Posts Tagged With: Tenting

Day 11: Thursday 24 Nov – Porangahau to Eketahuna

133km today – 1850 meters climbing, 1540 k down

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Today’s ride

Another big day of riding, but thankfully it’s not as hot as yesterday. No shops to buy a snack or a drink until about 70km so I preloaded on water and made a sandwich.

The first 5 km was flat so I had some time to get the legs warmed up, then up a hill but thankfully not the one we rode down yesterday.

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Back over the river out of camp (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Some of the hills were pretty steep. As I was climbing up one of them I thought to my self that although I had made a sandwich, I didn’t remember actually packing it into my bike pack. I got to the top of the hill and got off my bike to check. Drat! I had left it behind, plus I ate my emergency snack the other day and have not yet replaced it! So I was now worried about how long it will take to get to 70 km and how much climbing there would be, as I am seriously worried about bonking (a riders term for completely running out of energy due to lack of food).

Then I thought”Yay the 2nd truck has not yet gone past, I may be able to get something off that”. Less than 2 minutes later the truck came past so I did a thumbs down which signals them to stop. Thumbs up means you’re ok and they go past. Luckily they had a few bananas so they gave me one.

Off I went, much more happy, and ate the banana about 10km.

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Obligatory tourist photo with the world’s longest place name

The day was nice and warm, not much wind, with a few climbs. There was one quite big descent and I could see a big climb looming, but then yay there was a flag and we took the road to the left. A really nice gradual downhill of about 10 km following a river bed.

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Some downhill ahead, yippee (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I stopped at 70 km at the shop and had an ice cream: pecan nut and caramel. It was a bit sweet but it tasted really good. Then I headed off again.

The day wore on and the legs were getting tired. The last couple of hills I got off and walked a bit.

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Coming down after another climb

We finally arrived in Eketahuna. Never did I imagine I would be thrilled to arrived in Eketahuna, but thrilled I was.

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Eketahuna, I love you.

We stopped at the Eketahuna Pub after 9 1/2 hours on the bike – that cold beer tasted really good. Then 2km to camp.

The camp was surprisingly busy with motor homes, and more arrived after we got there.
I got the tent up, had a shower, and then it was dinner time. Dinner was chicken casserole -the chicken was really tender and tasty, with white rice, salad and caramelised  pumpkin with feta sprinkled on top. Michele and Tony shared a bottle of Moana Park Merlot with us.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is not looking great: rain plus gale force winds. We are staying at a Top Ten so I rang and booked a cabin.

It took awhile to get to sleep, as unsurprisingly the other camp residents weren’t planning to go to bed at 7:30pm! But I was quite happy after a big day dozing in my sleeping bag, listening to music on the iPod.

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Eketahuna (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 10: Wednesday 23 Nov, Napier to Porangahau

Riding 120km – climbing 1150 meters, down 1050 meters

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Next stage into Wellington!

It was very warm today and sunny, with no wind first thing. We started off with an amazing breakfast cooked at the motel. As they don’t have a restaurant it was in the conference room. The chef and owner must have taken seriously that we ate a lot, as there was stacks of cereal and cooked food.

We have three new riders joining us for this section. TDA had an offer that people could do a section for free if they were interested to see what a TDA ride would be like. Joining us are Tim and his dad Steve. Tim has ridden with TDA before but is keeping his dad company, plus Veronica from Auckland.

Veronica sat at breakfast with Sue and I, asking lots of questions about TDA and the ride, and then wanted to know about other rides we had done. Once she heard we had done the South American ride she wanted to know all about it. I was trying to be polite but I was also trying to eat breakfast and get away on the bike before it got too hot out there.  So in answer to her question “How was it?”, my informative response was “Good” whilst shoving more food into my mouth. “What was good?” she asked. “Um, everything” I said.

I find it’s really hard to sum up the South American ride in a few words, especially when I’m not interested in having the conversation in the first place. However Veronica did not pick up on my lack of interest in a conversation, and kept on asking questions. Thankfully it turns out I could ride faster than her so was able to evade any further questioning for the day. (By the end of the four days I had nicknamed her the wasp, as she kept coming at you with questions about everything).

We set out in the lovely sun, the first 8 km was bike trails. There are so many bike paths here leading off in all directions. Whilst we were on the winery tour yesterday a number of people arrived on bikes following bike trails to get there.

