River camp to Ayacucho
Av speed: 9.6 mph
Moving time: 3 hours 45
Trip time: 5 hours
Up early to arrive in Ayacucho for 1pm for a much needed afternoon of rest and recuperation after seven tough and sweaty days.
We decided to treat ourselves to a nicish hotel with huge comfy beds and breakfast included!
A very enjoyable beer in the evening looking back on all that we had achieved over the past few days.
DAY NINETY ONE
Ayacucho to Huanta
Distance: 37 miles
Av speed: 8.7
Moving time: 4 hours 5
Trip time: 5 hours 40
A frustrating day as our departure from Ayacucho was delayed by the laundry lady who returned our clothes still wet and still smelly. This meant we couldn’t leave until 3pm so we spent the morning doing what hungry cyclists do and ate our weight in ice cream.
Ayacucho was actually really nice in the centre and so we weren’t complaining and it very much appreciated a bit more resting time.
Back on the road we foolishly followed our mapping app that said the road was a shortcut but instead had to battle for two hours with some of the worst road conditions we have experienced on the trip. This meant a long cycle in the dark again as we tried to get some miles in.
Ended up eating in the busy town of Huanta. Each time it amazes us that you can get a two course meal all for £1. Ended up camping by the side of the road just outside the town, in ear shot of what felt like every dog in Peru!
DAY NINETY TWO
Huanta to Quichuas
Average speed: 9.6mph
Moving time: 7h04
Door to door: 11h13
An early start to make up for the delays we had yesterday meaning the tent was packed up and we were on the bikes at 6.45. A unexpected but extremely welcomed 15 miles of downhill to start the day was pretty awesome before we joined up with the River Mantaro.
Even though for the whole day we spent drifting through the beautiful valley following the river the day as a whole felt pretty exhausting. Both of us were feeling tired all day even though we didn’t have a big climb. Today was spent half on tarmac and half on ripio, meaning that we ended up swallowing a lot of dust throughout the day as the massive lorry’s past.
Relieved to make it to Quinchas and finally get the tent up so we could pass out after our bucket of pasta.
DAY NINETY THREE
Quichas to Huancayo
Distance: 70 miles
Av speed: 10 mph
Moving time: 6 hours 37
Door to door: 10 hours 54
Much more enjoyable day after yesterday as the road condition improved and after three bags of pasta we seemed to have all the energy in the world.
Despite having to endure more biting insects, (we are now covered again after the ones from a week ago had just left) and more angry dogs the ride up the river valley was stunning with so much green, before the road turned northwards and rose sharply out of the valley.
Tired and aching legs once again struggled as we climbed 1500m in 25km up to 4100m, this time into a fierce headwind. After playing with 7 adorable puppies at the top and a rapid descent we were soon in Huancayo, nice to arrive at our destination in the light for a change.
Expecting a nice town similar to Ayacucho we were a little bit disappointed, as drivers used their horns indiscriminately and every other shop was a fried chicken shop. BUT nice to have a warmish shower in a hostel and recharge the batteries for our final few days tackling the Peruvian Andes.
We are just about on track to reach Cartagena for the end of May, hopefully finishing in around 125 days. Three more days in the Andes then we drop down to the coast. To give ourselves more time to enjoy Ecuador and Colombia, we will once again be taking on a big week long challenge, cycling over 100 miles a day up the coast north from Lima! Looking forward to lots of miles in the dark and hopefully some good motorway petrol stations!
DAY NINETY FOUR
Huancayo to Wood outside Jauja
Distance: 30 miles
Av speed: 15 mph
Moving time: 2 hours 42
Door to door: 4 hours 13
Frustrating day as we were forced to spend far more time in Huancayo than we would ever want to. Both battling effects of last night’s chicken feet soup we got some early morning admin jobs done before waiting for the bike shop to open, both needing to replace our disc pads after so many kms spent zooming downhill over the last few days.
Annoyingly the bike shop didn’t open on time so we spent three very frustrating hours waiting outside it on a noisy road constantly calling the owner who each time said he would be 20 mins. In the end an employee turned up and replaced them on the street as he didn’t have the keys to open the shop!
Finally, we were able to leave Huancayo. There have not been many places that we wouldn’t want to return to but Huancayo would be close to topping the list, alongside Villa O’Higgins in Chile. We have grown used to beautiful historic centers throughout Peru and for a change we were greeted by dusty and hastily put together high rise buildings and some of the worst traffic of our trip, surrounded by endless busses and taxis beeping their horns and coughing up black exhaust fumes. Mild food poisoning, two awful haircuts and a never-ending wait for the bike shop to open didn’t help either!
It was good then to finally be back on the road, even if it was packed with more terrible Peruvian drivers. With little time to get the miles in, it ended up being a short day before a big final push in the Peruvian Andes tomorrow. A special mention needs to go to the mother and daughter shop keeper's we met in Jauja, a grandmother and great grandmother who made us feel like their own sons and completely changed the whole complexion of our day. They had pretty much every type of snack covered, and once we had been chatting to them for an hour or so even got a BBQ going cooking some of the best kebabs we have ever tasted. As it was getting dark we managed to find a camp spot in a wood that ran along the train track, making it into the tent just as the heavens opened.
DAY NINETY FIVE
Jauja to lake side just on from Pucara