From 0 to 4.690m

The best way to acclimatise is progressively, thus we decided to climb to the Andean spine from sea level in Lima. Once up top, we started following the Perú Divide, a well-know cycle-touring route that crosses the whole country.

After two weeks in Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca we went back to Lima where our bikes were staying still packed and waved goodbye to Gisela.

That same day we explained to Santiago, our local host, the route that we were heading for on the following months. Since he is a geologist working for the mine industry, he has had the chance to visit most of the country and mountain ranges, so his knowledge was really crucial.

We had two options: Our initial intention was to take a bus that would leave us on top of the Andes and directly meet the Peru Divide, a route that was greatly documented by Andesbybike. The second option was to start from Lima and ride up to the Andean spine so that the acclimatisation would be rather soft. He recommended the second one so that we would follow a beautiful valley in which, by coincidence, his family owned a house in the same route we were taking, and offered it to us as a base for preparing everything. We were fascinated by the idea of taking off from the very beginning and acclimatise step by step. We were really lucky and happily accepted it!

The track we drew was indeed beautiful, with lots of incredible places and amazing landscapes.

We then realized that this would be a journey that would stick to our minds for ever!

The beginning of the ride was through a desert landscape that reminded us of Moroccan Gorges, dry rocky walls with some threes and houses in the bed of the valley, on the sides of the river.

The amount of towns was decreasing and distance between them was quickly increasing the higher and further from Lima we were getting. However, this was still more than one town or two per day and we were able to resupply and find a camp spot easily. After the first high pass (4000m) we had crazy descent to Huarochiri through a cut-out track on the stony wall that we eventually managed to catch at sunset. The colour palette was amazing and we could see the snowy peaks of the mountain range we were going to.

The riding in the Andes consists in long days of climb and long, long descends. It may take some days to get to the pass and then some hours of descends to get back to the same altitude, just to start climbing again.

On our way to the second high pass of the route we found some really intriguing geological formations, we were entering the Landscape reserve of Nor Yauyos Cochas, an incredible natural park in the middle of the Peruvian Andes. We again managed to get to the pass quite late and caught sunset, so the light was perfect for photography and I enjoyed it a lot!

This pass was the real first challenge for us at almost 4700m and the first pass we rode on the Peru Divide route.

I got really excited and emotional about it and couldn’t help but leaving some tears out of my eyes due to the achievement made. Weirdly enough, this emotion happened because Ariadna had made it rather than my own achievement, even though I had never been that high on my bike neither. Gerard

But it’s dark night

The excitement quickly transformed into focus, we were at 4690m and although it was just six in the afternoon, it was already dark night, cold and we shouldn’t sleep that high. So we turned on our bike lights and went down in the freezing cold, shaking and trying to feel our frozen hands. When we decided to camp we had descended 200m of altitude and it was a great release to pitch up the tent and eat warm food.

I wasn’t feeling that good; exhausted, at high elevation, cold… So I just entered my sleeping bag to warm up a bit while Gerard was preparing dinnerAriadna

The following morning we decided to wait for the sun to melt the ice on our tent and started quite late, but well rested. All the gear was ready and we were eager for more.