Posts Tagged With: Broken bike

Day 80/164: Puno to Juli – 83km

Climbing 175 meters, down 300.

It was cold coming out of the hotel, and had a maze of streets to negotiate through. Even though it was only 6:30am there was lots of traffic already. Once we got clear of Puno we had great views of the lake. It stretched out to the horizon, and was hard to believe that we are at 3,800 meters above sea level.

I am ok on the flat, but am still having problems with asthma and altitude on hills. My lungs have decided to add to the problem by producing lots of mucous. I am pleased that this week is going to be a relatively light riding week. 83 kilometres and not much climbing is just what I need at the moment. I rode with Shirley and Dan for about 20 kilometres but then stopped at some ruins.

All of a sudden my gear shifter on the left stopped working, so now I have small and large cog on the left and large only on the right. Not so easy for getting up hills! I managed ok for about 30 kilometres with an up gradient that was not steep, but had to get off half way up a hill in the town. It was either get off or fall off! Thankfully this was the last town before going downhill to camp.

We are camping at 3,750 metres, by the beach, thankfully not a dust camp. There is grass to pitch the tent on. Given that we were only biking 83 kilometres (although the climbing was at least double the 175 meters planned) I got to camp at midday. I cleaned my bike ready for bike clinic at 3pm, put up my tent, and dozed for a couple of hours in my tent.

View of beach camp

View of beach camp

Thankfully the problem with my bike is just a snapped gear cable, so I have a new one on, and the bike is ready to go again tomorrow.

Next I went to the medic clinic to discuss my asthma and altitude sickness etc. I am going to go off the altitude sickness pills as the effect wears off the longer you take them and they have side effects. When I am in La Paz I am going to go to a medical clinic, and get an asthma management plan. My asthma is starting to settle, but we are going to be going higher up in altitude again, so I need to be better prepared. I think I was lucky this time.

Dinner was hamburgers with buns, salad, and gherkins. It was warm here during the day, but the night was cold. I had both sleeping bag inners, my hat, long john top and bottom, socks and jacket and I was still cold! I will need to sort this in Lapaz, as I have been warned that Bolivia is going to be cold.

Camping on the shores of Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Camping on the shores of Lake Titicaca (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Our campsite tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Our campsite tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The sun sets on our camp (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The sun sets on our camp (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 52/164: Pacasmayo to Huanchaco – 112km

680 meters up, 700 down

The hotel had got really well organized for breakfast, when I got down there it was all set up with rolls and fruit and plates on the table, and a buffet arrangement with eggs and cheese and meat at one end of the restaurant, and coffee on a table at the other end.

I set off about 6:30 feeling well rested with legs that were almost feeling fresh. I got to about 12 kilometres and started to get really bad stomach cramps, and a few kilometres later had to jump off my bike and was sick.

I also had a quick trip later into a sugar cane plantation later. I was pleased that the meal the night before had been so meagre. I felt much better after I had been sick, but I was not enjoying battling the headwind. I got passed by a peloton at about 20 kilometres and jumped on the back.

I stayed with it until lunch (about another 40 kilometres). It’s unbelievable how much less work it is to cover the same distance, but you don’t get to see much of the scenery as you have to be constantly watching the rider in front so that you don’t run into their wheel.

I left the peloton at lunch and set off feeling ok. Up until lunch we had been on a busy highway and going through desert type surroundings, sand hills, sand dunes and wind. Just before lunch we turned off the main road and then went along a much quieter road through sugar cane fields.

After lunch it was much of the same but at 85 kilometres my chain and pedals lost all traction, my chain was just spinning, as my freewheel or free hub had broken. I had never heard of this part before and it was not on the list of parts we needed to bring (as it is unusual for it to go, but I found out later mine is the third this trip and we are only in week 8).

So faced with a choice of sitting in the hot sun on the side of the road and being bug lunch or continue walking, I kept walking. I came to 95 kilometres which was the start of the 20 kilometre dirt road along the beach, and for some reason I just felt uneasy going to a deserted spot where I could not ride off quickly, so I decided to wait there for the lunch truck. I covered myself in bug spray, apart from the tops of my hands where of course I was bitten.

The lunch truck came past and stopped with the thumbs down signal from me 😦 I had said to Luiz at lunch no more lunch truck for me for the next couple of weeks! Ha!

The last 20km today is a dirt track (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The last 20km today was a dirt track (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I was quite worried about my wheel as we were in the middle of nowhere, and I was thinking I would probably be off riding until Lima to be able to find the parts. If this had happened in Columbia and I was facing 5 days not riding I would have been secretly delighted, but given the change of riding conditions I am not. Luiz – the lunch truck driver / bike mechanic – assures me he and Antonio will sort out a plan to keep me on the road.

The dirt road is very corrugated and windy, and the riders still riding don’t look like they are having a great time.

The town we arrived in is very pretty, with a nice coast and lots of restaurants and is very touristy. We are staying at Hostal Camping Naylamp.

The sea view from outside our camping site  (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The sea view from outside our camping site (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

A small garden to camp in (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A small garden to camp in (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I get showered etc and Cristiano advises that there is a family who live nearby who have hosted over 2,000 cyclists through hot showers (the cyclist equivalent of couch surfing). The family is coming for dinner at camp and the husband is sorting out getting my part and a new seat for one of the other riders.

