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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.