It has been a week since I last posted and in that time our route has been split into two parts, determined mainly by the point at which food and water resupply was available.The first leg was Cataviña to Santa Rosiliíta and this was the longest part of the Baja route without food resupply points – 201km in fact. Water was only going to be available at kilometre 160 (if we asked politely).
The second leg was Santa Rosiliíta to Bahía de Los Ángeles, linking the cool Pacific coast, through the mountains over to the warmer Sea of Cortez on the east of the peninsula.
The carriage of food and water is an interesting one. On the surface it might seem like a simple thing to do, however the additional weight of two days of water and three days of food adds 27kg across both of our bikes, which certainly does not go unnoticed!
20kg of the weight is for water – in this heat and with the level of effort being exerted we each need about 5 litres of water a day. The remaining 7kg is for our food requirements which, for reference, is roughly the same as a lightweight road bike.
(Since writing this we continued for two days into the desert in around 40 degrees of heat and it seems that in that situation we actually need 7-8 litres of water each. Slightly close call, but more on that in the next post)
My loaded bike is about 32kg, so this adds nearly 50% of the weight on.
I write about this not for sympathy but because it really did only just click with me how significant the weight difference is when we are fully loaded and this certainly gives some rationale as to why these days seem to be a little more challenging.
The picture below shows our three day food rations. When we have to minimise water consumption, cooking options in the evenings are limited so our meals revolve around tortillas. Lunch gets the cheese and oozy chorizo-type filling (vegetarianism is definitely out of the window here) and for dinner we mix things up with a refried bean filling (sludge), maybe with some left over warm cheese, if we are lucky. The textures are all quite gooey which require minimal chewing, which I suppose we should be grateful for due to the benefit of reduced calorie usage. Yum.
Now where it does get pretty exciting is in the snacking department. For a mere 110g we have found ourselves a whole 550 calories of delicious nuts and seeds bonded together with a caramel glue. This tasty blend of protein, sugar and calories are an absolute win in our camp. However, there are some current concerns that these Palanqueta bars are only a local speciality in the north of Baja, following a tense search in seven shops in our current central Baja location. We haven’t gone into full panic mode yet, but a Plan B may need to come into fruition soon.
I also can’t move on from this subject before letting you know about Campbell’s new love affair. There is now rarely a day that goes past without seeing him with a Bimbo in his arms. The truth is that there is no jealousy on my part as I am just as big a fan. Bimbo is the brand name for many sweet treats and our favourite is their soft, sweet cinnamon and raisin bread. A Bimbo break is always the best!
The three days linking Catavina, San Jose de Faro (a tiny fishing community on the Pacific coast), El Cardon (a group of about three homes next to a stretch of the coastline known for surfing) and Santa Rosilita were fantastic. Experiencing such a remote area, with over a hundred kilometres of untouched Pacific coastline, was magical.
Santa Rosilita to Bahia de Los Angeles was the most varied two days of the trip so far. A final Pacific coast bay where we spotted schools of dolphins and diving pelicans, an inland mountain climb up to Mision de San Francisco de la Borja, a church settlement from 1801 with a fascinating history explained to us by the fourth generation care-taker of the estate, and then a final climb and descent down the rocky road to Bahia de Los Angeles after a dusty two hour wait for a gringo dirt-road rally to pass.
On the arrival to the Sea of Cortez, the humidity and heat gradually increased and we were soon presented with an almost lunar-like topography of vegetation-bare rocky islands. Their colours vast in variety from black to deep red and all joined with a flat and motionless dark blue; such a contrast from the dynamic Pacific that we were facing only the day before.
We have now been here for a whole two days of back to back sleeping, eating and drinking. Lovely.
Finally I must report that I do believe the mountain bike progression is really happening. The final day from the mountains to the Cortez I felt stronger, more capable and, what’s more, I really enjoyed it. The lighter load at this point was undoubtedly a key factor.
It was even noted by Campbell that some shredding has taken place, and not of the confidential paper variety. For those of you not so familiar with mountain bike lingo (including myself), I have sought to get a clear definition of ‘shredding’. My online research has proposed three versions:
1.To ride in an aggressive manner.
This is no surprise as the flies up there were really pissing me off.
2.When riding trails, you are letting yourself get carried along a path… while with shredding…(it) defines not just a way of mountain biking, but also an attitude on the trail.
3.Negotiating trails with a higher than usual level of expertise.
Ok, so I am well aware that Campbell is undoubtably biased in his commentary towards me, but even if I shred twenty metres of that mountain, I’ll take it, because it sure was fun, and I’m up for a lot more of that.