Daily Archives: August 21, 2015

South American Epic: Section 3

To give you an overview of the next section of the ride:

Stage3pic

Stage3

The Experience

Quito, at 2,800m, the highest capital city in the world, is the jumping-off point for one of the longest and most dramatic sections on the South American Epic – Volcano Alley. If your section begins here, make sure to arrive a few days early to get used to the altitude and enjoy the local nightlife.

Leaving the city we head east, with views of the Antisana, Surnaco and, if we are lucky, Cotopaxi volcanoes. We nudge past 4000m before dropping 3500m in the next 200kms as we skirt the edge of the Amazon basin, ending up in the southern city of Loja for a rest day and perhaps a glimpse of its famous fiesta of the Virgen del Cisne.

Two days later we cross into Peru, the third country on the South American Epic. Here the riders will spin along the eastern edge of the Desierto de Sechura before spending a rest day on the Pacific coast in the beach town of Pascamayo, one of the continents best surfing spots. From there it is a spectacular climb up into the Cordillera Blanca where the cyclists can enjoy the atmosphere of Huarez and visit Huascarán National Park, a UNESCO World heritage site. Three days later and about 3000m lower, the riders will enter the Peruvian capital of Lima and complete this section.

Categories: Ecuador, Information, Peru, South American Epic | Leave a comment

Day 32/164: Rest Day in Quito

A month since we left Cartagena today! I decided not to weigh myself before I left, as I knew I would not like the result (plus I was worried the scales might say “Only one person at a time”) but I did my measurements, and decided I would re do these measurements each month. Today is the day! So out with the tape measure. And what my clothes have been telling me is confirmed, I have less of me to drag up those hills than I did a month ago 😀
Stomach (fattest part) – down 10 centimetres
Bust down – 4 centimetres
Thighs – down 3 centimetres
Hips – down 7 centimetres
Waist – did not originally measure, but have measured this month.

I went to sleep at 8:30pm last night but did not sleep well. I skyped with Shellbe at 4am and then never got back to sleep. Shellbe is in Bangkok for two more days before she goes to Sri Lanka to volunteer for a month (Editors note: this blog is from 11 August, so Shellbe was well out of Bangkok before the bomb attack). It was good to catch up with her news. I skyped Lizzy yesterday and got to catch up with her and talk to Lucy also. Lizzy was minding Lucy as Kelly was at work. I did not get to talk to Xavier (Jig) as he was at day care. Shellbe told me that when she skyped Lizzy and Lucy, Lizzy asked Lucy where Aunty Shellbe was. Previously Lucy had said Shellbe was in Asia and Gran was in South America. Today she looked at Lizzy like she was a halfwit for asking the question, and said “Aunty Shellbe is in the iPad, with Gran!”.

Today was glue hunting and tourist activity.

The Plan is to go Quito old town, Plaza Grande and the various historic buildings in those. Plus the cable car – Teleferico – which goes up to 4,050 meters. Quito has a population of 2.671 million, and is the second most populated city in Ecuador.

I decided not to have breakfast at the hotel. Sue was feeling a bit better so decided to join me on the tourist tour. First of all we caught a taxi up to the entrance to the Teleferico. Once we got dropped off we had to walk up about 5 minutes to the ticket office. Then waiting in line for a cable car – 6 people per car. The ride up took about 15 minutes and certainly was steep.

Inside the Teleferrico looking down

Inside the Teleferrico looking down

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The cable car going up the hill

Looking down at the city (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Looking down at the city (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

When we got to the top we had a drink and something to eat, and walked around. Given that we were at 4,050 meters I found walking up any of the steps a challenge. Sue however does not suffer at all from altitude sickness and zoomed up the path (luckily not all the way, as we found out afterwards it went for 5 hours). I found a nice rock in the sun and sat and waited for her to return. There was a man selling small toys and Ecuadorian music which was really good so I bought a CD.

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At the top, view of the city

Volcanoe in distance top of the Teleferrico

Volcano in distance

Sue coming down from the walk

Sue coming down from the walk

Me up at the top

Me up at the top

Another view from Teleferrico cable car

Another view from the cable car

We then went back down again and caught a taxi to Plaza Grande. The traffic was pretty full on and the taxi driver took a number of side streets. Some were quite steep so I ended up feeling a bit carsick.

Plaza Grande Quito (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Plaza Grande Quito (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Plaza ground square

Plaza ground square

Policia on horses

Policia on horses

In the square we saw a line of shoe cleaners. There were two small boys, aged about 10, in the square who said for a dollar I could take a photo of them. I declined the offer but appreciated the initiative and gave them both a dollar each (this turned their frowns, when I said no, into delighted smiles).

Shoe shining in Plaza Grande Square

Shoe shining in Plaza Grande Square

View of houses from Plaza Grande Square

View of houses from Plaza Grande Square

We went into Catedral Primada De Quito. The order was founded in 1535 but the original building was demolished in 1545 and this building bulit. It houses an important collection of art, paintings and sculptures, but you are not allowed to take any photos.

catedral Primada de Quito

Catedral Primada de Quito

Policia on segways

Policia on segways

We also saw from the outside, but did not go into, a beautiful church called Basilica Del Voto Nacional.

The church in the background is Basilica Del Voto Nacional

The church in the background is Basilica Del Voto Nacional

Sue was feeling a bit unwell due to the antihistamine so we went back to the hotel. I had a nap, downloaded some photos, and packed my bags again ready to depart the next day. A small group of us went out to the same restaurant as the first night in Quito. My gastronomy seemed better so I had pork spare ribs (yum) and red wine. Some of us never learn!  I went back to the hotel for an early night.

When I got back I saw the white board – Quito to Papallacta: 64 kilometres. This sounded ok but we are already at 2,820 metres, and we would be riding up to 4050 metres (I can’t even climb up steps at 2,820) . I have not been taking altitude sickness medication as I had been told we don’t need it again until Peru!

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