To all readers. It has been another four days of drama, disaster and deceptive beauty. Right now we are in Jalapo, somewhere in Guatemala.
We all got hammered on the ride from Gracias to Copan, all in Honduras, on 4 December. But it was a beautiful kind of beating for all riders. Dad and I made it in the end but there was a lot of walking up steep hills in beautiful countryside. Copan is the site of very significant Mayan ruins dating back over 1000 years.
We had a rest day in Copan, Honduras, on 5 December and all the riders visited the ruins. The ruins are a marvel of past civilisation and it is a fairly well organised exhibit of Mayan architecture. In the afternoon we relaxed and later we ate at one of the more well known restaurants in Copan.
Then it all happened in a moment. 6 December. There are speed bumps in urban areas in Central America and Dad tried to avoid one speed bump but rode off the curve of the road and fell off his bike. It was a moment of horror that resulted in pain and panic. His knee was bleeding badly and the doctor, a young Welsh GP who qualified at Edinburgh University, bandaged his knee after we crossed the border into Guatemala.
Unfortunately this was a bad experience that would set Dad back. We both completed the ride togetheron 6 December from Copan, Honduras, to Chiquimula, Guatemala, but we took a long time and it was only 62km. Dad could hardly ride yesterday after the injury and therefore he did not ride today.
It was the signal for Dad to rest after incredibly hard cycling. Today, 7 December, he took a lift in the truck from Chiquimula to Jalapo. He will again not cycle tomorrow which is scheduled to be a brutal stage. I think he has come to terms with not being able to cycle after incredibly tough cycling in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras.
Today was a stage of hard hill climbing and a challenging unpaved road section in altogether 87km of cycling. I managed fine and saw Dad at the lunch stop after 55km. I am having major problems with gear mechanical problems and I have been told to cycle more conservatively particularly on climbs.
Basically at present I am stuck in the big gear ring at the back of my bike which is suited to cycling up hills but is hopeless for cycling on flat sections because I keep on spinning the pedals without gaining any powerful momentum from the bike. I have to cope.
The scenery is all rolling hills in Guatemala so far. It is becoming gradually dryer as we progress northwards with smaller and fewer trees. In particular it was very dry in one of the valleys today with dry riverbeds but there are still plenty of people along the road. There were areas of Honduras with sparse populations but so far in Guatemala the countryside is similar to that of the Valley of a Thousand Hills where the Comrades Marathon takes place in South Africa.
So far, so brutal, yet unmistakenly a growing experience. We venture each day into new territory of imposing countryside. Great expedition and glad to have other riders with us. Dad will take time to recover but he needs time off to recover from the brunt of hard cycling roads. I march forth tomorrow and tell you all about it later. Au revoir.