Today was up 1,375 meters and down 1820, and climbing to over 4,100 meters in altitude.
The reason for the shorter day yesterday was the climb would have been over 3,200 meters, so Cristiano made the call to set up a bush camp at a suitable place 20 kilometres earlier. Today was the easiest day of the 7 day stretch, so the 20 kilometres was added today.
The first 29 kilometres to the summit was hard as we were climbing to over 4,200 meters in altitude. Thankfully the altitude medication appears to be helping. Even so I had to get off my bike a few times to catch my breath before going on again. Each time I got off was less than a minute. I tried walking but that made me just as breathless.
I stopped at the summit and had a look around, and then put my warm clothes back on for a 25 kilometre descent. I was really please not to be biking up this side, the gradient is steeper than the other side. It was quite cold going down.
As I have rim brakes and I like to brake a lot, I stopped a couple of times to admire the view and check the rims were not too hot. At the bottom of the climb was the lunch truck. Then two more climbs, plus a 10 kilometre downhill into Puquio.
Puquio is in the valley so we will have a climb tomorrow first thing. We are staying at Coralia Hotel, which is pretty run down and has no guest facilities apart from rooms, but it has a bed, a hot shower, and I don’t have to put up the tent. The bikes had to go up to the roof up, three sets of very steep stairs, which is not easy wearing cleats (biking shoes). I nearly fell backwards on the last flight.
I went into the town for a drink. For the past couple of days most of the places have only had drinks at room temperature, and it was the same today. At the place I stopped I was sitting down and a wee girl about 3 years old, who was the child of the owners, ran over and hopped up on my knee. She sat there chattering away to me for a while, and showing me her collection of bottle tops, which was really cute.
This stage from Lima to Cusco is going to be extremely challenging: 7 days of riding, climbing, altitude, and cold. I am wanting to do all of everyday. I must be making progress as I am no longer asked in the morning by the TDA staff if I am going in the lunch truck.
Dinner: stewed beef, I think, potatoes and beans.