Over the past month and a half our average sleeping altitude has been around 3500 metres. Our average daily maximum altitude has been just under 3900 metres. The highest pass we have cycled over was just short of 5000 metres. On this journey we have climbed seventy-thousand metres, the equivalent of eight times Mount Everest. These figures are beginning to take their toll.
As is always the case cycling in big mountains we have lost weight, on this occasion it seems that we have managed to leave 10% of our body mass in the Andes. It is simply not possible to eat enough to power a bicycle through high mountains for a prolonged period of time.
For several weeks now David has been having a spot of bother with his legs, which as a cyclist is a nuisance. The up side is that they will power a bicycle all day, the bad news is that on bad days they really don’t want to do anything else, including bending or walking, without a lot of bother. We suspect that the problem arises from the saddle once being put too high causing over stretching. A diet if diclofenac seems to be doing the trick. Sebastian’s legs have been fine (left knee excepted), but his chest has not. A stinging sensation in the lungs along with one or two symptoms better left un-printed have led to the diagnosis of a chest infection.
The trouble with altitude is that healing can be a problem as the body is already over stressed with the creation of extra red blood cells and trying to power a fifty kilogram bicycle over high mountain passes whilst being starved of oxygen.
A good dose of sea level should soon put things right.