Thursday, February 26, 2009

The last of Central America- Guatemala

A volcano erupting off in the distance as I enter Antigua

Roberto's House, El Salvador - Some village about 25 kilometers into Guatemala - 85ks
Some village about25 kilometers into Guatemala - Antigua, Guatemala 135ks

So...I just want to talk a little bit about the last 30 kilometers of the ride into Antigue. It was by far the hardest ride of the trip to this point.

As I was riding into the town of Escuintla I met this Canadian guy riding his bike, but going in the opposite direction. We both pulled over and chatted for a minute or two. He rode a bit in Mexico in the Yucatan with his sister. After busing it through the hills of Guatemala his sister decided to fly back to Canada but this guy wasn't going down that easily. He decided to continue the journey. He was going from Antigua to Santiago de Chile. After passing a few stories back and forth he was off. Before he left he told me that I could make it to Antigua BUT there was a BIG hill. It was about noon and he said it may take a few hours but the ride was uphill and beautiful.

I wanted to stay in Escuintla for the night before heading up the hill to Antigua. But after checking out the only accommodation in town, a rent by the hour love hotel, I decided to take my chances and get to Antigua as fast as possible. It was dreadfully hot and around 12.30 when I started to make my climb.

Looking back on the whole thing I probably should have taken a snooze at ¨Hotel de Eden¨ in Escuintla because this became one of the hardest days of the trip.

I already biked about 80 or 90 kilometers to Escuintla and the giant hills up to Antigua keep going for ever. was probably some of the steepest hills Ive seen so far. And really hot! The ride itself was beautiful! The winding road to Antigua had two erupting volcanoes on both sides. Every once in a while when I took a break I could see the smoke coming off the rugged looking mountains. It was inspiring!

A funny thing started to happen to me. Maybe it was pure exhaustion I'm not sure but my level of concentration was so deep. I was totally in the zone. I was climbing for about 2 hours at least. Straight up. Before the day begun I was a bit worried about travelling in Guatemala, I was nervous about the security of Guatemala city, I was nervous I wasn't going to hit my $15,000 goal. But when this mountain hit me I couldn't worry about that anymore. It totally left my mind. It was a refreshing feeling. I could only concentrate on the road. One Two One Two. I begun another mantra. If I had worried about any of that stuff I'm sure I would have lost the battle. Instead I sat back a bit further in the saddle and got into a good grove. Nothing was going to stop me!

At one point when I was climbing the hill...I had been climbing for about 45 minutes at least in one of the steepest parts I heard a big rig coming up from behind. He was probably only going a kilometer or two faster than me. I knew he was saying to himself, ¨how could this guy, with all this stuff be doing this if my rigg cant even climb it.¨It took him at least 10 minutes to catch me. When he was finally about to pass I threw out my arm asking him to honk his horn. I leaned on that sucker for at least 30 seconds. I was screaming, ¨YAAAAAA BABY....GIVE ME SOME LOVE...THIS HILL IS NO JOKE.....YAAAAAA¨. He leaned out the window and was yelling something back. Finally the truck passed and there were a long line of cars behind him. All the people in the back of the pick ups heard the horn, heard us yelling and everyhting. This started clapping and screaming and waiving their hats around. Everyone was getting into the fun. I had about 10 minutes of people cheering. I was laughing the rest of the way up. They saw I was struggling and were giving me whatever they could! I was a hilarious site!

I finally made it.

Antigua is a great place to get some rest for a few days!

Big Rigs carrying sugar canes. Watch out cause these guys are wild drivers!

Where the heck am I?
Ya baby...Guatemala...making some progress....

Peace, Power and Pedal

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