What an emotion-filled day! Or should I say adrenaline-filled? Dread-filled? LOL
My friends Robert, Fritz, Cristian, Mathieu, and I met early Sunday morning at Fresh Market in Ciudad Colon to go through Piedras Negras and Jaris, on our way to Route 324.
After breakfast at Soda Santa Marta on route 239, we headed over to Zapotal and took a right at Bar/Restaurant Caballo Blanco to take route 324 to El Sur/Las Delicias. Robert had done it twice and was ready to guide us.
Route 324 is 90% easy gravel with a gentle descent and with wonderful views.
What I liked the most was riding through shady tunnels of trees, as it is a true mountain road. Lovey!
The other 10% of the road is a more challenging, with some up and down parts that are more technical. We crossed three small streams/rivers with steep banks uphill. I was grateful that Robert had recommended I take Storm.
Such a fun-filled route! As Fritz said, it had a little bit of everything. What an adventure!
After drinks and french fries at Chupitos Restaurant on Calle Tulín — smart move considering what was awaiting us on the next route! — we headed over to 239 again to head up to Alto Limón (from the road that goes to Zapatón), to go to Polka and Candelarita (Puriscal).
I was extremely scared and anxious before we took the turn. 🙂 The name ¨Alto Limón¨ implies heights, and that implies steep parts. But, as my friend Jim had told me the route was fine, I trusted that it was doable and we ventured forth. However, my body had been correct in its sense of things!
Our first shock was a steep, loose-gravel section that led up to a spot with an incredible view.
No photos I could post would show what awaited us. It was incredibly difficult. Basically, this is an enduro route, and we were lucky it was dry. It had ruts and loose, extremely steep parts that were, in fact, dangerous, as my friend Koki later told me in a voice message. He said this was the worst route in the Puriscal area. Photos only show the areas that were safe to stop.
As we reached flat areas without ruts or rocks, I am sure we were all hoping the worst was over. But the thing about this route, is that more adrenaline awaited us as we continued. The last downhill part was the worst. I can´t believe none of us fell. We basically slip-slided down, down, down and around and down, down, down again. Yikes!
When I saw the Río Grande de Candelaria below I was hoping it was not the river we had to cross up ahead. LOL But, it was not. I was delighted to see a bridge over the river Quivel! And to see signs of civilization! 🙂
There, a man told us we were through the worst and that all that was left was ¨Una cuesta más, no más.¨ Just another uphill part, that´s all. What a route up!!! The first part also steep, rocky, and curvy, then up and up and up! But we made it. What a relief to finally hit pavement. 🙂 (I may return to Candelarita one day to enjoy the views more. But I do not dare go down to the river! LOL At least not for now!)
The ¨Force¨ had indeed been with us!
The truth is that what distresses me most on these kind of extreme adventures is feeling responsible for putting my friends in danger. I always feel guilty. I am grateful they all forgave me.
Fact is, when one finishes a route such as this, one is filled with joy and a deep sense of accomplishment.
RIDING IN COSTA RICA: LIVE THE POWER!
Date of ride: Sunday, January 23, 2022
Two songs: ¨We can be Heroes¨ and ¨I´ve got the power.¨ 🙂
Thanks to Cristian and Mathiew for the extra photos. Cover photo is by Mathieu.
Here are the Wikiloc routes if you want to use them to navigate.
Ruta 324 Zapotal a El Sur/Las Delicias
Zapaton Alto Limon Poka.
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