Alejandro at the Piedra Blanca snack stand
I’m moving by 3AM. The new pattern of sleeping early and rising early is working great. I don’t dread the nights and I actually enjoy the dark early morning hours on the bike. I pass the turn off to San Rafael after sunrise. I could use some water, but I don’t want to waste any time, so I keep moving. I can’t rush a visit with Pancho so I just don’t go there. A couple hours later near Rancho Escondido, a couple of ranchers in a truck stop and offer me water. I am so grateful. It’s hot as hell.
The climb to Rancho Piedra Blanca is so steep that the top is actually cemented to make it passable for vehicles. Near Piedra Blanca, the wind picks up. It’s a tailwind! I stop at the snack stand at the ranch. This place is so familiar. The rancher’s wife offers to fill my water and the googly-eyed shopkeep, Alejandro, proudly invites me into his plywood stand so I can pick out my chips and soda. It is stocked! I buy a coke, an orange soda and a powerade, 2 bags of cheetos and 5 de la rosa marzipan discs. I slug the soda and leave so fast that I forget my helmet and have to go back for it. Alejandro just laughs.
The wind is ripping. It feels like a miracle. I fly through El Arco and get on the road to Vizcaino, a notoriously sandy section of the Baja Divide. I drop my tire pressure to beach ball status and at first it rides fine. Then it gets soft and I’m on an off the bike a bit, but I’m making distance. The sunset out of Vizcaino is extraordinary– purples and pinks flush the clouds. Silhouetted cactus contrast the skyline. The road firms up and the track follows a series of rocky rollers. For the first time in days I feel supported in this landscape. I feel like I’m in the right place. I’m all alone, but it’s not too cold and I have a trash bag and a pair of sweatpants for warmth and I’m going to make it. In the evening of the fifth day of my Baja Divide FKT, I cross the state border from Baja California to Baja California Sur and into a new time zone. I pull over to sleep. I lay on my back and take five deep breaths and accept the day and the night and my place. I pull out my gear, set my alarm and sleep in peace.