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    Day 1.103 – A Mental Paradigm Shift…

    Tapachula -> Pijijiapan
    Distance (km) : 149
    Time on bike : 6h 23m
    Brutto time: 09.40 – 19.40
    Avg : 23.3 km/h
    Max.speed: 65.5
    Total (km) : 44.863
    Altitude: 500 m
    Difficulty: 5 of 5

    Welcome to the first machine translation, made by Google (I made minor changes to make it more digestible):

    I have this constant internal battle going on to justify not visiting sights, not to choose the most beautiful route, but simply to choose the shortest / quickest way forward. It has not been like this the whole time and it may well be seen as a natural consequence of having been on the road for over 3 years.

    I clearly feel a mental paradigm shift in my relationship to the route selection criteria now compared with the first, say 2 years of the expedition. For example, I would now never choose to take on the 5 ½ months long detour around South East Asia (from Bangkok through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and back to Thailand), I did in 2007. Am happy that I did, but had it been today …

    Now that I am at one of the last WT-stages, it appears that the vast majority of attractions on the way (which I in principle could visit) pales in comparison to the prospect of completing the expedition, the prospect of coming home. With perhaps 15,000 km to go, I know that it is too early focus on the “final stretch” and that I have to find a little more of the old adventurer spirit, which I have partially put aside in the name of progress.

    Tune of the Day: Were Not Alone – Dinosaur Jr.

    Typical river setting. Chiapas lowland.

    My thermometer says 43 C when I at 1.30pm (Mexico is currently. 1 hour ahead of Guatemala) roll into Escuintla. The rescue is an a/c Oxxo store (like 7Eleven) and a Coke Zero. Is completely exhausted. It is hard. It will remain hard. I have 74 km in the legs, 75 km to go. Could sleep immediately here in the refrigerated kiosk, if I were allowed.

    Mango hunt.

    Mango episode.
    There are lush mango trees in many places along the way here in Mexico. I love mangoes. So under a gigantic mango tree (on private property, but with the fallen fruits in the roadside) I quickly find a handful of fruit and sit down on the elevated asphalt, with traffic thundering just behind me. The next door dog barks. Soon a boy comes to me with a 3 m long secateurs, which he leave on the barbed wire fence and says that I can use it to get mangoes. He simply gives me a tool to loot his orchard. That I call hospitality. I sit in the shade for I do not know how long and eat I do not know how many mangoes. Mango threads in the teeth, luck on my shoulders.

    Flat tyres never have good timing...

    The Little Accident.
    Idyll ends soon when on a descent going 50 km/h I suddenly hear a mad KAPOW! (just as in the comic world) from the back tire and hell breaks loose. The tire releases its grip on the wheel rim (technically, it is vice versa), my speed is still very high and I repeatedly visualize the inevitable crash (so it seems). Miraculously (such it seems to me), I retain control of the bike and manage to slow down the sick patient.

    My heart is all rock ‘n roll, as I stand astride the bike moments later. The hose exploded and is cut right through – stuck in gear and brakes. I put my stuff down into the deep backhoe trench, away from traffic. It is obviously good-bye to the tube, and I fear the same fate for the tire, because I have no one in reserve. A pick-up truck stops to check if everything is okay. Yes thanks, but no thanks.

    Inside the tire there is an open wound with a little wire sticking out, which will undoubtedly cause more punctures. Am relieved the damage is not worse. That it is brutally hot under the Mexican sun is unnecessary to mention. I cut a piece of blown-up hose and use it as a protective sheath between the new hose and the bad spot inside the tire. Am pretty satisfied with the operation. For safety’s sake (and in the event that angels really exist), I do the cross sign of God before I hit the road again. Heavily sweating. Still with mango strings in my teeth.

    Smooth cycling in southern Chiapas, Mexico.

