1,325 meters up – 1,345 meters down
I left on my bike with a borrowed back wheel – Britten one of the TDA staff also has a cyclo-cross but is on leave for 5 days so I have his wheel. My wheel will be re-spoked today and back on my bike tomorrow.
Heading off out of town I was distressed to see two dead dogs, both the result of road accidents, in quick succession – thankfully I didn’t see the accidents. One of the dogs was not young, and I wondered if maybe it had got hard of hearing as it got older. I wonder whether they were cared about dogs, and if their owners would be looking for them which is sad, but even sadder if they were strays that no one would care about, and they would just stay there.
On the notes we had been warned to look out for debris between 8 to 18 kilometres, and there was debris on the side of the road. The notes, however, had not said watch out for the really crazy town where you will be in rush hour traffic. The mini vans (taxis) will stop right in front of you and then drive out into you, none use their indicator, but they all make good use of their horn!
Thankfully I got through the town intact, then there were a few climbs up and down.
There was quite a bit of construction and everywhere there was they have young girls waving red flags to slow the traffic down – not that the traffic took any notice. What a boring job standing there all day, maybe you have to spend 3 months doing this before you can move onto another job?
After lunch the scenery changed back to desert, with hills of boulders, and a head wind. Not much of a road shoulder, and lots of trucks and buses!
At 92 kilometres, Cathy and I caught up with another cyclist John who is feeling ill, gastro again. Sue is also not riding today, with gastro so bad that she has to hold onto a rubbish bag. John did not feel like walking or riding, so we waited for the lunch truck to come along and pick him up. The hour looking up at the hill we had to climb was a bit off-putting but I resisted the temptation to jump onto the truck also when it arrived.
After we saw John safely onto the bus we set off again up the hill, then down into a head wind. The highway is two lanes, but running parallel there is a new two lane highway stil under construction but fully bike rideable. We stayed on this highway all the way to camp. Every now and then we had to get off the bike and clamber over the barriers that are there to stop the general traffic using it as well.
Unlike Colombia and Ecuador where there was a certain tolerance for cyclists, here the Peruvian motorists don’t think we should be on the road at all! It does not help that there are hardly any cyclists here and those you do see are not recreational cyclists slowly going along the shoulder of the road. This is where the motorists believe we should be and they toot angrily at us!
The problem with the shoulder of the road is it has holes, rubbish, deal animals and tuk tuks – so not good riding.
After the downhill there was about 15 kilometres riding along a straight that never seemed to end, into a head wind. Finally we got to the camp, staying at Bungalows Gemma. The highway finished just at the front of the camp, we jokingly said “hopefully they will not be working all night! Well, ha! By the next morning this stretch was nearly finished as there was pounding of the road, and trucks and heavy machinery going until about 2am. Guess it made a change from roosters, dogs, and bars.