I wake up with the bump below my left knee feeling none too hot. It's
swollen enough that it looks like my knee just extends extra far down
my leg. I'm sure mountain biking will feel wonderful on it.
As I pack my stuff, I figure out why I woke up itching my legs multiple times last night. I pick up one of my tennis shoes and bugs start scurrying out; seems I managed to bring back a horde of little insects, spiders I think, that returned the favor by snacking on me. On the positive side, this goes quite a ways towards taking my mind off the waterfall injury.
The bike ride's great, and not just because I've left most of my heavy gear back at the hotel. I go up a winding trail, ending up a max of ~700 m above sea level, and then plunge down the other side. I fall, but they're fun spills: just enough scratches from my leg sliding in rocks to make me forget yesterday's ordeal. My destination's Praia Castelhanos, a beach on the east side of the island. It's nearly deserted and nice, but I don't stick around. After eating a fried chunk of cheese from the shack of a restaurant, I start back up the mountain.
Then it gets interesting: a nice little afternoon storm makes a trail 4x4s take slowly on the best of days slippery all over. A playlist on my mp3 player heavy on "The Doors" is sufficient motivation to make it up pretty quickly (with Jim Morrison hating to remind me that I'm getting older and someday going to die, why not keep pedaling even though I feel beat?), but wearing a poncho in a rainforest can get damn hot. With some more enjoyable tumbles, I'm back down the west side and into town fast enough that I almost expect to turn around and see a cloud of smoke coming from my brakes.
And then I chicken out: I take the ferry back to Sao Sebastiao and buy a bus ticket to Sao Paulo. Call me a little bitch or finally getting smart, but the uncomfortable bus ride's only ~4 hours of suffering compared to at least 2, probably 3 days biking on legs too tired to make it to the bus station at much more than a crawl.
When I get to my hostel, I've put a total of ~45 miles on my bike today. This is getting a bit out of control. Drinking some beer, I start blabbing to some Brits. A few minutes into conversation and I realize this is the most I've spoken since back in Rio on 8/12, over a week ago. Yeah intense vacationing:)