Daily Archives: August 18, 2015

Day 31/164: Bonus rest day in Quito

I woke up at 5 am of course, even without the alarm, but I managed to drift off to sleep again.

Jackie and I went out for breakfast about 9am, but it is a national holiday and we could not find anything open. We decided to go to the nearby Hilton, as their treasured guest would hardly be doing without breakfast. The Hilton cafe was very nice. As my gastro had returned (no doubt influenced by unwise food and drink choices of the previous evening) I decided against the buffet and had coffee and waffles. Jackie had pancakes and the fruit platter. All up it was USD $21 for both of us (approximately $30 NZD).

We then went to an adventure camping shop we had seen the night before. They sold a lot of camping stuff including tents, but no tent pegs. I need to get some more before we hit windy conditions as I have only 4 pegs. My tent only came with 6 pegs, and when packing the tent up in the morning it is still dark so I have mislaid a couple.

After this we went back to the hotel as we had to check out of our rooms by midday. I had decided to pay and get my own room for the next two nights, as it was only $32 USA a night (NZ $46). I was thinking I would have to wait for Anna from TDA to get here to explain this to the hotel staff, as they do not speak English. Just then Anna and Christano arrived.

Christano said yesterday had been a tough day. New Zealand rider Phil had taken a wrong turn and they did not locate him until 9pm. By this time Christiano had started ringing the hospitals and had alerted the police etc. The lunch truck did not get in until 7pm as it had been out looking for him. A number of the riders were bitten badly by sand-flies while riding (see Sue’s blog for the photos of her leg!). Christano said he is not normally bitten by sand-flies but he was also attacked. Pleased I was not there as I have only nearly gotten over the last lot of bad bites! The ride today was also 143 kilometres, and over 2,800 meters of climbing, so a number of the riders will not get in until late this afternoon. The dinner truck then arrived so I helped bring in bags and bikes etc., then Anna sorted out my room for me.

Bring in the bags (Photo credit: from Sue's blog)

Bring in the bags (Photo credit: from Sue’s blog)

My room is small – a 3/4 bed, a bedside table, and a desk, plus the ensuite. It has a nice big window and it is nice to have my own space. Hopefully Sue will by default get her own room, and I will not have to worry about passing my bug to her. I spent the afternoon charging all the appliances, catching up on emails and the blog, and sewing. My expensive rain jacket needs sewing up again, this time took over an hour (probably a third of the time was re-threading the needle), plus a couple of other things.

I caught up with Sue for dinner, we went to a pizza place and I got a small pizza. First thing since waffles this morning so fingers crossed! Sue was very pleased as she also has her own room and is also enjoying having the space to herself. Sue said she got the bites when she stopped for a couple of minutes. She went to get back on her bike and the bites had blood! Today they have been driving her mad, even with antihistamine. I will cover myself in spray for the next few days before riding, instead of just when I get into camp. Sue also updated me that a couple of other riders also struck by the gastro. Two more riders lost their EFI today, now I think only 6 still have it – and we are only a month in.

Tomorrow I need to get glue for my bike shoe, and go to a couple of tourist spots.

Our hotel in Quito (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Our hotel in Quito (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Ecuador, South American Epic | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Day 29: Pasto to Ipiales – 72km

2,296km down: 11,345km to go. 1,400 meters up, 1,600 meters down

I decided “I can do this, I am going to ride the whole day”. I got dressed really warmly as the start was a 25 kilometre downhill. I have never gone down 25 kilometres in one go. I stopped halfway down to give my rims a rest, as the last thing I needed was a tyre to blow out from overheated rims. At the bottom of the hill I removed a few layers before starting the climbing.

I am taking much better care of nutrition and hydration. I got up the first climb alright with only one stop just before lunch. I got to the lunch spot and felt ok, so decided to carry on. The first 10 kilometres was ok but then not sure if it was the altitude or what, but my legs turned to jelly and I was breathless. I ended up walking up a 7 kilometre hill! It just kept going, up and up and up! Every time I got on my bike I lasted about 100 meters before having to get off each time!

At 60 kilometres I had worked out that at this speed I was nearly 3 hours from camp! Thankfully we then got some downhill, and after that I managed to ride most of the rest of the way.

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Patchwork fields (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

About 4 kilometres before camp I came across the distressing sight of a young motorcyclist who had been knocked off his bike. Unfortunately he won’t be going home again. About 1 kilometre before the camp I then saw a dog nearly get run over. I was quite upset when I got to camp.

The camping site is a restaurant with grass where we can put up tents. They have hot showers! With pressure, and not too hot, bliss! TDA generally gets a couple of rooms when they are available so we can use them as well for the shower queue. I was standing waiting in line, and the housemaid took me into another room they had not yet cleaned and let me use that shower. Heaven! I could take as long as I liked without waiting in line.

As I had got to camp by 1:30, I have washed a couple of things, hopefully they will dry before it gets cold. I have caught up with the blog, had some vegetables and noodles, and a cold beer. Tomorrow we cross the border into Ecuador. It’s four weeks today since the bike ride started. We certainly have gone up and down in altitude and temperature.

Chicken for dinner tonight.

View from today's ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from today’s ride (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Columbia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments