Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grinding it out to Acapulco

Again...I cant realy even begin to explain to you how great it felt to ride into Escondido. It was 9 grueling days of riding. I probably spent something like 8 or 9 hours on average on the bike. Since Im super crunched for time I could only take one day off so here I am again on my second leg of my Mexico trip. The day after a day off is always a toss up. Sometimes the day is just perfect. The legs feel great, the bike is running smooth everything is just perfect. On my ride from Puerto Escondido to Pinotepe National the ride was horrible. I couldnt find my legs and Ceasar and I were constantly bickering at eachother. I think my little crash back near Salina Cruz messed up the front brake. I took the bike into a shop but they realy had no experience with my type of bikes. I was pushing super hard but it seemed my body and bike were quiet responding. The plan was to get to Pinotepe Nacional and find another bike shop...hopefuly.

Another problem with days of riding after a day off, especially in a town like Escondido, is that its hard to reajust to the road. The day before I was reading and writing beach side in a hammock with an ice cold Modelo by my side. Today I was narrowly dodging big rigs and buses checking out the dry and dead bushes along the 200. A bit of a difference. Hopefully tomorrow wil be better!

So here is the plan. Puerto Escondido to Acapulco. The total distance is around 440 kilometers. When I first was looking at the Mexico map, back in Guatemala, I thought that this stage of the trip would take me a solid 4 days. Now that Im here in Puerto Escondido I think I can squeeze this leg into 3 days, if of course, all runs well. So here we go...

3/13 Puerto Escondido - Pinotepe Nacional 137k´s
3/14 Pinotepe Nacional - La Playa at Juan Alvarez 152k´s
3/15 La Playa at Juan Alvarez - Acapulco 150k´s

The first day out of Puerto Escondido was a nice ride. Along the route you get good views of the nearby lakes and bird sanctuaries. Along the camino you see some super cool and amazing birds!

Adios Oxaca!

So I finally got a proper tune up in Pinotepe Nacional. I was walking down the street to an internet cafe near my hotel when I saw this young Mexican guy riding a super clean and expensive road racing bike. He was slowly cruising down the street talking to a few people. I started to follow the dude and eventually he turned into this bike shop. AI hustled into the bike shop and noticed that the place was full of nice bikes. It turns out that the owner used to race bikes. I quickly went back to the hotel to grab Ceasar and go in for a tune up. The guy quickly grabed the bike and went straight to work. I tried to explain to him the peoblem but he didnt realy care...he knew what he was doing. After that the next day the bike ran perfectly. Thank you!
The picture above is at the beach at Juan Alvarez. The beach town was about 7 kilometers off the main road. I realy had no intention of staying here but I saw a sign on the 200. It was getting a bit late so I thought I would check it out. The town was super small. Only a few taco stands kind of thing. I found a nice restuarant on the beach and the lady ther let me camp out of $2. NO bad at all! It was nice to find a beach town. Life here is much more laid back than the big cities. It was also nice to realx after a 152 kilometer day and tomorrow I get to Acapulco!

Camping on the beach!

Id like to dedicate this day and especially this sunset at Juan Alvarez to my great friends Brian and his sister Becca Finn and especially to their grandmother who recently passed away in a tragic accident. Brian is one of my best friends and old roomate from San Francisco State University. Weve had to many good times together to even begin to count. Hes also has a HUGE family who has taken me in like a brother or at least a cousin! hahaahh! There the type of folks that would do anything for family and friends. Aside from that they have given me a ton of encouragement and support for this fundraiser. Hanging out on the beach watching this sunset at Juan Alvarez was a treat. Amazing sunset!

Some seriously rough waves!

Southern Mexico is seriously diverse. One day there is nothing but dry and flat land. Another day you get lakes with Mango plantations and palm trees. IThis day was particularly beautiful with all the bridges and rivers.

Check 1...2...

