Climbing 2,450 and down 2,150 meters
Today was tough. We started straight away into a steep climb, 250 meters up in the first 4 killometres. After about 10 kilometres the road became a switch back, which is easier as it was newer and built with a more consistent gradient.
I caught up with Michelle at about 14 kilometres and rode with her to lunch. The climb was 36 kilometres long, and with tired legs it seemed to take forever.
One of the riders who is usually really fast is suffering from altitude, and chest and sinus cold, and is really slow. I don’t think he should be riding at all. Grant is one of the few riders who is still EFI (has riden the whole ride so far) and is not wanting to give up his EFI status. I remind him his health is way more important than the ride, and he assures me he knows this and will stop if he thinks he needs to, but I am still worried.
There are roadworks at about 25 kilometres and the traffic is stopped, but we are allowed through and have an hour on the road with no traffic. However the traffic above us is then let through and after the first few cars go whizzing down, totally disregarding the speed limit of 30 kilometres, Michelle and I get off the road just in time. Bus and trucks come racing down the hill in both lanes, and one onto the shoulder where we were. Once the traffic has gone past we set off again.
Finally we get to 36 kilometres and the top of the hill. Once again we stop to put on warm weather gear before the descent. There is about a 20 kilometre downhill before lunch. Once again a problem with a number of dogs rushing out. When we get to lunch about 1pm we find that one of the riders, Chris, has been bitten on the way down the hill.
After lunch it is downhill for a while, with a few ups. Amazing scenery with the river way below and the cliffs on either side. We get to the bottom of the downhill and cross over the river. Now we have 25 kilometres with an uphill gradient. Some of it is not nearly as steep as it seems, but our legs are tired, and Michelle and I are struggling.
At 4 kilometres from camp we decide to stop for a beer (not from a fridge again, so it’s warm) and then set off again to camp. Once again a number of really aggressive dogs! One of the riders has bite marks on the heel of one his riding shoes.
We finally get to camp at 5:30pm. Taking out the hour for lunch and the beer, this was a 10 hour day riding – no wonder we are tired. I am starting to have trouble with asthma and have had to use the reliever a couple of times.
We only have 15 minutes to get up the tents before the riders meeting, after which it will be dark. In my hurry I forgot to clip one side of the top tent into its clip, which holds it off the under tent.
I rush off to the rider’s meeting, a number of people finish the ride this section:
Tony and Michelle from Oz (did Lima to Cusco)
Theo and Victor from the Netherlands (did Lima to Cusco)
Peter from USA (did Lima to Cusco)
Laura and Gregg from Canada (Quito to Cusco)
Pier from Sweden (Quito to Cusco)
We are getting two new riders in Cusco, not sure how far they are going.
Dinner was chops, broccoli, and rice.