Peru Divide Part 1 Day 11: A Rough Road Ahead
Peru Divide Part 1 - Day 13 & 14: Dam Hard

July 20, 2017

After another night camping with Tara & Aidan we started what we knew would be a hard day. What we didn’t know was it would be the hardest day of our lives.

What happened…

Andrew writes: I don’t have much to say about today. My Mom always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.” So that’s where I stand.

When we got ready to ride today I remarked that I was fully prepared to hop in the back of the first truck that we saw today. It was something I had said back on August 16th, 2014 when we were up on the Dempster Hwy in the Yukon, and it was Amanda’s birthday. If you remember that day (and I do), then you’ll recall that the first truck we saw was at around 5pm, and we got in the back and drove to a campground and it was amazing. Well today, there were no trucks, and it sucked. The Americans, packed a lot lighter, and being much younger quickly out-distanced us, and we spent the whole day pushing our bikes uphill. For whatever reason the cycling stats show 2:25 on the bike, but no lie, we were at it for 8 hours and only covered 11km. What a pain in the ass. The highlight? Low on water, we came across a stream at about the 10.5km mark and each enjoyed a refreshing splash-shower. Then after hiking another 200m or so we set the tent up on the side of the road and called it a day.

Amanda writes: The route we are cycling right now is called the Peru Divide. We talked about it a bit when we began this section. It is a well publicized route and few cyclists attempt it. Today’s ride is described as one of the most difficult on the track and for good reason. There are only two pictures because we didn’t have the energy to pull out a camera or the hands. The road was steep and rough and for most of it, not rideable. And for that matter, not even pushable. There were many sections in which we would leave one bike and both of us would push the second bike 100-200 meters. Then we would return for the other bike and push it to the first bike and repeat. So pushing the bikes at such a slow pace just makes time slowly tick by.

Andrew and I were on the same page that if a car/bus/truck or anything that could help us came by, we were willing to pay for someone to get us up the hill. As Andrew said, no one came. There was no one. Just a family near the end of the day with their lamb and horse. As the day progressed and the course went by I was concerned we wouldn’t even make it to water. But we had to. Pushing bikes at this altitude caused us both to be thirsty and we had finished all of our water and were in desperate need of more. We HAD to make the water point. Having said that while other cyclists had written about where there was water, it’s always a case of there was water there a year ago. So while we had a 10K mark in mind of water, we weren’t 100% sure that there was water and if there wasn’t; we would have to go further. That possibility scared the shit out of me.

Andrew and I have both run a couple of marathons. While I’m convinced any person who is relatively fit can run a marathon physically, it’s the mental game that gets most people. Many runners hit ‘the wall’ which is more of a mental block than a physical one. So while I think many people can physically run a marathon, its the psychological aspect that is more important. Today was one of those days and in a very different way. Today we had to keep riding beyond what our bodies wanted to do, not because of a marathon finish line; but because we needed water! What a different ball game. We had to push beyond our limits so that we could hydrate and nourish our bodies. It was a different type of incentive than getting a medal around your neck and one that was such a head game.

Later in the evening as we had our dinner and set up our tent, we reflected on the day and how we were feeling. We both agreed that this was very likely our hardest day ever that we could recall. The sheer exhaustion and basic need of water pushed us beyond limits that would normally stop us. It was great to talk about it and I was so happy to share this moment with Andrew. Not only did we work together to get to the water, we embraced in a hug and relished in our accomplishments. During the last 3 years there have been too many occasions of tough times in which we’ve fought and pushed each other away. Today was a refreshing change and we worked together as a team and celebrated our accomplishments. I just hope our bodies don’t protest at being pushed too hard.

The aerial view of our ride:

Today’s Photographs

Peru Divide Part 1 Day 11: A Rough Road Ahead
Peru Divide Part 1 - Day 13 & 14: Dam Hard