otrbristol | 18th November 2019

BLOG: Pedr’s cycling fundraiser for OTR

The amazing Pedr is taking on a fundraising challenge of epic proportions for OTR – cycling from Lima to New York (what?!) – Here is his first blog about the trip and its challenges and highlights so far…

My head is pounding hard as my legs feel more like lead weights than the fine engines I need them to be to climb the final 10 miles of this mountain – and I thought I’d cycled tough roads before… Kicking off my fundraising and riding in South America, I had immediately decided to go all in on the monstrous mountain road out of Lima, relentlessly rising straight from the sea to 5000m, I knew I was in for a battle. 

After hours weaving through the frenzied city traffic of Lima, I had began my climb. Two days of nothing but cycling uphill had brought me out atop a mine on a remote gravel road. It was early afternoon and despite the headache from the altitude, I was making great progress and already at  a solid 4400m. Then I met my unlikely nemesis, neither my mind or body, instead I had found a lone security guard sitting in a small hut at the side of the road. Despite my best attempt at various forms of diplomacy, tact’s that have seen me through many hiccups like these were just stonewalled – I was going to have to go back the way I came. Frustrations boiled my brain to levels I could have only wished for in my morning cuppa, as I reluctantly turned my bike to ride the track I had just toiled to ride up over the last few hours. 

The mental pain of cycling back down 700 vertical meters, to then cycle it all again and more on the  main road back up to 4800m was far more than anything my body could throw at me that day. But slightly dizzy, dehydrated and tired, I made it over my first hurdle that signalled my gateway to the Andes. 

Now properly immersed in the mountains, I spent days cycling seemingly ‘Martian’ landscapes above 4000m, where bemused the locals of remote villages pointed excitedly before muttering ‘gringo’ under their breath to each other as I cycled past. Despite the initial shock of seeing a pasty Englishman walk into their shop, they would smile, laugh at my terrible Spanish and then without fail happily serve up some incredible feast. 

The thin air, muted colours and incredible roads were proving testing but more than rewarding to cycle. I had become so quickly immersed in it all – this wonderfully strange world – that I had almost forgotten my own birthday. Tomorrow. If the past weeks’s cycling was anything to go by, I could be sure it’d be one I wouldn’t forget in a hurry… 

You can donate to Pedr here!