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(114) From Mountain Passes to the Pacific

August 20, 2015

Arriving in huaraz was incredible but the last 3 weeks had taken its toll on me and my body. I was tired and thin and knew I needed to eat and rest. I knew I still had a few extra passes I wanted to climb and was looking forward to them but first I needed sleep and eat. Being in a town like Huaraz I knew not only would I find a nice place but eat any food I wanted and I was looking forward to that.


Wednesday 24th June

Having made it to Huaraz was amazing but with so much to do I knew I would be confined to barracks until I had got through the worst of it. I knew the town was nice but it would have to wait while but as a break I went off to find the bus station to see if my bag that I sent off was there. IMGP5679Taking the long way round to look at the town I reached the bus station and saw my bag on the shelf. The relief was amazing although I still wasn’t sure what I had sent on and weighed 12kg. After checking I was who I was meant to be they handed me my bag and immediately was glad i hadn’t had carry it for the last 700miles. I headed back to the hotel and got my head down and try and get through my work.


Other then the odd trip out to eat and a walk around I was in my room but what I had seen of the city it was beautiful and a nice place to be.

Thursday 25th June

It was so nice waking up in a comfy bed and to have another day off. It was what I needed and also the time to try and eat to get some weight back on. I still felt tired but just spending time in my room was what I needed and to have break meant I would also get to see the town and eat. One of the problems with stopping was I tended to get sick easily and so I really needed to be careful. I was thin and tired and my body needed to recover and not have to deal with any bugs.

Friday 26th June

Deciding to have another day off as I still didn’t feel ready I looked around town picking up a few things on the way for my journey over the cordilla and back. With some work left to do on my blog and needing to resend the unimportant things off to Catamarca on the bus I headed back to tie up a few loose ends. Once back and realising I had a lot of loose ends to tie up, in other words my rooms was a tip and it was going to take me a while to sort everything.so I set about going through my things,

With pretty much everything in the right bags I set off to the bus station to post on  my rucksack to Catamarca which is a city t0 the north that I would ride through. Having thrown some things away the bag I was posting on was now weighing in at just over 10 kg which did make me think was there something I was missing. The system was brilliant and with my passport recorded on the document then having to put in a 4 digit code of my choice was such a good secure way of moving things through the country.IMGP5676

Looking across the roof tops towards Cerro Huascaran

I returned to the hotel to do a couple more hours work but needing to eat I headed out again just before dark to get some food inside me. It was my first meal of the day as I hadn’t been feeling great so headed for the restaurant I had been to before. There  was a few people down stairs and no one up on the mezzanine so I headed up to be undisturbed and ordered the lasagne being one of my favourites. I sat catching up on emails when it arrived and for some reason I didn’t feel hungry. I started to eat knowing it would do me good but the more I ate the worse I felt. After getting through half of it my head started to sweat and I could feel my arms do the same.

I knew something was wrong and needed to get to the bathroom incase I was ill. I stood up and walked towards the stairs feeling dizzy and nauseous and then next thing I know three guys are picking me off the floor with a searing pain on the right side of my head. As I sat on the chair with guys making me smell pure alcohol  to bring me round I then had the sudden urge to be sick and there was nothing I could do about it. I then proceeded to be sick everywhere including on me. I couldn’t believe what was happening but I immediately felt better. I sat in disbelief at what had just happened as I had never passed out in my life. I tried to express how sorry I was to the owner who was amazing and made a mental note of the signs before I passed out to make sure I was safe in the future.

The owner asked if I needed the hospital but all I wanted to do was go back to the hotel and sleep. I paid my bill and wondered back in a daze with my head still really sore.

After a hot shower and washing my clothes I went to bed tired and sore hoping I would feel better in the morning.

