Day 3-7 Bike around Huaraz, Epic Santa Cruz Trek

We had our first taste of biking the dirt road (read: very bumpy, rocky, washboardy) of Peru. We went on a half a day ride behind the town of Huaraz, 16 miles with ~2000′ of elevation gain. This will be approximately half of the distance that we would have to bike everyday and a third of average elevation gain that we’ll be doing if we do decide to go with the roads that go through the passes.

It was SO DIFFICULT! We were semi acclimatized at this point, but absolutely did not expect the horrible road that we had to go through-

First off: the DOGS! they were gnarly. We were chased by groups of dogs (3-10 dogs at a time) at least 8 times during our 3 hour bike ride.  Although these dogs look cute, they are much more aggressive when they are in groups– they chased us for a few minutes and stayed only a few inches from our ankles. The first encounter, Brady was convinced that we had to act aggressively, pretending to throw rocks and yelling at them to make them back off. For an encounter with a single dog, this may work, but with a band of dogs, they get more riled up and excited. I don’t like Peruvian dogs right now,…

Second: the horrible surface and the steep gradient. Going up was much easier (albeit reallyyyy slow at 3-4 mph – gasp!)  than going down. Because the surface was very rough and rocky, we had to go REALLY slow with both of our brakes engaged 70-90% the entire time. This made for a very rough downhill ride with a LOT of vibration going through our entire bodies. Going down 3 miles on steep downhill was very tiring. Because of the intense vibration, Brady could not feel his hands after 30 minutes of going down. He even lost his kickstand that was connected by FOUR screws! This serves as a reminder that we would need to tighten everything on our bicycles at least every other day!

IMG_1888Here’s a picture of me puffing and panting going up the hill, completely traumatized after being chased by dogs!

 

Anyways– we did the Santa Cruz trek- 55km trek over 4 days with lots of elevation gain. We went up to 4,850m to arrive at 360 degrees vista overlooking lagunas, crests, ridges and snow capped really tall mountains.

We went with a group of 10 people. Brady and I brought our own tents and sleeping bags/ pads– but they were carried by DONKEYS! These donkeys were awesome! They can walk really fast non-stop. The weather was a little terrible at the end of the day on the first day- we got rained on non stop through the night so everything got wet. After the first day, the sky opened up and it was a mix of windy, drizzly and super sunny.

I’ve got to get going because we decided that we will be leaving Huaraz tomorrow to start our bike ride. We plan on doing bicycle ride around Huayhuash mountain range- probably around 7 days with 4000′ elevation gain everyday easily, followed by our planned route from Conococha down to Albancay/ Cusco to meet with Brady’s parents on June 11th– 41 more days!

Here’s a few pictures:

IMG_3166The crazy windy road we took to arrive at the starting point- Vaqueria. It’s kinda nuts to think that we would have to be riding up these roads during our trip- every.day.

IMG_3180Here’s a picture of a smiling goat– This is for you, Kelley W! Brady keeps on yelling “hey boys” during the trip, although he never got any reactions.

IMG_1917Here’s another picture of Brady waving his new towel, sponsored by Steve Azzi. This towel is the bomb.

IMG_3201Lagunas and mountain peaks everywhere- I’m getting really spoiled.

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IMG_3198Awesome little plants covering the baby hills shown in the previous picture.

IMG_3208Brady, the new mountain man, complete with brand new Buffs and a few weeks- grown beard. I think he’s fully satisfied with his beard.

 

 

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IMG_1932Donkeys~ We kept on feeding them orange peel :/

 

 

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IMG_3227Brady on top of the world!!

IMG_1946Brady was sitting on a ledge on top of the hike (Punta Union), eating his lunch, bread and avocados- We are going to eat lots of this!

 

 

IMG_3233The view from the top.

IMG_3237The group that we went with at the top of the hike~

IMG_3245Shot on Iphone6!

IMG_1953Campsite on 2nd night!

IMG_3252Brady with the mountain behind him that supposedly was the mountain in the Paramount pictures…

IMG_3270More mountain donkeys!

 

IMG_3280It was absolutely stunning!

IMG_3295Brady and more of his mountain donkey friends.

IMG_1971Hot springs on the last day- it was plenty warm, a good place to rinse off the dirt and rid of the sores~ Too bad it was a little dirty (lots of trash) and the mosquitoes were aggressive.

Okay– off to planning, probably won’t be blogging for a while. I don’t think we will have internet in the next few weeks. Wish us luck (hopefully no dog bites!)

 

 

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