This was a very very hard day. A climb of 37 Km to 3600 m left me absolutely exhausted. When you are cycling along at a speed of 4km per hour (I dare not mention the speed in miles because it would be even less!) for hours on end you certainly have the opportunity to absorb the country side. And very beautiful it was too! Cycling on the Panamerican highway is OK . Most of the time there is a wide hard shoulder to cycle on so you feel quite safe. Drivers always parp their horn repeatedly to let you know they are coming. They do not slow down or take evasive action when they see a dangerous situation (e.g. a child crossing three lanes of motorway, a cow on the road, oncoming traffic in the wrong lane or cyclists on the hard shoulder) they parp their horns. When we have cycled big hills before we have always managed about 500 meters climb per hour. Today we managed 250 meters climb per hour. To be fair Malcolm did a lot better and had to wait for me loads. Malcolm thinks it's because our bikes weigh about 16 kilo's and he is carrying anther 20 in luggage plus water and I'm carrying 15 kg +food and water. Whereas normally we have very light weight nippy bikes. I think altitude has a role to play as we are not yet fully acclimatised and cycling up to over 3600 metres left me breathless. Please tell me it's the altitude and not that I'm seriously unfit or that the weight of the bikes are the sole factor in slowing me down. Please come with hard evidence so that I can convince Malcolm! The scenery is beautiful, people give lots of encouragement and give you sweets ,food is lovely and very cheap (handy for two hungry cyclists)and hey we are on an adventure.
We arrived in Riobamba tired but happy and quickly found a cheap hotel and supermarket where we could top up with the essentials [ wine, beer bread and cheese ] . We even managed to find and book a hostel in Guamote our next destination . Everything seemed so easy and then half way through the wine Marjet received an email , the hotel was double booked and we didn't have a place to stay for the next day . Disaster! However when we pleaded leniency and mentioned our biking the hostel owner apologised profusely and offered us free accommodation in privately owned house in Guamote !
|snow capped mountain view|
|View from the hostel in the morning . Cotopaxi volcano|
|View from the hostel in the morning|