Rest Day in Valle de Angeles


A well deserved rest day after the many 9+ hours of cycling days and thousands of meters of climbing in the past week. I definitely need it to recover more from my stomach bug. Therefore I decided to stay around the village and skip a tour to the near by capital of Honduras, Teguicigalpa.

DSC_7712   DSC_7698

Valle de Angeles – Valley of the Angels – is a lovely place in the mountains. Surrounded by green hills and colorful trees, with riders on horses sharing roads with old worn-out cars, brand new jeeps or Harley Davidsons and the 3-wheeled tuc-tucs.


At one end of the village there is even a ‘Bicycle Cemetery’, obviously with the remains of badly battered bicycles from previous trips to this place..


Stage 11 – Yuscaran to Valle de Angeles


70.2km – 1413m up – 1028m down – (did not ride)


It was supposed one of the easier cycling days. A short one, all on tar with just a DSC_7687tougher climb at the end. However I was forced to use the car after my last night’s stomach fiasco. Still having higher temperature, totally shivering and pale like a ghost – one couldn’t see me standing in front of a white wall – I packed my bag and Luke brought me to the lunch stop, where we got some delicious, fresh coconut to drink, from a local family.


Cristiano carried me and Dan (who is also recovering from a stomach ‘bug’) to Valle de Angeles, our location for the next rest day.


It is a nice place in the mountains and parrots are entertaining us in the DSC_7739garden with their ‘Holas’ and ‘Hallos’ – unfortunately trapped in a mid sized aviary. It would have been much nicer if they we as free as those in San Juan del Sur or Granada.

At 8:30 I already had my laundry disposed for cleaning and went to sleep … a loooong loooong sleep. I just got up in the afternoon to have some soup and returned to ‘narcosis’ until the next morning.

A healthy sleep. I totally feel better today, but still need the rest day to gain more strength for the forthcoming cycling days.

A Nightmare at Yuscaran


At the arrival in Yuscaran I still felt strong, but exhausted with 11km that I did extra. However, obviously the food served (or the finisher beer that Dave gave me?) did no good to me at all. At around 9:30pm my stomach started to rumble and I developed higher temperatures. A Paracetamol 500 did not instantly help. At 10pm I had to rush to the bathroom and throw up. I do not want to go into details, but I didn’t leave it for two hours until I was totally drained and the mess I made was cleaned up as good as the available tools allowed. Bill, my room made, called for Dr. Sarah to look after me. I got some good medication and human touch which eased the pain a lot. Sarah was so nice to sleep over in our room on the floor for the next 3 hours to periodically wake me up to drink water.

Although the lights were switched on the whole night, Eric, the ‘racer’, seemed to have slept a healthy sleep. Maybe just dreaming about his bike, whether he cleaned all the stains from the previous ride. At the next day he was in camp only shortly after us, riding the cars. ;-)

How could this happen? Should I be superstitious?

* My my ‘Hakuna Matata’ sticker peeled off from my bike frame
in the rain. The sticker from Tanzania which says: ‘No
Worries’ and was attached since my TdA 2008 trip.

* I couldn’t buy a new lucky country bracelet the day
when we entered into H onduras.

* the horseshoe I found
around the lake leaving
Rancho Mancho is
mounted upside down to
my handle bar?

* simply bad luck?

Stage 10 – Condega to Yuscaran

125.1km – 2268m up – 2036m down – 5640kcal – 9:20h


Another 9+ hours on the bike day into our third country: Honduras

DSC_7668It was a long, but kind of easy climbDSC_7667 to the border on a perfectly paved road, with a final Coke stop in Nicaragua to get the energy back. you never know what will be ahead of you, thus never miss a chance to stock up!  My riding was good, although a bit sour from the last day’s fall. However – have a look at the profile above – we had to carry our bikes over the top, otherwise we would have risk to puncture the tires on that sharp peek. ;-)

The downhill to the lunch stop was great, although we areDSCN7956 back on gravel again. No rain, no wet stones, no hassles. We are already on the ‘Ruta Colonial y des los Volcanes’. The beginning of the 2nd section of the tour.

I had a great lunch, lots of food, water and social talks. But then I missed something …

It was supposed to be a 125km ride, but I made it 136km since I missed directions at lunch.

Now I know that ‘L @ Police’ does neither mean ‘Lunch @ police’ nor does it mean ‘Lost @ Police’ it simply meant: ‘Turn left at the police check point’.

Nobody saw me leaving the wrong way from lunch, after about 5.5km I was sure, that I was wrong, because nobody was behind me and I was still on good pavement. It was time to check my notes to recognize my error. So I returned to the Lunch stop and was greeted with smiles.

Question: Is this a matter for the UN Human Rights watch?
Canadians, Americans, South Africans and other nations were called back when they did the same mistake. Only ‘Little Joe’ from Germany was left on his own :-(

After the extra 11km I finally headed into the right direction again and was happy to pass Suzette after a few kilometers. If she was right I was right too! I continued strong and passed several other cyclists, suffering badly from exhaustion.

DSCN7974  DSCN7977Around the final corner and into town, with real rough cobble stones. Rattling everything into position that was dislocated during the day.

I was welcomed with a Heineken, sponsored by Dave.

  DSCN7958     DSCN7959

However this was not the end of the day …

Read more in the following article.

