2,832 km down: 10,809 km to go. Up 1,280 metres, down 960 metres.
After a nice night in an air conditioned unit I woke up feeling ready to go. It had poured down during the night and I was very pleased that I was not in a tent! I had a dream during the night that there was a snake under my bed and I could not go back to sleep without checking (silly I know but then a lot of fears are silly).
It was pouring down still when we left. I guess that’s why it’s called the Amazon rain forest! The ride was 86 kilometres with rolling hills, and apart from some gearing problems I was riding quite well (I was having trouble shifting between gears).
I was not too worried about the pouring rain as I much prefer that to beating heat any day. I stopped at about 30 kilometres and had coffee, and then because they did not sell any water, for some reason I decided to have a pineapple drink. The next twenty kilometres were good and I was actually ahead of some of the riders. Then at 48 kilometres I got to a 6 kilometre climb. I got 2 kilometres up and started feeling dreadful – I was breathless, lightheaded, dizzy, and could not walk more than 10 steps so decided to sit down.
About 5 minutes later Erin who was the sweep turned up, and suggested I lie down as I looked really pale. My pulse was going flat out and I was thinking “What the heck is wrong with me? It’s not hot and I’m not at altitude!”. I sat there for about another 10 minutes and then decided to see if I could walk the remaining 4 kilometres to the lunch truck.
About 5 minutes after I started walking I started vomiting up the pineapple drink, and then had another bout of gastro. No wonder my body decided it was not interested in biking up the hill. Finally I got to the lunch truck! I was soaked and ironically given that I am lending warm weather gear to a number of riders all the time, I only had an ice break singlet, arm warmers and an emergency blanket (like a huge sheet of aluminium foil but much stronger). So back in the lunch truck again to camp!
We are staying at a place called Hosteria Finca El Pigual. To get to the hosteria you go across a suspension bridge, but the TDA trucks are too big for the bridge. The trucks had to follow a roundabout route that went up slippery gravel roads and through bush to get there.
We have breakfast and dinner included here, plus you can buy food at the bar. After I had had a shower etc I went to the restaurant as I had not had lunch! Order straight away said the riders in there. Some of them had waited for nearly an hour to get their food. You could not pay at the bar, you had to sign a room docket which then went to the front office, and you had to pay there. The hamburger was very nice, but I had to repeatedly ask before I got the beer I had ordered with it.
That night we were having a party to celebrate crossing the equator. The theme of the party was Rubik’s Cube where you come dressed in all the different colors of the rubric cube and then the aim is to be dressed in one color by the end by swapping clothes! I went up to the shops to buy some cheap stuff like a hat , ribbons etc to swap.
The meal at the restaurant was between 7:30 to 9pm, and the party after. Mostly the riders are in bed by 730 pm! We all arrived at the restaurant at 7:30 and waited and waited and eventually the food arrived . It was turkey, cold frozen vegetables, and hard chips. A number of people tried to order wine but they had run out after selling about 8 bottles during the day and did not seem to have a lot of interest in getting more. I had got a bottle when I arrived which I shared with a couple of people.
While we were waiting for the party to start, various riders gave up and drifted off to bed. The room where the party was planned was still getting ready, and there was still no wine. We got some wine up the road and got back to find at least the room for the party was open. It was interesting to see various riders dressed up in all different colors, but no one swapped any clothes.
Peter from NZ and I got most of the people up at one stage to do a dancing snake (where you put your hands on the hips of the person in front and dance in a line snaking around the room) (Editor’s note: I think Kaye is talking about a conga line, haha).
A waiter arrived with some wine. I am not sure how much he sold as we had sorted out wine for ourselves by that time. This was about 10pm, and we had been told for over 3 hours the restaurant was going to get more wine! I went off to bed about 11:00pm and drank lots of water to address the not such good quality red wine (vino tinto).
Tomorrow an adventure tour to the Jungle!