A little bit of cycling on the Mexican mainland - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

December 19, 2018

A little bit of cycling on the Mexican mainland

Mazatlan to Villa Union

I slept pretty well, considering I was on the floor of a boat with a noisy fan above me and lots of other sleeping people around me. Sunrise brought the first views of the worryingly mountainous mainland, and within a couple of hours we were pulling in to the port in Mazatlan.

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The first thing we all noticed on disembarkation was the incredible heat. It was much, much hotter here than it had been in Baja California, and this perhaps went someway to explaining our lazy day. That, and as soon as we stopped to eat breakfast at a cafe, Nathan noticed that he had a broken spoke at about the same moment that Dea noticed that she had a massive nail in her tyre. 

With Dea's tyre being very difficult to get on and off, and with me having the tools to remove Nathan's cassette and change the spoke, I did my best to simultaneously help both of them and eat an omelette at the cafe down the street, all the while dealing with the tremendous number of foreigners, mostly American, who stopped on their way past to ask where we were headed. There were two cruise ships in town, and it seemed also a lot of foreigners just living in the centre of Mazatlan, and as such it had a strange, quite un-Mexican atmosphere. One of the foreigners who ran a boutique hotel even offered to let us come and take a shower and perhaps stay at the hotel. But we looked it up and it cost over a hundred dollars a night, and we decided we'd look a little out of place there.

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Dea's tyre was simple enough to fix, but Nathan's spoke was another matter entirely. Although I knew how to get the cassette off, on the other side of the wheel the disc brakes prevented us from threading the spoke through, and I didn't know how to remove that, not having ever used disc brakes myself. We almost gave up on the whole thing, but then I suggested that it might be possible to bend and twist the spoke to get it in, and then try and straighten it again afterwards. This we did, bending and twisting the spoke in a rather unbelievable manner to squeeze it in, and perhaps even more unbelievably managing to get it straightened out again:

No, but seriously.
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We decided to leave this strange tourist town and returned to Mexico on some hectic narrow streets through and out of Mazatlan. Along the way we stopped at a bike shop so that Ciaran and Nathan could get some more spare spokes, as there seemed a decent chance they'd be needing them.

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We made it a grand total of 30 kilometres in the heat before deciding that we'd had enough for the day. There was a small town with a hotel, and we thought it a good idea to stop before joining the highway anyway. The town was also pretty hectic on the main street, but just a block away we found a peaceful park with a big church, and as we stopped to admire it a friendly Mexican man spoke to us for a bit. I'd noticed a big flag flying in the park and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get my country-photo in, as I now had a total of seven willing pairs of hands. Our new friend roped in a passerby to take the photo. He took many, but sadly he never quite managed to get all of the necessary number of fingers in. Sometimes he missed off one of Dea's hands, sometimes one of Nathan's, but no matter, I've photoshopped it together nicely:

Country Number 64: Mexico
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Stopping early gave those who needed it the chance to do some bike work. We tightened Ciaran's spokes up to try and prevent more broken spokes.
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We then went out to dinner in a little restaurant. The three carnivores, Tom, Nathan, and Ciaran, got a whole chicken, while the vegetarian side of the table ordered chiliquiles. We'd had this before and it had been quite nice, but this time it was really unbearably spicy. It was a test of endurance to make it through dinner. Things are too hot on the mainland!

I think you can almost see the smoke coming out of Dea's mouth.
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Today's ride: 29 km (18 miles)
Total: 1,533 km (952 miles)

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