    Talk to a random Mexican:
    Mexican: Where do you come from today?
    Nicolai: Tapachula.
    Mexican: Wow, how long has it taken?
    Nicolai: 5 hours.
    Mexican: Isn’t it boring?
    Nicolai: No, it’s never boring. I have my music and my thoughts.
    Mexican: Isn’t it hard then?
    Nicolai: Yes, it is. Gotta go.
    Mexican: Have a great trip.
    Nicolai: Thank you, sir.

    Poor boy!

    After 107 km cycling I should have some 25 km to go to Pijijiapan. But a heartbraking road sign says there is still 38 km (which ends up being 42). That news does more evil than one might think.

    Rural Chiapas.

    But I reach the town, whose name has five letters in line with dot above (i and j). Any higher? Fjumse you run yourself too hard now, a voice in me tells me several times.
    I look like a skull and feel more dead than alive when I arrive in town and find Hotel Sabrina. 149 km today. The young hotel maid looks somewhat scared off by the sight of me. I try – despite the total lack of energy – to assure her that I’m okay that I am human all right. But it is hard to hide that I have rarely been so physically exhausted. My eyes seem strangely hollow, the body is flaccid and my trance-like head kicks on maximum 2 cylinders.

    Sunset over Chiapas, Mexico.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame 🙂

    On this day..


    8 Responses to “Day 1.103 – A Mental Paradigm Shift…”

    1. Patricia Villa-Alta Says:

      It’s really excruciating to read how one small incident like a flat tire can really become a very dangerous situation. I truly admire what you’re doing. Even if there is always some price to pay, I guess if you love whta you do, you do it out of love, and there is no “sacrifice…”

      And if it’s only true what you have said many times, that the only thing stopping us is us, you may just inspire me and many others to try it some time. Maybe the world will be a better place afterwards 🙂

    2. Claire Says:

      man days like that suck balls but you will definitely remember it. if only the mangoes came after the shit it would seem so different!!
      good luck managing your mental paradigm shift, if you work out how let me know as after a full week on the bike i lose the feeling. its frickin amazing you’ve done it this long. i’ve decided that men manage that single minded determination much better than women!!

    3. Dicky Rinaldo Says:

      I think be a world pedal pusher like you isn’t boring and willn’t be boring,
      coz you can see many unique things, Thats world diversity
      keep pushing your pedal and visiy my site… he.. he…

    4. Nicolai Says:

      Hi Pati…

      Always good to hear your comment here. Thanks.

      And yes, the only thing stopping us is (still) us. Don´t let you stop you. 🙂

      Take care…

    5. Nicolai Says:

      Interesting point, Claire, that men would handle single-minded determination better than you gals. Will think about that, see if I can find patterns in other life spheres etc.

      Keep rocking in Colombia, Claire. And maybe see you on the other side some day…


    6. Nicolai Says:

      Hi Dicky…

      No, the world never gets boring. As persons we might get tired/bored, but the world´s not/never to blame…

    7. Elisa Says:

      Hmm…I remember too as my trip ending was getting close—the wanting to skip the sights and just get things done with. After some time of touring every day it started to seem like a chore or a job, you know?

      But at 2 years later I’m glad I stuck with looking at the pretty sights. For when else would I have another opportunity to do a trip like this? Or even visit those countries in some other way (car, rail, airplane)??

      Remember why you started the trip. Not to be able to say “you finished”, or to prove anything to anyone, but to experience and to discover. If you lose sight of that, then you might as well just end your trip right then and there in Pijijiapan.

      And there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      Happy cycling,

      -Elisa Pasquali.

    8. Nicolai Says:

      Hi Elisa…

      Thanks for your comment. I think you’re right – that I/we’d better stay open to all the things/people surrounding me/us. Otherwise, things simply get too much of a hard work. Things look a lot better now after a few days off the bike here in Veracruz. Ups and downs, you know.

      Sure, it’s still about experiencing and discovering, and I guess I’ve just changed the focus slightly from the outside world to my inner world. Part of the process. 🙂


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