QuickPeek: Gravel Road. Beautiful views. Flat Finish.

The sun came up at 5:30, I was up and lazing, but by 6 AM it was blazing and I had to jump out and start packing. The lady running the La Palma Bar was super sweet and offered me some b’fast. Around 7AM or so, I bid them farewell and hit the road. I was informed of beautiful views and bad roads ahead and braced myself for a hard day on the saddle.

Little did I know that I’d slog for 4+ Hrs to get past 25 km. I started on a uphill and once I hit the gravel about 2 k’s in, it was steep up and down all the way. I have ridden gravel before, but trying to descend 16% grades on loose gravel with deep rain drains criss crossing the roads was pretty daunting. I had my fingers go sore squeezing the brakes all day long and when I’d hit the trough, it would be a 8% slippery uphill. Dang. I descended a lot more today and I was spent trying to not fall and break my head.

The route was full of farms and some good forests dotting the valley and I enjoyed the views for sure. Along the way, I spotted a pretty nice looking spot,
Hotel Ecológico Paraíso Carlisa, and decided to stop for a break. I figured it looked too posh and probably expensive. But I was pleasantly surprised, in more ways than one.

First up, the feller who runs the place, Gaspar showed up and asked if I wasnted to hang out at the swimming pool! Hmmm. Why not eh. I got there and there were a quartet of pretty girls who have been volunteering. I tried to find out what they did and learnt that the place was more of an animal rescue sanctuary. The food was super affordable and later Gaspar offered to give me a ride into town. I could avoid 20 k’s and 3 hrs of downhill! Whoop whoop!

On the way down, he explained his volunteer program and his passion for wildlife rescure and conservation. He was really inspiring and I suppose if I hadn’t plans already, I’d have gladly stayed a few weeks and helped out. It might still happen I reckon.

He dropped me off at Parrita and highly recommended I stay at Manuel Antonio Natl park. I wasn’t keen on going to a beach and decided to straight line it towards the town of Uvita, where I might have a warmshowers host! After a couple of hours of riding in the falt asphalt road, I spotted a restaurant. They were super friendly and let me sleep in their property and even allowed me to take a shower! Awesomeness!

Track Notes

Route: La Palma to Roncador
Distance: 65.2 Km
Road: Gravel all the way to Parrita. Asphalt and flat after that.
Traffic: None till Parrita. Pretty heavy and tiny or no shoulder after that.
Services: Enough to keep a cyclist happy.
Expenses: SG$ 22.95
Comments: Damn you gravel downhills. Nearly gave me RSI squeezing the brakes.