Andes Trail Stage 1 of 109 Quito to Mitad del Mundo to Quito, Day 4 of 142
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It was great fun as everyone arrived here and the hotel filled up more and more with cyclists. On the 30th, I just took it easy, met a lot of people and did shopping. On the 31st, I went for a short ride with my roommate Andrew from Perth, Australia. It was quite different riding in brilliant sunshine and we had a good time. On the 1st of August I was a little sick and nearly took antibiotics but it turned out to be short term and I was fine by dinner. I bought more over the counter antibiotics – nice to not need a prescription. We had a great tour orientation in the late afternoon. One highlight of the day was that Carol finally succeeded in extracting her bike from Customs where it had sat for over a week. She estimates it cost her about $1500 in fees, taxis etc but the stress and pain was more than that. Do NOT mail your bike to yourself in Ecuador! Bring it with you as baggage.
The second of August was the first riding stage and the 4th official day of the tour. We had an enhanced breakfast (the normal hotel breakfast plus Bike Dreams extras like muesli and yogurt etc). Just after 9, we headed out in a giant group, all decked out in our excellent Andes Trail 2019 jerseys.
We rode 25km to the Mitad del Mundo complex which I had done a week before. During the ride I kept getting overwhelmed by how cool the moment was. It caused me to just break out laughing/crying in the middle of riding. I’ve been waiting 3 years for this MOMENT and now it’s here! And the weather is perfect with everyone having a fantastic time. It turned out to be way more fun and less stressful to ride with people in dealing with the traffic. In no time we were there.
We had an hour to look around, climb through the 9 floors of museum in the Equator monument, take pictures etc. Then our first Bike Dreams lunch, great food, sitting in a little gazebo in the shade. After lunch we had photos and the official starting ceremony with words from our fearless leader Rob and then the “gun shot” – he blew up a tube with the microphone right next to it!
Then we were on our own to ride back to the hotel. I started out alone but rode more with a fast group and we went non-stop, arriving at 2:20. On the flat part we were joined by a guy who had ridden solo from Medellín, Columbia. He was going to ride to Santiago over the next 9 months, taking it real easy and seeing as much as possible. All in all this was a perfect introduction to the Andes Trail and I am looking forward to a harder day tomorrow!
Here are my photos and videos from the ride.
Here is the GPS data visualized with some photos.