Andes Trail Stage 2 of 109 Quito to Latacunga, Day 5 of 142
|Description||Distance in km||Climb in m|
Our first “full” stage started with a good breakfast at 7am, then departure from the Ambassador Hotel a bit after 8am. It was exactly a week after I had tried testing this route and only made it something like 6km to a big crazy intersection and then the climb out of town was un-doable – stopped trucks, buses and cars solid everywhere.
This time it was better and we rode in groups and did the climb fine. That first climb is over 400m but not too steep. Then we had rolling and downhill, 81.6 kph max, on the route I had seen last Sunday. It was raining a little but not bad. We stopped at a gas station to inhale more food then headed on. After a while the second, bigger, climb started, but a few km into that we pulled off for lunch at the half-way point.
The crew prepared a great lunch, with a big circle of chairs for everyone to sit. Burritos, more stuff and gum drops! I think I stayed about 30 minutes and left at 11:30. The climb continued for a long way but now the headwind really kicked in so it was not easy or fun. It was scenic though. We had a few more drops of rain but the temperature was nice – I wore shorts and short sleeves all day and had to reapply sunscreen a couple of times.
Finally the descent to Latacunga came at about the two thirds mark. It was much easier and nicer although the headwind made speeds slow (mostly under 70). Then it was just a matter of cranking out another 20km or so, all into the wind, but slightly downhill. We ended up at almost exactly the altitude we started with – about 2800m. I didn’t notice it being harder to breathe climbing at 3500m – it was hard all the time. For the last few km I got to tuck in and draft behind Rob and Luccho which was great. So much easier and faster. We found the hotel and I was really surprised how nice it was. Our room is great but what was really cool was the snack provided by Bike Dreams, soup, bread and other stuff. We had excellent showers, did laundry and had hours to relax before dinner. Seems like a great life so far. How will I feel after 2 more days a little harder than this one?
My goal: ride the next stage. Long term goal: make it to Cuenca for the rest day (5 more stages, 376km, 7637m climbing). Extreme long term goal: make it to Peru (5 more stages after Cuenca).
Photos are at Strava for today.