Team Sniffles to Ahuacatlan - The Not So Long Way Down - CycleBlaze

December 23, 2018

Team Sniffles to Ahuacatlan

Morning came and by now I'd convinced myself that Dea was almost certainly pregnant and that our trip was going to have to come to a premature end. With zika virus all over Latin America we'd have to fly straight home if she was pregnant. We'd know  one way or another during the ten days we planned to stay in Ahuacatlan, which meant that this could well be the last day of cycling, the last hurrah after years on the road. As I watched the orange morning sky I realised that I didn't want to go home yet. I didn't want to give all this up. The early mornings in unfamiliar places. The exciting uncertainty of what the day might bring. I knew we were going to go home and settle down before much longer, but I wanted it to be on our terms, I wanted to finish what I'd started first, I didn't want it to end yet.

I sat there beside Jon in silence and thought more about all I'd done travelling and cycling over the years, and about how the young man beside me was just starting out on a journey of even greater magnitude. Jon wants to climb the highest mountain on each continent during his trip, an insanely ambitious undertaking, while raising awareness about important issues of sustainability and social justice. Having just celebrated his 22nd birthday, some 12 years my junior, he had it all ahead of him, all of the adventures and lessons the road would bring his way. With my life potentially about to take a different course, this felt a little like the moment when I was passing the baton on to a new young adventurer.

Bypassing the edge of Tepic.
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We were on our way early, keen to make sure the 90 kilometres to Ahuacatlan were completed today. We had to climb over a crash barrier to get onto the bypass road, but it was well worth it. As with many such bypasses the road was wide and not too busy, and it was a good ride. Then came a key moment, when we rejoined the 15D south of Tepic and hoped that it would be good to cycle on. And our luck was very much in, for it was now a dual carriageway with a proper shoulder. A rumble strip ensured that this shoulder was no longer used as a lane, and it was painted red, making it basically into a segregated bicycle lane. It was wonderful.

A perfect place to cycle.
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We occasionally could see the 15 parallel to us and it looked narrow and busy, not a place to be on a bike, so when we came to a toll booth on the 15D we prayed that we wouldn't be sent back to the 15. Our strategy was to slip through the barriers and keep moving before anyone called us back. Unfortunately doing this caused a siren to go off, making us fear the worst. But the men nearby just watched us, and with no one shouting at us to stop, we hurried on as quick as we could, eager not to give up our bicycle lane.

We then spent the rest of the day going up and down through the mountainous scenery. With all of us getting sick it was not an easy day, especially for Jon who was having the worst of it. It culminated in a long, hot climb up past a volcano, but we all made it, and the descent down the other side was quite joyous. 

We left the 15D and had to cycle on the 15 for a few nerve-racking . kilometres into Ahuacatlan, with lots of traffic harassing us on the narrow road, making us relieved that we'd been allowed to ride on the safe shoulder of the 15D all day. But we made it, finally, to our goal, and now we had ten days to relax. Tom, Nathan, and Ciaran arrived a little while after us, and revealed that they'd spent the day cycling on the 15, saying that the 15D had been "boring". Each to their own I suppose, but Dea and I had certainly had enough of the traffic by now, and would be looking into continuing on smaller roads after Ahuacatlan. If, that is, we would be continuing at all.

The young adventurer Jon on the descent towards Ahuacatlan.
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Ahuacatlan, our home for the next ten days, and perhaps the end of the road.
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Today's ride: 88 km (55 miles)
Total: 1,882 km (1,169 miles)

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Jeff ArnimI for one won't be surprised. The last 34-year-old guy to post a journal on this site had to end his trip early because he found out that his cycling partner was pregnant. You use this site at your own risk!
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2 weeks ago
Catherine HastingsIt's like those office chairs where people always end up leaving on maternity leave... Spooky.
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1 week ago
Rob WhiteCliff hanger of the year Chris!!! :)
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1 week ago