How slow can you go? - We'll Follow the Sun - CycleBlaze

December 26, 2018

How slow can you go?

Or a day in the drops

When we did our very first long tour last year, one of the things that I had to learn was excactly how slow can you go.  In other words, when you are chugging up a hill in your granny gear, how slow can you go before you actually fall over.  It was an important lesson for me as I used to panic and try to go too fast on long climbs, running out of steam and thus ending up walking, which is really terribly inefficient.  As we travelled down the coast, crawling up hills, I finally learned that I could go pretty darned slow and would pace myself so that I could make it to the top.  With this tour, it feels a little like that, only it is with our daily distances.  When I think of cycle touring, I picture making distances each and every day.  But when we planned this tour, it was not about distances.  It was about taking our time and experiencing the places we were cycling through.  Getting a feel for the real Mexico, as opposed to the touristy Mexico.  This time, between Christmas and New Year's is the very slowest we will go on this trip, I think.  We needed to plan for a couple of things - first of all, we needed a place to stay for sure as we are travelling through a very touristy part of the Yucatan at peak season, and second, we needed to be sure to be in a place to watch some of the bowl games we like to watch.  So, we have planned to be in Valladolid for 3 nights and then Coba for 4 nights, which is a really really long time as we are just coming off of 3 nights in Piste - so, how slow can we go before this stops being a cycle tour.  I guess we will find out!

This morning, we left our little hideaway at Hotel Okaan.  It was a little hard to tear ourselves away from the luxury, the beautiful bird song and the pool.  We had very much enjoyed our Christmas break here - it is a beautiful, peaceful location and we would recommend it to anyone except cycle tourists.  Unfortunately, the 2 km rocky rocky road is really a killer and I am sure there are nice places nearer to town that do not have this problem.  But if you are ever in the area and are driving, it is definately a great place to stay!

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Finished with our breakfast (we grabbed a bit of fruit, some empanadas and ice from the restaurant) we loaded up the bikes and very carefully made our way back down to the highway.  As we had a shorter day today, we didn't leave quite as early, which was probably not the best plan, but oh well, what can you do?  Once down onto the highway, we enjoyed the morning air, the wide shoulder and relatively flat ride for a while until the wind kicked in again.  The forcast for the entire time we are cycling out to the coast is for strong headwinds, so we knew they were coming but that didn't make it any easier.  

Just a couple of kms down the road (and I was already feeling grumpy from the wind), another couple of cycle tourists pulled up along side of us!  They were a couple from Bristol in the UK on a tandem bike and had been touring across the US, a little of Canada and down through Mexico.  They were on their way, as we are, to Cancun and will cycle in Cuba for 7 weeks before heading to the Carribean where his father lives - wow!  Quite the adventure!  It was great to see some actual cycle tourists and chat with them as we all pedalled along for a bit, but they had a bit more distance to cover today so they wished us well and moved on, cycling at a much faster pace than we were and so soon dissapearing into the distance.

Off they go! It was great to cycle with them and chat for a bit
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Michael ReynoldsI had assumed the place was probably lousy with cycle tourists. No?
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5 months ago
Sue PriceTo Michael ReynoldsSurprisingly no!
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5 months ago

For a time we rode with the DaBrims on, but honestly, they were creating such drag that we pulled over and took them off.  I'm not sure if it actually helped, but it felt like it did.  We decided to use the same strategy as we did coming to Piste and that was to stop at each little town for a quick break from the wind.  Some of the time we found bus stops and others it was a little bench.  Towards the end of the ride we were stopping every 5 kms.  It felt like we had ridden uphill the entire day and we were exhaused by the time we finally reached the outskirts of Valladolid.  

What? Jail? Really? Yep, just over there!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesWe stopped here last year and picked up a pretty wall hanging/bed cover. I really haven't found a place for it yet but I sure like it. Dodie
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5 months ago
Sue PriceTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThey had lots of nice stuff for sale! We have no more room in the panniers or I'm sure I would have pulled over. We had a chuckle because when we got married we got our flowers from a shop by the women's correctional centre called New Beginnings. They give women there training and the flowers were great, so it was a good deal all around!
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5 months ago

Thankfully, coming into town there is a nice, shaded bike lane and we slowed our pace to enjoy this little bit of heaven for the last 2 kms.  We had a couple of directional issues, but with the help of a friendly police officer, we were able to make our way to our appointed hotel.  Oddly enough, Google had pegged us at a fancy hotel (it shows up on my map), so we stopped in there, only to be told they didn't have us down as having a reservation.  I looked up the actual booking and saw that it was a different hotel in the same area.  When I told the guy at the counter the name, he said "oh yes, its on this street, just a little ways down".  We thanked him and went looking.  Turns out the hotel (actually a hostel) was right across the street!  Um... geez buddy, you could have just said that!  Oh well, we found our little place, which is quite different from the digs from the last few days, but it works great for us.  There is a bed, a shower and hurray, a toilet seat!!!!  

After showering off, we went for a little walk to check out the town.  There are several cenotes here that we hope to check out in the next few days, plus we needed to find a restaurant with a tv so we can catch some football as our room doesn't have one.  We enjoyed strolling along the streets and noticing how much this town is similar and yet different from the other cities we have visited.  One thing that really stands our right away is the presence of English speaking  tourists.  In every other place we have been to so far, the tourists have either been from other parts of Mexico or from Europe - Germany in particular.  Now, all of a sudden, We hear English all over the place - weird!  Well, for us it is anyways.  

We made it to the Valladolid sign and got the pic, but the clouds had moved in and it was beginning to spit, so we ducked into a lovely bar for a couple of beers before heading back to our home for the next few days for a siesta.  There are lots of restaurants in the area, so we will pick one for tonight (hopefully not ending up with peanut butter wraps again!) and then come back for our usual evening of gin, reading and then bed.  Tomorrow its cenote time!

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Today's ride: 41 km (25 miles)
Total: 640 km (397 miles)

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