In certain senses, I arrived in Latin America prepared for many eventualities- the not inconsiderable weight of my luggage is certainly testament to that. I didn’t plan a route or timetable in more than a superficial way – knowing even before I began that to do so would be folly.
Long before I reached Loja, there had been a number of delays – mostly of a good sort; I hadn’t ever given serious thought to the idea that I might be incapacitated by injury for anything like this long.

Nevertheless – accidents happen. Twisted steel can be straightened, bones knit together, and bruised pride recovers. I’ll need to wear my shoulder support for a bit yet, but that’s a tiny price to pay considering what might have been. An enforced period of real rest has perhaps been no bad thing.

“I am learning, as I make my way through my first continent, that it is remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them.”
Ted Simon

I spent my time recovering mostly at Santiago’s casa de ciclistas in Tumbaco (just east of Quito), my hammock strung beneath one of the avocado trees in the garden. The Lara clan are immensely hospitable and patient with the many cyclists who pass their way .. even broken ones with injured bicycles who stay rather longer than most. I am hugely grateful.

I’m keen to get back on the road, to be moving again – but I’m also a little sad to leave this place and the friends I’ve made here.

Still fresh in my mind is my first rather bungled arrival in Loja.. It’s 35km from here to the bus terminal, and ~1000m of climbing- which might take a little longer to cycle than it might have done a few weeks ago. The overnight bus from Quito will take me back south (actually to Macará, close to the Peruvian frontier). From there on my own strength will determine the pace.

It’ll be hard work regaining my fitness, but I look forward with renewed relish to be moving again under my own steam. Even from the Peruvian frontier, there is much more road in front than behind.

( * Underworld Always loved a film )

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