DAY 343 - DAYS OF RAIN
Day 342 - Chazumba - 6369 km
Sunburned and completely wet on the same day...
I think that hasn't happened before. In the morning the sun was brightly shining on my white shoulders. My skin got back to original colour again after 4 months in Mexico City and I forgot to buy sunscreen. Now my tan is colourful. Dark hands and arms, red nose and checkbones, and white shoulders. Not the evenly dark tan of long days on the road.
Halfway during the day skies got darker and darker. It was still a long way through the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve and I was on a long climb so it went slow. It started raining. I only have a cheap rain jacket and rain shorts. Long pants make no sense on a bike, it's very uncomfortable. There are expensive hardshell breathable rain jackets which are good in keeping the rain going inwards and and transporting sweat outwards. It's a compromise. If moist can get out, it can also get in. And if it rains in the tropics for a few hours, it doesn't really matter what you are wearing: you will get wet. I like my cheap jacket, it's 100% waterproof and super light. I only get wet of the sweat.
The rain came down like it only happens in the tropics and went on for a few hours. On top of the pass was a village where the people watched me from the porches of their houses, waving and sticking up thumbs. I kept cycling because I was already wet. On some parts of the road the rain came to my ankles when I stood still. A good choice to have put of my sandals and keep my shoes dry in my bags. This was a good test to see how waterproof my bags were.
Then the downhill started. A completely different situation when you are wet. You don't pedal, so you get cold immediatly by the cold wind. In a minute I was freezing. I looked for shelter and I passed this little chapel, which often find along the road in Mexico. The door was open. I stripped off my wet clothes, changed to dry outfit and made some coffee to wait out the rain. It took a while but I was feeling refreshed.
At dusk I reached a little town which had one hotel where I rented a room for 8 dollar. It rained the whole evening. Only the Ortlieb bags and the MEC dry-bags (front) were really waterproof. The Brooks handlebar bag was a little damp on the inside. The waxed canvas bags didn't stand a chance in the rain, which are the Nature Bird Design frame bag and the Carradice saddle bag. The latter I always put an extra cover on because I won't risk all my electronics to get wet.