Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peru Bike Race

Nauta to Iquitos Bike Race
This 60 miles of road was finally paved in 2006. It is the only paved road within 300 miles in the upper Amazon region. We thought it would be a perfect place to promote a bike race since no one drives cars and there are only a few buses and taxies on this road. During the past year PAC Tour riders have donated over 200 old cycling jerseys and shorts to the Peru Parts Fund. We took these items to Peru to give as prizes for the race. PAC Tour donated another $1,000 as a cash prize. The winner would receive $400. Since the average monthly wage is less than $350 per month in Iquitos there was a lot of interest in this race.

There were 85 riders who entered the race. The riders met in Iquitos at 6:00 AM and were transported by bus to Nauta for the start at 8:30 AM. It was already over 90 degrees when the race began. The pace was fast from the start the lead pack quickly was reduced to twelve riders. I was able to stay with the leaders and ride my Bike Friday in the middle of the breakaway. A lot of the racers had never seen a bike with 20 inch wheels and they were surprised I was staying with them. The whole race caravan was like a big stage race with police escort motorcycles and ten other support vehicles behind the
lead group.

There was pack crash during the last 20 miles and I got tangled up in the mess. The first eight riders including Alessandra got away. I chased but couldn’t catch them. I rode mostly alone the last miles. The day was really hot near 100 degrees by now and I was cooked too. The broom wagon came by piled high with bikes from riders who quit the race. I estimate only 30 riders finished. It was a tough race because of the heat and rolling hills. Alessandra won the women’s race and collected $100.

The police gave everyone a neutral escort the final ten miles to the plaza downtown. There was a big stage for the awards presentation. All the riders got to come up on stage and select a jersey or shorts from the display of donated clothing. Overall it was a good event and something worth doing again. Next year we might change the start time to 7:00 AM and race the reverse direction from Iquitos to Nauta in the cool early morning and take the bus back in the afternoon. All the racers want to say thank you to everyone who donated parts and clothing to the PAC Tour Peru Parts Fund. The chance to get real cycling equipment is very much appreciated by them.

What’s Next?
We are continuing to support the projects we started. Your donations have helped a lot of people this past year. We are evaluating new projects we know we can control and finish.
Donations can be sent to:
The Christ Lutheran Church Peru Fund.
Questions can be sent to me:



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