To Amparo (continued), with a bit of a struggle at Atibaia…

Posted: December 27, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
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Courtesy of Pousada Paiol guest house at Atibaia www.

Photo courtesy of Pousada Paiol guest house near Atibaia (www.

The ride to Amparo, as I said before, was… eventful. The rainstorm on the Saturday was great fun (though admittedly, had there been no hard shoulder to ride along on the main road, I might not be saying this), and after it finished, we were able to dry off a little at a restaurant in the town of Mairipora – about half way to Atibaia, where we would stay the night. We ended up not having much to eat as while we ordered a light lunch, we decided to give up after an hour waiting as we needed to push ahead – annoying at the time, but actually it turned out okay as we were doing good with the energy block bars and we did not end up riding with heavy stomachs.

The rest of the journey up until Atibaia was smooth. While the rain stopped, it still remained cool, which was great for riding up and down the hills; not too much traffic and on the whole good progress along the roads. We were able to get to the entrance of Atibaia by around 6.30pm – around an hour and a half before it would get dark. From Atibaia, we had, however, an additional 12km to ride to get to the guest house where we would stay (Pousada Paiol). Now, there were two ways to get to the guest house; one going largely along the highway and the other, going through the town. I had programmed the route through the town into the GPS. We thought, once we got to the highway exit, maybe it would be better going along the highway, but as the route wasn’t programmed into it, I didn’t want to risk it – we weren’t sure what the roads would be like going through the town, but at least we wouldn’t get lost…

Asphalt road into earth track...

Asphalt road into earth track…

With hindsight, I really should have looked at the satellite views of the roads beforehand – you can clearly see how the surface of road we went over changed in the screenshot – though as it turned out, we would have faced similar conditions eventually had we gone the other way. At least we would have been prepared, psychologically, however..!

Final stretch to guest house

Final stretch to guest house

At first it was fine, but then going through Atibaia commercial centre wasn’t pleasant with lots of traffic and lots of drivers not accustomed to sharing lanes with cyclists. Getting through this we then had a good few hundred metres being shaken around riding over cobblestones. Onto the asphalt after this and then suddenly my back wheel starts making a noise. I get off and can’t see what it is, and see that it can’t turn backwards and it was slightly tight trying to turn it forward. After a while I realize that the screws securing the baggage rack to the bottom of the frame by the wheel had been shaken out and that the top of the rack had fallen down so it was resting on top of the actual wheel (it was pretty hot to touch because of the friction!). It was getting dark as well and we still had a good eight or nine kilometres to go. We had no spare screws so I had to work out how to balance the rack above the gears so it didn’t keep falling on top of the wheel. It worked for a while… until the road turned into an earth and rock track with lots of  bumps and holes to go over and around. Every couple of minutes or so the rack would be coming off and landing on the wheel again. Oh, and Natalia was getting a sore knee (with the shaking from the road her seat had come down a little bit, we realized in the morning). With the darkness coming down, all we wanted to do was to get to the guest house, have some food and rest, and work out whether we would be able to continue to Amparo in the morning or not.

Chalets at Posuada Paiol (photo courtesy of the Pousada  -

Chalets at Posuada Paiol (photo courtesy of the Pousada –

The road continued with intermittent stretches over rough earth and then good asphalt, though night settled in and the lights came on. Getting to our destination was top priority as being out at night in that place wasn’t particularly agreeable. As we got closer to the marker on the GPS, I checked the name of the guest house to make sure we wouldn’t miss it, though with everything that had been going wrong, this was worrying me – would we actually find it…?! And we were quite in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, as we got closer, we saw a sign with the name of the place, telling us to keep going. The baggage rack stayed up and balanced and we were able to slowly but surely get there by 8.30pm – just half an hour before dinner ended. Can’t say I have been much happier to have found a guest house than how I felt then, and the place was well worth the suffering to get to…!

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