QuickPeek: Tough hills. Awesome scenery. Crazy rain.

I was planning to start the day at first light which was 6 am here. But I lazed in bed for much longer and around 6:45 the landlady woke me up. I had a deal that with the discounted price of the room, I’d be leaving early. She was very nice though and just reminded me to get on the road when the skies were still clear. I packed up, headed for a quick brekkie and hit the road at 7:30.

The route was stunning, lots of views of the valley and I descended quite a bit before starting the climb. There would be a few good climbs along the way followed by equal descents. The grades were horrendous. Every hill was more than 10% and at times I was slogging my ass at 17%. Son of a gun. The descents were equally steep and by 16 km mark, I had climbed nearly 700m. With half of it being descents, I felt like I was back in Guatemala climbing the mad hill.

My legs were still not feeling strong and I was having a tough time getting into a rhythm and after a while I decided I might skip the last big hill. I reckon’s the 10 km might take me a good part of 3 hours and with the clouds starting to show up, I wanted to get close to town before rain. I got a hitch pretty quick on a truck and the guy dropped me at the town of Volcan. It was going to be pretty much downhill all the way to constitution. However, things changed about a bit.

As I rode out of town, I was trying to figure if I’d beat the weather or get stuck. Most locals informed me that the weather was coming in from the Atlantic and I should be alright getting to the Pacific coast. But just outside of town, I got caught in a storm and I had to take shelter in a small restaurant. I met a local wood working artist who was nice and paid for my lunch and invited me to his studio. We waited for the rain to cease and after an hour or so made it to his shop just 300m away. He had some good stuff and showed me how he works on glass etchings and wood carvings. I hung out for an hour or so more and during a lull in the weather decided to head down to the valley.

The weather came back with a vengeance and poured like a maniac. I was happy in my new water proof pants and though I still had wet toes, at least, I wasn’t getting wet and cold. I had to stop again at a small cafe and wait out the storm. This was intense with lightning right where I was. Goodness, would be a nightmare to be on the road. This place was not really pleasant and I hoped for another lull for me to get out again.

The rain wasn’t stopping, but when it slowed down and the lightning far enough, I made a dash for it and barely made a couple of k’s when it poured again and I had to stop at a fancier truck stop. This place had fresh food and even a viewing gallery. I waited for a while and as it was getting dark, gave up the idea of going to town and asked them if I could sleep there. The boss was a friendly chap and let me sleep in the viewing gallery where he said it would be less windy. Sweet!

I ate a few snacks for dinner and with the promise of a early morning b’fast and a good downhill to come, knocked off in the cozy confines of my hammock. Ah, sleeping bag, how I missed thee!

Track Notes

Route: Rio Serreno to Mirador after Volcan
Distance: 36.6 Km
Road: Smooth asphalt. The grades were real terrible though.
Traffic: Generally Light
Services: A few along the way. Volcan is a tourist village with fancy shops and cafes.
Expenses: SG$ 9.66
Comments: Guess I am glad I took the ride. Else I might have been stuck in the rain even before I got to volcan.