Crashes and sickness for several…. just arrived in La Paz.. Death Road descent tomorrow!!

Days turn into weeks and so on. Unfortunately there have been several crashes and countless illnesses. No crashes for myself but I have had three encounters with diarrhea. Obviously bicycling and diarrhea don’t make for a good pairing.

Having crossed over into Bolivia yesterday ,9/24,I have noticed less traffic, no police, buildings of brick instead of adobe, less trash, fewer attack dogs, and no more political signage on houses.

When we arrive in the designated hotel the WiFi system always crashes and it is impossible to email or Skype. Fortunately one of our cyclists, Max, is an IT guy and he attempts to reset the system. The systems are antiquated and are designed for a handful of people.

Our route continues along the eminence Lake Titicaca. We will soon arrive in La Paz.

That just happened. Will post a few photos soon.. 9/26 1:00…

Copacabana, Peru
Copacabana, Peru
9/25 Ferry crossing L Titicaca ... Bolivia
9/25 Ferry crossing L Titicaca … Bolivia
Ferry 9/25
Ferry 9/25
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Town before La Paz  9/25
Town before La Paz 9/25
market along route in town just before dropping into La Paz
market along route in town just before dropping into La Paz
just before the descent into La Paz, Bolivia 9/26
just before the descent into La Paz, Bolivia 9/26

We raced for 70 km following a police escort until our timing spot at the midway point.

L Titicaca
L Titicaca
We recently climbed to a high plain known as the Altiplano. As it sounds this is a fairly flat plateu at an elevation of about 4000 m. The bulk of it lies in Peru and Bolivia. At the border of Peru and Bolivia we encountered Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in all of South America.

Lucho and me selfie during 9/20 stage
Lucho and me selfie during 9/20 stage
Curious cows  licking salt at bushcamp 9/21
Curious cows licking salt at bushcamp 9/21
Puno, Peru and  Lake Titicaca in background
Puno, Peru and Lake Titicaca in background
floating islands of reeds in L   Titicaca  (Peru)
floating islands of reeds in L Titicaca (Peru)
floating islands need  constant  addition of reeds
floating islands need constant addition of reeds
Life on floating islands
Life on floating islands

We pedal into Cusco which is a city of some 500000 with three days off to visit Machu Piccha

It takes a a couple of buses and a train to reach Machu Piccha. There are no roads so you must ride the Peru Rail to the town of Aguas Calientes and from there you either hike up or take a bus to the site.

Machu Picchu is a 15th century ruins of an Inca City which was abandoned before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. It was never completed. The complex seems to have a spirtual focus on mountain worship and the sun with an emphasis on the solstices.

It is not the lost city of the Incas and was found by accident in 1911. Despite earthquakes it remains intact because of it´s incredible engineering.

I was particularly amazed by the buildings on the extremely steep slopes of Wayna Picchu or Huayna Picchu mountain also at the site. Machu Picchu is the taller mountain above the complex.

guinea pig at the market
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cuy or guinea pig at a roadside stand
cuy or guinea pig at a roadside stand
protestors going through a market
protestors going through a market
complex and Wayna Piccaha in background
complex and Wayna Piccaha in background
road up to Machu Picchu
road up to Machu Picchu
engineering...a credit card cannot be inserted between the stones
engineering…a credit card cannot be inserted between the stones
on top of WP
on top of WP
view of comples and Machu Picchu Mountain from WP
view of comples and Machu Picchu Mountain from WP
stairs up Wayna Picchu... 2 hour round hike
stairs up Wayna Picchu… 2 hour round hike
stones quarried from up higher and precisely cut.. fit together without mortar
stones quarried from up higher and precisely cut.. fit together without mortar
steepness of stairway down Wayna Piccha or Huayna Piccha
steepness of stairway down Wayna Piccha or Huayna Piccha
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terraces to help prevent erosion... 70 inches of rain annaully
terraces to help prevent erosion… 70 inches of rain annaully
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Inca ruins above Cusco
Inca ruins above Cusco
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precise cuts of granite stones
precise cuts of granite stones
Cusco
Cusco
stones weighing as much as 300 tons....Saksaywaman ruins above Cusco
stones weighing as much as 300 tons….Saksaywaman ruins above Cusco

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Roosters are always present regardless of whether we are bushcamping or staying in a hotel in a sizable city.

morning welcome from nearby villager at bushcamp
morning welcome from nearby villager at bushcamp
Actually the whole family
Actually the whole family
Each day seems to include at least two challenging climbs. The climbs seem to range from 1000 m to 1400 m mas o menos.

