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Re-learning How to Sweat (Day 96) – San José del Pacifico to Zipolite, Mexico | We're Not There Yet

Writing this blog post from the coast, and I’m doing my damnedest to prevent the sea air, and more likely my sweat, from getting into the laptop.  Oh…my……god, I can’t believe how hot it is again.  We started the day way up in the mountains, where they sell homemade wool scarves, hats and sweaters in the 3 shops in town, because it’s so cold.  M so enjoyed the hot chocolate (which is spicier than American hot chocolate and is made by dropping bars of spicy chocolate into milk or water, then hand stirred with a wooden frother), that we made sure to find some hot chocolate and sweet bread before we dropped too far out of the highlands.  The thought of hot chocolate alone is enough to make me pass out right now, since it is so damn hot out here.  Think hellfire.

Anyhow, we knew that the day would begin with a climb, and then thought that after about an hour it would turn into a 50 km, unqualified, flying descent through other climates.  It turned out not to be so simple.  We climbed alright.  For about an hour.  But after reaching the high point (and seeing pretty incredible views of towns perched on the mountain edges, surrounded by banks of clouds) and then heading into some delicious descents, we found ourselves climbing again.  And it turned out that although the day had plenty of descent, it also had plenty of climbing, and it was by no means an easy day.

After we passed the 50 km mark for the day we began a much more continuous descent that took us through a gradual but startling change in climates.  From a region of pine trees, rain and forest mushrooms, we slammed into bands of warmer air that instantly warmed the mist and rain that had fallen on us.  The pine trees petered out, and then all of a sudden we were passing through banana tree plantations, and roadside stands selling huge piles of the stuff.  We stopped for lunch at a tiny little roadside grocery store-slash-restaurant, and then continued our gradual re-entry into summer.  At about the 90 km mark, we finally exited the mountains and landed in a dusty little town that left me speechless with how big it seemed after days passing two or three huts and thinking it was a town.

We headed on towards the coast, over rolling hills.  It suddenly struck me that we were going up and down the hills without much trouble at all, in marked contrast to our usual plodding uphill pace, until I realized – we’re at sea level.

We didn’t really go over any hills at all (except in the Florida panhandle) on our USA portion of the trip, and since being in Mexico we’ve never been lower than 2,400 meters above sea level.  So our sense of how good we are on hills is also based on riding in very thin air.  Suddenly we were going uphill around the coast, and it felt like we were breathing oxygen soup.  We weren’t flying, but we were going faster than we’ve ever gone before.

After about 125 km, our longest day by FAR in Mexico, we hit the beach town of Zipolite, where we found a hip little guesthouse (more of a treehouse than a guesthouse, actually), and basically passed out.

We made it to the Pacific!

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