San Miguel – Ambato – Banos
Start 7.30am and finish 2pm
Total Time – 4.20hrs
Distance – 71.65kms
Average – 16.1kms/hr
Max – 66.7kms/hr
Turns out sleeping next to a fire truck can make for a rather loud night when they keep getting call outs and the wedding singer doing karaoke at full volume across the valley into the wee hours didn’t exactly help with getting adequate sleep.
We woke up to no wind but once back on the highway we discovered it was still there, granted not as windy as yesterday but noticeable enough to affect progress and motivation. After a bit of an uphill and more multi lane with a shoulder PanAm riding into a freezing wind we got to Ambato easy enough. The road deteriorates once you follow the signs and turn off towards Banos here and the shoulder drops away which is handy as there seemed to be an increase in traffic with a heap of buses. We weren’t sure if the road is usually this busy or there is an increase in traffic because the other way is blocked by landslides but it wasn’t pleasant.
There is a good uphill out of Ambato which gets the blood pumping then the road goes gently up and down before levelling off and going downhill for last 20kms to Banos. At times the wind would gust so strong it stops you dead which was handy when you were doing 45km/hr downhill then go around a corner and suddenly your doing 5km/hr and having to pedal.
Just when you think you have arrived at Banos you cross a bridge and then climb a nice 11% grade just to get you warmed up again.
Once at the top it levels off and your in Banos – hip hooray. We stopped for a coffee in the Main Street then while the boys watched the bikes Haley and I went scouting for accommodation. Lots of places we tried on or near the main strip were either expensive or those in our price range smelt of mould. Finally we found Hostal Casa Matilde one block off the Main Street which had clean rooms and amazing hot showers with excellent wifi for $8USD a night each.
A burrito for dinner and a few beers in a dodgy 80s bar before calling it a night – the options available in a tourist town are endless.