Amazing views!!!

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

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Flag of Peru  , Apurímac,
Monday, February 11, 2013

We were instantly met with a steep hill to get out of the town, which was enough to make you want to go back to bed and call it a day.  It didn't last for long though and became a more manageable climb once we had left the town.  We saw on our information that we had 1600m to climb over the day and that the road would slowly climb up over about 40km and then descend back down to the same elevation that we had started the day at.  We seem to be getting used to this at the moment, because most days involve a long slog uphill and then a meandering downhill.  Each day we ascend up over the clouds, into the freezing air and then back down to tropical heat, with mosquitoes and other insects that enjoy the warmer air.  I have wondered a few times recently about how we always blame autumn colds on the changing of the seasons.  Kory and I have been going up and down like a yo-yo recently, plunging from spending the night in a tent at -7 degrees to 30 degrees or more in the valleys and then back up again the following day.  Thankfully we haven't been struck with any colds or anything yet.

We wound our way slowly up the hillside and stopped only a couple of times to eat our packed lunch and once for a drink.  We only came across one tiny village, which had about 5 houses and one of them had a variety of drinks and chocolate bars to sell to weary cyclists.  I'm not sure who else would stop at her little shop, as she doesn't have much available and you would only notice it if you were going at the pace of a cyclist. 

As we rounded a corner we saw a familiar camper van coming the other way and waved them down.  It was the Texan couple, who had been stopped in the same roadworks as us about a week ago.  They had been up to Cusco and were heading back to the coast.  It was great to see them and enjoy a friendly conversation for ten minutes or so, and best of all they told us we were almost at the top of the long hill climb. 

As we approached the top of the climb I could see snow covered mountains in the distance.  I decided to sprint cycle the last 500m or so, to get to the top and enjoy the amazing views.  I instantly remembered why we don't try to go fast at these elevations, as my laboured breathing and racing heart made me look like a 50-a-day smoker, who was trying to run a marathon.  I couldn't help it though I was really excited to see the amazing views and to finally reach the top of the pass, after cycling for almost 5 hours. 

The views were spectacular and we stopped to take lots of photos and also to bundle up ready for the quick descent in the cold air.  As we climb up we are happy with just shorts and t-shirts as the sweaty workout keeps us warm but as soon as we stop or start to go downhill we rapidly drop body temperatures and need extra layers on.  As we started the descent we saw a Polish cyclists, who was um, "one-of-a-kind", he said he was going to cycle to Bogota in less than a month.  This is the same distance that Kory and I have done over our whole trip, and taken three months to do.  He would need to do 140km every single day.  If he does it then fair play, but I can't help but think "what is the point?, how much will he see and experience and where is the enjoyment?".  Then again, maybe he went away from meeting us thinking that we are lazy and we could put a bit of effort into it.

We descended into Curahuasi and found a lovely place to stay, which had views out onto the main street, and was run by a friendly older man.  They were more than happy to let us put our bikes into their spare room and locked them away.  When we went out for dinner, the lovely lady owner told us we could have a free re-fill of chips (as I guess we look like we need fattening up).  It doesn't take much to make you warm to a town and to its people, just a couple of smiling faces and polite gestures. 
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Gramma on

My goodness you's have alot of energy....all those climbs,, then descendingtoo into the heat.... Must feel good to finally hit the heat. What beautiful views you's have seen along the way. Love and hugs

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