|Distance||14.76 kms||9.32 miles|
|Climbed||1,120 meters||3,675 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||3.30||-|
|Avg speed||4.4 kph||-|
|Distance||14,913.59 kms||9,267.13 miles|
|Climbed||182,191 meters||597,740 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||1,173.89||-|
Saturday, September 28th, 2013
The rain kept me awake until late so I slept in until 8:30. I was in no danger of being found so I took my time getting on the road (about 10am).
Today was about as difficult a day as I've had on this trip. As I passed 3,500 meters I realized that whatever acclimatization to altitude that I had had was completely gone; I was struggling badly. The last few months spent at low altitude had me back at square one. I had that same feeling of complete lack of energy that I remembered having back in Argentina when I first started doing high altitude passes. I had to rest every 100 meters or so to catch my breath.
The road wasn't helping me out: a loose rock and wet sand surface with long stretches of 15 percent grades. 1,120 meters of climbing in under 15 kilometers on this surface was an absolute killer. My back tire just wouldn't hold on this surface with these grades, I kept spinning out to a stop or dropping the bike when the tire lost its grip. Whenever that happened on a steep section I had to walk the bike a ways in order to find some solid surface to get going again. Adding to the difficulty was a strong rain coupled with temperatures in the 5-10 degree range.
When I reach 4,000 meters after just a little over 3 hours of this I decided to pack it in and camp for a night to give my body a chance to adapt. I found a rare patch of flat ground with moss off to the side of the road and set up camp. Another light show put on tonight by a thunderstorm off to the west, this time I was up high so I could take it all in, truly spectacular. I tightened up my gear and the tent because I figured that the storm would be dumping rain on me later on just as it had last night. The temperature dropped to close to 0 when the sun went down.