Day 3 is always the worst

At least that is the way I remember cycling. But today is the third day and we enjoyed it.

After our “two training days” Heidi suggested we continue to train as we head towards the Andes. Sort of “getting fit on the job” concept. It sounded “adventurous” and adventure is what we do.

We had a neighbouring sailor pick us up in his dinghy and take us ashore to our bikes. It was drizzling when we woke and stayed that way all day. Just enough to keep us damp with the occasional periods of real rain. We left Bahia de Caraquez and followed the river up to Chone passing strings of shrimp farms. At lunch time we stopped at a restaurant to check the taste of the shrimps. We reached Chone and found a hotel just as it began really raining so arrived soaked through.

Green Ecuador in the rain

Day two we left the river and followed a local road heading in to the hills. The countryside was a hundreds of shades of green. The daily rain ensures that everything grows big, succulent and green. It also makes every track without tarmac a mud bath. I made the mistake of taking a 1.2km shortcut and we nearly disappeared in the mud. The bike wheels didn’t turn and the bikes were twice their normal weight. When we eventually reached a road we scraped mud off the bikes and off our shoes and then cycled further. A short while later it poured with rain for two hours so the bikes got cleaner.

The bike lane occasionally disappears due to earth slides or rock falls.

And today we stayed on the road all day. No shortcuts. No mud. The last two days we did fifty kilometers per day but today we needed to cycle seventy to reach the next town with hotels. And there was a pass to cross. We climbed 1070 meters.

Loads of cars sound their horn or flash their lights and show the thumbs up sign when they see us. The people ask where we are going and when we say “Quito” they stare at us and say “Frigo!” (cold!) Or they turn to their friends and say “they are going to Quito” and every one shakes their head.

We got soaked going up the pass but dried off on the way back down and during the lunch stop. Just before the rain started again we found a great hotel. They charge by the hour but we negotiated a price until seven tomorrow morning. Everything is decorated in red with hearts. But free wifi and endless hot water to wash clothes and bodies.

Bamboo tunnel

So now we have 170 kilometers behind us. The training program is running well. By the time we are finished, we will probably be fit.

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