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Departing Napier on the coastal path

We rode on back roads from Napier all the way to Waipawa. It was really nice to be away from the traffic.

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A traffic jam on New Zealand back roads (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

I stopped in Waipawa for a drink . It was so hot I had already drunk both bottles of water. The cafe was happy for me to fill up my water bottles there.

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Home town in sight!

From Waipawa to Waipukurau we were on the main state highway which was not fun, so I was pleased to turn off to Porangahau. It was a nice country road with rolling hills, but then off course a gravel road thrown in, just because there is one. On the way I passed a sign for “Ugly Hills Road”, someone has a sense of humour and am only surprised TDA didn’t send us up it.

Christian (TDA) had said at the lunch stop that it’s pretty windy up on the gravel track so you can take the road instead, it’s an extra 11km. We decided to take the gravel road, well it was certainly steep, and the gravel was so thick in places you had to get off and walk. At the top it was so windy I was pushed off the bike twice, so I walked a bit. At the end of the gravel was a really steep tarmac road downhill. I was hoping that we would not have to ride up it in the morning.

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Old Hill Road, with gale force NW’er, cycling on gravel

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View from the gravel track (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Once I got down the hill it was just 5km on the flat to camp. When we got there we were surprised to see a rider who is slower than us, and who was at the lunch truck when we were there, was at camp already. I said “It must have been a pretty good 11km stretch of road” and she told us Christian had it wrong, it wasn’t an extra 11km it was 11km instead of 8km so it was only 3km more. If I had known that I would have certainly have taken the road!

It was not a bad camp spot, it was sheltered, no shops or wifi but good showers.

It was about 4pm by the time I got to camp so I had a wee doze once I had put up my tent. That night for dinner we had pork chops, which the chef had managed to cook for nearly 30 people and were still tender, plus potato with rosemary in it and salad. We shared a bottle of Moana Malbeck Merlot with Michelle and Tony.

I was in my tent, tucked up in my sleeping bag, eyes closed, by 7:30pm.

https://www.relive.cc/view/783030341

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Looking down onto Porangahau (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

 

Categories: Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 1 -Monday 14 November

Auckland to Miranda Hot Pools – Climbing 1,000 meters and down 1,000 metres.

The weather was fine but windy – luckily a tail wind mostly. I was up at 6am and packing bags. It was a bit of a worry finding out about the earthquake, thankfully my family and friends are all ok. I didn’t really have anything to put in my rest day bag as have managed to fit everything into my every day bag, including the pillow.

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Bags all packed: Almost everything for the next month is in my daily bag on the bottom, the permanent bag (which we only get on rest days) is on the top and is just about empty

We all had breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then set off to navigate the Auckland traffic! It was rush hour but luckily it was coming the other way.

It was a nice surprise to find Peter from NZ who did part of the South American trip is joining us for the first four days.

We made it out of Auckland ok after stopping at numerous traffic lights. First stop was at 41k for coffee, then 51k for for fresh Cleveland oysters. Brett and I shared some nice fresh oysters with a squeeze of lemon, yum!

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Oysters!

Lunch was at 66k, by 61k I was feeling pretty hungry and had a 4k climb. I got cramp in my calves and had to get off my bike, I walked a bit and got back on and got cramp again! Then when I got off my bike I could hardly walk either, so I hobbled to the top of the hill doing a mixture of walking and riding. Thankfully the cramp did not return after that. When I got to lunch I did not stay too long as I did not want to cool down and start to stiffen up.

From lunch it was up hill and I struggled a bit, feeling annoyed that I had not trained more but then luckily we got down to the Firth of Thames and it was pretty flat all the way to camp.

We are staying at Miranda Hot Pools camp. It has nice amenities including a hairdryer in the toilet and shower block. Plus of course the hot pools.

My first job was to put up the tent. You would think after putting it up for five and half months in South America this would have been a breeze. Sadly not so. It took me awhile to work out which bit went where, I was pleased it was not pouring with rain. Then after a shower I had a nice soak in the hot pool, followed by a rest before dinner.

There are four TDA staff compared to the 12 on the South American ride, all are new to me, including I am pleased to say the cook. We had a lovely meal of fresh salmon, asparagus, and a fresh salad of kale, capsicum, pineapple and tomatoes (could have done without the pineapple but at least it was fresh) plus couscous which normally I leave but it went straight down tonight. All the plates and cups and cooking gear is really clean, much more hygienic than the previous trip, fingers crossed it continues.

