Yesterday we turned our backs on Granada and cycled along dirt roads, or unpaved roads as Americans call it, until lunch time. From there we found hot temperatures, hills and wind before we arrived in Boaca for our overnight stop. Altogether we cycled 107 km including 57km on unpaved roads. So it was hard and the town is surrounded by hills which we had to navigate to reach the town. All I will say about the hotel was that it was basic with a bucket of water to be used to flush the toilet. Dinner was great and so was breakfast.
Today was a humdinger of 114km. I got a puncture after 5km but there was no panicking as Luke, the Tour d’ Afrique mechanic, and Dad, my personal mechanic got to work at changing the punctured tube in the wheel. This was always going to be a tough day and we took our first coke stop at 50km which is quite late because we knew there was 2120m of climbing today. That is a lot.
Lunch was at 67km and I just eat until I am satisfied without overdoing food intake. At around 70km my back gears ceased to function and I basically only had 1 gear. This was alright for climbing hills because I was in a low gear but was totally unsatisfactory for cycling on flat stretches and I could not keep up with Dad. Quite a few cyclists stopped for a coke break at 87km and fortunately Dad managed to oil my gears and the gears were fixed.
Our next stop was at 101km for our third and final coke stop. We knew that we had to climb 600m in the last 10km and we psyched ourselves up for the final push. I like to ride up hills and I went well although there were crunching moments when I was only carried forth by momentum and fear of stopping. In the end Dad and I made it with time to spare and battle hardened bodies and meddling of the mind.
We are staying in a beautiful hotel called Selva Negra close to Maltagalpa in northern Nicaragua. It is time to relax and relieve ourselves of the physical feat of another challenging day. There are 3 more days before our next rest day and I will welcome it.
We are now at 1200m above sea level and so were are getting closer to the heavens. However the blessing of better things to come has not arrived yet. We will eat, have a briefing on tomorrow’s route and sleep. All things hard, all things attritional and worthy of a tale of adventure. The promised land of Belize is a long way away but we still have to ride until Wednesday until we cross the border into Honduras where Christopher Columbus landed on his his final voyage in 1502. We will talk again when there is internet availability. Go well.