Saturday 27th June

Waking up and not feeling great wasn’t the best start to my day but I made sure I had a lay in to give me as much rest as I could. With my head still sore from where I hit it in the restaurant, I packed what I still had out, finding things I didn’t need which I could have sent on and took my things downstairs. By the time I was loaded and ready to set off it was around 11am and already quite warm. IMGP5684
The road out of town was good but I was running at about 50%. I covered around 15 miles and saw a restaurant where I could get dinner. Although it was a bit early I needed something in me as last nights meal didn’t really count. After soup followed fish and rice I hoped I would feel better but I just felt sick and knew I probably should have stayed in bed. I got back on my bike and rode on to Carhuaz where I turned off and started the climb towards Chacas hoping the sickness might fade.IMGP5688 The road was tarmac which helped and view of Cerro Huascaran was incredible Which helped occupy my mind while I slowly climbed towards the pass and to the right of the huge mountain.

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 Cerro Huascaran

It was incredible to see how much snow was on the mountain and yet how much the glacier had receded. As I climbed I knew at some point I would need to rest as I was starting to feel unwell again. I climbed up through the villages feeling nauseous and knew I needed to lay down. I kept looking until I found a nice place off the road that would leave me undisturbed and in the shade. I lent my bike on a wall, placed a sheet on the floor, lay down and within minutes of laying my head on the floor I was sound asleep. When I woke I was surprised I had fallen into such a deep sleep and wasn’t even sure for how long but I felt better for it. I lay for a while and not wanting to have to bigger climb tomorrow I got up and rode on steadily climbing towards the pass. With the sun setting at 6pm I wanted to find a nice spot and camp early. I noticed the road climbed ahead and into a gorge which looked dark and cold. If I could find somewhere just before it I would be happy. So after a few switchbacks giving me extra height I saw a nice flat spot out of the wind in the sun and away from the road. IMGP5698

Enjoying an awesome campspot

It was perfect especially as I still wasn’t feeling great it couldn’t have come soon enough. I couldn’t wait to get the tent up and lay down the thing I wasn’t looking forward to was eating as I had no appetite but what I did have were four peaches which hopefully would do the job until I did.

Sunday 28th June

Finding it hard to get a full nights sleep might be because I went to sleep early. I did however sleep and woke later then normal. I was in an incredible spot pretty much at the base of the highest mountain in Peru and could also look down over the switchbacks right down the valley. I took it easy getting up and once packed carried my bags and bike up to the road. As I set off I looked back to see a guy on a road bike a few hundred metres behind. P1020032

Aymeric on his amazing bike and a big rock that I was pleased I wasn’t there when that one fell

Needless to say he soon caught me and found he was a French guy working in Lima. His name was Aymeric and had been in Lima for two years working for the tourist board. It was so good to have the company and enjoy this incredible scenery that seemed to be getting better with every peddle stroke. IMGP5705

Heading up the valley towards the pass

We entered the gorge when he informed me the main climb was a series of switchbacks which I will see as we get closer. As the massive snow capped mountains rose up around us sure enough on the right I could see the road climbing up the steep face to the right. We started the climb and as we got higher the mountain behind us came into full view. exposing the south east face and I even think I could see the climbing line up to the summit.P1020035

 East face of Cerro Huascaran

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Looking back down the valley and the numerous switchback on the climb

Not feeling 100% Aymeric rode on to take the full advantage of being on such a nice light road bike while I climbed at a pace that kept me within my limits. As I rose above the valley floor I started to fade as my energy levels dropped ever lower and not feeling great I took breaks to try and help my recovery. With the pass going pretty much to the right of the mountain the higher I got the more impressive it became. IMGP5736

Approaching the next mountain and its huge glacier.

