Isang's Blog/

{February 23, 2010}   And that’s why we wear helmets…

Alright, let’s catch up on biking. If I bring the whole past week into view, there’s not much there. That is, I just got back on the bike yesterday, with a whole week off in between the last ride. The reason being that I could not ride, let alone walk, at certain points of la semana pasada. But I had plenty of time to warm my bed and Google the name of every single Olympic competitor and Indie movie in existence. Needless to say, I was spending time on my ass.

The day before Valentines Day I injured my right hand in the latch of a door. There was a deep puncture wound that wouldn’t stop bleeding (while although minimal in bleeding, it just kept going and going and outdid the energizer bunny). So I treated myself to some good old Mexican health care at a local hospital the following day. For the cost of $20 I received a full evaluation, a pleasant conversation with the doctor, and directions to a nearby clinic for my upcoming Tetanus shot (just in case the sharp object wasn’t Clostridium tetani free (courtesy of Wiki)). Did I mention Mexican Health care is awesome?! I keep raving about it to friends and family. I hope to post about my thoughts on holistic care and its relation to Mexican health care in the near future. After receiving treatment here I’m hesitant to go back to the way things are in our own health care system. The doctor wished me Buenos Suerte! for when that time comes.

With the hand bandaged up and unable to grasp a bike handle, I voluntarily committed myself to the pink hostel room I am staying at. A Tetanus shot 2 days later destroyed any chance I had of leaving after the next following hours brought chills, fever and body aches. As a gringo in Mexico, coming down with something isn’t uncommon. I’ve had luck to that point in not being pulverized by foreign bacteria. But this bacterial toxin was the pits. The pain in my legs reached a point to where I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom. It felt for a few hours that my whole body was going to give in to a Charlie Horse, and I spent many hours practicing stillness. The following morning I still had the fever pero fui debilitado (but I was weakened). No exercise day was in sight and I passed the week by anxiously. I learned much on this trip, including that in 10 years I’ll be saving up sick days preparing for another Tetanus episode. But hey, better than the real thing right?

Sunday came and it was glorious. My newfound friend Shannon accompanied us again on this escapade to the nearby mountain site, La Bufa. With an impressive rock formation, La Bufa is a treat for rock climbers and hikers. The caves along the trail hold altars and offerings for a few saints, and it is even said that an enchanted princess lives there that can restore the city to its former splendor, a city of silver. I likened the area to being half Arizona, half Ireland. The rocks along the hillside leading up to La Bufa are large and flat surrounded by grass and the formation of rock near La Bufa is jagged and high up. A perfect treat for the go getter mountain biker!

We started off our bike ride on a long paved uphill part. From there we worked our way up, way up, to a hill top across from La Bufa. Now granted, I’ve been riding for a few weeks, but nothing prepared me yet for the upcoming descents. And in this instant, I knew I was going to fall, and fall hard. I chose to walk for a bit over the most technical spots to give myself a fighting chance to make it all the way down. I did have one moment where I chose to go down the rock face with courage. But I lost it quickly when I watched one of the bikers fall over his handle bars. When you see that happen, you hold your breath because you know that if someone falls while going down that steep of a rock, the bike is going to follow. And follow it did. It got right on top of him and his head. That folks is why we wear helmets. No injuries to be seen, he got right back up, a little shaken but laughing. I double checked the strap on my own helmet and walked the bike down. There are some moments to this adventure where I’m willing to take a risk. However, I think when there’s a higher than 90% chance you’re going to eat it it’s best to wait for the next hill.

A significant portion of our mountain ride was on unmarked ground. Choosing which way to maneuver and at what speed gets your adrenaline going. You gotta keep up or you’re gonna hit something. The boys would woop and holler making it down some of the most difficult terrain. It’s like a bunch of indians on a buffalo chase, knowing they could get trampled but loving the challenge. Now that I think about it, the 7 week bike trip is all on road. What a contrast it will be once I give up my mountain bike. It’ll be like smooth sailing for the adrenaline junkie, for better or worse.

We made it to an edge used by cows and goats and had a fun photo shoot for all the bikers coming round the rocks. From there we took the path back to Guanajuato, passing the caves of La Bufa. Zooming down the remaining hill made my day. You’re just flying, and after a hard day of hills, nothing beats that. Not many people who visit this place get to see what we have just seen. It’s quite a remarkable place, and when you step/bike off the path, it becomes even more enchanting. The days are getting warmer and the land is becoming more alive.

It’s great to have Shannon on board with our rides. She’s a tough young lady and not the slightest afraid of doing this sport. I’m certain she’ll appreciate her upcoming battle wounds if any, because they’ll remind her of some of the best moments she had. I’m taking quite a few back with me to Cali in April. God that time is approaching fast. I’ve met so many people here in the beginning who said they never really want to leave this place, and when they do, they come back. I’m experiencing the same thing. I know I’m coming back, but it’ll be so hard to drop this all for sometime. Coming upon my last month here and it seems too short. Pues, voy a regresar 🙂 .

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