After packing up our things in the room, we were invited for a cup of coffee. Pedro is one of those people who will happily drink 5+ coffees a day, so he was happy with the invite. We thanked Alberto and his crew and headed up the hill towards our 5th state, Zacatecas. It was a pleasant climb and by the top it was time for a second breakfast for P. We were by what appeared to be some kind of national park, but the signs really didn’t seem too inspiring so we continued on.

The rest of the day mainly consisted of fighting a decent headwind. Looking at my GPS profile, it seems like we descended, but I really don’t remember those parts. That’s probably because the usual 40+ km/h descents were replaced with 20-25 km/h. There was one stage in particular where the wind picked up and it was getting the better of me, so I turned my iPod up to full volume, put some cheesy music on (such as Bryan Adams & Bon Jovi) and rode, singing along as loudly as I could. That carried on for about 45 minutes at which time my voice was a little hoarse and I’m sure the traffic going by was very confused as to why I was screaming “I’ll be there till the stars don’t shine, till the heavens burst, and the words don’t rhyme”.

If it’s windy, it’s easy to get demoralised and cycle gently and get nowhere. If I’m shouting my lungs out to some terrible music then it’s easier to push the speed, and even if I’m not then I’m still getting the workout as it’s pretty difficult shouting along, especially when they draw their words out, especially when you’re going up a hill. There’s also that joy that everyone can take from singing, even for those of us who are horrific.

We ended the day at a Pemex by the town of Sain Alto. They said it was fine for us to camp behind their store. We ate at the taco truck in front and got a few beers from the convenience store. It was an enjoyable evening sipping down the beers and watching the sun go down. It was a beautiful end to a tiring day.

The next morning I was up fairly early and go to wake Pedro up. Having had to get up at 6am all the time in New York for his job, he prefers to have a lie in, but I’m a tough taskmaster and so push him to wake up earlier than he would ideally like, although that’s probably about 10am.

It was 42km, the distance of a marathon, to the next town, and as there was minimal wind I figured it’d be no problem to get there before eating. I was wrong. The wind picked up just out of town and I was going at about 50-60% of my regular speed. I made it about half way before having to stop and wait for Pedro, who does a great job of carrying all the snacks, for about 30 minutes. He had stopped at the top of the hill before me to eat his snacks.

We crossed the Tropic of Cancer for the 3rd and final time and made it to the town to get some birria. It was delicious and did a great job of rejuvenating me. The next stop was in the town of Fresnillo, where we dropped in at the main church. The state of Zacatecas produces half of the silver in the world, and the church definitely looked like it. It was incredible with multiple diamond chandeliers, massive paintings and intricate metalwork.

We were close enough that we could have probably made it up to Zacatecas, but had nowhere to stay and it’s easier to find a place to camp outside of a city. Going through a small town we found a drive-through beer shop that Pedro decided he needed to go to. He bought a big bottle of Corona (1.2l), put it in his rear jersey pocket and 5 seconds later it crashed to the floor. The car behind us was driven by a friendly guy who bought us a replacement bottle which we enjoyed sat on the corner of a busy junction in town. There was lots of strange looks from people, as well as drivers toasting us with the beer they had in their hand.

A little further down the road, we pulled off the road and found a place to throw up our tents. We were about 20km to Zacatecas, a very short ride in the morning to make the most out of the day as we race to get to DF before the 29th and the placement exam for the Spanish course.

The following day, we were up early and after a breakfast of cheese we headed up a narrow road that wound it’s way up to Zacatecas. We followed the signs to the cathedral and found the the Hostal Villa Colonial behind it which we had had recommended to us. We checked in and then headed out to see the silver city.

Fresnillo church

Sun going down

Camp spot