Beginner's struggles: Escazu to Aserri

Beginner's struggles: Escazu to Aserri

Jul 02, 2021

So we have set off yesterday morning from our lovely Couchsurfing pad in Escazu, for a 13km ride in the mountains surrounding San Jose, towards the pacific coast. We used the Komoot app to look at how difficult would be the planned route into Aserri, where we got accepted to stay for two nights by Melissa, another Couchsurfer. Komoot gives you an overview of the level of fitness that is required to ride the chosen bike path (they said expert), it also gives you the gradient of each hill on the way. Yes - on the screen, the 23% gradient did not seem too bad in our imagination, to take the bike loaded with bags....although I had a bad feeling about it from the start...maybe not just a bad feeling, this was a feeling of terror that I tried not to show. 

We set off about 9 am after saying some final goodbyes to Phil and his dog Mars. Lee's bike with the bags weighed about 45kg, mine about 37kg. The first couple of hills seemed easy enough, just to get out from the neighbourhood. Then we turned onto a very steady, upwards, maybe 5% gradient road leading to Asseri. The Komoot app said it was going to take about two hours...

After about 10 minutes ride up, I had to stop to catch my breath. I have done nothing like it in the UK. 

My only prep before I left was two 21 mile trips from Reading to Newbury, to see my friend Ewelina. I had maybe 10kg in my bags, and the ride was mostly flat.

At least Lee was doing his fitness training...whilst I was not the biggest fan of cardio, so I just stuck to my yoga and stretching once a week, and drove my car to the supermarket to buy groceries.

So unsurprisingly, I got a shocker: Hills so steep, that even the petrol fuelled mopeds struggled to get to the top.

I started to stop every 50 meters, each time breathing heavily, sweating profusely, and trying not to regret my decision to take this "freedom" trip. Lee took my rucksack off me, hoping that I would struggle less, but it made no difference.

I was thinking to myself, whether this was the price of freedom... physical exhaustion, breathlessness, sweat, fumes surrounding us from each car passing by....

The whole struggle took about an hour, stop, breathe, pedal, push...stop, breathe, pedal, push...

During this time, several pickup trucks passed us by, some shaking their heads, but nobody stopped.

Eventually, a small car overtook us and stopped. A local lady got out of the car and started saying in Spanish " mucha questa, mucha questa". I did not understand anything, but from sign language we understood that the road ahead was so steep that we could not even push the bikes with all those bags!

She called us "campeones! camepones!", and offered to take the bags first...we did not need much persuasion, we agreed that she would take the bags in the car to the top, and from there we could pick them up again.

We put everything in the car, and I thought that without the weight, I can manage the hills by myself.

I was wrong. By this time, I was so exhausted, that I still could only pedal for about 50 meters at a time, and then stopped to catch my breath, sounding like an asthmatic.

She stopped and suggested taking me in the car. Again I did not need any persuasion. We took the wheels of my bike and I got in with her. We gave her our next destination, which was about 8km away, and since there was no space in the vehicle for another bike - Lee had to ride.

Half an hour later, I got dropped off in Aserri, by a little bakery with my bike and all the bags. I sat down on the pavement and ate all the cucumber slices that I had.

Lee arrived about 2 hours later, happy that he could ride without stopping every two minutes.

He took some no-tarmac bike paths through the mountains, where there were no people or cars. Instead, he met a snake! Apparently this type tends to be aggressive, but not poisonous..

The little fellow was just chilling on a path πŸ˜€!

So here we are, staying for a few nights in Aserri, sharing a single bed, but still feeling grateful for free accommodation and a warm shower! Our host Melissa is so full of life and so positive that it is almost contagious, even though her freedom has also been affected by the plandemic lockdowns.

Thank you for taking your time to read this, and being part of our journey πŸ™

Peace, love, freedom and prosperity to you all. Liberation is happening right now! 

Joanna & Lee πŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™‚οΈ 🌎

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