QuickPeek: Heat. Rolling hills. Boulders.
We planned an earlier day than yesterday, with the sun coming up at 6, we figured we might get on the road at the crack of dawn. I was up at 5:30 and as we packed up, we noticed Krista’s front tires were flat. That put a kibosh on the plans. But we did a quick change of tube and headed out for b’fast. I had noticed that the road looked pretty barren on our route and we figured a full belly is better than not and had a decent grub before hitting toe road at 7.
The route going out continued the trend of large loose rocks all over the road and it was a bit of a workout for me on the bike. By the time we hit pavement 5 km later, I was nearly spent. The rest of the route to the town of La Hormiga was on rolling hills. The hills were just long enough and steep enough to not allow me to take momentum from the downhill all the way. Every upslope was a 3 minute grind in my newly lowered granny gear. Reminded me of the rolling hills in Northern California, but the heat situation made me feel like I was in Malaysia riding to Desaru.
Honestly though, the heat was better than yesterday, we had a bit of cloud cover and a gentle breeze was keeping me cool. I suppose it would have ben a much harder struggle otherwise. Along the route, as it was yesterday, we had an oil pipeline, I suppose it ferries crude from Colombia to Ecuador or vice versa. Anyway, it was strange to see that multiple times the pipeline had been mended, it was easy to spot because the road would be blackened and the nearby vegetation badly damaged. I suspect many of them also caused fires because the roads were pretty badly potholed too. It made me wonder if it was an act of sabotage by the locals. I’ve been hearing a lot about the dissent the indigenous community had towards exploiting the region and it’s likely that they broke the pipeline as an act of defiance. Interesting thoughts for the day.
We came up to a small town after 25 km of slogging and decided to have a bit of juice for hydration. The ladies made us nearly 3 litres of juice and we spent nearly an hour gulping it down. The stretch after drinking so much fluids was a bit tricky. The road flattened out a little more, but still was rolling, but the hills felt really tough this time around. We eventually got to the town of Hormiga and figured if we wanted to head further or not. It was warm, but we figured it might be better to dig in a few more k’s so the next day can be easy, especially with the prospect of a potentially delay due to border crossing.
After a cup of coffee, we headed to the La Dorado, about 10 km away. We had a couple more steep hills. At some point I was ready to bonk so had to stop for a quick sugar shot. Luckily I had my lemon cream cookies and it hit the spot. We rode into the town of la Dorada and stopped at the first hotel. The lady was friendly and after a bit of negotiation, offered us an upgrade to an Air conditioned room. Sweet, it was pretty awesome to be sleeping in relative cool for a change, I suppose its a lot better to be high up in the hills, but sometimes creature comforts are worth it.
Route: El Cruce (Orito) to La Dorada
Distance: 49 Km
Road: 5 km out of El Cruce is shit road. After that, there is occasional gravel along new pavement. The unpaved sections are supposed to be paved starting March 2016. Rolling hills.
Services: Few along the way. Enough villages to help with hydration and food.
Expenses: SG$ 17.91
Comments: I’ve learnt riding on boulders is not ideal on my bike.