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Old 06-28-2011, 07:27 AM   #8
poolman OP
Gnarly Poolside Adv.
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Darnestown, MD
Oddometer: 750
Huassaco, Oropesa, Pikillaqta, and El Salvador

I awoke several times during the night with fever and cold sweats. While awake I couldn't help but notice an odd phenomenon happening with Culin as he slept across the room. There is 30% less available oxygen at this altitude, so the human body compensates by hyperventilating. This hyperventilation increases the carbon dioxide concentration in the bloodstream, which in turn causes the body to cease breathing completely for ten to fifteen seconds at a time. This phase of the process is quite unnerving. Then the cycle repeats. Culin tends to snore in a prolific fashion, making him a great case study.

To experience as much as possible during our limited time Alex arraigned for Juan, a local guide, to ride with us. This was a difficult decision, but Juan turned out to be a great riding companion and proved to be invaluable in our travels through the small tribal villages, where local dialects are spoken rather than Spanish. We agreed we would each ride our own ride, meeting up at strategic points.

Our route for the day:

We traveled from Cusco to Huasaco by dirt.

I was leading down a long, tight set of switchbacks when four vicious feral dogs suddenly jumped out of the bush and attacked me. Not only were they brutal, they were clever too. When I escaped on a straightaway, they would run directly down the mountain and wait for me at the next turn. This went on at least four times. Fortunately the damage was limited to my boots; unfortunately I was wearing brand new Sidi Adventures that I bought for the trip.

The many roadside crosses illustrate the true danger of traveling in this region.

From Huassaco we continued to Oropesa by asphalt, then back on dirt to Pikillaqta, and finally on to El Salvador.

This father said his little girl liked the bike, but he wanted to know how fast it would go.

Altitude is a powerful natural diuretic.

We caught a glimpse of the road ahead, and hoped landslides wouldn't interfere with our travel. Pure naiveté, of course they would.

Remember earlier I mentioned that beer issues were to be a theme of this trip? Due to the Peruvian National elections, the sale of all alcohol, in the entire Country, had been banned from Friday through Sunday! Not a big issue in my condition, but I felt for Culin and Juan.

It wasn't until we finished our day that I noticed how drained I was; the fever had not yet broken and I hadn't been able to retain food or water for two days. The riding, however, was so exhilarating that I felt great as long as we kept moving. The adrenaline was beginning to flow.

More to follow...
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