Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Cycling in support of Limbs For Life
Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Friday, November 29, 2013

#2 Rocks

The big MP...
I was on the fence for some time about going.  Thinking of it as touristy old piles of rocks. Boy was that silly and man am I glad I went.  The place is truly amazing.
The masonry alone...

is mind gurgling

500 years ago

effin lasers man

I stood and stared at this wall a long time.
Stones of another sort.  After our ordeal getting to Aguas... They weren't about to let us ride out either. We were stopped by some head honcho who showed us his badge and marched us to an office. Cass again being the speaker (I owe that guy a couple thousands of words) got nowhere in bargaining for our freedom. We weren't in trouble, we just couldn't leave on our bikes. Same stupid rule. You can walk but you cant ride or push your bike along the tracks. 
    We sat, we hemmed, we hawed. While doing so were told a few more times that bikes were not permitted on the railroad tracks (the only feasible way out). Cass resolved to take the train. It was a ticket price I couldn't stomach- and it didn't sound like any fun.
  I waited till after dark, watched the security guard end his round and made a break for it.  A feeling I knew all to well from years of freight train hopping. Like old times except not at all. Down the line aways and it started to pour. I had to pass some other big hydro/ electric plant. Again I watched the guard then stumbled past. Riding at times, bumping along between the rails or on a path along side, when there was one. Most time, the space in the canyon was only big enough for the river and the rail line. You could easily avoid being hit by trains but trying to hide was a bit interesting. I dove behind rocks or clung to the weeds on the cliffside. The river rushed and the rain came down. The night worn on and I made progress. We had gotten up that morning at 4 and hiked up to MP. Now that it was late, my eyes went to doing funny things in the dark. Like in the Tour Divide. At one point I realized I lost my camera- prolly back at one of my train dodges AKA bush dives. It was gonna be a real long night. Though lucky me, I found it sitting in the middle of the trail only about a Km back and still working (not even near anywhere bumpy).  The rain stopped and stars came out. I camped in the walls of some Incan ruins. In the morning I rode back into Ollantaytambo and had a delicious coffee.   
The night mission

Toil and ye shall be rewarded

The old incan short cut

Pigs in zen

#1... Cannonballs

Take 3 quick steps, jump in the air, curl into a ball and plummet off the Andes.

Cass and I went point A to B by going to C,D and E first. Our route to from Ollantaytambo went up and over the 4400m Abra Yanamayu. From where we zipped down, a little more down and then further down to Occobamba and San Lorenzo. A long and winding decent of around 3500 meters that had us trying to remember what it was like to pedal. Soon enough were choking on thick air and sweating in the Amazon.

Leaving Betsy our slanty shack. She and her spiders were gracious host for the night.

Bottom of the world

Slowly being reclaimed
Our route went as far out as Quellouno and we turned back. Climbing towards Echarate, Quillabamba and St. Maria.
Cross contamination of the Yanamayo and Vilcanota

Seduced by and espresso machine in Quillabamba

The Inca - English connection

Not the best place to ride blindfloded and backwards... unless you happen to be wearing a backpack full of silverware

Babies soon to be planted and grow to bear the beloved beans

Two tarp tents in the yard...

Andy and Tatiana of the fantastic Yellow River Hostal

And Maya their adorable daughter. She could switch between Castellano and English without half seconds thought 

Yes!... A Fatbike. Sweet, dude
. From St. Theresa- Plan A was to tip-toe past the guards at Hydroelectrica (bicycles are not allowed on the hiking path) Plan B was to ask nicely. Plan-C was to carry them (we brought rope and everything). We got nowhere with that whole bit of the alphabet. Cass being the (much) better of  the Spanish speakers went back and forth, up, down and around and still got nowhere. We might as well have been trying to smuggle in a life size Machu Picchu replica for as far as we got. I don't think the Taj Mahal would have been as strict for letting us in with bikes. Begrudgingly they finally allowed us to take the train with them.Grrr.  Though we could have pulled a Joe.  (going back and sneaking through at night) Decidedly we didn't want to lose the rest of that day and the next before hiking the big MP. We rode the shame train looking out at folks hiking happily. For others looking to do this with bikes: We found out later than you can ship your bike from the Hydroelectrica to Aguas Calientes on the train and walk in to pick it up. Live and learn  
Welcome to the jungle

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Picchu Packing

My toothbrush didn't turn titanium over night but things have lightened up. I've met back up with Cass here in Ollantaytambo. We've shed some gear and are gonna run light and scampery. We put together a couple hunered K route of dirt that will eventually drop us in on the the big MP. Hells Yea!
Rackless and ready. I've borrowed Cass's Porcelain Rocket seat bag and brushed off a couple half Kilos of mud. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Epic times in Incan places

A little up and over...

 Cass had to nip off to Cusco. So I went on to Ollantaytambo a less conventional route.
3000 meters of climbing started here. (1802 to 4970 by my GPS)

Dirt roads


turned into bridges and 


A cozy nights accommodation

Yes, its blurry. I was a little shocked when I went out to pee and saw this guy staring down on me.

The first crossing of many glacial run offs

Mt. Salkantay

Some would think that in open paramo the trail would not be so hard to lose. But then there is me.

Creeping up on the shoulder.

A look back down.  The more popular route to Machu Picchu can be seen on the other side.

And a look ahead into the Cusichaca valley.

Davie teetering on the knives edge of the Abra Incachiriaska

An afternoon sipper

Coming directly off the pass it was steep, slippery and rocky. Soon it became ripping singletrack!

They had never seen tires so fat on a bicycle before

I think every 25k of trail is like erasing 50 of pavement.

A little wet in places

and a little lush,

What MTB dreams are made of.

Inca walls

Once a tire- then a sandal- now a gate hinge

camping amongst Inca ruins

The only way I'm taking this train is in classic hobo style. 

Ollantaytambo. It didn't take me long to find this beautiful old Italian baby.