Although it was less than 50km from Potosí, there was more climbing to come. We were around 3300m, but had to get up to almost 4000m to arrive in Potosí ? the world?s highest city. Normally the downhill that started the day would have been welcome, but it just meant even more climbing. Thankfully as we were going along a train line, it was a very gradual climb nearly all day long. However, that didn?t mean we went quickly. Even though I?d only tried the Bolivian custom
Having made it to the bottom of El Retiro the night before, at 7:30 we were starting the climb. If I?d been alone, it would have been a couple of hours of constant climbing. As it was, it took until 11am and pushing probably 90% of the way. HJ tried riding at times, but it was nearly always too steep as we went up switchback after switchback climbing up to the start of the altiplano. There must be a bike race up there, as I saw plenty of motivational messages written on the road aimed at
Having stayed an extra day, everything was ready for us to leave early on our way to Potosí. Some people do it in two days, but with HJ not having cycled much since Brazil, and then she had less weight on her bike, we thought 3-4 days was a more reasonable guess. It all started well, with a lovely downhill, and it wasn?t until the bottom of it that I realised I?d left one of my water bottles at the market. One of the many good things about using PET bottles is that you can just buy
Yelson has his own Shish bar and lives above it, meaning he is a 2-3 minute walk to the central square. Sucre isn’t big, even though it’s constitutionally still the capital, but I was very glad to be there and not in the outskirts. It definitely makes getting things done in a city much easier.
HJ had picked up a bike in Lima, Peru, and found her way down to Sucre to ride with me for a couple of weeks in Bolivia. She didn?t have any bags, and Bolivia really isn?t the place
Padre Perez was eager for me to stay longer. It was a Friday and Tarabuco would come to life on the Sunday when everyone from the local communities would come to peddle their wares, but I couldn’t. HJ was waiting for me in Sucre, and I was still eager to get my Bolivian riding done before the rain came, so we had breakfast and I set off on the downhill to Sucre feeling much better than I had been the night before.
The downhills were good fun, although I did notice a wobble in my rear wheel