This ride started in Darwin and the group rode down to Sydney then flew across to Auckland. Sue, who I rode the South American ride with, has done from Darwin and joined us in Auckland.

Other riders I have ridden with before are:
Walli from the Trans Europa Epic
Michelle, Tony, Chris, Linda, and Peter – from the South American Epic
Plus Brett who has done both rides with me.

I headed off to the tent for an early night. It’s meant to start raining tonight and rain for the next two days, so I have rung ahead to the next place we stay, the Welcome Bay Camp and Hot Pools, and booked their last remaining cabin for tomorrow. It’s not so bad to pack up a tent when it’s raining, or put one up in the rain, but it’s pretty miserable if it’s raining at both ends.

One of the riders is tracking her rides with “Strava” which is quite interesting to see – here is the clip of today’s ride.

Categories: Trans-Oceania, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 87/164: Pazacamaya to Oruro – 113km

I decide to ride this morning as I am longer vomiting and I kept dinner down.  It is a cold morning at minus 1 degrees.  The sun comes out by 7 am so starts to get warmer rapidly and there were blue skies most of the day, a few fluffy clouds later in the day.  As we are quite high up in altitude (about 3900m) the clouds look like you could almost reach out and touch them.

I am a bit breathless so having to take the ride quite slowly, thankfully no steep climbs.  We have long straight roads most of the day with a slight up gradient and a strong head wind after lunch.  Once again quite barren countryside with tussocks, rocky hills, dry river beds, and lots of small farmlets, with people out watching small flocks of animals – sheep, cows, and I saw one with a few alpaca in the mix as well.

View of scenery

View of scenery

View of scenery

View of scenery

When I got to camp I had completely lost my voice and lightheaded, due I realized to being dehydrated. Usually I am really good at drinking water, but today not sure why I did not drink any. So I drank two bottles full then dozed in my tent for a couple of hours, after which I felt a lot better.

Once again bush camping. To go to the toilet it is a 5 minute walk across the field, to a mound of dirt visible from the main road. Thankfully not too busy – not a great situation with gastro.

Two rider's tents at bush camp

Two rider’s tents at bush camp

Bush camp tonight 10km outside Oruro (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Bush camp tonight 10km outside Oruro (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

There was a hungry looking scrawny dog hanging around camp all afternoon, being shoed away by a number of riders. The dog’s patience however was rewarded. The TDA staff were barbecuing meat for dinner, and took their eyes off it for a moment. The dog was last seen heading off at great speed with a very large piece of steak hanging out of its mouth.

At the riders meeting the question was asked as to why, when we are next to a town of 250,000 people, are we bush camping with no amenities . We understand bush camping when there are no other options, but we are not convinced in this case that there was no other option. Also there are a number of people with gastro, and the lack of washing and toilet facilities is unpleasant, and potentially leading to further spread. No real reason was given other than it is hard to find camping options for this amount of people.

We had steak and salad for dinner.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid finished up in this area. Oruro was the last place they were seen jumping off a cliff into a lake.

Also Max from TDA told us at the riders meeting that there was a belief that the surrounding area is where Atlantis was. Will have to look into this on the next rest day.

Wonderful skies tonight (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Wonderful skies tonight (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Sunset in Oruro (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Sunset in Oruro (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

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

Day 86/164: La Paz to Pacasmayo – 104km

1350 meters climbing, 1250 down

The first thing to do in the morning was drag the bags down the steps and then down the road to the truck. Everything fitted in my new bag but I still need to do some work on the packing system to make it easier. It was quite cold but I am pleased with my new jacket, plus have the usual other warm clothing.

The breakfast is not at the hotel where we are staying but down the road where the street party was. I am not feeling at all hungry (due to gastro) but with 104 kilometres plus climbing I made myself eat. I managed to get down two cups of tea and some bread roll with peanut butter on. Then a sudden dash to the bathroom to bring it back up. So not riding today after all.

A bit depressing to be in the truck on the first day of a new section. It does however save me having to ride through the aftermath of the street party. Broken glass and rubbish were strewn everywhere. The female riders were warned to ride in pairs are there were a number of drunks still lurching around the streets.

