Doomsday Ride Statistic Charts

In the following charts I have assembled and transformed some statistic data of the ride into graphs.

You can select a single slide above and scroll through the remaining slides by clicking into the displayed one.

Download as PDF document: doomsday-ride-2012-statistics.pdf

Download as Power Point Show: doomsday-ride-2012-statistics.pps

Rest Day at Panajachel


After 5 riding days we deserved another rest day. This time in Panajachel, nicely located at the Lake Atitlán at an altitude of 1597 meter in the southwestern Guatemalan Highlands, less than 150km from Guatemala City. The town is located on the Northeast shore of the lake with a fantastic view of the three volcanoes, San Pedro (3020m) and the twins Atitlan (3537m) and Toliman (3158m). Panajachel” derives from the Kaqchikel language and DSC_8869roughly translates to “place of the Matasanos.” Matasano is a fruit tree native to the lake credited with an array of curative powers. As the name ‘rest’ day suggest it is injected into the tour to rest and enjoy the hospitality and service of the location. I take a total rest and enjoy the day in the hotel or at the beach, without diving too deep into the touristic flair of this city. Others take a boat ride on the lake or stock up spare parts in the local bike shop.

Stage 20 – Antigua to Panajachel


85km – 1645m up – 1543m down – 4155kcal – 6:58h


It was a cold morning out of Antigua – just about 6°C. I am still fighting a cold and cycled with fever, several layers of cloth and a secret mix of anti cold and fever pills. I bet I would have failed any UCI drug test today ;-) I kept a slow pace as most of us did on such an easy day, when DSC_8692it is obvious that nobody needs the ‘sweep’. Although we had to climb a lot, it wasn’t as steep as in the past days and the rest day is only hours away. The first 30km were horrible. All along the noisy and polluted highway, with trucks and busses passing. Once we left the main road it become much better and more scenic. Just a day to enjoy, if I weren’t still feeling cold, although the temperatures were moderately climbing to almost reach the 20th. We had lunch in a cemetery. DSC_8706Thereafter followed our first real decent. What a drop to the river crossing; the bridge was washed away. However ‘river crossing’ usually means ‘dive into a valley and climb out again’. And so it happened. Back again up into 2200m, we should soon see the lake with the 3 volcanoes around. What unfolded in front of us was stunning. We came around the last corner at about 800m above the lake and it laid there as if painted. It was ‘Photo time’ and everyone stopped to capture the scene on a memory card.


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I finished the day with a large portion of pasta and a sundowner at the lake and a pot of hot tea on my room.

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Hopefully the rest day will help me and my bike to half way cure from our problems …


Antigua sits in a Highland valley at 1500 meters overlooked by the spectacular Agua Volcano (3765 meters). A little further away are two other volcanoes Acatenango and the always smoking, sometimes erupting, Fuego.

Antigua, sited in the Panchoy Valley, was designated ‘La Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala’ by the conquistadors in 1543 and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Before I went into town I had to visit the Bavarian restaurant around the corner and have a ‘real’ Radler with Brezel, Rösti and a Ritter Sport chocolate.

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Thereafter I spent the time in the historical part of the town until my legs were tired.

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Stage 19 – San Jose Pinula to Antigua Guatemala

48,9km – 1044m up – 1265 down – 2430 kcal – 4:08h


We left San Jose Pinula in a convoy for the first kilometers. Fortunately it was a Sunday and the roads were not that busy. NeverthDSCN8240eless, due to road construction works with some lanes closed it was good to have a vehicle in the back to slow down and control the traffic. It must be said, that the drivers in the cities do not have the same respect for cyclist as in the rural areas. We were going slow on the first ascent out of town before we headed into a deep and steep descent, facing a beautiful volcano in the morning light. I stopped the fast descent to take a photo and found Bill, my roommate, standing there with a flat, no chance to stop

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any other of the fast passing fellow riders. I fixed his puncture, guarded by the police, as he couldn’t fix it himself. Many riders have lost power in there arms from either falls or from the pondering gravel roads, just not being able to turn screws or lift tires from the rim. Sometimes just must even help to open the cap of a bottle.

