a easy ride towards Ciudad Colon. The legs, having had long rest, felt springy and the day was bright and cool. The road climbed steeply up for 400m and even local road bikers were having trouble making the climb on their light weight skinny rigs. Some guy chatted with me for a while and I tried to keep up but after a km or so I was winded and let him go on. I rode up the hill followed by a steep downhill and got to a small town for lunch. It was a good stop and I rested for a bit. It felt like it might rain and so I headed on.
The stupid gps pointed me on a 20% downhill and I took it without thinking. I realized it put me on a 20% gravel uphill. Son of a bitch. So I retraced my way back up the steep incline and followed the highway. The route further out was always on a steep incline. Up or down, does not matter, it was slow going. On one of the downhills, my rear tire got a flat and I had to push my bike for a bit to find a place to swap tubes. I don’t know who designed these damn roads, narrow, steep, curvy and no shoulders. Luckily there was just an occasional bus, truck and a few motorbikes.
I made my way up and down and around 4:30 spotted a small restaurant. The mist was coming down fast (I was still at 1000m) and I figured an early stop might be a good idea. The family run place was cute and the beer after a tough day always tastes great. The family was super friendly and let me sleep in their backyard which was a small shed with roof. Perfect.
Except for the tough roads, which is supposed to turn to gravel going ahead, the day was awesome! Can’t ask for a better end to a day on the road.
Route: San Jose to La Palma
Distance: 56.4 Km
Road: Asphalt all the way. No shoulder anywhere.
Traffic: High till ciudad colon. Moderate, but annoying till pursical. Very quiet afterwards.
Services: Enough to support cycling all along.
Expenses: SG$ 19.74
Comments: It was a lovely day for riding. The hills were tough as though.