(June 16 – written by Dave)
Today was a long day. Make that a long double day. We rode two planned days in one. We are not crazy, we were just wet and cold at the planned stop and we would have had to set up the tent in the wind and rain. Nancy suggested that we “push on” and it didn’t take me two seconds to agree. The second half of the day had more downhill than the first half so we made pretty good time the afternoon.
We started a bit late because we wanted one last brekkie at Pepe’s. And the Pepe crew were more interested in watching the world cup soccer game than they were in getting the coffee started. We didn’t mind lingering – it’s an easy place to hang out.
We had mostly flattish roads getting out of town, except one steep pitch back up to the Pan-American Highway. The first 30k went pretty fast, we had some clouds but no rain. The next 18k were uphill. We had on and off sprinkles until the top. It was a steep climb but we just got on with it – three days off the bikes probably help give us fresh legs. At the top of the climb the rain started to really come in, plus we were now in the clouds. We stopped before heading down the other side to put on rain pants, jackets and booties. The rain continued for most of the downhill. Luckily there was a tailwind so the wind stayed off our faces but we are both getting pretty cool.
We pulled into the store/restaurant where we planned on getting water for our bush camp at about 1PM. We were both shivering pretty good. Our lips and hands wouldn’t work too good but we managed to order some empanadas and hot coffee. We followed this up with a cup of hot water and a slice of carrot cake. The staff at the shop were baffled by our order for hot water only but we needed warm liquids. I’m not sure if it was bravery or a case of the cold affecting Nancy but somewhere in here she made the offer to ride on.
There was a 2k climb from the stop and it was great. By the top were nice and warm and the coffee had kicked in. We knew that we could m the remaining 45k so long as it didn’t rain too much. We had some rolling terrain, followed by a ripper 14k downhill, getting us close to Oña. Just for fun, we then had 6k steep climb to finally reach Oña.
In Oña we found a great hostal run by the nicest of owners. He made the building himself and was super helpful getting us sorted away in a room. We walked back over a cool suspension bridge to get to the junction restaurant strip and found something to eat. Neither of us ate or drank enough today but we’re blaming that on the cold weather and how hard it is to drink when you are going uphill at 6 KPH.
We crossed over 16,000 trip kilometres sometime during the afternoon but didn’t have a special ceremony or anything. We’ll cross over 10,000 miles sometime in the next few days as well. Today’s 108k were hard earned – we climbed over 6,000 feet today. We got a little wet, froze a little bit and even had a peek of blue sky at one point. It was a hard day, but a good day.
Tomorrow is much shorter but we still have close to 4,000 feet of climbing. But that’s tomorrow. Tonight we are just going to forget about tomorrow and enjoy the numbness in our legs a little longer while we sip some hot tea!
UPDATE: Hana, Mark and Richard just rode up. They had a really long day as well, riding mostly on dirt. We’ll have brekkie tomorrow with them and get an update.