Three of the riders are staying in La Paz longer:

  • Jean from French Canada has lost his passport,
  • Marina’s boyfriend Guillaume (both also from French Canada) has joined her in La Paz to do the La Paz to Salta section. Guillaume has experienced every rider’s worst fear: he arrived in La Paz but so far no bike!
  • One of the other rider’s Mike had his iPhone pick pocketed last night. When he went to the Police station to report it the police station was closed. Apparently it is not open on Saturday nights!

The riders had to ride 26 kilometres out of town, doing most of the 1,350 meters climb in chaotic traffic then basically flat riding to camp. There was lots of traffic with the added extra of having to go through a large market with the usual swarm of taxis and mini vans starting in and out with no regards for traffic rules or cyclists.

The scenery reminded me of the desert road in North Island New Zealand: barren, tussocks, and mountains in the background. I left La Paz in the lunch truck but I got into the dinner truck when it came past and got to camp about 11am.

The camp was uninspiring, a bare concrete soccer field right in the open in middle of town!  A bush camp with no bush! A bush camp also means no showers and no toilets.

Soccer camp in middle of town

Soccer camp in middle of town

This camp also has no shade but the TDA staff have bought a bought a new shade canopy so the riders can at least sit under it in the shade in the afternoon.

Riders sitting in awning to get out of the sun.

Riders sitting in awning to get out of the sun.

To go to the toilet the instructions on the whiteboard said: “Take a spade and walk down the road to a tunnel to the other side” – this is about 5 minutes’ walk, and hardly a safe option at night, even without the packs of 7 to 9 dogs that lurk around the camp all day.

A number of locals took the opportunity of driving slowly past to look at us – no doubt we would do the same if a bunch of Bolivians suddenly camped in the middle of our town square on a soccer field! A few came over and had photos with us.

I dozed in my tent most the afternoon, and whilst I have gastro I have not vomited again.

Whilst in La Paz I took my prescription to the pharmacy and got prednisone. As they did not keep the prescription I got two lots. I have not started taking it, I am still using the reliever but not enough I don’t think to start prednisone. My lips are still causing problems, as with a number of the riders, which we are putting down as due to the altitude.

For dinner we had chicken, macaroni cheese and salad. I had a small helping which hopefully I will keep down. There were dogs barking and fighting most of the night, and I had to get up 7 times during the night with gastro, so not a lot of sleep. However, I was warm with my new alpaca blanket.

Some camped out on the field (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Some camped out on the field (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

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

Day 82/164: Copacabana to Huatajata – 65km

Climbing up and down 950 meters.

It was not as cold as yesterday morning, but still not warm. The first two kilometres out of the camp I walked as it was up steep streets on cobblestones and the air temperature was cold. No point making the asthma worse.

Looking back down at Copacabana (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Looking back down at Copacabana (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

After this was a climb of about 15 kilometres then gradual up, with some down for a further twenty kilometres. At 40 kilometres we had to catch a ferry.

Getting off the ferry.

Getting off the ferry.

After the ferry we stopped at the town to get a drink. There was a dog there like my dog Benji (a Wheaten terrier). I called to him and he came over for a pat, next thing he was on the seat next to me, then on my knee. I had a very nice hug for a few minutes. There are a surprising number of Wheaten terrier descents in South America.

Dog friend

Dog friend

Dog friend getting clsoer

Dog friend getting clsoer

Another dog who thinks he's a lap dog!

Another dog who thinks he’s a lap dog!

Then up another climb but only about 5 kilometres to the lunch stop. Amazing views. Lake Titicaca is huge,
it is so big you can see all the other side. It changes color all the time from grey to blue to turquoise.  The views are breath taking.

Hungry dog at lunch with view of Lake Titicaca in the background

Hungry dog at lunch with view of Lake Titicaca in the background

View from lunch at the top of the hill (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from lunch at the top of the hill (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Although it is cold at night it is warm during the day, although there can be a cold wind. We are in Bolivia for 16 days, and most of it will get bush camping, at altitude, and very cold as soon as the sun goes down. There is snow all around on the mountains here already.

After lunch it was downhill and rolling hills. I got to camp about 2pm as I took my time enjoying the views on the way. We are staying at a hotel under reconstruction. There are no rooms available but there is a bar / restaurant. We have the choice of camping outside, on the first floor with the bikes, or in the enclosed pool area. I chose the pool area as it was nice and warm, and had a toilet.

