In the Cordillera Blanca of Peru – Part 3


Chacas turns out to be a pleasant small town with a hostel right on the plaza and some really nice local people. We are able to find some dinner after we get settled into the room and Brian rides the bikes through the narrow corridor into the small courtyard inside.
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We have breakfast at the same small cafecito the next morning and then load up and ride out, continuing with another day in the Cordillera Blanca. But first we have to get some gas. There haven’t been any fuel stations since we left Yungay a long way back. When I ask I’m told to find Luis two blocks to the south and one block west of the town square. So we ride out that way find a man working on a car on the side of a street. He is the local mechanic and he sells gas too.
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And then we work our way through the Saturday morning traffic jam before riding the switchbacks up the mountains from Chacas to head back west.
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The road starts to climb right away and before we know it we are up at the snow level again and gazing at snow-capped peaks.
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The roads coming up the mountains have been insane and curvy, like the best race track corners.
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We ride all the way to the top, just 18 miles or so up from Chacas and cross through to the other side of the mountains via the Punto Olimpico tunnel at 15,355 feet high. The tunnel is just under a mile in length and water drips from the ceiling, unless it’s chilly in which case icicles hang from above as you ride through.
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We stop on the other side to take in the view and see where the old road (the tunnel is a new short cut) that used to run over the peak above the tunnel we just rode through.
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We look down below and can see our road winding in a total of 29 switchbacks to the bottom and then heading west out of the valley.
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We wind our way down, back and forth, back and forth…and finally we get to the wide open valley in the bottom where horses and llamas graze.
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And as we cross the valley and head west, I watch the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca shrinking in my mirror. They have been so incredibly beautiful that I wish I could stay longer. But as with anything else, I am grateful for the time I had.Bike Trip Huaraz 144

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2 comments

  1. Michele, Brian, 15000 ft. incredible again. Happy travels from Mexico City

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