Also organized for the day is a local blind man who does massages. 30 soles ($15) for one hour! I am first in line and get a massage for nearly one and a half hours 😀 It feels really good to get the knots in my back and neck sorted. Afterwards I went for a walk up through the town.

They have straw canoes / surfboards that you paddle out to the waves, kneeling on it, with a paddle. A few people are out doing this. It’s high tide and the waves are splashing onto the road. It’s the most touristy place I have been since Cartagena.

The local surf boats (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The local surf boats (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Once again people are selling hats and sun glasses etc (plus lots of small straw canoes) On my way back I saw Ray from USA sitting in one of the bars on the waterfront so I joined him for a drink. Ray and I are two of the slowest riders and we both try to beat each other to lunch or camp. Ray likes rum and coke so is always looking for a place that sells them. We had a good conversation about places he is going to visit in South America with his wife. Ray’s wife is not into cycling, but Ray is thinking about back packing and buses. Suddenly we realize we are missing the rider’s meeting and take off for camp.

The entrance to our campsite  (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The entrance to our campsite (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The family who take in the cyclists are there for dinner, and the wife has baked four chocolate cakes – $5 a slice, bound not to last long around a bunch of hungry cyclists! The cake was delicious, very moist.

The local family who host passing cyclists  (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The local family who host passing cyclists (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Peruvian chocolate cake for desert tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Peruvian chocolate cake for desert tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Luiz and Antoni tell me it’s all sorted, they will have me on the road tomorrow. After dinner Luiz comes over and tells me they (via the cycling family man) have found me a brand new hub that contains the freewheel for $100 soles ( about NZ $50) is that ok? I am rapt. The only issue is that they need to re-spoke my wheel as well as fit the new hub, so tomorrow they have another wheel I can ride on. Sounds pretty good to me, so a few beers coming up for the bike mechanics over the next few days.

A small garden to camp in (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A small garden to camp in (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Camp kitchen tonight  (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Camp kitchen tonight (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Peru, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 12/164: La Pintada to Manizoles – 132k

948 km down: 12,693 km to go (climbing 2,800 meters)

When I took down my tent in the morning, I found my wallet, which had somehow managed to get underneath it. Even though I had had it after I put my tent up, it must have slipped out of my pocket when I bent down.

I set off at the usual time of about 6:30am. It was nice and cool to start with. The road was pretty good for the first 80 kilometres, there were some ups but quite a lot of steady downhill.

There were lots of local stalls selling fruit and drinks plus small shops. Every kilometre or so on the route there are a few plastic chairs, a cooler with drinks and a collection of sweet bars.

The vegetation is amazing, so green and flourishing. There are banana trees growing and enormous bamboo trees.

Columbian Scenery (Photo and caption credit: Sue's Blog)

Columbian Scenery (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Interesting trees (Photo and caption credit from Sue's Blog)

Interesting trees (Photo and caption credit from Sue’s blog)

After about 50 kilometres I was feeling a bit uncomfortable on the saddle, and no matter how I moved I could not get comfortable. I decided to stop at lunch as I did not want to cause any problems that would see me off riding. Jody, one of the medics, said a number of the riders were also having problems due to the wet and hot riding conditions. I have been ‘double shorting’ since about day two, may have to go to three pairs.insec

As I was not going to ride any more that day, I started to wash some dishes to help out, but there was a very sharp knife up the wrong way and I sliced my finger. As I was standing there applying pressure to stop the bleeding, a bee randomly came up and stung me! Then when I went to take the panniers off my bike I noticed I had a flat tyre! The back tyre of course!

So I went to camp in the lunch truck. I was really pleased that I had.  I had climbed 900 meters prior to lunch and I would not have been able to climb the remaining 1,900 metres. When I got to camp yay! A hot shower! What a novelty. Some cold showers are colder than others I am discovering.

One of the riders Phil (from Christchurch in New Zealand) has been having problems with his bike and can’t use the bottom two gears! Crickey I would not do any riding at all if I could not use the bottom two gears! Phil is still really fast and despite his gearing problem was the first rider to camp today. There are about five of the men who compete against each other to be first.

Phil was sitting by the gate and while we were chatting he told me he was waiting for a taxi to take him down to the town, where hopefully he could get parts for his bike. I asked him if he could get a cat eye for me if there was one there and I would pay half of his taxi.  When he arrived back he had a cat eye for me but sadly no parts for him.

It started to get late and a number of riders had not arrived yet, one of the trucks had gone back looking for them. Dinner is usually at 6pm but it was after 7 by the time we got to eat. The truck came back with a few of the riders but there were still four missing! By this time it was dark, then one arrived with no lights, another one with lights, and then at nearly 8pm the final two arrived. A number of riders are wanting to achieve every part of the ride, which is known as “Every f*cking inch” (EFI). The riders become obsessed with maintaining this, so they don’t want to be picked up.

I fixed my tyre with help from another rider. It turned out the two inner tubes I had in my panniers are the wrong size! As my rims are the same size I did not realize that because my tyres are bigger I also needed to have bigger inner tubes! Luckily I managed to borrow one.

At the camp was a St Bernard, a small black dog that had the body of a Labrador and the legs of a corgie, plus there was a small grey wiry haired dog – about the size of Australian sheep dog (Blue heeler) – this dog was very affectionate and seemed to be really craving attention.

Once again it started to rain during the night.

Categories: Columbia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment