Some time during my previous leg, I had noticed that my rear wheel had a little shudder when I braked. I don’t remember when it started, but it was at least like that before I went to a bike shop in Waltenhofen, southern Germany, in the beginning of June. That guy hadn’t worked out the cause, and just re-adjusted my brakes but it still resumed. I figured it was down to the wheel being out of true and resolved to fix it while I was home. Being me this meant that about a week before
From Loja it would be about 750km to Quito. I could have gone on a shorter route through the mountains, but I decided instead to drop down to El Oriente, the foothills of the Andes where they drop into the Amazon. I figured it would be flatter than the mountains, and also I wanted to visit my friend Nick, who had not only hosted me on my first day in Mexico, but also I’d ridden with in Cuba.
There was a climb into the clouds out of Loja, on rather steep roads (as seems to be the Ecuadorian
Even having descended 25km the night before, there was still another 20km to go. 40-60km climbs, followed by equally ridiculously long descents, the story of the mountains north of Cusco having left the Altiplano. The climbs have to be long, because they go from 2000m to 4000m, but the length is augmented by the relatively gentle gradients of the climbs as the road switchbacks it’s way up the side of a mountain. Peru is famous with cyclists for it’s long climbs, but also that you can
Markus is out of the house by 5:45 and so I had to be too with my plan to cross the border and end up somewhere near San Francisco, where I’d be meeting Nora, one of 200 Peace Corp volunteers in Paraguay. San Francisco is about 135km from Markus’ place, so you can imagine my frustration when after travelling 207km I was 130km away.
I’d already crossed the Posadas – Encarnación border with Gaz, on our way up to Iguazu, and so I decided that I’d take the border crossing
Gaz asked me to come up with a route so I gave him three options. Meandering around Uruguay, heading north to Iguazu and heading west to see the Andes and drink wine in Mendoza. Iguazu won out, because it not only involved the spectacular falls, and ticked the ‘go to Paraguay’ box Gaz had, but also passing through four countries and avoided most of the craziest Argentinian drivers. It also meant that I could get over to Montevideo to get my Rohloff package sorted out.
With a very set