(August 7 – written by Dave)
We were first at the brekkie buffet this morning and we did ourselves proud in how many rolls we could eat. It was a little hard being discrete as even by the time we left the room, no other guests had gotten up. Oh well, the first two days we were polite and ate like normal people, today we could eat like cyclists. Normally brekkie in Peru included with a room is very basic, a roll, some jam and a coffee. Even if it says buffet, you don’t get much. Hotel Sevilla in Ayacucho is slightly above average as they make you eggs and have drinking yogurt.
Fortified, we rode to Philipp and Tine’s hostel to meet them. We were supposed to be there at 8AM and by that time of day, traffic was already up in the big city of Ayacucho. I was passed twice on the right by guys on motorcycles while only trying to avoid a pothole. We really had to be on our toes. As you’d expect for young professionals from Germany, Philipp and Tine were ready to roll when we arrived.
We had about 5k of city riding to get through and were more or less safe. The traffic was pretty bad but once we turned off 3S and got on 3SL, everything calmed down. We debated about taking 3S or 3SL today quite a bit. 3S is slightly more direct with less climbing but 3SL is the old road and should have less traffic. We were not sure if 3SL was paved or not. Nancy and I were not sure which to pick. Philipp and Tine had no doubt about 3SL but we only learned later in the day that they’d read on a German blog that it was sealed. It turned out to be a good choice as it was sealed and there was minimal traffic.
There was about 10k of downhill to start, followed by 50k of mostly uphill. The uphill was mostly gentle and overall, it was not too taxing a day. We had morning tea and lunch at nice sunny pull-outs on the road. There were a few very small towns with shops but mostly it was rural with farm land, pigs, cows and the odd donkey. In the late morning, Philipp spotted a woman pulling bread from an outside wood fired oven – we had to stop and buy some. This made a nice second morning tea and lunch supplement.
There were heaps of kids out today. I’m not sure why as it should have been a school day. It is a poor area and probably the kids didn’t get to attend school – we can hope that it was a holiday. And regardless of why they were there, we enjoy the constant yells of “hola gringo”. We stopped and chatted with the crew below. They were cousins and had very “western” names. One boy was named Orlando and a girl was named Daisy Diane. The other two names were similar and the kids very chatty (in Spanish). It was a fun way to spend a few minutes on a random Andean mountain road in Peru.
At lunch I decided to try to fix a loose waterbottle cage on my bike. That didn’t go well. It’s been loose for a week or so and I tried to fix it last night in the hotel. On my second try today, I realised that the cage holder braze-on that goes into the frame had actually broken. Wow, what a bummer. Philipp happened to have just the right spare parts but this is something that I’d never thought I’d have to replace/repair. When we get the bikes back to Oregon, we’ll have to contact Comotion to see what they will do about it – we’ll see how that goes. Meanwhile, in Cusco, I may try make a more permanent repair than what I could manage roadside today.
We pulled up 3k before our intended gravelpit campsite. There was a lovely creek flowing through a meadow with nice looking grass. There was a road, but it dead ended at the creek. It was such a nce looking spot, we decided to call it a day. Our tents are visible from the road but there is very little traffic. It should be perfectly safe – if not, whoever finds this message and send out a search party!
We set up the tents and had an early dinner. It was trying to rain so we set our trap up in a way that all four of us could get under it but some time later the skies cleared. I’m sure if we’d not set up the tarp, it would have bucketed down. It is just short of 7PM now and I’m the only one who is not lying down. It will be an early night for all of us. Tomorrow we have to get up over a pass that is about 23k ahead, and then we have a long downhill. It is supposed to be a 100k day so a good night’s sleep is just what we need.