Trying to get a picture to grasp the sheer scale of the mountain and the glacier was impossible let alone trying grasp the scale of it stood right in front of it. Even though I wasn’t feeling great with the views I’d had already I knew it was well worth the detour and kept me going. With motorbikes passing with waves of encouragement and a group that stopped to chat was amazing. As I turned the 28th hairpin bend Aymeric appeared from around the bend ahead and turned to ride the last 2 km to the tunnel. We soon reached the tunnel and stopped to take a couple pictures and enjoyed the scenery before he had to head off back down the pass to Yungay Which would be all down hill lucky guy.IMGP5747

It was good to have company even if it was for a short time

After reaching this point my energy levels had picked up a bit and so instead of riding through the tunnel I decided to ride the last couple of miles over the old pass. Although it was stony it was stunning and I was quite pleased I did it. IMGP5749

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Apart from a few rock falls blocking the road and having to push round the odd dodgy section I reached the summit of Passo Olimpica 4,890metres at around 4pm.

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Passo Olimpica 4,890metres and the road down

I took a short break on the east side but with the sun low in the sky I knew I would soon be descending in the shadow of the mountain. It took me about half an hour to get down to the highway due to numerous rock slides and washed out road and by the time I reached the tarmac I was freezing. I stopped by the road and while shaking I dug out my down jacket and gloves but even with these on it was hard to keep any kind of warmth.

IMGP5772It was slow going trying to navigate through the deep grave and stones

Aymeric had said that this side wasn’t as nice but it wasn’t until I had descended a bit that more snow capped mountains came into view all with their own huge glaciers. It was stunning and freezing. IMGP5777I would stop to take the odd picture but it was so cold being so high up I knew I had to descend. After a series of more hairpin bends the road straightened out and headed down an ever greener valley with the mountains opening up at times exposing even more snowy peaks to the north and south. As I got closer to Chacas the temperature started to warm with a few slight climbs to help me become more comfortable. I reached the town passing some sheep that looked so sweet with one that just looked more like old teddy.

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I just wanted to give it a cuddle

I arrived into the centre of the village to find it was beautiful. With a large green square surrounded by white buildings with red clay roofs, amazingly carved dark wood balconies and window shutters it looked amazing. It wasn’t long before I found a hostel and a place to get some food but I knew I also needed a good nights sleep. Tomorrow I would be heading north over a pass then west back over the Cordiller Blanca and knew I needed to be strong. I had been told the next section was all dirt roads but I knew if it’s as good as this last pass I would be very pleased and knew it would be worth the effort.

Monday 29th June

Waking up early was annoying when I was so tired and really needed the rest. I did manage to get back to sleep but only to wake up a little late. I finished packing what I had out and set off around 9.45am. It was a lovely day and in the full sun the square looked even prettier. IMGP5796

The beautiful town of Chacas and the main square

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Dropping out of Chacas with the glaciers shining in the background

I dropped out of the village down to the valley below to cross the river then start the climb over the pass. It was hot as I got lower and soon the tarmac turned into a rough gravel track. Hearing music I nearly stopped to take some time to watch but I knew how I was feeling and that it would take the rest of the day to get over the pass. The road climbed steadily, steep in places, flat in others with some parts smooth but mostly rough. The bike felt heavy, the sun felt hot and I was tired but still I pushed on taking it steady, coasting down the hills and slowly turning the peddles.

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Climbing up out of the valley

IMGP5808I was pleased to have the scenery to keep me going and knew it would be even nicer on the other side. It was incredible how so much ice and snow could just hang there on the glacier. With the road dropping from time to time made the climb feel longer and make me more and more tired. I stopped for a short break at a bend in the road which was where the melt water came down from one mountain.
IMGP5812 It was a nice spot to stop in fact it was an incredible spot but my mind and body wasn’t in it. I felt like when I had been out on a long ride and find I’ve got a head wind all the way home.