Stage 09 – Selva Negra to Condega

107.6km – 1977m up – 2756m down – 5101kcal – 9:18h


DSC_7594What a day! It was one of the toughest and most difficult so far to ride. It was raining all day and we had 56% off road today. The first 46km on pavement meant great fun for everyone. You can see it in our faces enjoying the down hills, although the rain drops hammering on us.
DSC_7599   DSC_7609

The pain started on the 2nd half, when we had toDSC_7622 leave pavement and went onto rough gravel. The stones were so big and slippery that it was hard to control our wheels, even on slow climbs. That is where I had my first accident. My front wheel slipped DSCN7924on a rock, pushing me to the ground. Nothing happened, have others enjoy the incident, get back on the bike and simply ride on.  DSC_7627The expressions on the the faces talk for themselves, how everyone loved the rocky climbs. Eventually on the top of the climb we saw some sunshine, however not in the direction we were supposed to go, but happy to make it that far and DSC_7614looking forward to the long downhill that should bring up effortless  to lunch. However how enjoyable a downhill can be, it holds some dangDSC_7635er with it … I didn’t enjoy all the fast, rattling downhill as much as Michiel does. On a last steep downhill stretch, just a few kilometers from lunch I decided to become an ‘action hero’ and did a straight somersault dive over my handle bar. Bringing me to the ground, shaken and breathless. Fortunately, besides cuts and bruises, nothing severely  happened. All bones in one piece. At lunch, Sarah, our tour doctor, patched me up again to make me finish the day and preparing for another long one.

DSCN7937  DSCN7942

Going thru Hell

Yesterday we passed 1/3 of the hell today we have to go thru the rest of it into Honduras … More updates to follow once we ae back to paradise …

A tough Cycling Day

How can you tell that it was a tough and exhausting cycling day?


Dinner is finished, it is not even 8pm, there is free WiFi and nobody else is around to eat up the bandwidth.

It is all mine :-)

Stage 08 – Boaco to Selva Negra


113.7km – 2216m up – 1376m down – 5504kcal – 8:54h


Arrived at the Black Forest (Selva Negra)

When Cristiano says: ‘This is going to be a tough day’ he means it ;-)
And when he says: ‘I can’t promise that this can’t be topped’ then you know, that there will be more surprises to come in the next days :-(

finish-1126The started quite easy out of Boaco with rolling hills that added up to just about 600m of climbs until lunch stop at 68km. Then the promised ‘real’ climbs started with the grand final of another 660m to ascent within the last 8km to go.

Having already 103km in your legs you turn right around a corner and you see the ‘wall’ in front of you that you know you have to master to make it to camp. The temperature of around 30°C and the gusty winds did not help either. So, ‘goo up’ and get it done!

The wind was not always a help. At lunch there was a ‘fair tail wind’, which after the first corner turned into a ‘fairytale wind’, so to speak.

view-1126The scenic view on the way up gave a little reward for the sweat and pain.

It was said, that the camp will be the nicest of all during the trip, however what does it help when water-1126after 9 hours on the bike you only want to eat dinner and go to bed to relax for the next days’ cruelties!

Today we had 2200m of climbs on 98% pavement. Tomorrow it will be 1900m of climbing, however with 57% on gravel. bikes-1126
We will sleep and see when we are back on the road at 6:30.


A friend who cares and listens (in San Ramon)

shopping-1126   shopping-1126b

Nicaragua ‘Ride Thru’ Cafe

A Cyclist’s Sleeping Pill Substitution

Use the following rider approved recipe if you ever happen to run out of sleeping pills and you can’t find sleep:  Estie’s ‘triple 3’ rule

Take 3 pairs of used cycling socks, from 3 different riders, that have been used for 3 days and hang them over your bed. Instant sleep (coma) is being guaranteed.


Doctor’s note:
Do not apply an overdose! 3 pairs a night is enough, if from 3 different sources and not used longer than 3 days. You may fall into a too deep coma if one of the 3 limits is exceeded, thus failing to hear the wakeup call at 5:00am and missing to load your bags into the van at 5:40am the next day!

Stage 07 – Granada to Boaco

107.3km – 941m up – 620m down – 4189kcal


What a ride, today! 53% unpaved, 100% head wind, 3 river crossings and a climb at the end of the day. It just gives us a taste what is awaiting us the following days.


The day started good. I did the dog-style of cycling: Running to the head of the bunch, taking photos, letting everyone pass and start over again to pass everyone again for more rider photos. I somehow exceeded the limit of my tires running too fast on the sharp gravel, thus ended up with a flat when everyone was gone. It was in the middle of a little village and I had many spectators to see me quickly changing the tube. However I run out of luck with my pump and couldn’t get a single molecule of air into the tire. Luckily Nicaragua is a cycling country and a young girl (Johanna) went away to return with an old but working floor pump (pump up service included) …

flat-1125a  flat-1125b

flat-1125c   flat-1125d

Later on the day I passed into a small settlement and saw something long dangling from a tree, with a boy working on it. Coming closer I identified it as a 2m python that was being skinned. So I stopped to take a photo. The skin was taken for a belt, the body however was dumped in the field – poor snake, killed just for the skin and not to feed the family.

  snake-1125a   snake-1125b

The 3 river crossings were fun and refreshing.

bridge-1125 river-crossing-1125

At one point you had to decide whether to stay dry but risk your neck going over an old suspension bridge or get a bit wet. I opted for the wet part, as the bridge looked a bit too fragile and I would have ended in the water anyhow, in a less controlled manner than riding my bike. ;-) At another place we could take an old ferry, which broke down trying to carry the final bunch of riders over.


bird-1125    river-1125a


Stay tuned for tomorrows update … it is said to be another challenge for mind and body!