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The first 30+ kilometers were fast and an easy warm-up session for this day’s climb, with a maximum grade of 23%. Once over the top it was Christmas, birthday and Easter at the same day. The downhill into Antigua was fantastic on a wide highway. At many turns it gave view onto the 2 volcanoes ‘Aqua’ and ‘Fuego’, the latter being the active one that erupted just 2 months ago. We stay in Fernando’s Hotel Los Nazarenos in Antigua Guatemala and have a whole day to spent in the old town, after already arriving at 11 o’clock.

Stage 18 – Jalapa to San Jose Pinula

91km – 2498m up – 2084m down – 5640 kcal – 9:24h


Another long cycling day, for which you have to findDSCN8217 the answer to the question ‘how often can I stop to take photos, without risking to ride into darkness?’. Anyhow the DLR is always in the Camelbak, ready to shoot.  It was a lot to climb and mainly on gravel. Just the right thing to start into a beautiful cycling morning ;-) on the faces of al off-road lovers! For me there was another question: ‘Will my bike survive this day?’ with a worn-out rear suspension joint, wagging with its tail like a happy dog.  72% of the day was be on gravel, a torture for the beaten bike, although not as rough and steep as on previous stages. If it will sustain this without further damage, it will make it until it finally retires on doomsday! With this in mind I gently navigated it over the rough ground. As usual, the constant climbing for hours was awarded with  breathtaking panoramas from the summit at almost 2700m above sea level.


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Often the view allows to trace back from where we came or give an idea, to where the road will carry you next. It is remarkable how fertile the land is, even in such high altitudes. All around the people were working in the fields and children were playing or carried by their mothers. Everyone is very DSCN8227friendly and almost every Hola or Bueno is returned with an answer and a smile. I took the time to take a few photos that I like to share with you.
The nicely dressed little girl with the gumboots was a bit scared by the ‘strange gringo’, who instantly dropped his bike on a climb to catch a ball that escaped from the playing kids and was rolling fast down the hill and would have been lost, if I hadn’t caught it.
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After already more than 5 hours into the day, I reached lunch stop at 44km, with 1400m of climbing done so far. However that also means: ‘1100m more to climb and 47km to go’ –> not much time to spent at lunch. The climbing continued until kilometer 67, when the fun part of the day started:DSCN8235 10km cruising in 2200m with a slightly drop of elevation. The remaining 14km was a huge downhill into the busy town of San Jose Pinula. The hotel is located at the other end of the town. It is a busy hotel, with 6 weddings on this very day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anything from the wedding buffet or left over cakes. So we must be satisfied with a 400 kcal dinner. Not much to cover for the 5000 kcal burnt to arrive at this place. At least the bar was fully stocked and I could get another ‘grande cerveza bicicletta’ (grosses Radler). If one though ‘nice hotel, first class rooms’ must be disappointed to find her- or himself accommodated in a bunkhouse, a steep walk away from the main building. Luckily also far away from the party music! However the locals are still burning down fireworks like crazy … seems the ‘burning devil’ is not yet over.

Stage 17 – Chiquimula to Jalapa


85,5km – 2246m up – 1280m down – 4689 kcal – 6:30h


Today we were almost all day climbing, with some relieving downhills. At the end of the day we gained a total of 1000m and were awarded with spectacular views from the tops.

DSC_8387We left Chiquimula with the rising sun, which started DSCN8186to heat up the chilling morning temperatures and painted our shadows to the cut out walls along the hilly road. The first 18km were easy going and one could enjoy the magnificent views on the volcanoes in the area of Ipala. Thereafter we started into the first major climb of the day; still on tarmac. After a long descent pavement ended and the torture started with an 800m climb on lose gravel, in the burning sun. Some of the climbs were DSC_8408again so steep and rocky, that it was saver to push the bike, than risking to flip over. The vegetation and topology in this area and the women carrying all kind of goods on their heads reminded me on some parts in Ethiopia or northern Kenya.  However the heat and needed concentration on the difficult slopes made it almost impossible to look around and suck in everything.



