February 05, 2007

Huamango Archaeological Site (Mexico). February 4th, 2007

Map Navigation: This dynamic Trackmap shows the GPS track (red line) and some geo-referenced photos (red dots) of the cycling tour. Wheel up and wheel down your mouse to zoom in or zoom out the map. Click on any point in the map to center it on that point. Or just drag the map with your mouse. To see the photos, hoover the mouse over the red dots. Click on the photo to go to the picture page.

Photoset Map

Photoset Show

GPS Track: GPX (MapSource, et al), or KMZ (Google Earth)

GPS Cycling Data:

Distance: 160 Km. Ascent: 1810 m. Time: 6:40 hr, Average Speed: 24 Km/hr, Energy expended: 30.92 MJ, Cycling Power: 322 W, Specific Power: 4.27 W/Kg

Travel Report:

This ride started two hours earlier than last week, but (as I will explain later), it was not sufficient :-(. At 10:00 I started the ride to the archaeological site at Huamango, in the north of the neighbouring state of Mexico. I took Alvaro Obregon in order to reach Constituyentes, so I could take the free highway to Toluca, first leg of my journey. I started this climbing from an elevation of 2250 m all the way up to the summit at Tres Cruces, at an elevation of ca. 3200 m, 25 km later (4 % grade). After Tres Cruces comes an interesting descent all the way down to Lerma (alt: 2600 m, 15 km later). I continued the route to Toluca (state capital), arriving at this city at km 60.

In the monument to the god Tolo, on the Tollocan Boulevard, I took the deviation to Atlacomulco. This highway is a paid one, but there were no problems at all when crossing the toll stations. Once on this highway, I entered the Ixtlahuaca region, the name meaning: "in the plains", arriving at the city of Ixtlahuaca at km 96. Here is a gas station where you can refill the isotonic drink. Ahead on the road I could know the famous Hacienda Pastejé. After passing the second toll station, I arrived at Atlacomulco at km 125.

The following leg of my journey awaited in front of me, with an ascent of 200 m in 5 km (4 %). Although this ascent was not so demanding, being performed at km 130, it started to hurt the legs. After those climbings, Acambay was already in sight :-), arriving at this picturesque town at km 147, and with an elevation of 2550 m.

But, and as I have started to recognize as a proven custom, the archaeological site of Huamango is located uphill the nearest town, so I still needed to climb another 350 m in only 5 km (7 % grade), but all this at km 150 on my route. Additionally, the weather had changed extremely rapid, and now on the top of the mountain that lied ahead was already an enormous gray cloud that threatened to evolve into rain. I weighted my chances, but I hadn't rode so far to this point only to be taken back in the last 5 km for a rain warning. It would take a lot more than that ! So, I continued my ride to the mountain.

The problem (and the biggest problem so far) was the extreme cruel wind on the ascent, and worst of all, the wind came from the right, threatening to take me to the left side of the lane, meaning to the area where the 18 wheelers and cars were bypassing me. I felt horror just thinking in the case where the wind could blow me to the left side of the lane and a big truck were passing by at the very same moment. But I had to arrive at the archaeological site. The wind blowed and blowed really strong, but somehow I could manage to maintain control on the handlebars of my bike (coupled with my own weight, 75 kg, which also could have played a role in my equilibrium).

When I arrived at Dongú (middle point in the ascent to Huamango), the wind started to blow with less force, so I could continue my climbing without such macabre thankings. Later, at 2700 m elevation, I arrived at the landmark signaling the _start_ of the proper road to the archaeological site. This road is another cruel ascent of 200 m in only 2 km (10 %). The pavement of this road is even featured with anti-skid markers, in order to avoid automobile accidents ! After climbing this road, making "S"s, I finally arrived at the archaeological site entrance, at 2900 m.

But, and as in the Greek tragedies, the site had already closed ! It even closes Sundays at the really early hour of 15:00 ! Additionally, there was an extreme freezing cold (although i carry a termometer-sensored watch, I forgot to take a thermal reading) and a eally dense fog, which rendered optical vision useless after 10 m. What a pity ! And the web page of the INAH (national administration of historical sites) stated that the site closed at 18:00 ! But anyway, what more could I do ? I checked if the site's door was locked ... effectively it was, and with a big lock ! So I could not do anything more than took a few shots, and undertook the return to Acambay. On the top of that hill the cold and moisture were so extreme that I got my crank locked with the chain ! I was only so lucky dicovering that I got the crank locked for the ice in the chain (and was unable to change plates) _before_ I started the descent :-)

At the landmark I took the last photo of the site, wondering if this last shot couldn't cost me my descent to Acambay (350 m), again, under the cover of the night. Certainly, it did. I had to manage my descent partly in darkness, arriving to the safety of Acambay without solar light. I must thank the car drivers that drove after me in that nocturnal descent, for having behaved extremely courteous, by driving behind me at my speed and with their intermittent lights on :-) Thank you guys !

Once in Acambay, and after having checked the time for the last bus to Mexico City, I decided to pay a very short visit to the Main Square of this town, visiting its Cathedral and Elementary School, both located face to face (?), a little bit like the Atlacomulco downtown, where the Municipal Palace stands between the Cathedral and the School. Interesting urban arrangements :-)

I returned to the bus station in Acambay (it is an euphemism, since a real station is non-existent, as passengers have to wait on the highway), where I could take the last bus to Mexico City (en route from Queretaro), which arrived at 19:30 (cost: 85 pesos), arriving at our destination 2:15 hrs later.

But: between Huamango and me, we still have unfinished business ... so I plan to remake this route next week, with the additional detail of departing my house at 06:00 next Sunday. I think it is the only way to assure an entrance to the archaeological site. The problem is: how could I wake up next Sunday at 4:00 (when I usually go to bed at that hour on Saturdays) ? That is the big question :-)

Till the next travel ! And thank you for reading :-)

No comments: