July 29th, 2015
Banos to Puyo
Start 8.30 and finish 4.15pm
Distance – 67kms
We finally left Banos after much mucking around and while it was clear weather when we left it didn’t stay that way for long. By the time we had cycled a few kilometers out of town it was swapping between drizzle and outright rain and we were all once again back in our rain gear.
The road east was the same road Chris and I had cycled yesterday so after a few stops to show Haley and Noel the highlights we pushed on. We alternated between going through the tunnels when the alternative cycle routes were blocked by landslides and taking the detours when available which made for a good mix of road and off road riding to keep it interesting. Unfortunately we had really strong head winds the first 20kms which was depressing and made you work for your downhills and reminded us all of the ride between Quitos and Ambato with the strength of the wind.
On nearing the empanada place from yesterday I got a back tyre puncture which was annoying to say the least. Again it was a huge piece of metal straight through the tyre so it made finding the hole easy but I did a crap job of patching it the first go meaning I had to patch again which I did an even worse job on. To top it off it started raining pretty hard plus I stepped in dog shit while fixing the stupid thing and it was all getting a bit much. I finally borrowed a tube off Haley and with new tube fitted we cycled the last few hundred meters to the cafes and restaurants near Devils Cauldron and no sooner had we parked the bikes than it started bucketing down so we stayed stranded in the cafe until it cleared then made a run for it.
A few hundred meters after rejoining the main road and it started pouring again – boo. Rain jacket and pants on and we were soon wet from both the rain and sweating inside our suits and it was hard to tell which side of the material was wetter. More uphills and more downhills and some really nice off road instead of through the tunnels and time passed pleasant enough.
Given the popularity of this stretch of road for cyclists it’s unfortunate they don’t have a cycle lane as the single lane with no shoulder and lots of buses and trucks makes it a stressful ride sometimes.
A stop for lunch to dry out which was back to our juice, soup and plate of mystery meat with rice for $2.50USD and then again stuck for another hour or so while waiting for the rain to clear. Unfortunately the rain just wouldn’t stop so we finally just called it, climbed back into our wet rain suits and pedalled off into the rain anyway. A few small climbs and a bit more riding later we finally saw blue sky in the distance and the rain subsided into a drizzle.
On this next section Haley had a near death experience with her back quick release lever coming undone somehow and nearly making her tyre come off on a down hill- scary. With blue sky in sight we stripped down to just our rain jackets and after the final downhill to Mera the jackets came off as well for the first time in days.
The rest of the ride to Puyo was relatively flat with blue skies and warm weather for a change and it was like riding into a new country as the weather was different, the feel of the place was different and had some amazing scenery of the river and rain forest.
I wasn’t sure it was worth it coming this far just to see the edge of the Amazon but so far it’s been worth it. Once in Puyo we found a hotel for $7 a night each but it’s a bit dirty and I have cockroaches in my bed so I’m already looking forward to leaving tomorrow.