Sunday, July 19, 2015

She drops like a rock!

One of the principal towns in our Mission is Tarma, "The Pearl of the Andes." It sits at about 9,600 feet in a deep valley, and has three Branches of the Church.  We visit or pass through it frequently.
Occasionally, there are temporary roadblocks.
Tarma lies to the right of the Carreterra Central, or central highway of the region, and is connected to it by two roads, one leading in the direction of Huancayo, and the other toward Cerro de Pasco and beyond.  For our first 18 months, the second was pure "trocha," or dirt, with potholes, dust, and construction. It is now one of the best roads in the Mission.  
Route 228 looks so peaceful on the roadmap, no?  
OK, perhaps a bit less idyllic when you put in the mountains, and there are tons.
The road winds from 9,600 feet in Tarma to 13,100 at its highest point, and there are literally no points where it levels out or goes down.  None.
So of course you have to ride your bicycle up.  Duh.
We dropped Elder Waddell at Jauja International Airport (see previous post) with the bikes in the back of the car, and headed for Tarma.  He only slightly raised his eyebrows, but congratulated us for taking a rare "Preparation Day," which we are supposed to do weekly, but rarely have the time.
The next morning was clear and cool, and we set off from the hotel.
It soon became clear how they had accomplished the difference in elevation between the bottom and the top.
However, Paula showed the stern stuff from which she is made, and kept climbing. 
That's the next stretch of road to the left, and just for encouragement, the next killer switchback could usually be seen in advance.
Some of the views were nothing short of spectacular, and yes that's the road we had been coming up.  Fake smile, by the way.
"La Cumbre" means "The Peak," and it came none too soon.
Even though the climb up was pretty warm from the sun and exertion, we were still above 13 grand, so on with the arm-warmers and tights.  Isn't she cute?
There are no actual photos taken during the descent.  Frankly, I was too busy with my death grip on the handlebars trying to keep up with Paula, who is a fearless descender, and giving her notice of overtaking cars, of which there were very few.  At one point, she passed a semi going too slow for her taste.  This is an actual, unretouched, simulated photo of our descent.
When we finally and quickly, thanks to Paula, reached the hotel, I asked how many times she had actually applied the brakes.  "A few," was all she would admit.  I reminded her that they had been placed on her bicycle for a purpose.  "Gallina,"* was all she said.
Anyway, one of the best rides ever, towards the top of the Top Ten List.
We hope that your wife doesn't scare you descending, and that your brakes indeed work well.
Dave & The Demon Descender

*Gallina = Chicken (female chicken even)


Luci Jones said...

You two are amazing!

Patti said...

Congrats on the awesome road, and a fun/and or scary ride!