Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Fourth and final country of the Vuelta Sudamericana tour, Peru

Well the end of the Vuelta Sudamericana tour is getting closer for me at least (boohoo).  I am leaving the tour in Cusco to join with Anny (yippeee) so we can explore her homeland together.  I only have 4 more cycling days left.  This morning we crossed the border from Bolivia into Peru and now we are staying the night in a town called Juli on the edge of lake Titicaca.

The last few days of cycling since leaving La Paz have not been that hard for me at least.  Most days have been around 70km in distance, and I can only assume this section is rated as 5 star difficulty on the TDA website because of the altitude.  Yesterday we passed over 4,200m and most of us were a little short of breath.  Erik said he could feel pins and needles in his arm because of the lack of oxygen.  It isn't as though we aren't acclimatised though.  We have been staying at over 3,500 metres above sea level for 2 weeks or so now, and tonight we are staying at just over 3,800 metres above sea level.

There wasn't an immediate change upon crossing the Peruvian border.  The people seemed to be dressed similar to how they are in Bolivia and in fact they are also Aymarans.  The main difference I noticed is that there are more animals in general, and especially dogs.  Marieke had a dog jump at her front wheel today and she had to get off the bike and use it as a shield between her and the dog.  Erik also had a rather nasty looking dog running alongside him for a while baring its teeth at him.

Today was the first day where we had to cycle in the rain.  I am very lucky in that I have full waterproofs and overshoes with me, but a lot of people only have waterproof tops with them and they were shivering like hell.  Around half the group ended up getting in the truck or hopping on a bus, but I was all well and snug in my rain gear.  The only problem for me was that I was I couldn't wear my sunglasses because they kept misting up and as I was following behind Erik for some of the way, water and mud was flying up in my face from his back tire.  Quite a few of us have a little bit of a cold and I hope today doesn't make us sicker.

I am really strong on the hills now.  Today Erik, Marieke and I were cyling together upfront and we all reached the bottom of the climb before Juli together.  After a few minutes of cycling uphill I turned round and they were nowhere to be seen.  I am down to 75kg and that is really light for me.  When I did La Marmotte I was around 80kg.  If I had of been as light then as I am now, then I am sure I would have done better.  It is not as though I have lost any strength by losing weight.  My legs are definitely stronger now and the weight loss is purely due to all the fat being stripped from my body.  Some of the group even call me skinny, and that is not something I am used to being called, and is not a description that would have been appropriate at the beginning of the tour.

Anyway folks that is enough rambling from me for now, as I have to get up ready for breakfast at 5.15am tomorrow, now that the clock has gone back one hour when we entered Peru.  Tomorrow is only around 80km or so, and anything below 100km seems short now after what we have become accustomed too.  I will sign in again from Puno hopefully, as that is where we will be tomorrow, and where we also have a rest day the day after.  Goodnight my friends.

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