Across Town
Sierra Madre Magic

April 28th, 2016

While riding with Gareth and Jean, they told us of a guy they had met named Brad who loved nothing more than just “smashing it” up every mountain pass, down every highway, just absolutely giving it his all each and every day. Today was our attempt at that…

What happened…

Andrew writes: Up with the sun once again, and even with taking our time to depart our nifty wild camp spot, we somehow still squeaked out a two-hour departure time….as usual. The libre narrowed from four lanes down to two pretty quick, and so we took advantage of an offramp for the pista as soon as we could. The wind was at our back, it flowed through our hair, we were the wind, cycling towards Tehuacan with all our might; and freedom! There’s a certain poetry in there somewhere I’m certain.

And hey, even though we had set out to smash it today, I’m still glad that we took the time to enjoy an icy-cold treat.We found a Pemex that also had a Mexican Starbucks (The Italian Coffee Co.) where we enjoyed frappes’ and a sandwich. Amanda also struck up a conversation with some other tourists who recommended places to go and things to see on our way to Oaxaca in the coming days. I think it is awesome when Amanda has the confidence to speak with strangers in Spanish.

The ride today is/was a blur. I recall apathetically the bleak landscape, the whirlwind of passing vehicles, and the numbers painted on overpasses, overhead; counting down the kilometres to our destination. I appreciated those overpasses for the shade that they provided. I have to admit, that I felt like a poor partner today because I often found myself far ahead of Amanda, waiting for her in the shade. A better partner would have helped her along, provided a windbreak. Ahh well, there’s always tomorrow!

Reaching Tehuacan, we stayed with our first Spanish-only Warmshowers host, Reyna. Her smile lights up a room. Her huge heart makes up for her tiny stature. Definitely the most rustic accommodations we’ve experienced too, with a bucket-shower, and no running water in the toilet. Her tiny one room apartment half-filled with her sewing machine and materials. She was lovely to stay with and I recommend her heartily to other cyclists.

Amanda writes:
I don’t mind the pista highway one bit, although it’s likely like most things in life; everything in moderation. It feels so good when we go a fast speed and accomplish so much distance. I mean if we only did that, we’d likely get bored and miss things but every now and then I love the higher speeds and just ‘smashing it’.

As we approached Tehuacan we were chatting about the day with spirits high at how far we had ridden. We talked about possibly taking a rest day and maybe doing some laundry. As Andrew mentioned Reyna’s home was a bit more primitive than others and not conducive to laundry. Having said that it was wonderful! And what made it so? Reyna! A woman who is able to live in a simple manner and comfortably and she was such a joy to chat with. She helped Andrew out with his worn wool sweater and added some flare to it and I loved it. It’s when I meet people like Reyna I’m reminded of one of the reasons I’m traveling; to experience life like the locals and see how others live. For everyone at home, imagine for a moment living in a home that you share with three other families and there is no running water. When you shower you put water from a big square cement compartment into a bucket and use it to bathe and then when you’re finished with that water you put it near the toilet to pour in the toilet as a flushing mechanism. And along with these methods comes cockroaches, lots of them; scurrying around as we settled in for the night. It’s simple and while not glamorous; it works and this woman opened her home to us and shared her spirit for life and I’ll never forget it. Be grateful for everything you have in life; I certainly am and it will include meeting people like Reyna.

Today’s Photographs

Across Town
Sierra Madre Magic