Its always funny when something is on the horizon for so long and then its past. Or you are on the way somewhere distant than all of a sudden you´re beyond it. It seemed that way with Cusco. It loomed out there in front of us for so long. A place we´re constantly yet slowly on the way to. A goal with the reward in going. Very much unlike a desert oasis or a long drive in the back of a car. It was about getting there.
Aside from the U.S., Peru is the largest country I have crossed in some time (if you look at it top to bottom). As with most places, I´m drawn towards the mountains. The Andes! The second largest range in the world. Where the going is slow and arduous on a bicycle. Distances are longer and the temperature ranges dramatically with elevation. Storms hit hard, lack of oxygen humbles the fitness and surfaces constantly keep you guessing. A place on the earth to make you know you are alive. It was truly phenomenal and I loved it out there.·· I had dreamt of those magical peaks and passes for so long. They far more than lived up to my expectations. I tried to soak it all in. Saturate my brain and immortalize those vistas in my memory. I want to always remember the smells and relive the sunsets. Feel that chill in the lungs with the first morning pedal strokes on those twisting and winding dirt roads. See the year long snow in the gullies of the craggy peaks like the veins in the back of my hand. Man... As I ride through out the world, I'm making reservations for places that need further two wheel exploration. The Peruvian Andes now have a big red flag.
After Aguas Calientes, I caught back up with Cass in Cusco. As with most passing cyclist we stayed at Hostal Estrellita.
There was ·· Matt and Alex
heading north·· Douglas
from Brazil·· 2 stiff lipped, very clean Frenchies·· Cass
dirt road junkie and photo genius·· Kurt
horribly addicted cyclist, pastry vacuum and coffee gulper. We talked alot about bikes, gear and routes. A reoccurring theme among cyclist. As is eating you weight in baked goods. Cusco is a beautiful city. We did a fair amount of walking around, sampled the cuisine and enjoyed a real Irish pub. I stayed for the better part of a week.
Cass and I said our farewells. Hes off to the U.K. for the holidays. He is a good chap with a calm and educated air, the kind that only comes with years in foreign places. It was a true pleasure to turn the pedals and storm some passes with one of the best in the business. Happy trails, Pal