Meeting an inspirational gentleman

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

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Very uncharacteristically I was up with the water boiling on the campstove before the 6 o'clock alarm had even gone off. Kory wondered if there was something wrong with me but I was just eager to make a good start on our planned 140km cycle day. We have 540km to cover between Cusco and Cocacabana in Bolivia, which is where we hope to meet Karen. We have given ourselves 5 days to do this, so need to average 110km each day, and complete the border crossing into Bolivia.

We were on the road by 8am, which was an earlier start than we usually manage. The first couple of hours went really well; the road was smooth and flat and the traffic was quiet. We were able to keep up a great speed of 25-30km per hour and by the time we arrived at Ayaviri at 9.45am, we had cycled 45km already. Best of all was that the scenery had completely changed for our long stint on “the mountain route” to Cusco. We were now in the middle of a high alpine meadow, with flat grasslands on both sides of the road, which continued in front of us as far as we could see. On our right, we could see a ridge of snow capped mountains and slightly lower hills dominated the landscape on our left.

We pulled in to the small town of Ayaviri and found a small restaurant with a friendly owner, who happily whipped Kory up rice with a chunk of beef in a sauce and for me, an egg sandwich. He came back to ask a couple of times if I was sure that I didn't want a plate of rice with my sandwich. For some reason asking for an egg sandwich for breakfast always seems like a crazy idea, why don't you want chicken or beef with rice for every meal?  We were excited to be skipping through the kilometres so quickly and to have such amazing scenery.

The next hour also went well, and we managed to keep our speeds around 25km per hour. The landscape was flat and we noticed different birds in the skies around us. We stopped again for another drink and were happy to have completed 75km. The remaining 60km were much slower as the wind had picked up and we were fighting against it. We had heard on other blogs that the wind would be with us and pushing us along easily throughout the day; fat chance!!

As we cycled along we saw two cyclists who were cycling the otherway, about 10km apart. Both were single male cyclists, one from Germany and the other from Holland. We had a nice conversation with both of them and enjoyed swapping trip stories and road information.  The first guy though was the one who would leave the lasting impression. He was 71 years old and had cycled all over the world.  His list of countries that he had cycled around over the years was exhaustive and included amongst other places, most of the “stan” countries which most people can't even place on a map and all over Asia, and numerous routes across North and South America, including a couple of trips involving Alaska. He was inspirational! He said he had retired a year ago and could now put in more time to cycling, but by the sounds of it he has covered quite an area over the past years.  His parting words were “spend your life making your dreams into a reality, don't leave them as dreams”, then he hopped back on to his weighty bike with a sprightliness of someone 30 years younger.

We arrived into Julianca at around 4pm and cycled straight to a Polleria (restaurant selling roasted chicken and chips) as we were both starving. The town seemed different to those we have been in so far, and I wonder if it is a sign of things to come in Bolivia or just because it is a border town, with transient people. The roads were under construction, there was filthy water pooling with a distinct whiff in the air, and a few drunks shouting loudly outside of a dingy, dirty shop. We found a hotel and were happy to be out of the mayhem of this unlikeable town.
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Gramma on

Love that beautiful scenery!!!!! Mr. Inspiration, does look young, eh!!! Must be all that fresh air he breathes, and maybe the excercise too!!!!

Karen on

Great parting words of wisdom! You two don't maybe realize it yet... but yous ARE an inspiration to all us back at home! Keep on truckin'!

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