willarmy-1280

10 June – 9 July 2014

Have we really been gone a year? Apparently so. Thank you for reading this far.

Countries Ecuador & Colombia (total 9)
Distance 1,089.02km (total 13,591.79km)
Climb 20,234m (total 126,163m)
Longest day 96.49km, Latacunga to Quito in Ecuador (longest so far: 160.11km)
Top speed 67.4kmh (fastest so far: 67.4kmh)
Punctures 2 (total 22; Will leads 15-7)
Broken spokes 0 (total 4; all Will)
Touring cyclists encountered 2 (total 64)
Dog bites 1 (Will this time; total 2)
Police/army checkpoints passed At least a dozen; the army checkpoint in the image above is at the top of a lengthy climb north from the tiny jungle truckstop of San Juan de Villalobos, and provides a permanent home to 73 very genial men, 73 rather less genial rifles and one perfectly amenable sniffer dog
Best breakfast The ridiculous mountain of pancakes with thick chocolate sauce offered at the idyllic Casa del Río on the edge of Mocoa comes a close second to the perfect omelettes, moreish arepas and fuerte coffee that made for a succession of splendid mornings at the beautifully restored Hotel Casa López in San Juan de Pasto
Worst hill This month’s toughest climbs have all been on beautiful routes, and have thus ranged from bearable at worst to fabulous at best; however, on a gentle hill heading towards San Juan de Villalobos, we could have done without a landslide flooding the road with several inches of wet sand
Ice cream of the month Certainly not the one bought from a Mocoa street-seller that left Will with a dicky stomach for two days
Jettisoned en route A tyre, a chain, a cassette and a stem, all replaced during some much-needed bike maintenance in Quito, plus yet more items from Ruth’s Tardisian clothes pannier
Lost in transit The sound on Ruth’s iPhone, which – perhaps not coincidentally – disappeared shortly after she dropped it into a puddle of mud
Biggest mystery Whether the Month 13 update, due on 10 August, will come from South or Central America
Biggest surprise Colombians really are as lovely as everybody told us they would be

from San Agustín, Huila, Colombia