Andes Trail Stage 3, Aug 4, 2019

Andes Trail Stage 3 of 109 Latacunga to Riobamba, Day 6 of 142

102.4km, 1708m, 5:12, max 79.6kph

DescriptionDistance in kmClimb in m
South America533 7376
Andes Trail2513663

Today’s stage started out under cloudy skies, with cool temps and a wet road. We left Latacunga in a big group and cruised nicely along together. Just before 40km, there was a great 70kph downhill, but abruptly after that the big climb for the day started. We climbed from 2400m to over 3600m and there were some downhill sections so the net climbed was more. About 10km into this we stopped for lunch. The crew had found a great place with cover from the rain, bathrooms – everything!

Lunch was about the same as yesterday, a power burrito with tuna and cheese and veggies, plus more stuff, gumdrops for the win. Soon it was time to continue on. A bunch of us started together but I didn’t want to push it so let the speedsters disappear slowly. I just kept going and being entertained by my Edge 530 and how it splits the day into climbs automatically, for each one telling you how many more meters and km you have, where you are on a plot showing grade, etc. Red=harder, orange=not so hard, green=easy. This distracted me enough until I hit climb #4 of 6 which it told me was 438m over 8km. I counted that down too and after a short climb #5 I was up at 3600m. I was riding with Jan and Andrew and we blasted down the other side. My speedo registered 79.6 but then some wind hit and I couldn’t break 80.

We stopped for a rest after most of the downhill, now getting close to Riobamba. There was one more short climb, then more descent into town. Riobamba is much bigger than I thought, over 150k people. It was really fun riding through the traffic in town, with people staring at us from the cars.

All the vehicles were pretty friendly today. The only issue is dogs. First it was dead ones. Yesterday at lunch someone asked about the many they saw. I didn’t notice any. But right after lunch, sure enough, there was one in the ditch. And a very live dog was vigorously eating what looked like his brain. First you think “Poor dogs, hard life, etc”. But then after they start attacking you while riding, once in a pack of five, you probably think something else, I know I do. It’s scary and they are hard to out-sprint. I nearly cramped both legs today escaping a couple of really mean ones.

We followed the GPS track to the hotel and soon were showering and doing laundry. The best part was the soup and snacks afterward. Yum. What a great way to end a long ride. I noticed we finished at 2:20pm, the same time as yesterday and the day before for me. I wore my jacket for all but 30km to lunch today – the weather was “cool” all day, which I like. I also like how no one is complaining – everyone on the tour is tough and competent. It’s hard to imagine that we get to do this type of thing 106 more times to get to Ushuaia, but I guess it’s true. First quarter of the first 1000km is DONE!

I haven’t really been taking many photos but you can see them at Strava.

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