Earlier this year, Jay Ritchey took a trip with his wife to Ecuador for some light bike packing and adventure riding. To test out our new Ascent, we decided to send it along with him for a little adventure of its own. Here's his story:
My wife works in health care and looks for opportunities to improve her medical Spanish. Last year she went to Costa Rica and this year she found an opportunity to shadow in a hospital in Cuenca, Ecuador. The more we read about the area the more it appealed to us? an old bustling colonial town, resting at 8,000ft just East of the Occidental Andes. I began flying over the area on Google Earth. I was looking for dirt roads leaving the city and escaping to higher elevations. The topography lead me towards a dirt road pass that crosses the Occidental Divide of the Andes at over 13,000ft. The road turns to dirt just outside Cuenca and leads up through rural valleys.
I decided to run Schwalbe Big Bens on the Velocity Cliff Hanger 650B rims for a wide, cushy and smooth tread for long days on bumpy roads. I also had a Revelate half frame bag to carry food, tubes and a stick I found to intimidate dogs that wanted to chase me in nearly every community.
This is the Souther portion of the Cajas National Park, which is a Andean highland of rocky peaks and little lakes that are in the shape of boxes, whereby the name cajas gets its origin.
Looking West, at the highest point of the road (13,100ft). The road continues and drops down the the coastal region of Ecuador