Last time I blogged I had made the decision to leave Quito ad return when my parcel had arrived. Well five days later I am now back in Quito and have collected my package from the post office and have 2 shiny pairs of Adidas running shoes (check out my lovely Ultra Boost running shoes), a new Run4it running top and lots of delicious goodies. Normal people would ask their parents for chocolates or biscuits but not this lad… Inside my shoes were 3 different saucissons and some guindillas peppers! Very excited to get munching on them….
Anyway between leaving Quito and arriving back I have managed to put in 4 days of good solid running. My route was Quito to Machachi (46km), Machachi to Latacunga (55km), Latacunga to Ambato (49km) and Ambato to Riobamba (54km).This was an absolutely stunning section of my expedition because it high up in the Andes (probably averaging about 3000m) with volcanos dotted around everywhere. The most notable volcanoes being Cotopaxi, which erupted last week, and Chimborazo, the summit being the furthest point from the centre of the earth.
The first day was pretty hard going after three days off but once I was out of Quito the going was ok. Machachi was a nice rural town dominated by markets, all with a thin covering of volcanic ash. There is a huge volcano towering over the town and I rather stupidly thought was Cotopaxi. It wasn’t until the next day that I realised I was very wrong.
Much of the next day was spent trying to make out Cotopaxi through the clouds. Because it had recently erupted I was continuously on the look out for plumes of smoke. Unfortunately I didn’t see any. Latacunga was a slightly more developed town but I only got to spend a little time there. I did however have a very overpriced pizza with so much salt in it!!!
The run to Ambato started with a nice down hill and an ice cream but then turned into a steep hill which was made particularly difficult by the black fumes pouring out of the lorries! When I arrived in Ambato I met a very nice father and son (Gorki and Jason) who were very helpful. Originally they wanted me to stay at their house but sadly I needed to put in more km to make the next day to Riobamba possible. When i finally made it to my hotel for the night they came and visited and gave me a quick tour of the town. Really nice people.
The run toe Riobamba was the highlight of them all and that was because of Chimborazo. The first 25km of the day were uphill as I ascended to about 3580m (the highest I have been so far). The road then oped out on the a plateaux and there was Chimborazo standing majestic and proud. There are lots of photos below but if you ask my father he will testify that there were a lot more! There was something truly inspiring by such a beautiful volcano. Seeing something like that gives you the motivation to keep going – it is what makes the whole trip worthwhile. Definitely a highlight….
I arrived in Riobamba and found a hostel that would look after (I hope they are anyway!) my stroller while I returned to Quito. This morning I was at the bus station at 7 and had my package at midday. Today is going to be admin and then its back to Riobamba tomorrow and then the run continues with lovely new running shoes….