The lunch stop was almost at todays summit, at about 1600m and short before the rough downhill to San Pedro. Who thought ‘summit’ DSCN8202means the last climb of the day was soon to recognize that this was a wrong assumption. A final, and in its grade unexpected, punishment started 10km before our today’s destination – Jalapa – with 4 very steep climbs of 18% grade. Not everyone had still enough energy to cycle these climbs. ‘Pushing bike and walk the hills’, or ‘find a local who taxi you and your bike uphill’, even if it meant to sit in the back of an open ‘bakkie’ was the motto of the day.

‘Pushing bike uphill’ was only training for what we have to expect on tomorrows stage.

This evening was the ‘burning of the devil’ ceremony all over in Guatemala, a festival where symbolic devils, the symbol of bad luck, are burnt after sunset. However it was too late for me to go and witness it.

Stage 16 – Copan Ruinas to Chiquimula (Guatemala)

64,2km – 1020m up – 1154m down – 2881 kcal – ~5h


DSCN8146The atmosphere at breakfast was brilliant this morning. No hectic, no pressure,  no run for coffee and food. Obviously nobody wanted to be first to leave the hotel, compared to the past 4 riding days, when everyone wanted to have an early start. It was just 11km to the border and we would re-assemble there anyhow, to do a short convoy into Guatemala, as we expect big truck traffic. We even pushed our bikes down the cobblestone slope from the hotel as it was so steep and slippery.


We had a final scenic climb in Honduras into the deep hanging clouds before we ‘dived’ towards the border into sunny Guatemala. All of a sudden the temperature gained momentum and ended in a very hot day. Border crossing was easy – stamp out in Honduras, pay 2 bugs in Guatemala, done! The waiting for the last to get his visa took the most time and the little ‘buggers’ liked us hanging around in ‘no mans land’. As usual I was amongst those who got the most mosquito bites.

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How easy this day was considered to be, could DSCN8169be seen at the first coke stop, or better say ‘beer stop’ ;-) I never saw one of us drinking beer at a so-called coke stop at around 9am, except this morning. Lunch at around 58km was just to give us final directions to the hotel in town. Nevertheless food and beverages were served and more time than ever was spent, which was wise, because it turned out that my room was not ready for another hour when I arrived. The usual ‘killing time’ situation to wait for a change.

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After I had my cold shower I went to town to explore the local market. In the first side road I run into 5 to 6 scary looking guys, hiding behind vehicles, hands at their guns chasing a ‘suspect’. I better dared not to take a photo and turned around into DSC_8303another direction. The market was very busy, but great fun to walk through the narrow isles of the densely arranged market stands. I was joint by David and we were obviously the only foreigners seen here for quite a while giving us lots of smiles and friendly ‘holas’ or a rare ‘gringo’.  It looks as DSC_8316if Guatemala is going to be as hospital as the previous countries. We later found out, that most of us went to the nearby ‘mall’ or even watched a movie in the cinema. The market was a mix of eveDSC_8343rything. Cloth, next to fruits and veggies, Chinese plastic toys and tools, car parts, toilet articles, etc. It was nice to watch how young and old, men and women tried to sell there goods or simply having there ‘siesta’.

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Tomorrow is going to be another tough day with climbs and off-road. So I better stop here and get my siesta, too.

Where is Udo?

DSCN8140I am staying here in Don Udo’s Hotel and no Udo is around! I knew you have a second career besides managing me :-;

Where are you hiding, boss?

Macaws in Copan Ruins

Associated with the Copan Ruins National Park is a feeding station and release aviary to reintroduce the scarlet macaw (Ara macao) into the Copan Valley.


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