Elevation woes (Salinas to Alausi)

After a rest day in Salinas, eating lots of chocolate, cheese and jam, we continued on a dirt road out of town. After initially lots of mud and some steeper parts the path flattened a little and followed a river upstream. We then joined back onto a gravel road that continued to the main highway near Pachanco. From there we had the option to take the legendary route between Chimborazo and Carihuarazo, but we had been dealing with some elevation issues and extremely dry rear hubs,

we decided to take he highway past Chimborazo and into Riobamba. These moments are never easy, when you decide to take the easy way out, but once in awhile we just get worn down and need a break. The highway was relatively quiet, and we were treated to vicuña scattered sightings through the foggy paramo. We stopped at Chimborazos tourist centre and set up camp, the highest we slept so far at 4300m. A tourist guide and owner of Biking Spirit, Edison, recognized us from our blog and recommended us to see a bike mechanic named Alfonso in Riobamba to repack our rear hubs and tighten our free hub bodies. After a 1000m descent in the morning we found Alfonso in the city. He was very nice and helpful and spent a couple of hours overhauling our hubs and freehub bodies. He patiently answered all of Dans questions and a few hours later our hubs were turning beautifully. For any other cyclists who pass through Riobamba and need some bike maintenance, get in touch with him at

Alfonso guamán c., Benotto, Cdla. Alamos 3 frente a la pista de bicicross, Telf (03)2605486, Cel 086360975

Out of Riobamba we made our way past Guamote to Palmira along the Panamerican. We tried to ride part of it on the railway that followed the highway but after 6km we merged back onto the road as the sleepers were made of concrete with huge drops inbetween, and with the low pressure of our tires we were almost bottoming out.

Our first dodgy experience with another cyclist tourist took place as we decided to try and camp in Palmira. The guy probably had a good heart, but he started telling us how he stabbed someone and done some really bad things, and also seemed to be super high on something. He wanted to travel with us, we are both trusting people and love company, but with an introduction like that the vibe was really off-putting. Either way hopefully he has a good tour and we wish him the best. We managed to avoid him by camping in a church for the night.

The next day we passed him riding into Alausi, and decided to stay for the day to avoid the awkwardness of meeting him on the route. Gina and I have decided to try and build up our rigs more independently, we have some gear coming in which will allow us to ride separate routes from time to time, after all, we all need a bit of space to do our own thing once in a awhile. Today we are off to Achupallas to ride the Ecuadorian Inca Trail which coincidentally we found by accident, but Joe Cruz has a great post about it as well! After two weeks off, trying to sort out some new gear, we are looking forward to the mud and grit and the exhaustion of a tough day.
 
Leaving Salinas on a nice dirt track, beats the main gravel road.

High up close to Chimborazo on which we hardly got a view due to the persistent fog.

Vicuñas!

 Alfonso at work. 

Even our Pugs were struggling on these tracks.

Cooking at the church in Palmira.

 

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