This little girl was hilarious. I stoped at this little comidor along the 200 for lunch. Im just doing my thing eating something like 15 tacos when this girl comes up. She starts laughing and whacking this OJ bottle as hard as she could with this stick. I tried to get her to stop by asking her how you say stick in spanish. Finally she stopped but gave me a very curious look like ök really want to learn something....¨ Then she uses the stick to point out the fruits and vegtables and saying their name in spanish as she asks me to follow along. She seriously gets into a spanish lesson with me. Then she starts to mix in a few vebs. This 5 year old girl was giving me spanish lessons by the side of the road. Natural born teacher really. Super smart kid! She asked me how to say ¨scale¨ in spanish. She told me once and then came back to it. I forgot and then she started whacking the chair next to me with the stick while laughing. Hilarious little kid!

Mexican food is damn spicy!
Here is my biker short moment of the day. Somewhere in the foothills outside of Puerto Escondido I find a small little food stand. I had been riding for about 20 or 25 kilometers without any breakfast and it was seriously time to get some food. Luckily I found this little spot because my blood sugar was dropping rapidly. I pull in and ask them what they got. All they have are 2 types of tacos. Tacos at 7.30am? Why not! So Im doing my taco thing by the side of the road. Theres a few other people there. A couple truckers and the ladies that run the stand. I have a few tacos that have rice and a shredded up hard boiled egg. I ask if they have any meat and they ladie says somehting like yes blahblahblah chicken blahblahblah. My spanish this particular morning wasnt helping that much. I ask for two and she gives me a very curious look. She opens up this plastic container and pulls one of the chiken pieces out. She holds it up, her eybrows perked up and she said ¨this one¨? I said yes while evryone at the stand slowly turned and gave me a kinda weired slow motion look. Anyway, it looked like deep friend chicken. was deep fried chicken stuffed into a GIANT Chili Peper!Since Im starving I start eating it quickly. Well...about halfway through I realize that Im chowing down on the BIGGEST SPIECIEST MEXICAN PEPER in the world. Its soooo spicy I could swear that my head is going to exploded. My entire body starts to visibly sweat, my face is red. I jump out of my seat and run back to the stand looking for something or anything to dreak. The entire group of people starts to bust up laughing and this trucker dude turns to me and says in broken english something I will nevr forget...¨This is Mexico¨ Ya man, thanks....hahahah!

Getting into Acapulco was a freakin nightmare. There was realy no time for celebration here. It was a super long 150k day and Acapulco is a seriously big town. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were barking at me. That I really hate. Right outside of town there was a freakin sewage flood that blocked the whole interection. I wasnt about to ride through that. But the sidewalks were blocked with venders. I couldnt get by. Eventualy I had to ask 2 taxi drivers to move their cars. Finally I thought I was in town but then realized that I had another 7 kilometers to go. Well....guess what...5 of those 7 kilometers were a GIANT hill. Great...nothing like a giant hill after riding 150 kilometers for 9 hours. It was a nightmare getting into the city but guess what...time for a day off!

It was a bit trange being in such a big city. I was getting used to the small towns and beach communities. I think I sat at this interection for at least 15 minutes soaking it all in. Check out the taxi in this picture. Nice touch of my favorite things to do here was take a taxi across town. Crusing in a old school bug was fun.

Acapulco was a really cool town. It reminded me a bit of San Francisco. Tons of hil surrounding water. I found a cool chill spot on the outskirts of town where I caught the sunset. It was a perfect way to end the day.

Not bad!

Time to hit the beach and work on those horrible tan lines.

A cool church in Acapulco´s old town.

So I go into this bar because I spot a TV playing sports. Its was kinda early, probably something like 9pm. The place was laid back, only a few people eating or having some beers. I get a drink and start to catch up on whats going on in the sporting world. I had no idea it was already March Maddness. From the looks of it I think Cal was in the tourney. Anway about an hour later a gang of kinds come in screaming and yelling. This group of kids sit down next to me and order something like 6 shots each. Guess what? SPRINGBREAKERS! I graduated from San Francisco State in 03 and havent even thought about springbreak in years. But here I was....right in the pre-party madness of it all!

I think all of these were for the girl sitting next to seriously....

Well....I guess you could say that I got a bit involved with the fun. I think....looking back on it all I got a bit carried away!

I met some locals who thought I was full of it when I told them I was biking across Mexico. After showing them a few pictures they wanted to hear all about the stories.

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