Sunday, 24 January 2010

Cajamarca 2 Cycling

Cycling Near Cajamarca

4 weeks off the bike except for a couple of spinning sessions isn't sound preparation for 60km on and off road at an altitude of around 9,000 feet. But hey ho here we go.

When I first saw Richard and his brother cycling out of Cajamarca, looking like real cyclists on real bikes instead of the usual piles of steely 'Monarch' contraptions that pass for cycles around here I took careful note. They too noticed my interest and smiled hello. It passed that I soon met them again.

They are members of a family of about 6 brothers and a couple of sisters and among other interests they run a cycle repair yard close to the cemetery. It isn't much more than a corrugated plastic covered yard with a dirt floor, some tools and lots of cycle junk. They dont even have a bike stand. They are part of a small but enthusiastic cycling scene here in Cajamarca and have already organized a couple of events locally including a criterium around the city centre and a downhill from the ancient site of Cumbe Mayo, probably 2,400 feet on a dusty wide track.

Luckily they are friends of Vicky with whom I am lodging and she negotiated a morning's accompanied ride, guide and hire of bike for 70 Soles or about £17.50. The bike had an unknown aluminum frame, Shimano Deore groupset and Mavic rims, so not bad and good to go. We set off in the direction of the Inca Baths along the only cycle/running path in Cajamarca and then on to Llancora a pretty mountain village where there are waterfall of which I will say more next time. We then climbed for about 1 hour and 20 minutes towards Namora where we left the road for a stony track. After some tough terrain we descended on a beautiful lake, lago Coller which is not listed in the guides.

The lake appeared black and on closer scrutiny it contained herbs which a few farmers were harvesting and there were fine reeds which I was told were used to make the distinctive hats worn mainly by the campesino women. There was a lot of bird life, mainly ducks and a few people fishing. Apart from this and with the exception of one family picnicking we had the lake to ourselves and we stpped for soe time to appreciate it.

On leaving I felt quite exhausted but knew that we had about 25km left to cover, luckily more of which was downhill. On reaching Cajamarca I was well and truly cooked but it had been a fascinating ride through magnificent and verdant countryside. Richard, my companion is a strong cyclist and I fell far short of his climbing performance though mentally discounting age, altitude and time off the bike as compensating factors. He was good company too and tolld me he has a girlfriend, Zoe in Nottingham, an evangelist ballet dancer he told me.

I have decided to try and help this group of cyclists get some support and funding and I will aim to work with them to develop a proposition to garner funds from cycling interests world-wide, for from what I can see there is a great deal of talent and enthusiasm without the means to easily achieve their goals. So if you have any ideas on how we can support and nurture this talent and in a small way help this developing and generally impoverished group to help themselves through the sport of cycling, kindly leave a comment and your ideas.


Stuart said...

Perhaps by encouraging cyclists who happen do be visiting Peru to do some cycling in the north with these guys as hosts would be an idea. Cajamarca is not a bad place to cycle by any means, right?

geraldine said...

arrange a club trip. especially the racers - altitude training is supposed to be helpful in improving preformance.


Blanca said...

Está claro que vayas donde vayas siempre encuentras la forma de practicar tu afición. Me encantan esos lugares a los que tienes la oportunidad de ir. No hace falta que te diga que disfrutes de ese país puesto que ya lo estás haciendo (quitando esos pequeños problemas). Las crónicas que haces son siempre bien recibidas y leídas todas ellas.