Climbing 1,900 meters – down 1,775
I had lots of weird dreams about riding and did not sleep that well. It poured during the night and I was dreading the morning. Thankfully at about 4am the rain stopped. It would have been a misery riding all day in the rain.
Max (TDA) said the first 5 kilometres were up, then a 30 kilometre downhill. Not sure what he used for his calculations but it was about 10 kilometres up. It was cold and quite steep and I walked pretty much all of the first 5 kilometres. I was breathless due to the altitude and asthma. Thankfully I got to the top then quite a steep descent. It was really cold. I stopped and put all of my warm clothing on.
The rest of the day was rolling hills, with a couple of short climbs. It was a long day riding, it was 5pm by the time I got to camp, so about 10 1/2 hours riding. I couldn’t push myself because of the asthma so going up any hills is pretty slow. We are staying in a field at the back of a restaurant.
About two hours before the end of the ride I was coming into a town and three boys ran out from a bridge and grabbed my bike and pannier and demanded money. They would not let it go. They were aged about 8 to 9. In the end I got off my bike. There may be a language barrier but they got the message that I was not giving them money and to bug off. It was pretty scary though, and I was pleased they weren’t any older. If they had have been, I would probably have given them money. It’s the first time in South America that children have been anything but friendly.
I got to camp and set up my tent, and was just in time for the riders meeting and dinner. We have a new chef for a month called April, as the usual chef Mark has a month off. The dinner was chicken pasta and fresh salad.
I am starting to realize that I have not taken being asthmatic seriously enough. The problem is generally it is so well controlled that most people don’t even know I have asthma. I can go a year or two without using the reliever at all. Unfortunately I did not factor in what happens when it is not well controlled, which is occasionally as a result of a viral illness. So I have no peak flow and no steroid medication with me. I have doubled my dose of preventer, and am carrying my reliever in my pocket when riding. Today I have used it about 7 times. As well as being breathless I am also coughing and bringing up phlegm. All in all not ideal. I spoke to Erin the medic to check it was what I thought: my airways bring over excited as a result of either (or both) asthma and altitude.
We are going to be at altitude for a while still – probably at least a month – so hopefully it will settle down.
Tomorrow we are going to be climbing back over 4,500 meters again in the morning. Given that I am sure the altitude is what is driving the asthma I am considering not doing the climb and taking the lunch truck to lunch. Disappointing to be back in the truck but I am realizing that I need to take my asthma a bit more seriously.