Stages 37-38 of 109 Abancay to Cusco via bushcamp in Limatambo, Days 49-50 of 142
|Description||Distance in km||Dirt km||Climb in m||EFI|
Missed distance 282km, 3.5 stages (19, 20, 31, 32)
It’s hard to imagine we’re only just over a third of the way done with this crazy trip. But that’s what it is. We’ve just completed the third of the nine sections. From the schedule, it’s 3,356 km of 10,943 km total. And 48 km of climbing out of the 111 km total. Who even measures climbing in kilometers?
Stage 37, the “very hard day”, started with a steady climb, 35km long, ascending from Abancay at 2400m to a pass at 4000m. While the road was good and the views got better and better, it’s mostly a mental game of getting yourself to just keep spinning up and up and up. We had a nice lunch up top, then a 60km descent down to 1800m where it was hot. I don’t know how hot but my Garmin said 43C (109.4F). Boiling. From there, it was a 20km climb, up 900m, to a campsite at an Inca Ruins that was quite nice. Halfway up it was getting later and cooler which was nice. There was a shop across the street that sold ice-creams and beer in 1.1 liter bottles. We had a nice dinner, hung out talking for a while, then went to bed around 8:30. I think most people who rode the whole way were tired (except Wytze of course). I slept 9 hours, soundly!
In the morning, it was breakfast at 7, and there was no dew at all so packing up was a breeze. There were ant problems; they get into anything food-like, especially water bottles that had electrolyte stuff in them. Instead of a 35km climb straight from camp we had a 25km one today, only climbing 1000m, so easy!
Instead of 2200m descent it was only a few hundred meters, then a longish section to about 52km where we had lunch. Soon, powered by burritos, gumdrops and gummy bears, I took off with Andrew and Jan and we cranked out the last 25km to Cusco. The climb near the end wasn’t that bad really, only 300m and gentle. We came over the hill and had a pretty good view of the big city of Cusco from above. We wound down to town, then wrestled with increasingly bad traffic. Finally it was just a gridlock in both directions.
Eventually we made it onto the sidewalk and proceeded walking at 2 kph with the pedestrians. We could ride the last 850m on bumpy cobblestones and then we were at the hotel. It was nice to see Kees, Marc, Carol, Gareth and healthy Kirsten all looking relaxed. I met a couple of new riders who will be with us until Salta. Soup was excellent, then we had hot showers!
At 5, we had a “briefing” for the trip to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. It will be very touristy of course but should be fun. At 6, we went out for beers and found a great bar. We had dinner and a couple of rounds, then went to another place which wasn’t as good, then back to the original (Cholo’s) for a final round. We were with Javier, a cyclist from San Francisco who has been riding from Vancouver for 17 months. We had ridden with him a bit during the day and look forward to meeting him when we get back from Machu Picchu, He plans to get to Ushuaia a couple of months later than us. We had SO much fun it was just great. Inti Puntu IPA FTW!!!!