Well we had all enjoyed a party the night before at our last camp site. Some of us were concerned that it would be a bit of a let down having been in hotels for a good few nights, but the weather was quite kind to us and it turned out to be good fun.
The crew made sure that there was enough Tequila etc., to mix a lot of Margaritas and there were still enough beers in the cooler for the beer drinkers. So when we arrived at camp there was some TDA style bunting up and balloons making the place look different. There were some others camping there but they left late afternoon so we had the place to ourselves. We had a last meal prepared by Jon and the Chocolate Cake he prepared for dessert was massive and really made us pudding lovers happy, in fact we wondered how he had managed to make such a masterpiece – it almost looked as if he had bought it at a shop!!!!! The campsite owner got a camp fire going and we had music blaring out from his stereo and in the end after playing some games we just sat around the camp fire trying to finish off the drink. Now, I have painted the picture of how sober and boring we all were on that night, I can fill you in on what happened in a few hours time!!
After a few sounds of zips opening during the night as some of us went to answer the call of nature, I was awake at around 6am and wondered why there sounded like people were packing their tents away? Avril woke up and looked at her watch and exclaimed that it was 7:10am!!! I looked at mine and it was the same but all our electronic kit was saying it was an hour earlier – have you guessed yet? Nobody had thought to say anything about Summer Time ending that night like it would have back home. So anyone who was still using old technology like wind up alarms was still on Summer Time and therefore was getting up 1 hour earlier than they needed to. The whole camp was in turmoil for a while and so we had breakfast an hour later and all had a good laugh on how the timing had caught us out but not a Time Zone problem as we have managed to avoid for the whole trip!!!!
So, we all set off a bit later than planned and were expecting a journey of about 50K to the hotel with the last few K being in the centre of Mexico City with roads closed for cyclists in the area by our hotel as this is what happens here on Sundays. We agreed to ride in convoy as a group and the vans would wait for us regularly to make sure we did not get lost. Mexico City is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere and it starts it’s outskirts almost out where we were camping. All was going well and then we arrived at a junction and saw Cristiano talking to a policeman and we wondered if they had pulled him and Jon up for some reason, on this our last day! No, he had stopped to talk to them about directions and they said they would escort us into the city, WOW!! So off we set with a police pick-up in front of us stopping all the traffic at the junctions and keeping us safe. Every few K’s one set would swap over with another set who seamlessly continued the convoy. Then suddenly the last ones left us to our own devices, they we the Local Police and would be passing into an area covered by the next level of Police upwards, so suddenly we were back looking after ourselves.
After Jon and Cristiano found out exactly where we were, we set up our own protective unit of one van at the front, one at the back and us in the middle. By now Cristiano was also having to use GPS to guide Jon into the hotel and we were all following with Haley and Avril in the other van behind us. It worked beautifully, at all the junctions Cristiano would be leaning out of the window waving signals at the vehicles coming in from side roads that they should stop and let us all through, and I did not realise but Avril was doing the same from the other van behind. If anyone seemed to ignore all this we had one more weapon at our disposal – the mighty AIR HORN!!! Andreas who was acting as the cycling go between with us, was occasionally checking with the lead van at times what was the latest problem stretch, had the Air Horn on his bike. So at some more major junctions after the lead van had signalled and it looked like some drivers would be ignoring his signals Andreas went into AIR HORN mode, rode a bit ahead of us and stopped in the centre of the road and blasted the Air Horn at the unsuspecting drivers – even the sometimes aggressive Bus Drivers took note!!
So eventually after over 60K of fairly traumatic riding with the usual potholes and so on to miss as well, as all the chaos I’ve just explained, we reached the cycling friendly area and split off from the vans for the last bit. Mind you when you have been riding as a convoy of 8 riders and then have all sorts of riders, roller bladers, skate boarders etc., life continues to be stressful!! We were only on the closed road for about 1.5K so we got to the hotel and the journey was ended.
I will do a summing up, of our thoughts of the whole trip, and put a posting up soon. Also the last few photos of Section 8 will be up soon too.