10,000 km update

October 20, 2009

10,000km update email from Mexico City:

Hello all,

over the last 3 weeks I have been riding down in Mexico. 2 weeks in the Baja California, then a bit more than 1 week on the mainland from Mazatlan to near Mexico City. Here I also crossed the 10.000 km mark – reason to reflect upon the journey so far.

First I’m glad to report that I have had no accidents, no major technical problems with the bike (except the shifter cable issues), no illness or diarrheas, no physical pain or knee problems – all in all I’m very happy with how things went in the first three months. Sometimes when I lay in my tent at the end of the day I try to remember all the places I had slept and retrace the entire route – that’s getting difficult by now after almost 100 days… But then I have the daily notes and of course all the photos which serve as a great reminder.

People in Mexico are very friendly and uniformly curious and excited about my bike and my journey. I can’t tell you how often folks were greeting me from the road, waving at me from their cars, pulled over to take pictures of my bike from their cell phone cameras, just getting excited about seeing this sort of bike. It is a level of attention that surpasses everything I have had in the US and Canada, and which takes some getting used to. This is what it must feel like as a celebrity, because I can’t be anonymous and just show up some place without attention – except in the evenings when I walk to the center of town without the bike.

Riding in Mexico turned out to be harder than I expected. First in the Baja the major problem was the extraordinary heat during the day in the desert and carrying enough water to stay hydrated. Then I had the cable issues in the middle of nowhere with the problem that I couldn’t just replace old, worn out parts or snapped cables and I couldn’t just buy two missing tools (cutter, Torx wrench). That was a bit frustrating and required improvisation at times (see my Blog post). Then on the mainland after the rest day in Mazatlan I continued in tropical heat, but soon had to climb to higher and higher elevations. That brought among others the marathon day to Tepic (900m above sea level) and later many days with more uphill than downhill. Eventually I had to cross several hills above 2000m and up to 2400m. When I finally reached Atlacomulco I had reached 2300m ASL. At least all this energy remains stored in the bike, and I look forward to the days when I can ride all that downhill again

Finally in Atlacomulco I boarded a bus to Toluca where I stayed last night. I will leave my bike here for one week. Now I will take a bus to Mexico City and then a plane back home to Florida (Oct 20-27). Then it’s back to the road and the mountains, with Pico Orizaba waiting as the next interesting mountaineering target in about 2 weeks.

Unfortunately my webhosting provider (Yahoo) and blogging tool (WordPress) managed to lose my pages during an automatic security upgrade; and they haven’t even acknowledged my bug report that I’d sent them. So I have little hope to recover that data – very disappointing, indeed! This affects my Alaska, Canada, US, Baja ride pages, the Denali, Logan and Whitney climb pages and the two index pages (with all the country flags) – bummer. I will have to do some research when back in FL to see how to deal with that. [It later turned out that those pages were not lost, but re-classified and stored as Posts. Both index pages for peaks and rides have been re-created and the sub-pages for the respective climb or country ride can be accessed via the country flag images.]

Fundraising has made some steady progress, too. Not as much as I’d hoped for, but then the trip isn’t over yet…

That’s a quick update from Mexico.

So long,

Thomas.

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