Snow to sweating (Bikepacking the Salkantay Pass)

The Salkantay trail is offered to trekkers as a more challenging alternative to the classic Inca trail. It was a year before our trip began that I first saw Joe Cruz’s blog about bikepacking the Salkantay route. It obviously stuck in my mind. Feeling a bit lazy, Gina and I were torn as to whether or not to burn straight through to Cusco or give it a go. The nice thing about riding a fatty is that it guilt trips you whenever you try and cop out of a challenge. Boring asphalt is wasted rubber.
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Peru’s Great Divide (Huancavelica to Abancay)

I thought it was finished. Take the medicine and the problem goes away, right? Turns out Giardia is pretty complex, and down here it’s developed quite a resistance to the standard treatment of metronidazole.

You can imagine my frustration when I awoke to the familiar symptoms of this terrible parasite worming its way through my stomach. Continue reading

Cotopaxi (finding our way)

Gina had mapped our way out of Tumbaco along a small road which would eventually lead us to Cotopaxi. Santiago had given us some route advice as to how to get there the quickest. We set off early before the sun was high, but about 15km in, I took a look at our map and saw we were missing a route I had wanted to try starting from the town of Tambo in the exact opposite direction, I spied what looked like a real remote route through the mountains all the way to Cotopaxi. We ended spending a day cycling there climbing from 2300 to 4000m, only to find out that the route is private and costs 5 dollars per person to pass. To top it off, it was a horse track with “mud up to your thighs”. Continue reading