With the temperature being so cold at this height, there is little point in setting off super early in the morning, as its just too uncomfortable. A good chance to have breakfast in bed, of Fanny Marmelade and bread rolls. You cant beat spreading a little fanny in the morning. (What ?!)
At 08.00 the sun is a little higher and warming, and it seems to be the best time. Starting off at 4200 metres, I knew that I had a challenging morning ahead as I cycled up to a height of 4700 metres, which is over 15,000 feet. Altitude sickness hasn’t affected me so far, and didn’t today, although I stopped every 1.5 km for a minute or two as the muscles in my legs seemed to lack oxygen. My breathing was fine, and I didn’t get a headache which was all good. Actually, a small headache came in the form of vicious packs of dogs which seem to wait for the unsuspecting cyclist in these parts. Still, I have my stick, and I managed to hit two today – Maybe tomorrow I get the hat trick ! (Before anyone starts on a don’t be cruel to animals routine, try to imagine being chased by half a dozen snapping, snarling dogs. If I can hit one whilst seated on my bicycle with a three foot stick, then its too damned close!).
Fortunately the gradients were not too severe, and the scenery was stunning and beautiful, despite its barrenness.
As I took this photo, the screen on my camera broke. Yes, ha ha ha, Daves ugly mug broke the camera! What really happened is a gust of wind blew the camera off the ledge I had balanced it on, and broke the screen. The camera still works, just that I can not see what I am taking a picture of. This might perhaps improve my photography skills!
After 20 km, and nearly three hours, I reached the top, and stopped to make this small video.
After that, it was downhill for nearly 28 km, as I lost 1000 metres of height. Reaching the town of Huallanca, I took a 13 sole room in a hotel on the square, and stocked up on some food. From various emails, I gather that one group of four cyclists is three days ahead of me, whilst another couple are over a week in front. With nearly 3 weeks of cycling until I reach Cusco, there is a reasonable chance that I can catch one or both groups up.