After having a shower (warm water :)) and putting up the tent, once again I dozed quite a bit of the afternoon. I am using these shorter days to rest and recuperate as there are many long hard days to come. Tomorrow we reach La Paz and the half way point in kilometres for the tour: 6,700. There is talk of a halfway point party in La Paz the second night we are there. We have two rest days in La Paz. The first rest day about 17 of the riders are going off to do a ride called the Death Road. Approximately two riders a year die doing this ride. I’m not one of the 17 going:
1. I am going to rest on the rest days, not ride a bike
2. I am not good on steep down hills, especially on a bike I will never had riden before.

At the rider’s meeting tonight we were told that the route may change tomorrow from 85 kilometres to add an extra 30 kilometres, but not additional climbing. This us to take us to the south of La Paz which will be easier to enter the city with the traffic . The traffic is apparently crazy and either way there will be a convoy. Cristiano, the Tour Leader, is leaving us in La Paz to take a holiday, and is not returning until Santiago about the 8 November. We have another tour leader coming – Sharrita – who has lead a few other tours.

Tonight for dinner we had Chicken chow mein with rice and noodle salad, plus fresh fruit salad.

Coming down the hill to the ferry

Coming down the hill to the ferry

Rider's meeting (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Rider’s meeting (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Bolivia, South American Epic | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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 72/164: Limatambo to Cusco – 76km

1,500 meters climbing, 950 down.

During the night it poured, and that small omission I made yesterday with clipping the tent? Well, the whole floor of the tent got soaked along with most of my gear 😦 😦 :(. Thankfully not my electronics as they were safely in my bag, but I use a packing cell of clothes as a pillow, so I am not sure if I will have anything to wear in Cusco!

I wrapped everything that was wet in black plastic bags, and will deal with it in Cusco!  I said goodbye at breakfast to those who are leaving, in case I don’t get to see them again.

I set off from camp thinking to myself “Only 76 kilometres standing between me and three rest days!”. The first five kilometres was pretty tough as the gradient was quite steep, thankfully it improved. I caught up with Michelle at about 10 kilometres and rode with her. Luckily there were some parts of the hill that were pretty reasonable riding.

 A view of Limbatamo and yesterday's valley that we pedalled up (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

A view of Limatambo and yesterday’s valley that we pedalled up (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

I had thought the main hill was 20 kilometres, we passed Sue and she thought it was 15 kilometres, which would have been great as we were nearly at 15 kilometres. We were all wrong: it was actually 25 kilometres.

Finally we got to the top and Michelle yells out “Yay!”. I try to yell as well but I don’t have any spare breathe, oops my asthma is worse than I thought. I used the reliever a couple of times, and then it was downhill to lunch.

The lunch truck party, playing oldies on the stereo (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

The lunch truck party, playing oldies on the stereo (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

After lunch I rode with Michelle and Tony, only 36 kilometres to go! There was a bit of a headwind and some more hills but the thought of getting to the hotel and a warm shower kept us going.

Up the hill for the final climb and down on the other side. Our first view of the main part of Cusco. The red earth, tile roofs and brown bricks make for a drab scene (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Up the hill for the final climb and down on the other side. Our first view of the main part of Cusco. The red earth, tile roofs and brown bricks make for a drab scene (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

At 8 kilometres out, we were on the outskirts of town, it was dirty rubbish bags, mangy dogs, mud, buses, taxi vans, pot holes, gravel and a steep gradient. Once we got to the city, getting to the hotel was chaos –  the traffic was everywhere.

Trying to manage the traffic, and look out for flags and potholes was very challenging. I was lucky there were three of us navigating, as I would have got lost if I had been on my own. Finally we got to the hotel, to my amazement in one piece.

Getting through Cusco to our hotel was a bit of a challenge. Lots of turns combined with steep, rough cobbled streets made it exciting. One of the streets had a vegetable market. It made for lots of dodging bodies and produce (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Getting through Cusco to our hotel was a bit of a challenge. Lots of turns combined with steep, rough cobbled streets made it exciting. One of the streets had a vegetable market. It made for lots of dodging bodies and produce (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

We're nearing the hotel. Here's the Mercado San Pedro (Market) (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Nearing the hotel. Here’s the Mercado San Pedro (Market) (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

We are staying at Hotel Garcilaso in Cusco for three days 🙂 🙂 :).The hotel is old but situated right in the middle of the tourist hub. The staff are very helpful and friendly. Like a number of the riders I am not in the best shape, I think it’s a case of being exhausted. I have a burnt and bleeding lip, pressure areas on the butt, gastro, asthma, altitude breathlessness, and an annoying cough, plus my neck has frozen on the left side. I think the three day’s rest has come just in time.

