A long and difficult day - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

December 12, 2018

A long and difficult day

Desert camp to Ciudad Constitucion

We all sat together and ate breakfast at our nice campsite, doing our best not to think too much about the climb we had ahead of us or the 100+ kilometres it was to the next hotel, when Nathan interrupted the silence to announce: "We 'ave to stay at a hotel, to get toilet paper."
We all laughed, because toilet paper is readily available in any small shop here.
"Yeah but in a shop it costs six pesos," Nathan announced.
"How much does a hotel room cost?!"
"At a hotel, it is free." 

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We got going, cycling together just long enough to take the below photo, before the climb rearranged us. Tom, an Ironman, was a powerfully fast climber and shot ahead, along with Nathan who liked to stand up on his pedals and be a powerfully fast climber at least until his legs got tired. Ciaran was perhaps the slowest and steadiest of the three, and he remained with us the longest, but even he was no competition to us in the 'slowest cyclists in the world' stakes, and soon it was just Dea I had for company on the long snakey switchbacks. The climb went on and on, and was only redeemed by passing through the most tremendously scenic scenery. It was almost like being back in Utah.

Got to get the group photo in early!
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Looking back at the scalextric course.
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A golf resort looking a little out of place.
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We caught up to the boys at a restaurant where they'd stopped for a big brunch. They (especially  Tom) had expressed a desire to get to Ciudad Constitucion by evening in order to find a hotel, which was a bit of a pain because it would mean a 110 kilometre day, and there was in fact a town already after 80-odd kilometres that would surely also have a hotel. But Dea and I didn't want to lose our friends, and so we skipped going into the restaurant and quickly ate sandwiches and snacks on the steps outside, much to the confusion of the proprietor, before hurrying on our way. We know the only way we can ride 110 kilometres in a day is to not stop for long.

The climb had already taken most of the morning and I thought it was optimistic to hope we could still make the proposed hotel, but before long the road left the mountains and became as straight as an arrow as it descended gradually down through the cactuses. There was a side/headwind, but with the boys caught up to us we were able to proceed in a decent peloton that negated the worst of these effects. I could see that Dea was struggling and I offered her my permanent wind shadow, and we were able to keep up with everyone for some time at a decent clip that got us back on schedule.

A happy cycling peloton.
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Unfortunately our downfall came with the need to stop and eat something, which wasn't something the others needed to do after their big brunch. We lost them due to this weakness, and the remaining slog west to Ciudad Insurgentes, the first of the two towns, became very tough. The road no longer descended and wind became a much more fearsome opponent on the flat, not to mention that the narrow road became a little too busy with traffic for comfort. It was an ordeal to make it, but make it we eventually did. We reunited with everyone at the supermarket in town, secretly hoping that they might have decided this was far enough for today. No such luck, and they were soon heading off into the distance for the final ride to Ciudad Constitucion. This was at least to the south, and the wind turned from foe to friend, helping us make the final push in relative comfort on a dual carriageway. 

We arrived at the Hotel Oasis just before dark to find the boys had been checked in for a while. It was a little expensive here (530 pesos) but we were too exhausted to shop around and the hotel was a nice one with a pool, which was the real clincher. I threw my exhausted body straight in.

Freshened up, we went out to dinner. It had been a little while since we'd had pizza, so we made our way to a pizza restaurant, where our three companions gobbled up a super large family pizza in an unbelievably short amount of time, before going to another restaurant for a desert of tacos. Well, they hadn't stopped to eat lunch, had they?

My cameras not very good in low light, but this was the only shot I managed to snap before the pizza was demolished. Dea and I took approximately five times longer over ours.
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Today's ride: 110 km (68 miles)
Total: 1,258 km (781 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Jen GrumbyHi Chris and Dea,

Andrea Brown recommended your journal and I've greatly enjoyed your past few entries. And look forward to reading through the older posts.

Congrats to you both on making it through a tough day. Enjoy the rest and pool time!
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2 months ago
Chris PountneyTo Jen GrumbyHi Jen, thanks very much for your message. Sadly, this post is from a couple of weeks ago and the pool is now but a distant memory.
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2 months ago
Sue PriceHopefully you will find more pools, pizzas and cycling buddies along the way!
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2 months ago