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Luckily for me I was just tired, It was still day with clear blue sky’s and incredible scenery I was just exhausted. The last part of the climb came into view which turned out to be about 12 hairpin bends to get me to the summit. The km markers helped as they counted down but my speed never increased. IMGP5841

After reaching the summit of Punta Pupash at 4,060 metres I could now see in to the next valley with the white tips of the mountains and the town below . With the sun getting lower it was harder to make out all the peaks but it looked pretty incredible. I started the descent which was so nice in the sun making a change from freezing my ass off in the shade for hours. I had summited really late which descending on the west side was nice but I wanted to get a little higher towards the next pass. I reached the town of Yanamá around 5pm and with an hour of light left I avoided the town and headed straight for the next pass. I did think about staying in the town but knew I would get an earlier start from the tent and have more chance of reaching the summit and descend before it got to cold. As I started to climb the pass the east face of Cerro Huascaran came into view.

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With a huge glacier trailing down the mountain it looked amazing in the sun. As the colours changed and the sun disappeared behind the mountains I spotted a place to camp off the road. It was perfect spot out of sight and away from the road but as I cooked baked beans and mash a swarm of Mosquitos came out to play. It had been the first time I had seen them for a long time and reminded me it would soon be time to start taking anti malarial’s. oh joy and the on set of thousands of little bugs

Tuesday 30th June

I seemed to spend most of the night trying to sleep. I was either not in the right position, to hot ,to cold or just thinking. With a full moon I put my eye mask on to see if that made a difference and just tried to sleep. After the last couple days I knew I needed the rest and with a big pass to climb on dirt roads I needed to sleep. I woke with the sun heating the tent and prompted me to whip the fly sheet off and get the kettle on. Although it was around 9am later then I hoped I was feeling better. Add to this a bit of breakfast and a cupper I was back to normal all be it a little tired from a disturbed nights sleep. I set off around 9.30am and started the road to the summit

 

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  It looked and amazing place to live

Today was a good day for it as I was feeling good, the gradient wasn’t to steep even if it was a little stony, the sky was clear and it wasn’t to hot. With the valley being steep meant I couldn’t see the mountains just yet other then the odd peak poking above the hills. I passed tiny settlements with people washing cars or minding their sheep and all were smiling and waved. I stopped by a river as I was feeling hot and sticky and thought it would be a good place to wash. With the water being cold and the sun warm it felt amazing. A collectivo stopped on its way up the mountain and insisted I put my bike on the roof because the road was really bad and told me I wouldn’t make it by bike.

Feeling pretty good and knowing what road conditions I had ridden before I insisted I would be ok. With the collectivo now gone and feeling a little nervous I set off again to climb as high as I could before 2pm . By 2 pm I had climbed around 900 metres with the odd down hill and so stopped to have a break. With another 500 metres to go I knew It should only take me a 2-3 hours more depending on the road. With a few more hairpin bends the road opened up to expose the peaks and some of the road ahead. IMGP5856
The scenery was incredible and the road although a little stony in places was a nice gradient and other then having to put my foot down from time to time I found it was ok and was pleased I stuck at it. As I neared the summit the last few bends came into view and although I was feeling ok it was taking it’s toll on me so I needed to dig deep for the last push. It was amazing turning each bend to see one mountain and it’s glacier to then turn and see another. I finally reached the summit of Portachuelo de Llanganuco at 4,767 metres around 4pm giving me two hours to lose some height for a comfortable nights sleep.

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Portachuelo de Llanganuco at 4,767 metres

As I passed though the narrow cutting I came out the other side to be presented with the most awesome view. Not only did I have numerous mountains with glaciers hanging off all of them but a road that dropped off the side of the mountain with uncountable switchbacks and most looked like they were almost on top of each other.

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You can see how far the glacier had receded but hard to give an idea of scale

It was amazing to see but I knew the road wouldn’t be the nice glide down I had on the first pass. I set off and sure enough it was sandy and rocky with sheer dropoffs with no barriers. IMGP5893

If only I had a full suspension bike to enjoy this rough track. With bend after bend I reached the valley a kilometre below and started to follow along side the two lakes.

