After leaving the customs checkpoint right as the sun reached its appex, we headed towards the town of Arriaga in what has to be one of the most extreme heats I had yet to experience – possibly with the exception of riding in Honduras towards the town of Choluteca where I think it hit 41C, but that was an anomaly never to be repeated in this lifetime. Today was simply brutal. After just 90 minutes of riding we had gone through the near 3 liter (100 oz) of water in our camelback and the sun was just beating us into a pulp, so I pulled over at a gas station to get out of the heat, eat something and replenish fluids.
We each sipped on a large gatorade as I refilled the camelback and ate a couple of sandwiches with pulled chicken and wickedly delicious jalapeño peppers. We just sat back and relaxed for a good 45 minutes waiting for the sun to withdraw its awesome human roastisory powers. Ironically, we were just about 10km from Arriaga, but it’s doubtful we would of made it without one of us getting a heat stroke.
From there we took a sharp left and headed towards Ventosa, a region known for its constant and high winds. Going over a smallish hill, a massive dessert valley that looked like something the Mars Rover would have sent back to earth – a huge spans of yellows, reds, and maroons sprinkled as far as the eye could see with hundreds if not thousands of wind turbines.
This is Mexico’s largest wind energy projects in one of its poorest states – Oaxaca. We had to ride probably 20 to 25 degrees off vertical to combat the push of the wind, but it was absolutely worth it, as off in the distance, we got to experience one of the most amazing sunsets, watching the sun go down between two mountains that rose out of the floor of the valley, directly in front of us as we rode, quite literally, into the sunset.