Stage 25 Huanco to Cerro de Pasco This stage was a big day in terms of climbing. The whole cycle was an ascent from under 2000 m to 4400 m. I think the combination of high altitude, and cold worked on all of us. I managed to come in second in the group.. I was fairly incoherent and chilled to the bone. I went to bed and was out for a couple of hours.
Perhaps the file that reads the card is damaged and the photos can eventually be recovered. Any thoughts out there? I hate the idea of losing those photos.
More of the digestive problems… I hope that does not affect the climb tomorrow which will be one of the toughest so far.
August 29 Tomorrow is a rest day so I plan to spend some time in an internet cafe catching up and posting some photos from along the way. You may see the route if you go to findmespot.com and click on SPOT ADVENTURES. Type in The Andes Race. Select either the map or the satellite view. There may also be photos posted on the bike-dreams.com site and an update on rankings.
Stage 21 August 26 We reached the entrance to the Huascaran National Park. Views of the Cordillera Blanca are spectacular. We are at about 4300 m in an alpine biome. Here is the highest peak in Peru rising to 6768 m. The glaciers provide water for irrigation and hydroelectric to areas below. These glaciers are retreating at a very rapid rate and all of them may be gone within the coming decades.
This by far is my favorite bushcamp due to quiet remote setting.
Stage 22 We continue to climb through the Park and pass many endemic species of a plant only found here and in Bolivia at an altitude above 3200 m known as the Puya raimondi. This endangered plant only flowers once after about 40 years and then dies. It reaches a height of 10 m!
We climbed to 4827 m dropped and then pedalled up to the highest altitude I have ever reached on a bicycle which was 4883 m. The temperatures dropped and it snowed. I was chilled to the core and could not tell whether my fingers were on the brakes when I began to descend without looking at my hands. In about 30 km I dropped to 3500 m to the next bushcamp along a river. I put up my tent and nested in my down sleeping quilt. Finally warm.
Each day brings serious climbs and descents. We are passing through areas where few go including other Peruvians. The villages are very basic. I am definitely the gringo here on my 10 speed mountain bike speeding at times along rough dirt roads.
Stage 23 No timing on the route today. Just before finishing at our bushcamp today a few of us stopped to purchase cervazas from a small shop in a village. It seemed that the whole village gathered around to see cyclists which they never see. One of the things I like about the route is that we are passing through areas that other tourists never see. See photos when I am able to post them.
Stage 24 August 29 We climb from our bushcamp. I find that initially I am gasping for oxygen most mornings. Fortunately after about 15 km I manage to get that under control and continue to push on.
The climb was a challenge as we continued to pass through small villages perched on the side of mountains. Sometimes there is a futbol game or a celebration of some sort. Otherwise there are always the dogs which warn of my arrival.
As I climbed to almost 4000 m it began to rain. Actually it was a freezing rain. This time I was prepared and stopped to put on my rain jacket and pants. We were warned by the organizers that the descent was very steep and dangerous. With rain and hairpin blind curves this was even more pronounced. I dropped to 1896 m in 50 km from a bone chilling mountain pass to a warm sunny city Huanuco. What contrast. A few of us were ahead of the support truck so I missed out on lunch. The driver caught up with me and offered me some bread and a banana. The dogs continued to either attack or totally ignore me. I wonder why some are so aggressive and others barely blink an eye. This was the longest descent I have ever experienced on a bicycle. I think of it as the longest descent.
Her in Huanuco is a very busy noisy city. I am looking forward to tomorrow when we climb back into the high mountains on quiet roads.
After two bush camps along the route we are in Caraz for the night. We have continued to climb reaching this charming town at 2270 m elevation. Most of our route since leaving the PamAm Highway has been dirt. Today we climbed along a narrow road through a magnificent canyon with a roaring river below. The road passed through some 50 tunnels on the edge of an extreme drop to the river. One must take care in tunnels should a truck pass through at the same time. I was surprised to bump a tunnel wall in the dark today as I passed through a long one. There was usually enough light so that you could get an idea of where to ride. No big deal.
Caraz remains to be intact having not been destroyed by earthquakes. Caraz is an exception. There is a cool strong wind making this a very refreshing respite. In the distance are the snow covered peaks of the Andes.
A much needed shower has removed the layers of ¨bull dust¨ from my body. Our group of about 40 has completely taken over a small hotel in the middle of town.
The Orbea continues to do well. I am continuing to run 700 x 35 as most run 29 or 26 x 2.1 tires due to some rough roads. So far just one slow leak. I intend to patch that tube tonight because the tube size I use is basically nonexistent in South America.
After tomorrow and of course more climbing I believe we have a rest day. Perhaps I can post more photos.
1 a happy bike is a clean bike
2 views while climbing through the Andes heading for Peru
3 dinner at local restaurante….tortilla de congrejo
4 crossing into Peru
5 Orbea rules
6 Pacific at Pascamayo
7 Peru river crossing
8 send off from major of Pascamay today w escort out of town
9 lunch today midway on 112 km cruise today
We stayed together today for safety since there have been some muggings in the past while passing through towns.
The first night out of Ecuador we bushcamped. Many long thorns caused several flats. Traffic in towns is a danger especially the three wheel taxis everywhere going in all directions. We have another day along the coast and then we have a rest day.
Peru so far reveals much poverty. As i spin my pedals I observe locals doing what they do to just get by. I am often reminded of India. Basically, I cruise down the road avoiding interaction with those who yell out. Once out of a town I settle in and just keep up the cadence.
I was followed by police for 15 km and was later stopped twice. I explained in spanich there were more coming and that it was a competition. Then i was escorted off route following police due to road closures. I pretended to be in the Tour de France following the flashing lights. It seems there may be concerns of motorcycle bandits. I can´t imagine doing this the entire time while passing through Peru.
There was to timing today so I was able to mingle with other cyclists and take more photos along the way. Much less huffing and puffing on the climbs. Our destination, Marcara, puts us very close to the border with Peru. Starting tomorrow we will be in Peru for quite some time, maybe 4 weeks. Suddenly we are experiencing much warmer temperatures. Today with no clouds the temperature was around 38 degrees C.
Each morning we gather for breakfast at 7. Breakfast consists of fruit, cereal, and often an egg. At around 50 km one of the support trucks sets up along the route so we can refuel with lunch. Upon arriving at our destination we have hot soup, fruit, bread, and a cervaza when available. Timing for each stage is usually from where we lodged to the destination which is around 100 km.
I will post more photos when it is possible to borrow someone’s device and there is WiFi available. In order to write entries I look around the town where we are staying for an internet cafe. Chow.