Day 337 / Camping-Cajamarca, Colombia / 25 miles (Total 8030)
You can ride through life on an easy paved road. But why? Take the road less traveled and see where it takes you. Never stop pushing your limits.
Woke up early and packed up my gear fast. It was a chilly start to the morning being almost 9,500 feet high on a mountain top. I thought the rest of the ride into Toche would be mostly downhill, boy was I wrong. Right from the start the road shot straight up with some crazy steep grade. Add some rain from last night and the road was a slippery-muddy mess. My body felt great even after yesterdays hard push and being up at 10,000 ft. I literally had to push my way to the small village of Toche. The road was so steep with loose sand and rocks making for a difficult day. I would try to pedal the steep portions, but I just ended up spinning out my back wheel. Another great day of a challenging road.
At least when I pushed the bikes I could enjoy the view. While riding I had to pay attention all the time to dodge large, sharp rocks that littered the road.
Wherever I looked, I was surrounded by this view. This never gets old
A muddy bridge. The mud was slippery, deep and I was all over the road trying to hold myself up.
If the mountains weren’t grabbing my attention, the steep cliffs were.
Waterfalls adding to today’s stunning view
I was slowly riding up the mountain side early in the morning. The air was still and the only sound was a hawk far above me and my tires rolling on dirt. I turned the corner and saw this incredible view. I leaned the bike up against a rock, sat down and enjoyed the silent moment.
I was in no hurry to get anywhere today. I pulled over whenever a saw a good photo and set up the tri-pod to captured the moment.
A few houses built almost on top of the road. Some funny looks when the locals saw me pedaling past their home.
Always keeping an eye open for an accident waiting to happen. A few times I saw smaller rocks come tumbling down the mountain. Don’t want to see anything like these falling.
Sweating and smiling. Heading up the switchback with the volcano Machin far off in the distance.
I finally made it to the decent after a few thousand feet of climbing. About 5 miles of downhill riding laid between me and the village of Toche, where I wanted to take a nice long break. I’ll just say that riding downhill was twice the work as riding up hill. The road was so incredibly steep and rocky, I almost flipped over the bars a few times. I had to stop and relax my forearms and hands from cramping up every 1/2 mile from death gripping my brakes. I have never worked so hard riding downhill in my life. I was relieved to finally make it to the village.
A bridge right before Toche that I had to walk across
I turned the corner into Toche and there was a dad playing with his kid in the street. Two horses trotting down the main road and a lady sweeping of her patio. Everything came to a screeching halt when I was noticed. Even the horses seem to eye me up. I walked into the small tienda (convenient store) to grab a snack and to refill my water. As I walked out a group of 8 road workers were floating around my bike, even the local dogs seemed to circle the Mother Trucker. First they were shy, then as soon as one person asked where I was from, the entire group rattled off questions. One worker asked if he could pick up the bike and grunted at the heavy weight. He told everyone to try and lift it, there was soon a line of people picking up my bike. After a while everyone left for work except these two. They decided to stay and watch me eat and drink water for a while.
The road was constantly changing with every corner.
This tree stuck out like a sore thumb. There were no other trees around that resembled it. A solo tree out on its own
This is how they deal with water crossing over the road. They cant divert the water under the road, that would weaken the road leaving it susceptible to mudslides. Every couple hundred of feet you could see a mudslide that wiped out the road in the past. So glad it wasn’t raining hard today.
Many of these today.
Thick jungle around every corner the closer I got to town.
After Toche, I thought the road quality would get better since it was only 10 miles from a major city. Once again, boy was I wrong. If anything the road was worse and more steep. Some of the jeeps had troubles climbing the steep hills. I ended up pushing the Mother Trucker over a 1000 ft in elevation
Cajamarca,only a few miles away and all down hill. Still took me over an hour to finally reach my destination. Laying on a bed never felt so good.
By the time I made it to Cajamarca, I was tired and beat up from the feet up. Every hill for the last two days took all my strength and energy, whether I pedaled or pushed. To me, it’s important to have days like these. Days that you question your strength, physically and mentally. It’s too easy to fall into the rut of life where you choose the easy life over the challenge. Life seems to open new doors when you put yourself in the state of the unknown and push your limits.
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