Climbing 1,715 meters and down 1,415
There was a dog barking most of the night – protecting his territory from the invaders – so I only slept in patches. There is dust over and in everything. I shook out the tent and sleeping bed as best as I could. I am not keen on beach camping again. No doubt we will though at sometime in this tour.
Another 3 kilometre dirt track back to the highway, then deserts, dust, heat, headwind (Groundhog Day! Again!). This time to add a bit of interest, and to miss another crazy town, we did a two kilometre off road stretch on dirt, through where the locals dump their rubbish.
Every day it starts off overcast and the cloud suddenly lifts at about 11:30am, then the temperature suddenly can shoot up over 10 degrees. It is also when the wind really picks up.
Not much to say about the riding today as it was pretty similar to the last few days. There was one uphill that went on and on, every time I thought I was getting to the top I wasn’t. When I finally got to the top I was hoping for a nice downhill, but we had another few kilometres of a slightly up gradient, then finally a couple of kilometres down.
Tonight we are staying at a national park. While riding I was trying to remind myself that while the images this is invoking are images of national parks in NZ, this may very well be a national park of sand!
We get to the turn off, according to our notes it is meant to be about 3 kilometres up a dirt road to camp!
It’s not – it is 6.5 kilometres and a lot of it not rideable due to the streams of cars coming down, and the soft sand. The final kilometre is down a steep track into the valley we are staying.
I arrive feeling grumpy – no showers; toilets have no running water, just a hole in ground with a seat; the whiteboard says watch out for snakes and scorpions, don’t leave your tent or bag open! Eeeekkkk! And no beer!
About 11 riders are going into Lima a day early to get an additional rest day (and miss the 50 plus kilometre convoy tomorrow morning). Once I put up my tent, wiped the tent, my sleeping bag and mat, and everything else, with wet wipes, and had a wet wipe wash I was feeling a lot better.
The national park is not forest, but it has grass and shrubs and trees further up the hills. It gets cold quite quickly once the sun goes. It is 4:30pm, and I already have a thick jacket and a hat on. I am trying not to get paranoid about snakes. I had an email from Shellbe who is currently volunteering in Sri Lanka – they have snakes slithering around the streets!
At the riders meeting we get an update on Phil – yay he has been discharged from hospital and is staying in Lima for a few days. However the family have asked that we don’t visit as he is still a bit confused due to the head injury. We are sorry we won’t get to see him but a number of us have already decided to visit him in New Zealand in a few months, and hopefully organize a short bike ride with him.
Tomorrow we have a 50 to 60 kilometre convoy – the distance is not finalized yet.
Lima has 9 million people and is no more cyclist friendly that anywhere else in Peru. We are asked if any of us want to go in the lunch truck, and are told there is a cut off to be at the convoy point. Given that there is only 1,160 meters to climb in the whole day, I am confident I can make it to the convey start before the cut off.
The camp is really quiet because of riders who have left the tour, and those who have gone into Lima early.