Focus checkpoint 2 (CP2), Vilcabamba to Cajamarca
For the adventurers who have decided to sign up for the FULL format of the race (Quito to Cuzco), here is an “aperitif” of the menu to join the second checkpoint (CP2) – Cajamarca in Northern Peru (around 620 km from Vilcabamba).
1. Border crossing Ecuador / Peru
to reach it, from the peaceful village of Vilcabamba, a wild section awaits you with a mix of asphalt / tracks on luxurious mountain ranges and wild flora. Make sure to store some food and water, this section is a wild one. Once “La Balsa” border crossing is reached, your wheels will meet a beautiful asphalt until the city of Jaén, following splendid rice fields on the way.
2. The first 4000 of the FULL!
From Jaén, you will discover a glimpse of the Peruvian Andes with alternating tracks and asphalt. The highlight of this section will be: Abra “Coimolache” located at 3955 meters above sea level. It is unavoidable by the presence of one of the largest gold and silver mine in Peru. You are lucky, the climb is regular and rather easy on an asphalt road paved in 2016. Bring some warm clothes, temperature during the day doesn’t go above 5/6 degrees.
3. Cajamarca :
the city is located at 2750m. This checkpoint will be the opportunity to discover the place where the Incan emperor, Atahualpa, was made prisoner and assassinated. It has a town center (“plaza de armas”) with superb colonial architecture. To rest your legs, hot water springs are accessible in the nearby town “Baños del Inca”.
This section allows you to complete your acclimatization with a first accessible 4000m. Track / asphalt sections will give you an accurate idea of what to expect in the Andean tracks built by the pre-Columbian and Incan civilizations. What is coming next is more ambitious with a challenging immersion into the high altitude Peruvian Andes. But your red blood cells will be ready to take on the rest of the race.