Andes Trail Stage 7 of 109 Ingapirca to Cuenca, Day 10 of 142
Photos at Strava: 75.8km, 937m, 3:23, 63.8 max kph
|Description||Distance in km||Climb in m|
Since it was a short and supposedly easy day today, we had breakfast at 7:30 instead of 7. We coasted down to the breakfast hostal on our bikes and the sun was busy warming the place up. It was SO nice sleeping under a big pile of warm blankets and after a pretty hard ride, I finally slept really well.
Breakfast was the usual minus eggs which was fine with me. We did some washing up – Bike Dreams has a great system for that. Then we cycled back to pack up. We started the stage at 8:30, heading up though Ingapirca, then down a ways on the road to Cuenca. Actually the fun stopped pretty soon. Somewhere around 13km in, the down of up and down stopped and we had a grind of a climb up to almost 3600m. The headwind was pretty much constant, strong and cold. There was much rejoicing at the top and most people added a jacket there for the descent.
The descent was pretty amazing. It felt faster than it was but suddenly we had done another 20km and were down in Biblián, the town for lunch. I even passed a motorcycle. Once we pulled over at the square where lunch was set up it was SO much warmer and nicer. The sun came out and I just stretched out and could’ve stayed a long time. But after a few power burritos, and a sweet granadilla to top it off, it was time to go.
We did the last 28km to Cuenca in a group of 6 which reduced to 3 as time went on. But it was a pretty good ride, generally down, more and more traffic, and then we were riding through town. The hotel was easy to find and we arrived about 1pm. Soup was hearty and good today with lots of extra snacks. I think every single person (possibly one or two exceptions) is excited to have tomorrow off from biking. I know I am.
It was a relaxing afternoon; some explored the town, but I just hung out. Then it was time for dinner. A few of us walked down the streets, semi-randomly but it seemed that we were not in a restaurant district. Every other type of store was represented but not eating places. We kept going in the direction of a recommendation by my son Beau, Tiestos Cafe Restaurant. We eventually got there and had only seen a couple of other places so went in. It looked upscale as he had warned. But the kitchen was open and looked amazing. Soon the chef introduced himself and asked what we liked. He recommended two courses and said he didn’t really want to cook individual meals – it’s meant to be family style. So we put ourselves in his hands and what a good move that was! Wow, best meal on the trip so far, even including Midori in Puerto Ayora! Each of the two courses had two parts plus a ton of side dishes, toppings, salads, etc. The first course was fish in orange sauce complemented by eggplant with blue cheese sauce. The second course was giant langostinos and beef in tomato sauce (surf and turf, Mar y Tierra in the menu). It did cost a bit but was so worth it. Thanks Beau from all four of us! Here are some photos from dinner.