Yesterday we got hammered and darkness set upon us. Usual start around 06:45am yesterday. Took about 5 hours to reach the Nicaragua/Honduras border which is situated on the top of a mountainous region. Warm greetings at the border on the Honduras side, this guy in an army suit with a huge gun waiting no doubt to bang away at any invaders, unlikely. The border was at 65km and lunch was soon after at 77km – then the fun started – unpaved roads.
By this stage the vegetation had changed from dense savannah to dryer savannah. But that was not the problem. At first the road did not pose many problems with scattered ups and down, then we scored a goal at either end of a football pitch. It was just after a welcome coke stop at 93km when we had to cycle over a field and under both sets of football goal posts, this could only happen in Honduras. Then.
Hit by hard luck. Dad got a puncture and screamed at me to stop from about 200m behind where I was. I heard him and then in due course doubled back to find him in a “point de perdre.” I think in French this means a point of defeat. It took 20 minutes to fix the puncture, losing important daylight cycling time, and then we hit the pedals again. By this stage we really were running out of time but we persevered manfully. Next.
We had to cross 5 streams which were not the problem. After each stream there were sharp climbs and both are energies were fading while were closing in on literally our 11th hour of riding. It would be a fight to the end, typical of the proverbial 11th hour of madness. I mean we were tired and we still had about 20km to go. No panicking. A bit of bike pushing, cursing, Dad falling off his bike and checking directions in the late afternoon all took place. 5pm.
River crossings complete. Now just the climb up to the town of Yuscaran, a challenge that might have felt too tough at the time. But we made it, just, in the dark getting in at 6pm. We had the Brazilian expedition leader, Cristiano, in the truck with another British cyclist picked up just 6km short of the hotel, bless her determination, guiding us with his truck lights and shouting directions where to find the hotel. It would have been mission impossible without any light to find the hotel and finally we arrived with a great reception received from the other cyclists. This was a memorable day.
Dinner was a Central American classic, beans, meat, tortilla bread. I ate Dad´s leftovers and we went to bed exhausted. This day will never end, but become stored deep inside the brain tissue. I have to say Dad was absolutely finished and I had to try and motivate him while doing the river crossings and climbing up to the hill town of Yuscaran. But we made it, all 124km.
Today was much shorter with only 68km of cycling but with a killer climb right at the end, a whopping 1000m climb. I have never done anything like this climb before. There could be no submission but only some serious hard work to get over this mountain pass. We climbed forever and when we reached the top it started to drizzle with a fresh, cold air. End of cycling for 2 days with a rest day tomorrow.
We are staying 35km away from the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, and tomorrow we will take alternative transport to the city to find a bike shop and get some much needed parts. It is such a relief to have a rest day tomorrow after cycling over 500km in 5 days and climbing well over 5000m in this time. Our bikes are taking a hammering and changing gears is a problem for both of us at times. But we live to fight on and maintain our EFI status, cycling every f****** inch according to Tour d´Afrique jargon, which is our goal. Dad says that the cycling on this trip is harder than most of the Tour d´ Afrique trip through Africa because of the mountainous roads. We still have many mountains to climb before reaching the end of the road, Doomsday.