So we made it out of the Andes. Unfortunately the 60km downhill was mared by a potholed road and road works. So that white knuckled ride wasn’t to be.
At this stage we’ve grown accusomed to snap lansdcape changes in the Andes. Often the day might start with jungle green rolling hills and go through several climatic and goelogical zones as we climbed and descended- all in a days work as they’d say. I found the cultural change over the 60km from 4,200m to Nazca which sits at a reasonable 600m a bit of a surprise though. Over a couple of hours riding, the dress, housing, food, cars and general attitide of people changed dramatically. Gone are the women dressed in petticoats and bowler hats, gone are the toyota landcruisers, and bland food. A simple drop down a, admittedly drastic, geographical barrier and it feels like being in a different country.
A country I’m relieved to be in, as I was really getting sick of Andean “cuisine”. To be perfectly blunt the food above 2,500m was s%&t. Aprt from the lack of variety and culinary fair, we think that the food was so bad because water boils at a lower temperature up there and most meals were potato, pasta and rice, usually served together and accompanied by a nano thin sliver of llama or goat. So mostly this carbohydrate was either uncooked or cooked slowly to a water paste. This gets very trying when after a day of excercise.
Eager to test my legs after 3 months of altitude training I split from SI and Emma and made a solo beeline for Lima. To my pleasant surprise I had an effortless run of 465km from Nazca in 3 days. Si is also feeling the positive effects of an inflated redcell count and popped out an impressive 330km in two days. Emma decided that she’d done her bit and hoped a bus in the middle of the desert 120km out of Nazca. I can’t say I blame her.
Any worries that Myself and Si had been harbouring about making Bogota, 3,000km, in six weeks have melted away and we’re now dying to put our new lungs and legs to the test along Peru’s deserted desert coast. That is if this Swine Flu epidemic doesn’t hamper our wordly plans.