Pachuca to Puebla Part. 1
Pachuca to Puebla Part 3

April 25th, 2016

A day just chock full of excitement including surly toll-booth operators, armed soldiers, a suicide attempt on the libre, and a quaint wild camp.

What happened…

Amanda writes:
I enjoyed the route and the towns at the beginning of the day. The big road and shoulder were lovely. Being turned away at the cuota was frustrating although not that unexpected. If memory serves me correct, our friends Brandy and Lewis were asked to leave the pista once in Mexico too. We tried to tell the ticket agents that the libre was super dangerous. They didn’t disagree but told us they couldn’t let us on. We turned back and headed down another route Andrew had mapped out. The beginning was quite nice and the road was deserted. That was until we turned left onto the libre. This libre runs parallel with the cuota so it was loaded with trucks and cars and there was no shoulder.

We had lunch and the military stopped and set up a check stop right beside us. We had a nice time chatting with them while they had their hands firmly planted on their triggers which is still weird to me. But anyway we had a nice chat and then they asked us why we weren’t on the pista. If I knew how to say “right?!?!?” in Spanish I would have. They agreed that the libra was super dangerous and went as far as to say down the road about 5k is another opportunity to get on it.

We rode on it for a bit and then Andrew narrowly escaped being nailed by a semi and that was enough for us. We took the little dirt track that runs parallel with the highway and stopped and chatted. We agreed we’d climb through the ditches and hop fences to get back on the pista as we could see it just ahead. Once on the highway it was again wonderful. Huge shoulders, and the pavement is in good shape. As we continued to ride and didn’t have to worry so much about traffic and the road conditions we noticed two snow capped mountains on our right, one of which was the volcano that just blew. It was still seeping ash which explains the sore throats and plugged sinuses.

As we were riding I was a bit frustrated with Andrew’s lack of leading at a pace at which I could draft. You’ve all heard before, including from Andrew, and so I didn’t bother even saying anything. The headwind wasn’t horrible but it did certainly slow me down. The thing that was more frustrating is that he just doesn’t even bother trying anymore. I seem to recall him recently responding to a post on a cycling forum where a guy said he was having a hard time with how slow his wife rode and asked for advice. Andrew’s advice was to slow down and help her out. He went on to say that it was easier for him to slow down and work at leading her than to ask her to speed up. I wish he could practice this patience while riding with me. As he doesn’t bother trying anymore it almost seems like … well he doesn’t want to bother; like it’s too much work. Oh well, maybe I’ll get more exercise this way.

Andrew writes: My ears hurt; while the pista is less busy than the libre in general, being this close to Mexico City there is still a lot of traffic. The loud trucks roar in my ear as they barrel past. It becomes hard to hear my podcasts, even with both earphones in at full-volume. That can’t be good for the eardrums.

I can’t really comment on my ability or lack thereof when it comes to providing a draft for Amanda. It is something that is always lurking somewhere in my mind that we make such a great team when we both work at it, but sometimes it can be a lot of work to ride slower. I just get into a groove; some days we are both in the same groove, and others we ride along to different beats of the drums.

One thing that I don’t like about the cuota is the lack of places to stop and buy pop, or food, or find water. The highway system is really set up with the facilities spaced out every hour or so by car, which can be every day by bike, but we sort of hopped onto this pista in the middle so everything is messed up. It can also be difficult to camp because, as a private road, the pista is fenced for the entire length. Right about that time, we managed to locate a break in the fence and flat ground to put the tent, but it seems really near to the highway, at the bottom of a hill in both directions, so I can hear the braking trucks coming from either direction. Hopefully it doesn’t impact my sleep too much.

Today’s Photographs

Pachuca to Puebla Part. 1
Pachuca to Puebla Part 3