Sunday, January 8, 2017

Jan 6--Harry Promised, and Harry Delivered!

I woke up this morning after the best night's sleep I've had since we left home. Of course, sleeping in a bed, even with a 20 year old girl that I just met, is going to likely be a better night's sleep. Most mornings, I wake up and it's still dark. I'm ready to get up after being in my tent for 12 hours or so. Just as an aside, even though the weather is nicer here in Mexico, it's still winter. Hence, the days are still short. It gets dark about 5:30, and doesn't begin to get light until 6:00. So, for that reason, I'm not so much a fan of winter touring, even if the weather is warm.

The three of us set out this morning about 7:20. At first it was foggy again, but it burned off really quickly, and the sun glasses came out. Harry had promised us yesterday, that today would be a sunny day. He delivered on his promise! Granted, it was a bit chilly, but we had some serious climbing to do today anyway.

Before too long, we had stripped off the outer layer. I took off my vest and arm warmers. I've stopped wearing the knee warmers because they refuse to stay up. However, I have been wearing knee high socks.

We headed up into the hills. It wasn't really that bad for quite awhile. After the farmland, we were on the tracks of the Baja 1000. We stopped for breaks, and people would pass us. Anna passed us early on. Her bike is very light, so she can move along pretty quickly. I doubt we'll see her again.

We would climb for awhile, then seemingly lose all the elevation we had gained, but it was fun riding. Then we had a few steep and very rutted bits. I ended up walking a couple of times. At one point, I almost crashed. I was trying to cross a rut going up a steep hill. Just at the last moment, I managed to unclip, and get my foot on the ground. I found I was losing traction with my front wheel. After I let some more air out of my tires (both front and back), I did much better.

Finally, we got to the highest point. Here the narrative said that the descent was very rough, and might require walking. Although Brent and I managed to ride the first part through a bunch of orange and cantaloupe sized rocks, it was scary as hell. I think my life flashed before my eyes at least a couple of times! Then the road got very very steep and rutted. All three of us were walking down that part...very slowly. We watched some guys ride it, but there was no way I had the skills for that. Especially on a loaded bike (okay, even on a good mountain bike).

We walked for awhile, then were able to get back on. We went through another of the melon size rocks area, but it wasn't as steep. Basically, it was like riding through a river bed. We finally made it out of the steep part. Now the route continued to go down, but it was broken up with some uphill bits. That was good, because my hands were tired from all the breaking.

On part of the descent, we came to this very interesting looking rutted section. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, Brent got caught in one of the ruts and tipped over. But, he was going pretty slow so he didn't get hurt. Someone else (the British guy) actually kind of went over his handlebar. He was a little banged up, but we saw him later, and he was okay.

We continued our rollercoasting descent. It was about 2:45 when we came to a nice camping spot, and called it a day. We had done about 38 miles. That's a good day out here. Herb came by about 15 minutes later (we hadn't seen him all day), and decided to camp with us. We are not far from Ejido Uruapan, but we were ready to be done, and this is a nice quiet campsite.

It was a hard day, but also really fun. It's great to have so many riders out here. I'm sure we'll see less and less as time goes on, and we spread out more. I'm sure a number of riders are already far ahead of us, but we have plenty of time.

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