The last two days of our trip to Quito were where we hit the Andes and the going got tough.
We left our bird lodge after a long sleep and filling breakfast. We cycled up and down hills for the first 27 kilometers and climbed six hundred meters. Then we turned off up a dirt track and began the real days work. 1400 meters of climbing up thirty kilometers of the “old pass”.
The road was stony, muddy, wet and slippy. In a few places parts had slipped away in to the valley below and in a few other places it was like cycling in a stream. Progress was slow and by two in the afternoon we were looking for food and accommodation. “No problem” a local told us. “Just go to Nono. Seven or eight kilometers.” After eight kilometers we asked the next local – “Not far. Eight kilometers maximum.” By now it was really wet and sunset was getting closer. The next local promised “30 minutes or so”.
Eventually we found Nono and knocked on the door of a closed restaurant. Marcelo came out, smiled at us and organized beautiful accommodation and amazing food. The day was a success.
On our last day we only had 29 kilometers and 700 meters of climbing and for the first time reached our destination dry. We cycled up through the cloud to the top of the pass at 3340 meters. From there the only route was down to Quito – at 2900 meters the highest capital in the world – and through the city to finish at the office of Jan – the biking dutchman.
A GPS recording of the complete trip is at alltrails.com. Ignore the huge spike at the beginning which is not true – it is a problem with the way alltrails deal with the data. We “only did” about eight or eleven thousand meters, depending on which program you use.
Seven days, nearly 400 kilometers and maybe 10000 meters of climbing. But we did it. We cycled from the Pacific to the Andes.