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The road down although slow going was beautiful

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This image I’ve turned upside down

It was amazing riding beside them with their incredible colour and reflections. As the sun disappeared completely I needed to find somewhere to camp and spotting a barred gateway I moved the poles across and went in. It looked like a place to come for the weekend with boats on the lake, with benches to have a picnic and with no one around I pitched my tent as the sun and lit the mountain in front of me.
With the tent almost up and almost dark two guys arrived I asked if it was ok to camp as there was no one there and were more then happy leaving me to cook while they went inside in the warm. IMGP5935

Last light on the mountain

With the tent finished I cooked my tin of beef stew which was amazing and lay in my tent listening as the glacier cracked and groaned with times when I could hear huge chucks break off and form avalanches. It truly is an incredible sound.

Wednesday 1st July 

Not being able to sleep then being tired in the morning was beginning to become a frustrating habit. Before the sun even started to rise the wind had already picked up which judging by the direction should push me down to the highway but knowing what the state of the road was like I knew I couldn’t really go that fast anyway. P1020047

My morning camp with the mountain in the back ground

By the time the sun was up the wind was blowing hard and I could hear voices. I peeped out to see a few tourists had arrived and were taking pictures of the lake. I got up and made a cupper as the tourist left and the guys who said I could camp arrived. I asked if they get many tourists to which he said hardly any at which point I did think maybe if he was here earlier he would see them. After a bit of a struggle packing the tent in the wind I was on the road around 8.30am which I was pleased with.

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Looking up the valley to the pass I had come down the day before

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The scenery was as ever amazing and as I dropped so the mountains seemed to grow and became more impressive. IMGP5965

looking back you can see the narrow gorge I rode through and get an idea just how big the mountain really is

Although I didn’t have that far to Yungay, it seemed to take ages to get there due to a bad hard rocky road. With no smooth line it pretty much shock every bone in my body to get to town. Once in town I spotted a bakery and brought breakfast and sat outside eating. Spotting an Internet cafe as well gave me the perfect opportunity to post a blog. Wanting to get as far down the valley as possible I was in and out in five minutes and off down the highway. From this point on what was a tailwind pushing down a bad road had turned into a really strong headwind pushing me back up the nice highway. IMGP5982

One of the many water falls I saw as the canyon got narrower

No matter which way I turned being in a canyon meant I had a headwind. A few miles out of town I met the first cycle tourist since Cusco and stopped to have a chat. His name was Jason from Canada and was on a short cycle tour. we made notes on routes when he told me two guys had been robbed on a road I was heading for just two weeks before. This made me nervous and started to play on my mind. We exchanged emails and said our goodbyes and with it still being quite early when I went through Caraz I picked up an ice cream and decided I would stop for lunch further on. Once through the town the road undulated until it reached the Canyon del Pato where the cliffs moved in and the gorge deep and narrow.

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It became so narrow in the end that most of the road became a single track and a series of 48 single tunnels with some over a kilometre long. I only met one truck in a tunnel but was relieved it wasn’t a busy road. The canyon was incredible and the tunnels really added to it but as I dropped the I became hotter and hungrier and wished I had stopped in Caraz.

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It was incredible seeing so many tunnels working there way along the base of the mountainP1020080

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The small town of  Huallanca

P1020104Leaving town and seeing these vertical rock slabs was incredible


As the canyon opened up the small hydro electrical town of Huallanca came into view and after a couple bends I dropped into town to get food. I went to every single restaurant in town and none would cook me food and all said later. Not wanting to hang around I rode on towards the town of Yuramarca which my GPS said it was 5 miles away.

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With the end of the town came the end of the tarmac which made the next five miles feel tough. Once I covered the miles I came to three houses and was told I had to ride another 45 minutes with some climbing before I reached the town. By the time I got there it was around 4pm and I was starving. I stopped at a restaurant where I ordered food and ended up getting double portions I think it was because I looked so hungry. I picked up a few packs of fruit and a tin of tuna in case I got caught out again and headed on. I had made really good progress considering the state of the road but wanted to get low in the canyon so I could reach the junction that returned up the mountain in good time tomorrow.

