ANDES TO THE AMAZON 300+km
CHARITY CYCLE CHALLENGE IN AID OF
THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION
WELL WE MADE IT. IT WAS AN EXTREMELY TOUGH CHALLENGE WITH LONG TRAVEL, LONG CYCLING DAYS AND LITTLE SLEEP. COUPLED WITH BOWEL PROBLEMS, ALTITUDE SICKNESS AND SOME VERY WET WEATHER WE ARE NOW RECUOERATING BY DOING SOME EXTENSIVE SLEEP EXERCISES.
MANY THANKS TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPONSORED OUR CAUSE ALREADY AND IF YOU HAVE NOT PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CAUSE AND WHAT YOUR DONATION WILL MEAN TO ALL THE INJURED SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES.
THIS IS A VERY WORTHWHILE CAUSE ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME AND WITH MORE GOVERNMENT CUTBACKS ON THE WAY THE MILITARY WILL BE EVEN MORE STRETCHED IN COMING DAYS,MONTHS AND YEARS.
MANY THANKS FROM BOTH OF US AND ALL SERVICEMEN/WOMEN CURRENTLY ON OPERATIONS AROUND THE WORLD.
Well the next challenge on my agenda is one which I have had my eye on for some years. It takes place in Peru and involves 316km of cycling a lot of which is at an altitude above 3000m and as high as 4200m. This represents a challenge it is not possible to achieve in the UK and is one of the reasons I have to go abroad to attempt something that will test my fitness to the extreme.
I will be accompanied by Graham White an ex military colleague who is now a part time "Rock Star" ?? He will provide renditions of Stairway to Heaven during the tough uphill sections of the ride. This is sure to make me go quicker in attempt to get away from him???
The trip is totally self funded and all monies collected will go the The Royal British Legion.
The agenda is briefly laid out below:
Day 1: Depart UK to Lima, Peru. Arrive Lima - overnight stay Lima.
Day 2: Fly Lima to Cusco (3,400m)
First thing in the morning, you will transfer back to Lima airport to board your one-hour flight along the Andes to Cusco, the centre of the Inca world. Once in the city of Cusco, you will transfer to your centrally located hotel, and have the rest of the day to acclimatise to the altitude (3,326m) be briefed on challenge. Your evening meals will be at a local reaurant.Overnight will be spent in a hotel in Cusco.
Day 3: Transfer to Ollantaytambo (2,800m)
Take the train to Ollantaytambo. Here you will stay in a small hostal. Prepare bikes and kit and furthur safety briefs to prepare for your challenge.
Day 4: Cycle along Sacred Valley to Pisac
(3,000m) – 63kms biking
Today is your first day on the bikes! After breakfast in the hotel you will prepare your bikes, load up with water and a picnic before starting the ride. From Ollantaytambo you will take a straight forward acclimatisation ride along the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas generally along a flat tarmac road. You will see the way of life in the fertile valley, a sharp contrast to the lifestyle of the Altiplano and the Amazon basin you will see in the following days. Passing through the villages of Urubamba you will have a short visit to the internationally renowned studios of Pablo Seminario and Calca where you will enjoy a picnic lunch en route on the banks of the Urubamba River. This will give you ample opportunity not just to get used to the Peruvian climate but to experience the fabulous local culture and scenery. Your ride will end at your first night’s camp site just outside the town of Pisac. Pisac is famous for its artisan market which you can visit if time permits. Overnight camping.
Day 5: Cycle ascent and descent in the Andes.
Camp at Colquepata – 48kms
Starting from Pisac you will cycle upwards out of the Sacred Valley of the Incas on a steep tarmac road (6kms) which gradually deteriorates into a fairly smooth dirt road. Here you are climbing out of the very fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas into the Altiplano. Here the communities survive on growing some of the many thousand different varieties of potatoes as well as llama and alpaca breeding. After 20kms of climbing you will stop for a picnic lunch after which you continue the last few kilometres to the top of the pass at 4,236m. Shortly after the pass you will start cycling mainly downhill now, to your campsite for the night. The dirt road descends steeply at first before levelling off for a beautiful cycle down to the town of Colcapata. Today you will experience spectacular views towards Mount Ausangate and the distant Apolabamba range on the Bolivian border. Tonight you camp near a deserted hacienda beside a stream and some Inca ruins, at an altitude of 3,285m.
Day 6: Descend to Paucartambo. Challenging climb to Tres Cruces – 62kms
After the warm up of the previous two days, today is your most ‘challenging day’. The day starts with a rapid downhill into the small village of Paucartambo (2,973m), where you have time to look around its famous square. This is a very clean and tidy village which every year holds a famous pagan festival, where dancers wear colourful costumes and exotic masks! After visiting the village there will be a tough climb, of about 3hrs (33kms) to an altitude of 3,547kms, at the entrance to the Manu National Park.
This is a fairly steady climb. Arriving at the entrance to the Manu National Park, where you will have your picnic lunch, you will get your first views of the Amazon Basin. After lunch you turn off the main road and follow a rough undulating track for 14km with the Sierras falling steeply off on your right hand side down into the Amazon basin, a truly fantastic cycle. The views (when not in cloud) are spectacular! Finally you arrive at Tres Cruces, possibly one of the worlds most spectacular campsites. You will spend the night, camping at 3,900m where the vista is fantastic.
Day 7: 1,400m Descent into Cloud Forest – 63kms
At certain times of the year the view of the sunrise from Tres Cruces can create a strange phenomenon. As the sun rises over the steamy Amazon rainforest, its light refracts to create a sensation of several different suns. A truly amazing sight which, weather permitting, you shall see. Cycling back to the main road, you should keep an eye out for deer or the ultra-elusive Andean bear. Arriving back at the entrance to the Manu National Park you take a short break and contemplate what you have achieved so far and what you are about to achieve. Why? Because the next section of riding is 59km of pure downhill, you head down and down and down, through beautiful cloud forest. An almost endless downhill as you weave your way into the steamy Amazon Basin. You finish your day in the cloud forest at the small community of San Pedro at 1,400m with time to swim in a beautiful crystal clear river before dinner around the campfire.
Day 8: Cycle deeper into the Rainforest – 65kms
Continuing on downhill, you enter the rainforest passing various small villages, where you can see how settlers try to eek out a living in this hostile environment. The track continues gently downhill deteriorating the further you progress into the hot and steamy rainforest, you have some relief from the heat as you stop, where possible, for cold drinks and swims in pristine jungle streams. You end your ride with a short sharp climb to a spectacular view point over the Manu National Park, followed by a fast descent to the end of the road at the jungle village of Atalaya where you will spend your last night camping(750m).
Day 9: Transfer to Cusco – 15 kms
Today you will return by cycle and vehicle back into the Andes.
Day 10: Fly Cusco to Lima. Depart Lima to UK
Day 11: Arrive UK
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Matthew Spider Webb
WO RN +
Graham Killer White