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!
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:
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!)