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It was incredible how dark it got in full day light down in the canyon

This would mean I had a chance of getting high avoiding being too hot at night. I left the town with the head wind getting stronger then ever which seemed to annoy me. With the corrugations on the rough dirt road I was tired. I had put so much effort into climbing the passes and yet here I was peddling hard to descend. I knew once I was at the junction I would have a big climb and probably into a headwind. Peru was tough but having to peddle hard down hill was enough and I was starting to feel broken. With the worry of the other guys being robbed had also played on my mind and I wasn’t sure what I should do.P1020112

Camping below this scree field was awesome and hard to guess how high it was 

Thursday 2nd July

Waking from the deepest sleep early was amazing. Although I could have just lay there with no wind yet I knew it was a good time to get up and on the road. I had 26 miles to cover before the junction where I would meet Tarmac and wanted to get there as early as possible and make the most of grabbing something to eat. With the tent dry I was packed and on the road by 7am. IMGP6005

The birds would catch the thermals looking and waiting for anything to eat

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The air was still cool enough to be nice and I still had a couple hours before the sun reached the valley floor. The road though was hard going with deep corrugations shaking every bone in my body and at times so violent it brought me to a standstill. Even though I was going steadily down hill it took me 3 and a half hours to cover the 26 miles. Although it was tough going with the sun slowly heating up the canyon it was stunning and the further down I went the lower the mountains got.

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It looked weird being able to see more and more sky with nothing past it. By the time I reached the junction I’d had enough of bad roads and knew for now I would be on Tarmac. I stopped for some food which tasted amazing and got chatting to two guys. They were great to chat to and asked why was I heading back into the mountains and not along the coast.

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I couldn’t wait to get off the corrugated road 

I told them I needed to get to Cajamarca and the coast wasn’t safe. To which they said the road was safe and there is enough traffic to keep me safe, having heard this got me thinking. I had not seen the Peruvian coast and this would be my only chance. I would also get some flat roads and miss the area where the other two cyclists had been robbed. Deciding to head to the coast felt good although by now the wind had now picked up. I set off into the headwind for the coast and to the town of Santa. I was making ok progress in the headwind which would drop from time to time or I would get sheltered by the trees giving me some rest bite. Around 12.30 I heard some guys shout to see them sat eating. I stopped and went back to ask if I could cross the river to cut off a twenty mile section that took me South then north.

P1020128It was so lovely chatting to these guys

They said no I had missed the bridge and offered me lunch. It was so good chatting to them and finding they were farmers working on the land by the river was interesting.  To have an extra meal was also great and gave me extra energy to get to the coast. By the time I set off it had become hot, really hot and humid but with the salty air coming up the valley it helped me keep cool. The salt air was strong but then so was the smile of fertiliser to the point where I wondered how it must effect the food. With fast grown chicken and force grown crops I could see why there were so many pharmacies. P1020118
As I headed west the small villages got closer together until they merged into Santa I looked for a place to stay which I found with in 5 minutes and was perfect. I took my bags to my room, put my bike in the garage and headed out for dinner. With so many chicken brasa’s it looked like I had no choice. Other then that every other shop seemed to sell fertiliser which I found quite weird. It had been a hard morning and hot afternoon but I had covered some good miles I just hoped the wind was more of a tailwind as I head up the coast tomorrow.

 

Friday 3rd July

Not sleeping that well I ended up waking late which was the last thing I wanted. I had around 75 miles to cover on the Pan American highway and didn’t want to arrive late on a Friday night in a big city. I quickly packed my things and headed out to grab breakfast before I left. I found an indoor market where I got two yogurts and cereals along with a fresh fruit smoothy. It was perfect and set me up for the day. I headed out of town and found the wind although slightly from the west was a tailwind. Added to this as the large trucks passed they gave me an extra push. This felt amazing and just being able to see the sea through the mist was nice.

