Puebla to somewhere on the Arco Norte: 3 flats in a highway kind of day

Statistics for today
Distance 145.38 kms 90.10 miles
Climbed 1,288 meters 4,226 feet
Ride time (hours) 7.85 -
Avg speed 18.5 kph -
Avg climb 2% -
Max grade 7% -
Statistics for trip to date
Distance 20,933.97 kms 13,007.78 miles
Climbed 232,535 meters 762,910 feet
Ride time (hours) 1,523.73 -
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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

I still didn't feel that great when I got up in the morning but I promised a few people I would be in certain places before certain dates so I needed to get a move on. When I went to get the bike the back tire was flat. I pumped it up thinking it might just have been a slow leak but the air just flowed right out. I put in a new tube.

The day's journey started with some crazy riding on the periférico with a major traffic jam due to an accident. Because of the traffic cars and trucks started using the shoulder, forcing me to weave around them in whatever lane had enough space for me to squeeze by. When it finally cleared the pace picked up on the decent shoulder (although it was full of debris). The debris caught up with me about 30 kilometers into the day, back tire flat. This tire is worn down pretty good. I might have gotten some more mileage out of it in a friendlier environment but it didn't provide enough protection for this minefield of a shoulder. I put on my spare, a folding Schwalbe Marathon Mondial, and rode off optimistic that the "Double Protection" printed on the sidewall would mean a flat-free day

Last night I did a quick search for "Arco Norte" on crazyguyonabike to see if bicycles were allowed to ride it. There was one story of someone who got kicked off (well they gave him a ride in a pick-up truck to the exit). This worried me a bit because I needed this road in order to make time. I rode right through the tollbooth at the entrance without anyone saying boo to me. There were plenty of people around: Federales, military, employees of the company that manages the toll road, but no one seemed to care. I also saw no signs prohibiting bicycles so I figured I was good to go, and if anyone gave me grief I had a good case to make for why I got on.

There is some climbing to be had on this road. Nothing steep, it maxes out at 7 percent grades, but significant ups and downs. I was surprised to find myself getting up near 2,600 meters altitude. I rode until close to sunset then lifted the bike over the guard rail to get down into what looked like deserted land covered in nopales, scrub oak, and long grass. As I was wheeling the bike through a field looking for a campsite I got a flat. So much for "Double Protection"! To be fair the nopales make this landscape a minefield.

I hadn't managed the water situation well. I only had a liter and half for drinking and making dinner in a dry as bones climate which means I need to drink more, not less. I used the grey water from the pasta to find the hole in the tube... a first for me! Gotta make do with what you've got. When I went to patch the hole I discovered that my glue tube had cracked and all the glue had dried up. I found another small tube of glue in my toiletries bag, it had cracked as well, but just enough liquid glue remained for me to secure the patch.

A small animal, I never got a look at it so I'm not sure what it was, kept running around in the bushes near my tent. Since he was so interested in me I packed up everything really tight in case he got the urge to explore during the night. I watched a movie on the laptop then lights out.

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Smoking volcano outside Puebla. I saw a lot of people wearing masks in the city. I had just assumed it was a holdover from swine flu days but someone told me that people wear them as protection against the ash from this volcano.
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Put on my spare, a folding Marathon Mondial. My first time using a Mondial. It says "Double Protection" on it but it didn't last a day without a flat! (Granted Mexican highways through the desert are flat heaven...)
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Cultivating nopales. I wonder if this is a profitable enterprise, they grow wild all over the place here.
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Melted snickers, my favorite!
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Cattle drive
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I found a shrine/cave while looking for a stealth camping spot.