The plan was 95 kilometres, climbing 560 and down 490, and staying in old mine site at Chocaya but we ended up 103 kilometres and staying at school soccer field in Atocha.
I woke up this morning in a bad space, I really did not want to ride – in fact I had had enough of the trip. I was not looking foward to 6 more nights of bush camping. I am sick of having asthma and being at altitude, the cold and the wind, and suffering altitude related symptoms.
Also contributing to my lack of joy is my daughter Shellbe arrives home from an overseas tomorrow and I am not going to be there. I am suffering from acute homesickness missing family and friends. Usually when one of the children arrive home from overseas I am busy organizing a family feast of favorite foods and looking forward to a family celebration. Instead I am heading off to ride 100 kilometres of corrugated dirt and sand. If I had known just what a horrid day of riding it was going to be I may not have got out of bed. I was sad thinking about home, and rode the first couple of hours with the occasional tear and sniffle.
It’s hard to describe riding over a corrugated surface (not on a mountain bike), you feel like your whole body is being shacked apart with the vibration and jarring. This went on for kilometre after kilometre, interrupted by thick deep sand that you were unable to ride through.
This was interspersed with speeding cars, trucks, and buses that blew clouds of sand up around you. I came off in one sand pile as I did not realize how deep it was and did not manage to unclip in time, but was not hurt. The scenery in the morning was uninspiring and all in all I was not enjoying being in the moment.
In the afternoon we went through some awesome scenery with deep gorges and some steep descents. Unfortunately I hit a rock the wrong way near the bottom of one descent and lost control of the bike. I managed to fall onto the bar of my bike and land with my shoulder against the cliff. Overall a lucky escape, but a long 25 kilometres to camp especially over the continuing corrugated surfaces. So I did lots of riding standing.
At 95 kilometres we were meet by Sharita who advised we were no longer staying at the planned site as it was too exposed, and there was some chemical run off from the old mine. So we biked another 8 kilometres to the next town where we were staying on a schools soccer field. Thankfully this was following a river and much smoother riding. I noted the dinner truck sitting at the previously planned site, but did not really think about it. When I got to camp I found out it was stuck there.
It was quite late when I got to camp so I only had enough time to get my tent up before it was time for rider’s meeting. The dinner truck hopefully would be pulled out that night, but it looked like it needed repair so TDA staff were looking into the options for tomorrow. A huge amount of work by the TDA staff transferring all the gear out the dinner truck into the lunch truck and ute and ferrying it back to here, along with setting up camp and cooking dinner as usual.
Tomorrow the ride is 85 kilometres with a corrugated surface, sandy, and a lot of climbing . I will see how I feel in the morning but currently I am sore from the fall and not sure if I will be riding.
Dinner was barbeque chicken, salad, salsa and rice.