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The road started to climb gently and with it a new road that had been built to the left. I got off the main highway and sat peddling away undisturbed on the unused new road. This was amazing although I did miss the push from the trucks as they passed although they did still wave.

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Managing to maintain a good speed I reached the small town of Chao by 1pm giving me the chance to stop at a nice looking cafe to have a good dinner which set me up for the next big stretch.

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With such a strong wind it was creating sand  storms in the desert next to the road

I worked out that if I could keep going at this rate I would be in the centre of Trujillo well before dark and giving me time to find a place to stay. After a couple more climbs the road that I was on merged back with the highway again and so descended with the rest of the trucks but I was flying and was just enjoying it.P1020145

As the second carriageway was being built I was now getting sandblasted by trucks carrying sand to tip on the road but managed to turned my head and kept going. With the city getting close I climbed to around 250 metres and then had an amazing descent down into the city. With the sea just visible to the left I reached the centre and headed down to the shore to have a look and maybe a find a place to stay. It was about 3 miles to the shoreline but once I reached it looked more like a tired old town that everyone had abandoned.

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I didn’t even bother taking a picture of the building along the sea front 

I thought how mad it is how we see the ocean as the view to have and yet here it felt worthless. I got chatting to a couple guys before heading back into the centre to find a place to stay, by the time I reached the centre it was getting on for 5pm and I had cover around 80 miles. Pleased with how far I had ridden I went into town to eat and recover for tomorrow and another big day along the coast.  Up to now although I wasn’t that far from the sea the little I could see I wondered whether it was worth it but with the roads so good it didn’t matter but hoped I would be rewarded by somewhere nice at the next town.

Saturday 4th July

After a bit of a restless night I got up early and wheeled my bike out into what sounded like a busy city. The road outside was quiet but I knew it wouldn’t last long. I quickly stopped for a fruit smoothy and made my way to the pan American highway. With a side road that ran pretty much next to it with light local traffic it allowed me to get out of the biggest part of the city with little to worry about. With the rain falling as little drizzle I was getting wet but with it being so warm wasn’t uncomfortable. P1020151

Enjoying the grey dam featureless day at least on a nice road

Everything felt hard work at first but I soon realised I was on a false flat that was gently climbing and being Saturday there wasn’t as many trucks to push me along which added to the work. Once I’d climbed around 150 -200 metres the road gently undulated allowing me to pick up speed averaging around 16 mph. With it being misty and wet there wasn’t much to see but waving at the odd truck that unbeknown to them were not only waving but giving me a very welcome push was nice. By 12 pm I had covered 40 miles so stopped for dinner, rest and recover what I had been losing. With the same food every day it was getting a bit much but it filled me up and got back in the road.

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More incredible scenery of not much really

With around 30 miles to go I got my head down again and was ticking off the miles and doing so well I almost decided to skip the coast town and head straight for the hills. I reached the junction town of San Pedro de Lloc which looked nice all be it a little unfinished and headed for the coast. Riding into a headwind was now tough going and seeing a massive cement factory so close to the town wasn’t a good sign.

 

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The incredibly beautiful cement factory that would complement any seaside town!!

I thought here we go again another wasted trip to the sea side and against a strong headwind but I kept going and arrived in the town and kept heading for the beach.

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I see the sea 🙂

With a few blocks to go everything changed with beautiful old Spanish buildings all nicely painted and a stunning promenade with a pier for the fishermen all complete with a nice beach and surf. After looking for a hostel I found a lovely quiet one that was so peaceful I immediately relaxed and decided to go for a swim in the sea. I headed the two blocks to the beach with a few pounds to spend and towel I laid my things on the brown sand and went in. images

The pretty sea front buildings of Pacasmayo

It felt amazing and I lay floating in the surf washing away all the miles I had put in over the last few weeks. After a nice soak I headed for the bar with an icecream and sat with a beer to watch the South American football final between Chile and Argentina. Probably being the only one supporting Chile it was amazing to watch and was joined by a local man who decided he would buy me snacks and a beer. I did explain I only had a little money because I’d been swimming but he was happy and we enjoyed each other’s company. With the match going to extra time he left and soon it went to penalties. I couldn’t believe of all the days I had struggled to push the peddles around to cover 30 miles in a day and here I was sat at a bar in the afternoon having swam in the sea then watching Chile win the football while holding a cold beer having cycled 68 miles. I knew I was tired but it was a good tired. After watching an incredible game I headed back to my room to get a good nights sleep ready to head for the hills once again and then north to Ecuador.

