Wednesday 24th of November
So, this looks like this could be the end...once again I stop turning the pedals before I want to. The last time it was down to the threat posed by packs of feral dogs in Turkey. This time its down to a particular bit of my body letting the side down.......Damn you right knee!!!!
Which is surprising really because I thought that if did happen it would have been my left knee (given the fact that all it does is creak) or my ankle or possibly even my arse! I guess that it could just be old age or maybe when I “landed” my paraglider last year I damaged it without realising, I mean I was in quite a bit of pain at the time.
As to what has gone wrong...when I load my knee there is pain directly behind the kneecap and along the sides of the knee. Not a huge amount of pain but enough to make me go “mmm”. So as you can imagine cycling up a hill is going to increase the problem (walking up and down the temples in Tikal didn't help much either) and the knee will only get worse. The last thing I want to happen is for it to suffer a catastrophic failure halfway up a mountain in the middle of nowhere. (and then have to return to England for surgery and months of rehabilitation because I have really gone off sofas). It could happen 1000 miles from now, maybe 500 miles or even on the second climb of the 1st day back on the road
Now I could carry on with the bike, taking it easy by using a bus to travel up all the gradients and only cycling along the easier “flatter sections” but have you looked at a topographical map of Central America recently!
Right now I am still in Flores and I was planning to go out on the bike tomorrow for a easy 20 miles just to finally make up my mind. However I don't think it is absolutely necessary because earlier today after seeing the local “bone man” for treatment I walked into the centre of Flores. This meant walking up an short but slightly steep incline for about 50m. When I reached the top my knee was telling me all I needed to know.
Now comes the swearing.......for fuck's sake what a cunt my knee fucking truly is. Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it. God damn motherfucking knee why the fuck did this have to happen. What a bastard, what a complete and utter fucking bastard! Fuck you knee!
Thursday the 25th of November.
This morning I went out on the bike for what could be the last time. I headed towards the town of San Andreas because I knew the road. The 1st 8 miles were flat and easy and it allowed me to get nicely warmed up before I crossed the river. Once over the river the road started to go uphill for about 4 miles to the town of San Andreas. I was thinking that by the time I reached the town I would have my answer, well it turns out that I got my answer after about 1 mile.
I sat down at the side of the road and said to myself “oh well it was fun while it lasted”. Even with an unladen bike my knee didn't want to cope with the strain. The ride back into Flores was a slow affair, I wasn't in a rush and this was “THE LAST RIDE”.
With time to think I came up with a cunning plan for South America starting next spring!
Mind you it could be worse, I mean, I could just be reading this whilst clock watching on a Friday afternoon at work....Man, that would really be depressing!
A few days before all this happened I was having my usual breakfast in the Cool Beans café when I wondered where Alain was. I thought that maybe he would be nearing the Guatemalan border soon. After a short while of trying to remember his website (http://les3ameriques.canalblog.com) I saw that his latest entry was from San Ignacio! An hour after sending him an email I got a reply. He was actually in Flores!
It was cool to see him again (and once again laugh at the amount of gear he was carrying) and a few days later Christmas came early for Alain. A lot of my gear isn't worth shipping back to England as the resale value is to low and the shipping costs are high, so Alain got his hands on 4 pannier bags (his were held together with duck tape) and several other bits and bobs. He was a very happy chap!
As for me it's now Sunday (the 28th) and I never thought that it would be this difficult to get my hands on a large cardboard box