miércoles, 28 de agosto de 2013

Tumbaco to San Jose de Minas: a great training ride on a friday

The summer of 2013 was full of outdoor activities for my family, specially on August. We did on the weekend of the 2nd a great bike ride from San Jose de Minas to the high pass towards Otavalo, 31 km in total. On the weekend of the 9th we did a 33 km "hike", between the outskirts of San Antonio de Pichincha near Rumicucho Inca Ruins, towards San Jose de Minas, and to complete the month, on the following weekend on the friday 16th I took a solo bike ride from Tumbaco towards the same village.

It took me 8 hours and 17 minutes in total to reach the family hacienda, but I was riding and waking for a bit less than 7 hours. The bike ride was not extremely intense, although I tried to keep a good riding rithm. My average speed according to the GPS and Locus App for Android (great app by the wak, always improoving) was 13.9 km per hour on movement, and 11.3 km per hour general average.

I had to walk uphill most of the last 3.8 km with my bike over the shoulders, because just 1 km before reaching the last point of the highway, I kissed the asphalt and went into the water channel by the side of the main road, hurt my left knie relatively bad for the momment, and scratched the right knie and left elbow. The left knie still has this big scratch, but it seems that I have no ligaments compromised.

It is a funny sensation to feel the cars, trucks and busses passing near you all the time, but you get used to this idea, and also you realize that there is more space for a bike on the side of the panamerican highway, in most of the way, than what you might have tought or saw from a car. We drive this route several days per month.

I satrted at 5h18, and reached the river below the hacienda at 13h30. Above tree pictures taken on the ride and the weekend before the trip: first picture, an early morning view towards the east just below Calderon, of the new airport; second, view above Perucho; and last, a view near San Jose de Minas before the Piganta River.

Below is the map of the track seen in Google Earth.

Technical data
Riding time: + to - 7 hours bike ride
Lenght: 94 km,
Difference of altitude: 3200 meters.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

lunes, 5 de agosto de 2013

San Jose de Minas towards Otavalo: A high pass with beautiful landscapes at Ecuador

This route shows you spectacular views of the west side of the Mojanda Crater Lake, specially the summit of its highest rim known as Fuya Fuya, and the agricultural valley at its base. Our goal today was to reach the high pass between San Jose de Minas and the famous village of Otavalo.

We started not so early this time, because my biking partner had a bed sheets problem: they get always too sticky before 07h00. After a quick breakfast we took off, and from that point and on, it went only upwards: 40% of the total route.

The difference of altitude between the starting point and the stone making at the high pass is 1,217 meters. It took us 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach it, with many stops in between: lots of photography, two chains that sliped out, and helping to pull up a motorbike driven by a local villager, that fell on the road, after she came back from a nearby water source were she was havesting watercress.

In the morning we passed by San Jose de Minas, one of those small highland villages that still has its charm and character, somehow lost in our time by "modern" architecture. Afterwards there was only one road, and we just followed it until we reached the top.

The road is at this time of the year very dusty due to the nice sunny and clear weather that we have, and for our good luck, there is little traffic on it. We might have encountered only 6 cars and a motorbike in all the time it took us to ride up there. Only a couple hundred meters before we reached the top, we encountered the cobbled road that comes up from Otavalo. This is the borderline marking between the Imabura and Pichincha provinces.

Technical data
Riding time: + to - 4 hours bike ride
Lenght: 31 km,
Difference of altitude: 1200 meters.

We had a great morning and a fast descent, it took us only 35 minutes to ride down the 14 km. At the very bottom of the trip today I had my first flat tire on my new bike! I hit a sharp stone and the tube could't stand the shock. For my good luck I was riding at this point slow.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

lunes, 29 de julio de 2013

Rumicucho to San José de Minas: The route of the canyons near Quito

Not so long ago, on Father’s Day, we decided to give ourselves a treat, to take a nice bike ride on a dirt road and asphalt between the northern part of Quito, near the pre-Inca site of Rumicucho, and the somehow hidden highland village of San Jose de Minas.

The route is great. It starts with a couple of kilometers uphill, and then you have a long way down until the very bottom of the Guayllabamba River Canyon, the deepest point of our Andes in this part of the country. The environment on the interandean valley is extremely dry, not as in a desert, but you find cactus, pricklypears, agabe, bromeliads and pampas grass all over the place. The landscape is impressive and abrupt, many curves and deep cuts by the road.

After we reached the bottom of this section, and ended the ride at the modern iron bridge, we took some shots of the old cable car used to cross the river. It must have been quite an adventure to also do that; however, we were keen on reaching our families afterwards, so we decided only to ride the bike this time! Then we started our first ascent to the village of Perucho under a not so killer midday sun. For our good luck the weather was a bit cloudy. This whole first section of the route, downhill and uphill, is about 23 km long, and goes over dirt and gravel, until you reach the main asphalted road.

Already riding on asphalt after the first climb, we reached the town of Perucho and we stopped there to fill our back water bags with some rehidrating drinks and then we continued in our journey towards Minas. We went uphill between different crops, and fincas. This whole area has more water than the section before, so you see many small farmers producing whatever they can get out of the soil. We encountered then another downhill, and then our second canyon at the Pataqui River, where there is an old thermal baths pool by the river.

Our last section was a bit long, we were tired and my biking partner and best friend decided to strech his legs in some sections due to a back bone hernia. Finally we reached the town of San Jose de Minas, and took this last shot by the town's church, built in the 1930. It is a great day ride for anyone seeking adventure and excercise.

Technical data
Riding time: + to - 4.5 hours bike ride
Lenght: 48.5 km,
Difference of altitude: 1700 meters.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.