One last big day

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

We had read the blogs from other cyclists before setting off from Huancayo, and they had taken either four or five days to cover the stretch to Ayacucho.  The 300km road climbed over 3000m, with a variety of paved, gravel and dust surfaces.  I was really hoping that we may be able to do it faster and take only three days to cover it, to arrive into Ayacucho for my birthday.  This meant that we had done two long, hard days and had a further 80km to cycle and over 1000m to climb, on the last day.

The tiny village that we had stayed in had a limited water supply, even though the rainy season is just ending.  They had no water when we arrived and all night, and just gave us a couple of pots of water to boil for drinking/cooking with and a pot to flush the toilet (very unsuccessfully). They had a shower area, in the open, just outside of their main living area, which consisted of a big drum of water that they had collected (this wasn't for drinking though, so I wonder if it was "used" dishwashing water or something).  They then gave you a saucepan to throw the water over yourself, Kory got right in there but I figured that I probably wasn't dirty enough to need to give the whole family the spectacle of me pouring freezing cold water over myself, and stuck to using a wetwipe instead.  In the morning, they had some running water but from the intensity of their collecting it I presume they knew they would only have it for a short time.  They were very careful to use the smallest amount needed for each task and to re-use it when possible.  Although I found it infuriating to not have water available for simple tasks, such as cleaning your teeth, I can't imagine what it is like to live with this concern everyday.  It seemed like a morning routine for them to collect and store the water for the rest of the day, and then to frugally use it in case they didn't have any tomorrow.

We spent about an hour in the morning trying to fix my pedal and managed to temporarily attach it but it might not last as a long term solution.  We headed off and joined a road made of mainly dust.  The last few hours of our cycling yesterday was on gravel and we knew that we had about 30km of dirt/dust to cycle over this morning.  Unfortunately it really slowed us down and it took us much longer than we were hoping for to cover the distance.  We stopped a few times for drinks and slowly climbed up 400m on dirt road to arrive into the town of Huanta.  We enjoyed a standard lunch and a couple more drinks, as the weather was hot and sunny and we were feeling dehydrated. 

In the afternoon, we covered a further 50km on paved road, but it was a lot more climbing and descending, which continued to be slow going.  The day finished with a big climb into town, which was enough to finish us both off and we arrived into town quite exhausted.  We had enjoyed the scenery through the valley though and were pleased with ourselves for covering the distance in only three days. 

We found a nice hotel, with amazing views of the nearby church and of the city from the rooftop balcony area, which was connected to our room.  The views even made having to carry our bikes and bags up four flights of stairs worthwhile!  We could breath a sigh of relief, we had made it and for us it signifies the beginning of a new stage of our Peru journey, when we set off next it will be with destination Cuzco, which has been on our radar for months now. 
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Gramma on

Wow, sounds like you's need a loooong rest. Lots of hard work.

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