Sunday 5th July

Just knowing how relaxed I was and that I had to climb bask up into the mountains made me wonder why I needed to leave straight away. I was planning on having a few days in Cajamarca and with it being so nice on the coast I thought what was the difference. so deciding to take another day off I got up and had breakfast. I heard band playing outside and so headed out to take a look. With the Pacasmayo marathon on and a parade by the local schools through the streets was amazing to watch. To stand and watch mums and dads getting so excited at their kids all dressed up was amazing to see and I couldn’t stop smiling as the frantic parents ran around following their kids.P1020163

Watching the parade and the very excited parents

Once the parade was over I headed for the beach and jumped in the sea which was amazing and felt so good.  After a nice long soak it was time for an ice cream and a pint. so I found a nice bar and sat outside listening to the waves lapping on the shore. and although this was a town famous for its surf it was a nice day to just be at the sea side and to relax.

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Image taken form google images on a good day

After almost wasting away, then getting sick, climbing three more passes probably wasn’t the most sensible thing to do but it was so stunning how could I regret it. The road to the junction was hard and I was so pleased to have decided to head for the coast. making amazing progress in just a couple days was a good motivator and then to arrive at a lovely seaside town was just what I needed. I would now be heading back to the mountains but I didn’t mind. I was well rested, happy and ready to go. I liked the sea but I loved the mountains more and to now be on tarmac was even better.

Thanks for reading xxx

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    August 20, 2015 7:36 pm

    Tim It’s heartbreaking to hear you have been ill but your indomitable spirit keeps pushing you on where others would rest. Awesome scenery, photos and beautiful writing as always. Glad you got to swim in the Pacific. Hope you have better health and more strength now for the next part of your journey. Lots of love xxx

  2. Rob Smith permalink
    August 20, 2015 8:23 pm

    Yet again an awe inspiring diary. Thanks so much for sharing this with us mate!

  3. Mum and Dad Pitts permalink
    August 21, 2015 6:27 pm

    We were really sorry to hear how poorly and run down you have been. Just wanted to put our arms around you and give you a HUGE hug. Glad you got to have a swim in the ocean. Take care and keep safe . you are an amazing person and very much loved . Love from Martin and Wendy XXXXX

  4. RAFAEL permalink
    August 23, 2015 3:30 am

    Awesome places, mountains, your photos show that small Peruvian towns are very beatiful.
    thank you for sharing with us these pictures and descriptions.
    In case you need some medicines, for a simple disease, please write me to my e-mail to give you the right spanish name of them.
    xx
    Rafael

  5. Mark Hill permalink
    August 23, 2015 5:10 pm

    Great stories and pictures Tim. 🙂

  6. August 26, 2015 12:36 am

    Take care of you Tim! Beautiful pictures and words – I’m looking forward to more mountain stories now. We’re in Uruguay this week and I had a similar vulture fly over head this morning (it upset all the other birds!). R*

  7. August 29, 2015 6:46 am

    Oooff! That crack to the head must have hurt. Glad that you ve recovered from that ‘wasting away/stomach bug’ episode, though cycling up a mountain pass isn’t the best way to recuperate!
    Must have been lovely to see the sea. The surf on (a good day) looks impressive.
    Those images from the mountains are so impressive, they must have been overwhelming in real life.
    Look forward to hearing from you, Take care, Span x

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