Into the Rim

Yesterday was hot from the moment I stepped out onto the balcony. Uncharacteristically the wind has been very low on the island this time which usually takes the edge off. The thermometer read 22 degs but in the sun it felt nearer 30.

We were booked to take a water taxi to the small island of Lobos that sits a few miles off the north-west coast yesterday morning but after loading up with a picnic and having a coffee we were told that crossing had been cancelled due to three metre waves. Not a bad thing, that would have been rough in a 12 berth speedboat and you could see the swell with your own eyes. A surfers and kite-boarders paradise.

Instead we headed back into town where the locals were lining up for a fun-run as part of carnival week. Carnival is big over here. The locals take it really seriously and enjoy it to the full. We sat in a bar and watched them all do laps of the town to complete the 5km race. Bravo!

With it being so hot I decided I’d go for a ride later PM so we went back to the apartment, ate our picnic and then chilled round the pool for a bit. I can’t lie in the sun, instead I did laps of the unheated pool listening to music trying to summon the balls to jump in. It might be hot here but the pool is icy cold. Just bearable on the edge over my toes.

As the temperature began to recede late PM I got changed and went for my ride. I decided to ride down the coast first and just see what happens, no particular plan. The wind was a fresh NW and quite hard as I rolled onto the gravel road which highlighted how tired my legs were still.

The waves were still big and crashing onto the coast. I passed a few cyclists and there seemed more cars passing me than normal and all waiting and passing patiently, as is the norm here. I stopped to take a couple of photos and then decided to take the new path I found round the small volcano the other day.

After some squirmy sand dunes to negotiate the trail became a semi-technical climb picking lines between sharp volcanic rocks buried in the ground. I got round the back of what is a monolith of a thing just sat there. Unfortunately the sides are too steep even to walk up probably and they look loose too. I decided to ride right round but the track ran out at what looked like a couple of abandoned houses so I went back to the junction with the original trail and just followed that until I popped out on volcano alley.

This has some steep ramps on it to test the legs. So steep my back wheel was slipping a bit. At the Bayuyo volcano I stopped for an iconic pic of the bike with the rim in the background. Now here we were introduced to chipmunks on a Dune Buggy excursion a few years ago. They used to pop up out of the rocks and see you, jump on you and you could feed them nuts but nothing this time. Either they’re gone or just didn’t fancy the meet-n-greet.

I descended back towards town off the gravel and back onto some smooth tarmac. It was a bit early to go back so I decided to get my head down and do a mini time trial out to the Grand Playas hotels and back. They sit a few km out of town on the edge of the dunes.

Hands either side of the stem I managed to get upto around 23-24mph, not bad on 29 x 2.40 knobblies, until I turned at the roundabout and the headwind sucked the speed right out of me and I ground out 15mph back into town where I did a quick circuit to bump the km up over 30 for the ride and I was done.

The last thing I wanted to say today was just to mention and remember a friend, Elliot who passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

I received the devastating news last weekend. I’m not ashamed to say it knocked me for six, I had a wobble and cried. I’m welling up just writing this while it’s taken me a few days just to quietly process the news and think of what to say.

Elliot was one of the funniest guys I knew. Always smiling, always joking and I remember the laughs we all had racing the cross and riding with with the rest of the club at the time. Great times I’ll always remember and cherish.

There is nothing more to say really. I just want to remember him for the genuinely nice bloke he was. It doesn’t need anymore detail.

RIP mate (he’d always say mate!) and my deepest condolences go out to Helen and their two boys and a thank you to Mark for contacting me

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