Grant – the rider I was concerned about the other day – went to a private clinic and is on penicillin injections for a chest infection. Other riders have a mixture of problems.

I got changed, got some water etc. I had dinner with Tony and Michelle at a nice restaurant (the name escapes me) to celebrate them having finished the section, and completed all of it! I am also feeling pretty pleased to have completed all of it. I had filet mignon, fettucine, fresh salad, and a glass of red wine. Then back to the hotel to bed.

Yay, no 5am start tomorrow or the next two days.

 

We made it! Park the bikes, unload and shower, and it's off down the street for some grub. This is the Plaza San Francisco (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

We made it! Park the bikes, unload and shower, and it’s off down the street for some grub. This is the Plaza San Francisco (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

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

Day 71/164: Abancay to Limatambo – 116.6km

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.

Views out of Abancay (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Views out of Abancay (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

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.

Heading down: more crazy switchbacks (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

On the road today (Photo credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

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.

A shot of the river and more stunning scenery (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

A shot of the river and more stunning scenery (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

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.

Amazing views on today's ride (Photo credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Amazing views on today’s ride (Photo credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

We are camping at the Tarawasi Archaeological site, apparently originated by the Incas (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

We are camping at the Tarawasi Archaeological site, apparently originated by the Incas (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

We are camping at the Tarawasi Archaeological site, apparently originated by the Incas (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

We are camping at the Tarawasi Archaeological site, apparently originated by the Incas (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

And, here are some of the staff cooking steak for dinner. Peter and Jason (riders) are supervising (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

And, here are some of the staff cooking steak for dinner. Peter and Jason (riders) are supervising (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

Some views of the surrounding landscape. A beautiful setting (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Some views of the surrounding landscape. A beautiful setting (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

Some views of the surrounding landscape. A beautiful setting (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Some views of the surrounding landscape. A beautiful setting (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

 

tdaincan

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Day 66/164: Nazca to Pampa Galeras Camp – 90km

Climbing up 3,200 meters; down 100 meters (surely there is a missing zero?).

I am feeling quite daunted at the thought of today’s climb: 90 kilometres up, and getting up in altitude also, so I decided to add a couple more kilometres by missing the first flag. Thankfully some of the other riders did the same thing and we noticed quite quickly.

The climb for the first 30 kilometres was a series of switch backs, then just a road that kept curving and going up and up.

A photo of the winding road today  (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

A photo of the winding road today (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

Lunch was unexpectedly early at 38 kilometres, and we were given the welcome news that instead of 90 kilometres we were riding 70 kilometres 😀 😀 :D. At an average of 7.5 kilometres and hour this is nearly three hours less climbing!

The lunch truck today (Photo credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

The lunch truck today (Photo credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

At about 2,900 meters up the altitude starting taking effect. The scenery was stunning, but very hard to truly appreciate when you are gasping for breath.

I stopped at every shop for more water, and one PowerAde, and reapplied sunscreen countless times. I started taking altitude sickness pills today (which I should have started two days ago, oops!) and they say to avoid excessive exposure to sunlight. Well from 6:30am to 3pm I was out in the sun. Eight and a half hours climbing up a hill.

I was very pleased to get to camp. I got my tent up, sorted out my gear, had a wet wipe bath, and had a nap. In total I climbed up 2,192 meters.

The change in the distance was because it would have been more than a 3,200 meter climb, and the 20 kilometres we did not do today will be added to tomorrow’s ride.

It’s cold once the sun goes, I have a few layers on including a hat and gloves.

Dinner was chicken, pasta, and stir fry veges.

Bush camp - basically a cleared lot beside the road.  Dusty!  (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Bush camp – basically a cleared lot beside the road. Dusty! (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

Bush camp - basically a cleared lot beside the road.  Dusty!  (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg's blog)

Bush camp – basically a cleared lot beside the road. Dusty! (Photo and caption credit: Laura and Greg’s blog)

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