Some days on the bike are harder than others. These are the days that make you appreciate all that you’ve accomplished. This past week was one of the hardest of my life. A five-hour climb into the mountains of Chiapas tested my limits. Headwinds in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec challenged my resolve.
Yep, winds strong enough to nearly blow me over. Fun times!
As difficult as this ride was, the kindness of strangers mitigated the pain. The night of the video I slept in a municipal building’s courtyard after riding only 34 miles. 34 miles in the winds witnessed in the video.
It felt a little strange when the officer closed this gate. Prisoner or refugee?
An old concrete slab patio, cracked and worn, forms the floor of the municipal building’s courtyard turned basketball / futbol field. It also serves as my home for the night.
I arrived in the small town of Rizo de Oro the next night at sunset where I met Roman, his son, and his congregation. It was late in the evening and nearly dark. I needed a place to sleep but the roadside offered no respite. Then, I passed a church with people celebrating outside its doors. I asked if I could sleep here. Not only was I allowed but I was fed and made to feel part of the family. These photos were taken the following morning. I was too tired the night before to capture them in their “Sunday” best (church services here are held multiple days of the week).
A kind women feeding the fire for a rotisserie gave me this meal for free. Always starving, I forget to snap photos before digging in. Half the thigh is already eaten, by me of course.
Preparing to leave my hotel room in Tehuantepec.
Not everything left with me. With the hill and headwinds ahead I reevaluated my pack-list. Everything non-essential or mission-critical did not make the cut.
Three-wheeled moto-taxis. This one is in really good shape.
Let the headwinds begin! This man is walking along the road collecting cans. Even walking is difficult in these winds.
Heaping piles of garbage are a frequent sight in Mexico. Oaxaca takes roadside garbage to new levels. Piles are everywhere here.
Windmills are never a good sight when your on a bicycle. Unless, of course, they are facing a favorable direction. These were not.
It sure is beautiful though.
Time to head for shelter. I end up backtracking into the pueblo of La Venta where I camp in the police station.
And mangoes everywhere.
The climb into Rizo de Oro is a long one with wind in my face but the terrain is impressive.
Chiapas!!!!!!! The last state to cross in Mexico!
No where to camp around here. Luckily, the world if full of good people. I spend this night camped on the porch of a church with a belly full of free food. A very special thank you to Roman and the people of Iglesia Monte Sinai.
Into the mountains I go.
The best reason to ride a highway: half the distance.
Not only half the distance, but half the climbing! Highways cut through the mountains whereas regular roads wind up and over them. Another reason to ride the highway: my own private bike lane!
Camping in the corner of roadside construction. Amazing night laying on loose dirt watching clouds drift passed the full moon and the headlights of cars march up the distant mountain like a line of ants returning to their hole.
No idea. Someone was bored I guess and covered all the bolts along this guardrail with coke caps.
24kms is much more exciting to see when its not all up a mountain. This climb took five hours. There were no breaks. Up, and up it went.
Even cars struggled on this climb. I kept seeing them on the side of the road with the hood up. It all made sense when I watched these guys pour water into the radiator. Their cars were overheating.
Ahh!! So close. So tired…
I made it! A fast downhill led into the city. When I saw it coming down the mountain I went a little crazy pedaling past trucks with energy I didn’t know I had.