Thank you for all the responses and interest in this Central American expedition. I can tell you that Dad and I have just finished a gruelling stage in Honduras.
In fact the last three days have all been challenging riding but we have coped well. Although Dad had 2 punctures yesterday which obviously held us up but we were already near the finish and so we did not panic.
They say that expedition riding is meant to include good scenery and provide insight into the general economic and topographic landscape of a country. I will tell you that we rode through a poor area yesterday with rubbish strewn everywhere along the side of the road. This is not a pleasant sight but the countryside beyond the roadside is spectacular but also brutal cycling terrain.
The day after our rest day on 1 December we cycled around the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, and overnighted in a fantastic hotel. Mom, you might have liked it because there must have been over a hundred mini-statues of Jesus Christ all over the hotel. The hospitality was great there and we ate a lot of pasta.
Yesterday we had a tough ride through a somewhat poorer area. The second half was particularly tough due to constant climbing and eventually where we had a coke stop, the roadside was covered with rubbish which was a horrendous sight. Towards the end of yesterday two children through objects at me from a hidden position amongst vegetation. I think I shouted at them but I didn´t get off my bike and give them a hiding.
Then at the end of yesterday we were struck with two punctures to Dad´s back tyre. This is always very annoying but we replaced the tubes on both occasions. After the ride we put patches on both tubes but hopefully we won´t need to use them because patched tubes are sometimes prone to puncturing again. The hospitality was again great after the ride yesterday with a fantastic dinner and conversation with other riders.
Some new riders have joined us since 1 December at Valle de Angeles and I think they will find that this is a challenging expedition indeed. Evenings are always merry with plenty memories relived through the day´s reviews. Everybody seems to be getting along with each other after all the tough days´ riding.
Today was the most brutal of the past three days. We had to climb for 20km this morning, mostly on unpaved roads (dirt roads) and I can tell you that there were times when we walked up tough uphill sections. If I had used my gears more sensibly, I may indeed have been able to have ridden up the tougher hills but nevertheless we all had to make an effort to dig deep this morning.
We climbed to an altitude of almost 2000m at one stage but eventually we were redeemed with riding on a tarmac road from 45km to the finish at 114km in the town of Gracias which means “thank you” in Spanish. It is most certainly a welcoming name for a town and after riding after lunch at 65km against a headwind for 12km before a long downhill section leading up to the finish, we were grateful to successfully find our hotel hidden away on an unpaved road well off the main road.
Tomorrow brings a new challenge that we must face up to. I believe we will be riding 140km all long a tarmac road. This will be the longest distance we have ridded. We must endure, breathe deep and conquer as the Spanish did almost 500 years ago. Although our conquest is of course a less exploitative one as we contribute to all the local economies, particularly the roadside cafeterias and hotel bars.
To all readers, life must be lived hard in order to deserve celebration. However don´t forget to wake up the next day and cultivate new growth in your land. All the best. Thank you Mom and Noreen again for making this a well-read blog and I wish you a happy festive season. Ta.