Villa Nancy, Quito, Equador, day 538
Biking total: 50 days, 2428 km, 19’400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 188 days, 3060 km, 106’700 altimeters.
Sailing total: 300 days, 8873 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
We started biking from Puerto Lucia Yacht Club. Here are some thoughts and pictures about this unique place, where we got a slip for Pachamama sponsored:
To do an investment like Puerto Lucia Yacht Club in a country like Ecuador needs people, they believe in the future. An important issue of the innovative owner family Palau is to build sport facilities for children: – here some optimist sailors from PLYC, visiting Pachamama.
Thanks to this great marina, this beautiful country is now open for cruisers! It means also new job possibilities for young people in the marina and the tourism industry.
Tip: Stay during the hurricane season at PLYC and explore Ecuador and refit your vessel in this dry climate in the mean time! Nevertheless: sailing from Panama to Ecuador first, instead of sailing directly to Galapagos, means much less beating against the WSW-winds too.
On Sunday we were putting our super CANYON bikes together on Pachamama. The same day Peter and Silvia Witmer visited us on Pachamama and invited us again to their house in Guayaquil.
Early Monday morning on the 17th of May we left Puerto Lucia Yacht Club for 160 km to Guayaquil. In Guayaquil we have had an interview with a newspaper. Peter Witmer described to us the best biking road to Chimborazzo. Here in Ecuador the arguments are not only to get the shortest road from A to B with less traffic but more importantly to have a safe trip avoiding kidnapping, robbery and crazy dogs.
From Guayaquil we biked through the flat lands where the people cultivate rice. We slept in a cheap hotel in Babahoyo for 7 US dollars and locked the door with our CANYON bikes. The next day we climbed from nearly sea level up to 2750 m in the rain. The climate is subtropical, because the humidity from the Pacific crashes towards the Andes. Just in front of us, a track went too fast into a turn. Result: Bottles with sweet drinks all over the road. Just some seconds later there were lots of people stealing the bottles from the road. On this remote road we have had no idea where all these people were coming from!
As soon as we crossed the pass on 2750 m we descended into a beautiful valley towards San Jose de Chimbo. There we had a warm welcome from Padre Pepe. The next day we went only 15 km to Guaranda to relax our knees. On the way we saw that there is still a lot of work for TOPtoTOP! In the distance we saw our goal for the first time: – Chimborazzo.
On Friday the 21st of May we climbed to the pass on 4250 m between Guaranda and Ambato. People still live in this high altitude. There is a monument for Humboldt, maybe the greatest geographer. The kids had fun to playing with our CANYON bikes!
From the main road we biked another 20 km to the mountain refuge on Chimborazzo on 4800 m over sea level.
At the beginning of the climb we saw many vicunas, but then the weather turned really bad: First it was raining with a stiff breeze and then it started snowing. – Sorry, it was too bad to take pictures and I can not remember the last time I was freezing like that!
The guardian Ramon in the mountain hut couldn’t believe his eyes: Two people with bikes in this weather. He offered us a hot soup and we went naked into our super YETI sleeping bags, because everything was wet and frozen.
From the boat to the hut it was 471 km and 6000 altimeters, all that in 5 days after one year sailing; from sea level (Guayaquil) to 4800 m (hut) it was 76 hours; – so you think we were able to sleep like marmots, – negative, because of the high altitude we didn’t sleep very well.
The next morning we saw Chimborazzo just in the back of the hut in the sun. We said goodbye to Ramon. On the downhill we stopped several times to study the route for the climb to the TOP of Chimborazzo. This we are going to do as soon as we have done some school visits and got our climbing equipment from Quito.
As soon as we got back to the main road it started raining and blowing again. Our goal was to kill altimeters as fast as possible to bike into warmer temperatures further down. By Padre Pepe in San Jose de Chimbo we were able to leave the bikes till we will need them for the ride back to the coast. In Chimbo we also organized some school visits in the region for the time when we are coming back to climb the TOP of Chimborazzo. Last Sunday we took the bus to Quito and got again a room sponsored in the Villa Nancy by family Gonzalez-Hauri.
Christian Silva owns the internet cafe BlueNet and offers us free internet access that we are able to do our work!
Now we are looking forward to doing some school visits in the area of Quito, before we head for the TOP of our planet.
If somebody would like to call us: Dial 00 593 2 256 3084 at around 1h or 5h or 13h MEZ.
Villa Nancy, Quito, Equador, day 538