Bikepacking the Americas / Ecuador (Video)
In this brief installment of Hans de Neve’s “Bikepacking the Americas” video series, he shares some colorful impressions from his time riding a couple of our routes in Ecuador, showcasing the diverse trails, dynamic weather conditions, and local flavors he experienced along the way. Watch the three-minute video here…
Words, photos, and video by Hans de Neve (@deneve.hans)
Visiting Ecuador was high on our list for our South America trip. We knew there were some top-quality bikepacking routes, such as the TEMBR and Los Tres Volcanes (both linked below), and it would also be the first country where we’d start our mountaineering pursuits. The only catch: we were doing all this in the middle of the rainy season.
Although you can expect rain year around, Ecuador’s monsoon is known to be particularly harsh, with heavy showers, rain lasting for days, and high chances of road washouts and mudslides. Setting out on a singletrack-heavy bikepacking route like TEMBR during this time troubled us at first, and we were expecting to skip multiple sections by bailing to paved roads or other alternatives. But, to our surprise, we were blessed by the weather gods and found almost all the singletrack sections in decent conditions during windows of reasonable weather along the way. To top it all off, we succeeded in our two significant mountain pursuits: summiting Cotopaxi and Chimborazo!
It wasn’t until we reached Cuenca that the bad weather truly caught up. During our final weeks in the country, we suffered heavy rain and hail storms all day long. All our clothes were soaked, and due to the humidity, it was impossible to dry them. Putting wet clothes on in the morning to start riding is one of the worst feelings. We were constantly wet at high altitudes and with heavy winds, and we look back to this period as one of the coldest of our lives. The only solution was to ride harder to get warm. Once we reached Peru, we didn’t hesitate to take a “small” detour to Mancora and spent a week relaxing at the beach!
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