Continued from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido - Day 1 (Long)

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The second day started with a drive to the next town for a welcome breakfast, followed by Jose Luis picking up a couple of essentials for the journey: a shovel and a machete. The shovel was incase we'd need to clear the trail for the truck and the machete was hopefully for cutting fruit.

After a short drive out of town we came to our start point for the ride - a dirt logging road which crosses the sierra madre del sur. This day would only be about 35k or so of riding but unfortunately nearly all of it would be uphill.

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From the start point we could just see in the distance our destination for the night - the village of San Sebastian Coatlan. We started with a pretty steady climb up the jeep trail for the first few k, followed by a fun high speed descent for another kilometre. All of us were feeling the mileage of the previous day on our arses.

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We split once again. Brooke rode the jeep trail, while Pedro, Craig and I took a technical singletrack down to the valley floor. As we passed a couple of guys farming possibly the steepest field I'd ever seen, they asked us where we were going and where we'd come from. They were pretty surprised that we were cycling all the way to the coast. I think the only mountain bikers that ride this trail are the ones Pedro takes there.

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When the track reached the valley floor, we followed its winding route along the river. This was another beautiful section of singletrack to rival the one the day before. I was enjoying it so much that I threw myself head first onto it. It was one of those ridiculous low speed crashes that always seem to hurt the worst. I'd misjudged my line and as I tried to get back on course my front wheel got stuck and for a few seconds I flailed around trying to stop the inevitable slow dive over the bars. To add further insult to injury, as I lay face down on the dirt, my bike followed me and I got clocked on the helmet by my saddle.

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It took a while to get my wind back and untangle myself from the bike. At first it was pretty hard to stand, my left leg had landed on some rocks and I peeled back my shorts to find what was going to be a pretty huge bruise. It would be fun to watch it change colours over the next week, but right now it hurt like hell. I had to limp along to our rest stop at the next village.

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While we were refueling a big group of schoolkids congregated around us. They were fascinated by our bikes and a few of them went to grab their own to give us an escort out of town.

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It was all uphill for the next 15km to San Sebastian. Craig was off like Lance up Alp d'Huez and I felt like Jan seeing another tour slip away. My leg was making it difficult to climb out of the saddle so my bum was going to get no relief until the finish.

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The climb offered some truly spectacular views of the Sierra Madre del Sur and the trail behind us.

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The 1/km signpost was very welcome, and by the time I got there Craig was just finishing removing another busted link from his chain. Hopefully that would be the last.

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We stayed in a cabin in the garden of a wonderful family in San Sebastian. They cooked wonderful food, washed our bike clothes and treated us to a very welcome wood-fired shower. Unfortunately not long after arrival Brooke became sick with vomiting, diarrhea and a high fever. Fortunately, there was a clinic in town at the top of the hill. Brooke had to endure a long, bumpy ride up there,but the Doctor and Nurse were wonderful. I asked them how much the bill was, and they told me it was free but I could make a donation to the clinic if I wanted. It would be a long night for us and a very unpleasant one for Brooke and she was on Doctor's orders not to ride the next day.

To be continued...