(January 29 – written by Dave)
There was and still is great debate among LWOP editors surrounding the title of today’s blog. One of us (me), swears that it did not rain today. For it to have rained, water would have had to bead up on our rain coats or minimally on our sunglasses. I looked hard for beading but none came. The road was wet, but no, still no beading. We had low clouds and gloom, but still no beading. Our senior editor says that I am crazy with this whole “beading” thing and indeed, it was raining, all-be-it lightly, for our first couple hours. As we had no other witnesses, it’s going to have to my word against hers. But then again, I am writing the blog tonight so… (Senior editor’s note – I certainly did have ‘beading’ on my sunglasses and on my jacket. Perhaps Dave didn’t because he was tucked in behind me enjoying a respite (for a long time) from the very cold wind and rain).
What we will agree on is the cold. Yes we are in the tropics but we both recorded 5 degrees C on our cyclo computers for most of the morning. We had slightly later start but this didn’t really help. Thankfully we had a climb for the first 20k -at least we managed to get warmed up a little bit. There was a servo and small town at the top but we could only stop for a quick break as we didn’t want to get even more chilled and/or let the rain
start/strengthen. Temperatures actually rose as we descended down the hill but the wind chill was negating any warming effect. We could have put on more clothes for the descent but we didn’t know it would go on so long. Anyway we survived. And the good news was the road was now dry and full agreement on No More Rain was reached.
We stopped at an Oxxo for morning tea and both had coffees. We weren’t tired, just needed a warming drink. They have a special on chocolate covered doughnuts if you buy coffee so really, how could I go past that. I’m not a doughnut guy normally but I figured the sugar would help the warming process.
From tea we only had 10k to ride and it was all downhill – we still had the headwind that has been with us for the last two days but we could smell the barn. Traffic and roadside businesses picked up considerably riding into Ixmiquilpan but there were two lanes and everyone gave us room. Our computers read 11 degrees at this point – nearly balmy by the standards set in the morning.
Some sort of big festival was going on in the town square and we had to cross it to reach our hotel – Hotel Posada Centenario. When we stopped to look at the phone, pulled up on the foot-path, the policeman who was standing in the middle of the intersection stopped directing traffic walked over to us, and asked us if we need directions. He pointed us in the right direction and returned to directing traffic. I think he figured that all the rubbernecker looking at us was a greater risk to smooth traffic flow than the traffic itself. Better to help us and get us moved along…
Our hotel room is nice and not very expensive. They have a pool here. Make that an outdoor, unheated pool. No, we are not getting in. We haven’t seen temps in the teens yet today so a swim is not happening. With our early arrival, we had time to wander town and get the phone recharged. That is always fun when one’s Spanish is still pretty weak. Anyway, we got it sorted.
And yes we had time to walk around into another church. This one, the Temple of San Miguel Archangel, was pretty interesting. Construction on it began in 1550 and it’s had long religious history. The Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians all had turns running the place. Plus it had no order for a period of 200 years. It is not known when or by whom but the inside murals are painted with brutal battle scenes with indigenous characters. The odd thing to scholars is that the murals don’t represent any known Christian or biblical images – they are more pagan than anything. Guess when you leave your house unlocked for 200 years you can end up with some interesting graffiti. It appears that the murals are here to stay – regardless with who’s running the joint today, they now have some historical significance.
Anyway, back to the cold, rain/no rain. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a 4-5 degrees C warmer and no rain -and the day after that much warmer again. We’ll be rugging up in the hotel tonight however, no central heating in these parts (heck, no heating at all!).
We are planning on riding to Pachuca tomorrow. It’s a bigger town and a mostly uphill ride. Our headwinds should turn to cross winds and not be nearly as strong. And rain is not forecast past the early morning hours so will hopefully be finished by the time we take off. We are looking forward to a good hill climb to warm us up first thing again.
(Senior editor’s note – I’ve missed using the mark-up feature…)