Posts Tagged With: Negative Nancy

Day 68/164: Puquio to Lake Camp – 56km

Climbing 1,470 meters, down 525. Climbing up to and bush camping at a lake at 4,200.

The gastro is back! But I think it is related to the altitude rather than a bug. I am also feeling queasy and breathless, so when I set off I was not sure I would make it to the lunch truck.

We are climbing all day and going up to 4,200 meters again. Getting out of Puquio was a huge switch back for about 23 kilometres that just stretched on for ever in the distance and was very daunting.

A morning shot of Puquio just before we left (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

A morning shot of Puquio just before we left (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

I set off slowly and made my way up the never ending switch back, which of course did end and then was replaced by long up hills stretching for ever with big winding curves, and a head wind half the time. I have no idea how many times I stopped but I finally made it to the lunch truck.

Climbing out of town - more switchbacks. A view of the town from one of the loops (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Climbing out of town – more switchbacks. A view of the town from one of the loops
(Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

Having got to the lunch truck I decided I may as well try to make the rest of the day. I rode the afternoon with Michelle, who was also finding it hard going. The afternoon was straighter roads, with some climbs and some rolling hills. Finally we made it to the turn, and walked our bikes on the sand and dirt until the last rise before camp and rode in.

The top of our ride and our camp are on the Antiplano (High Plateau). Here's a lake, well above the treeline (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

The top of our ride and our camp are on the Antiplano (High Plateau). Here’s a lake, well above the treeline (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

It was 2:30 pm and already cold. It was windy and bleak. It took two people to put up the tents otherwise the wind would tear them out of your hands. There were no washing facilities, so after I got the tent up, I had a wet wipe wash, and then put as much warm clothing as possible.

I have 5 layers on top including my jacket, two hats, gloves, long john’s, pants and socks, and am warm inside the tent. I stay there until it is time for the riders meeting. For some reason as we are all shivering in the cold by the truck (as there is no shelter) the TDA guide decides we have to wait until all the riders turn up before starting the meeting, then also decides to give the longest explanation ever about the next day’s ride which is basically turn right onto the main road for 110 kilometres!

It is freezing. We have to take our gloves off before we can get served dinner, even though the staff ladle the food onto our plate. I am sure the cold is clouding my views, but it was the worst meal I have had ever. I don’t like white rice, white pasta, or potato, especially when over-cooked, stodgy, or in the case of the potatoes lumpy (and often partially raw).

I do understand that this is the most economical food to serve, and knew this would make up a significant portion of the meals. Tonight however, when faced by a stack of stodgy totally over cooked food, which was apparently risotto, meat stew of some red meat description too tough to eat or decide what it was, all 3 small pieces swimming in gravy, and stir fried cucumber (I think). I took one mouthful and scraped my plate contents into the bin, washed my plate, and went to bed. I was in bed by 6:20pm. Due to the altitude I have been struggling to eat as I have no appetite .

At breakfast I usually manage tea and porridge, but it not really enough for 4 to 7 hours biking before lunch (usually I have a peanut butter sandwich as well). I try to take a banana, which I also don’t like, but is very good for easy to digest food. For lunch I usually have another peanut butter and jam sandwich as I keep away from all the left over food, or food that would usually be in a fridge. Then at dinner I don’t eat the rice/pasta/potato, so I am starting to think about what I need to do to supplement my diet. I also used to think I was not a fussy eater but I realize I actually am. I keep thinking I will get hungry enough to eat the rice/ pasta/potato but I don’t. Luckily I was well padded when I arrived, so I have plenty stored to see me through.

I got into my sleeping bag thinking I hope it does not rain or snow during the night. Cristiano spoke to some workmen further up the road who said it had snowed there the night before. The wind was buffeting the tent and I slept intermittently. The worst thing is being nice and warm in the sleeping bag but having to get up during the night. Also every time I turned over or got up I get breathless.

As we are told to keep well hydrated, it is a vicious circle: drinking leads to getting up more. Thus tonight was a “Why am I doing this again?” moment!!!!

Here's our camp. The ominous looking clouds are NOT rain clouds. Luckily, no snow (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Here’s our camp. The ominous looking clouds are NOT rain clouds. Luckily, no snow (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

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Day 54/164: Guadalupito to La Gramita – 113km

1,100 meters up – 1,100 meters down

The roadworks went on for most of the night. The next day the stretch of road outside was three-quarters finished. Even though this is only the third day of riding I am really pleased that we have a rest day tomorrow.

The scenery is pretty much identical from yesterday: desert, hills, sand, wind, and once the cloud cover goes at 11:30am it is hot. Stark, but in a way it is strangely beautiful first thing in the morning, with fresh legs, and before the wind picks up and sun hits.

Dirt track to avoid a narrow tunnel (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Dirt track to avoid a narrow tunnel (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Once again there is a separate highway for much of the morning that we can ride on, which keeps us away from the traffic. We were told at the rider’s meeting last night that the place we are staying at is very quiet.

The lunch bus

The lunch bus (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The view from lunch today

The view from lunch today

The ride after lunch was hard, uphill through endless desert with a head wind. My two year old inner voice was running a negative commentary about this being the back side of nowhere, whilst my adult voice was trying to be positive about the scenery. The two year got the upper hand when I saw from a distance where we were staying: 3 kilometres in the distance down a dirt track to a small town that did not look appealing on initial viewing.

I stopped at the restaurant on the main road, and had a cold beer to deal with the dust in my throat, and tried the ceviche (raw fish) which is a speciality here. Both were delicious. Then I set off to find the hotel.

We are staying at the Las Aldas Hotel, which was actually ok, small cabins but no power switches or wifi. Plus no cash machines which was not expected, and they don’t take credit cards. To add to my joy everything here is really expensive! Captive market. We had to order dinner on arrival which was “Do you want the meal of the day or not”.

I am not sharing with Sue as she has really bad gastro and, unlike me normally, I have said I am not prepared to catch it again so I am rooming with Emma, a 22 year old nursing student on her summer break from England. Emma joined us in Loja.

After sitting sulking on the deck of the cabin, in a hammock looking at the beautiful view, I got over myself and appreciated the stunning scenery.

A little touch of paradise for the next two nights (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A little touch of paradise for the next two nights (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

As I had very little cash thankfully one of the other riders paid for my meal. Hopefully there will be a cash machine in the town although this looks extremely doubtful! Will worry about this tomorrow.

The meal was meant to be at 7pm and finally arrived at about 8:15pm. I thought I was having chicken but for some reason some of the riders had been allocated fish. I was happy, as fish was the better choice.

So after a long day in the sun and wind, plus red wine, I went off to bed for an early night, and happily no 5am start tomorrow.

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