Soon we shall be leaving Peru behind and entering Bolivia. No more of the Peruvian sole for currency and instead we change to the Bolivian Boliviano (BOB). The exchange rate is about $1.00 to 2.80 Soles. So a coke may run 1 to 2 soles unless you are near Machu Piccha. Dinner around 10 soles.

su hermana tambien
su hermana tambien

Hardy Grune of Germany writes for Bicycling and local paper.

http://www.zeit.de/reisen/2014-09/peru-suedamerika-radrennen-anden-trail

This is a portion of his article:

The racers are in the minority

Each of the 40 participants has its own deal with the challenges . For a
small group of ambitious and predominantly male participants , the race is
in the foreground . They race through villages and over the passes to pay
too much attention without their environment . Your goal is the victory that
is celebrated and discussed extensively in the target . This Racer , as they
are called among us drivers , but are in the minority , because for most of
the participants are experiencing the landscape and their own sensibilities
in the center . Physically, the racers are already a class by itself . My
attempts to ride in the front field , at least until now always ended after
about half a day’s ride

.
One of the fast men is the second German participant next to me , Alfred
Mähr . A former league footballer and sports teachers from near Ravensburg ,
with his 65 years has a toned body and is virtually unstoppable on his 29er
mountain bike , especially off-road. ” I like the peace that I have away
from the traffic ,” he says , ” and since I live almost in the Allgäu , of
course I also like the mountains .” The competition games for Mähr only a
supporting role , he says . ” My goal is to arrive in Ushuaia . But if the
disease comes , and may even come from overloading the body, it is quickly
over with the race . ”

Now Mähr is however currently third in the drivers’ standings – and yet he
has discovered the thrill of winning. “When I see that I can keep up in the
mountains with the best riders here , already comes to ambition . Defend
third place would certainly be fantastic

“You ‘re cycled from A to B ”

Who wants to win: the American James Hodges . While seven in the morning
slowly torturing most drivers half of the springs , Hodges has already spent
half an hour with the bike maintenance , and while the rest of us still wipe
us the breakfast crumbs from the corners of his mouth , he is already
sitting ready on the saddle . The 63 -year-old has run many ultra –
marathons before his knee no longer play along . So he got on his bike and
raced up to 2,700 miles at a stretch . ” I like to challenge myself. Too,
then keep going when it is no longer fun or not it actually goes on. ”

Not the pace , but the consistency is the key factor for the former teacher
from Virginia . ” Everyone here drives his own race . And it is important
that you have contact with the own body . Fact that its weaknesses can feel
it, and be accountable . Then you come in the end to the finish. ” Primarily
but will also Hodges arrive especially in Ushuaia . ” I want to look and say
later on the South American Map : ‘ That you ‘re completely cycled from A to
B . ‘ ”

Hardy Grune

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Objectives remain the same: remain healthy enough to ride each stage, ride every cm of the 11000 km, enjoy the challenge and all persons involved–keep a respectful ranking overall.

Looks like some of our greatest climbs coming up between here and Cusco. Something like four days starting tomorrow.

Rankings are periodically updated on the bike-dreams.com site. See the Andes Trail “ranking 14″ on the right side under South America.

I will continue to leave a complete trail from the equator south on findmespot.com. Go to Spot Adventures and see adventures. Search for The Andes Race.

Totally exhausted two days ago… many suffering from high elevation and large temperature fluctuation

Each day includes long climbs and often sensational descents. The scenery continues to be mind blowing like that of National Geographic proportions.. Here of some of my lastest photos plus some from Bike-Dreams.

Photos 1-7 by Wilbert Bonne of Bike Dreams

All others taken by James

vicuna herd yesterday during cycle
vicuna herd yesterday during cycle

< lunch stop a couple of days ago with Hilde from Norway lunch stop a couple of days ago with Hilde from Norway[/caption]

Barry and Terry  of Australia with Peruvian Policia escort
Barry and Terry of Australia with Peruvian Policia escort
yesterday along the route with village greeters
yesterday along the route with village greeters
typical scene along the route near a village yesterday  9/11/14
typical scene along the route near a village yesterday 9/11/14
photo by Wilbert Bonne of me taken yesterday 9/11
photo by Wilbert Bonne of me taken yesterday 9/11

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view from dinner 9/10
view from dinner 9/10
traditional instrument - harp at breakfast
traditional instrument – harp at breakfast
bushcamp above 4000 m
bushcamp above 4000 m
James enjoying the afternoon sun at bushcamp
James enjoying the afternoon sun at bushcamp
sensational descent from camp
sensational descent from camp
the descent on my gps
the descent on my gps
future building blocks
future building blocks
views on dirt road 9/11
views on dirt road 9/11

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the route just covered
the route just covered

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this one and the previous one at the top of a climb yesterday 9/11
this one and the previous one at the top of a climb yesterday 9/11
this curve has a history of fatalities
this curve has a history of fatalities
dos soles = clean bike arriving in town 9/11
dos soles = clean bike
arriving in town 9/11

What a cycle! Almost 2900 km..Highest elevation of 4883 m, longest descent ever 50 km, villages which seldom see gringos, more dog attacks ever, and so on.

After a very spirited race along a road which was being repaired we arrived in Ayacucho 80 km later. The timing was to be to the lunch stop, but the support vechicle was unable to get through due to road construction. Rein came in first and I managed second. We all look forward to rest days.

I need to replace my rear shifter cable and clean the Orbea.

Ayacucho, the city of 33 churches.. same as the  age of Christ when he died
Ayacucho, the city of 33 churches.. same a age of Christ when he died
This is on the ring of fire..  due to subduction and plate tectonics.
This is on the ring of fire.. due to subduction and plate tectonics.
view while consuming a sandwich de jamon y queso.. most cities and villages have a central plaza
view while consuming a sandwich de jamon y queso.. most cities and villages have a central plaza
Looking closer under the tree in the park.. business is booming..shoe shine
Looking closer under the tree in the park.. business is booming..shoe shine