Andes Trail Stages 29-31, Sept 5-8, 2019

Stages 29-31 of 109 Huancayo to Ayacucho via two bushcamps, Days 39-41 of 142

Photos are on Google

DescriptionDistance in kmDirt kmClimb in mEFI
South America2,83543736,216
Andes Trail2,55342832,606X
    Ecuador9123016,265
    Peru1,64139816,341X

Missed distance: 178km, 2.5 stages.

We had a great rest day in Huancayo Sept 5. Staying in the luxury hotel was so nice; it’s the best accommodation on the whole tour supposedly. After the giant awesome breakfast, we did our normal rest day “bike love” session, washing, cleaning, lubing, checking etc. Amazingly my bike has needed nothing but chain lube, one cable adjustment early on, and love. I’ve only pumped up the tires a couple of times. Then we explored the town a bit. There was a great market district right behind the hotel where you could buy anything. For example, if you take a left at the Sex Shop pretty soon you’re in the shoelace district. Many nice shops with thousands of shoelaces all displayed. I guess a town of nearly 500,000 people need a lot. Keep going and you get to the rat poison district, then the pet/pet food district etc. Lunch was at a kind of health food place, delicious Trucha a la Plancha plus an immense jugo de lúcuma – see the photos. Dinner was at a nice restaurant that had real IPA from Huaraz. All in all, a great day.

Stage 29 started out with a nicer and shorter ride though town, then easy for a few km to our big climb. It was forecast to rain but didn’t. The climb was ok, climbing 700m in 17km. Wytze and Rob set an amazingly sane pace and soon we were on top. One bad thing was that in stage 28, Wtyze had been bitten in the calf by a dog so needed a series of rabies shots. He and Chris looped back to Huancayo after the climb. They did a double stage the next day to catch up to us – plus they got to stay in the luxury hotel an extra night. From 3900m, we had a huge descent, quite fun and scenic, about 1200m to a bushcamp by the side of the road. It was nice to be lower down and even with donkeys, cows and pigs running through the camp, it was fun. Watching Jens chase a little pig that got his bananas was comical. We had an excellent campfire but a little rain shower drove some to their tents early.

In the morning, it was a strange situation: 9km down the road there was a 8am-11am road closure for construction. We decided not to try and make it through early (since the next camp was rumored to be infested with sandflies). Instead we had a super relaxed breakfast of pancakes and french toast, packed up, then rode to the closure, waited 30 minutes and were finally let through. There was a giant landslide and the whole thing looked super unsafe. The road guys had a drone to check stuff out which was smart. We had another stop halfway though and finally about 11:30 were on our way. The road was mostly descending but had lots of short climbs. Some parts were maybe half paved and it was super dusty. Giant trucks kick up so much dust even going slow. Finally I pulled in to the camp a little before 4, surprised to be the second one there. Niek had checked out the town 800m away and found hotel rooms for 30 soles that a number of people upgraded to. Andrew and Jens didn’t stop at camp – they went straight to town to fetch beer. The sandflies were out as advertised so instantly leg warmers and gloves went on. We hung out, then I did a beer run with Martin and Tom and bought all the cans from two places. The town was very small but the people super friendly. Chris and Wytze arrived from Huancayo having done 180km pretty early, maybe a little tired. Dinner was after dark since the sandflies go to sleep then, and it was surprisingly pleasant. There wasn’t much to do after so I went to bed. I didn’t sleep well and around midnight things went bad. I got up just to pee, but about 3 steps from the tent, my stomach suddenly emptied itself. I didn’t really feel bad or anything so it was a surprise. Didn’t sleep well the rest of the night.

In the morning, diarrhea hit in force, and it was a real pain trying to go to the bathroom with the thick sandflies everywhere. I was planning to try to ride but I couldn’t really eat breakfast and carrying my bags over was hard so I joined David on the sick list in Henk’s van that goes straight to the destination with the bags. It was a record-breaking departure – fastest ever breakfast and loading. Everyone wanted out. I felt worse and worse, very weak, as we drove; there was no way I could’ve done the ride which was 78km with 1400m climbing. I mostly slept then we arrived in the city of Ayacucho (pop 180,000). Navigation was tricky with one way streets and we cleared one wire by 1cm but we got to the hotel around 11am. A few minutes later Wytze arrived – he is just a super man. After I got a room and a beautiful hot shower, I went straight to sleep, and woke up a couple hours later for soup. Then another 2 hour nap during which my awesome roommates Andrew and Martin went shopping for food and water and juice and beer of course for them. Later 10 of us went out for dinner at a great restaurant on the square. Most of the rest of the crew was there too it seemed – I guess everyone reads Trip Advisor. I had most of a veggie quinoto (risotto made with quinoa) dish and a milkshake. It felt like I was pushing it so I went home early and went straight to bed. The next riding day is a tough one, only 78km, but almost 1900m climbing and lots of dirt, so I am going to do everything I can tomorrow on the rest day to recover my strength.

3 thoughts on “Andes Trail Stages 29-31, Sept 5-8, 2019

  1. Glad to hear from you taking the advantage of the tilt of the earth. At 41 degrees North it is still just about dark at 5:30. Very good to have all that support for the hard days health wise. Much Love from Carol and me. DSAN RVNVUSA

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  2. You are certainly seeing the countryside. We are enjoying your trip notes and photos. I hope you are feeling better after a rest day. GI symptoms are the worst!! Take care.

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