After a scaled down week of distance and workload, it was time to up the ante again, both in terms of mileage and intensity. But I also decided to make a conscious effort to notice my surroundings and capture them, like this moment above before my weekly Thames swim.
This week's distances are looking like this:
This would see me arriving at the buzzing city of La Paz in Bolivia. It was founded on October 20th, 1548 under the name of 'La Ciudad de Nuestra Senora de La Paz' (The City of Our Lady of Peace). Located in the Andes mountains, altitude of the city ranges from about 4058 meters (13,313 feet) above sea level in El Alto (where the airport is located) to 3100 meters (10,170 feet) in the lower residential area. It is also home to the world’s largest high-altitude urban cable-car system which extends to eight lines, or 17 miles.
No such luxury of cable cars for me this week though
The bike test brought it's own challenges too as I also decided to do this one outside, rather than inside on the turbo. With a prolonged spell of hot clammy weather over London just now my 20 minute all out effort around the inner circle of Regents Park left me with sweat running into my eyes, just to add to the challenge of pre-empting dozy pedestrians wandering into the road whilst fixated on their phones. Sigh....
A more scenic bike ride was on the cards on Saturday though when my cycling buddies and I took a spin out in the Chilterns. I was feeling the hills on my legs this week, but the views and company more than made up for it. (Yes it's a 'Cookie Monster' cycling top ;) )
In the spirit of embracing my surroundings I also took the opportunity to stop off at the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park en route back from a Thames swim. I can't believe how many times I have cycled around and through this park and never been to see this little idyll nestled in the middle of the park. Just taking a 30 min walk through it and taking in the colours and the peace and tranquility was a like a natural reset.
My week was rounded off with another simple pleasure - a haircut! Between us Ian and I have been doing a pretty good job on my hair over the past months, and being more mindful of money nowadays, I am loathe to go back to my previous hairdresser who now charges what I think is an excessive amount for a short haircut. I now have a new haunt however, the wonderfully named 'Barber Streisand' in Exmouth Market.
Branding itself as 'an offbeat unisex barbershop' it ticked all the boxes for me - lovely people, a great cut and fantastic price! You can take the girl out of Scotland etc.....
I think we can safely say I managed to accomplish my monthly wildcard challenge of 'doing at least half of my usual mileage, and introducing the kayaking element'.
I had to consciously try not to do as much cycling and also turn down an opportunity to go running with a friend so that I didn't tip the balance! The distance breaks down like this:
This total distance adds up to just 85km which would see me passing the city of Juliaca, one of my final destinations in Peru. Like Chicago, it is also nicknamed the "The Windy City" because of the city's location on the windy Collao Plateau. It is also called the "Sock City" or "Knitting City" because Juliaca was a major centre of sock, sweater, and handicraft production. Now the production of clothes, wool and fabrics are industrial processes for the city. It is appropriate that I would also now be crossing Lake Titicaca as I finally introduce the fifth discipline in my pentathlon challenge. This large, deep, freshwater lake in the Andes is on the border of Peru and Bolivia and is often called the "highest navigable lake" in the world. By volume of water and by surface area, it is the largest lake in South America.
My challenge to significantly decrease my mileage was definitely helped by an invitation to a friend's house in Oxford (well, strictly speaking it was a 'houseswap' opportunity) and a rare chance to unwind. This property was located backing onto the Oxford Canal, and came with it's own canoe, what a result! Needless to say I not only jumped at the chance to have a paddle through this stretch of water, but also to have a swim in the stretch of the Thames that runs through Port Meadow. I was in heaven!
It was lovely to have some downtime to spend with friends - the first time in months that I had been in such a group social situation, and a welcome glimpse of normality. Having always been a big fan of Cambridge, I am now very much changing my allegiance towards Oxford as my favourite university city. We had a great walk around the historic centre and of course the plethora of watery locations definitely gets my vote!
And as if that wasn't enough, back to my partner Ian's place in Buckinghamshire for the rest of the weekend, we kept that holiday vibe going. It was a real treat to have dinner out at the wonderful Suum Vietnamese restaurant in Marlow on Saturday night. Highly recommended!
Rounding off the weekend it was then time to indulge my waterbaby tendencies once more with some kayaking. Westhorpe Lake in Marlow was the location for this and we were rewarded with most of the lake to ourselves bar a few paddleboarders, and the odd waterskier going past to create some fun wake to challenge us. I felt like I had been on holiday for the past few days, given my body some well earned downtime and am ready to face the weeks ahead!
Hooray, the sun finally came out this week! And then inevitably it poured with rain a few hours later, but hey, there was a glimpse of summer for a day or two.
The break in the weather offered an opportunity to get out paddleboarding again and in true nnoodl style (gently encouraging others to try new things) I managed to persuade my cycling buddy Giovanna to give it a go too.
She took to it literally like a duck to water, and continuing that theme, we were rewarded with this lovely image of a swan gliding by with her little cygnets on her back!
The paddle along Regents Canal contributed 5.6km to my overall distance this week of 185.8km. The breakdown looks like this:
This total distance of 3,564km would have be arriving at the town of Azangaro, quite a notable location in terms of Peru's rich history. The colonial church in Azangaro, known as the golden temple had a bell tower which exemplified colonial decorative adobe before its collapse due to rain disintegration. The gold interior of the church is a magnificent example of rich colonial art.
In the adjacent Plaza San Bernardo, Pedro Vilca Apaza was drawn and quartered for his role as a General in Tupac Amaru IIs attempt to liberate Perú from the Spanish government. His last words were, "Por este Sol aprended a morir como yo." (Translated as "For this sun that shines on us, learn to die like me") After Tupac Amaru II's execution, leadership of the revolution shifted to Azangaro.
My final piece words of wisdom came unexpectedly as I was cycling through Richmond Park on my way to my weekly Teddington Thames swim. I was aware of a group of men cycling behind me talking about the weather, wasn't it great that the sun was out.
I immediately tuned into a Scottish accent as one guy said how great it was to have his legs out as 'back home we hardly get the sun on our skin, it is like alabaster'. I chuckled to myself recognising this as I was wearing my full length leggings to hide my white legs. Then, as we peeled off in different directions at the junction I saw that the guy who had been talking had a prosthesis from his knee down on his left leg. It really gave me food for thought. How insignificant are our insecurities about our bodies, around things like legs that are too white/too big etc. I should be proud that my big white legs are strong and can carry me for miles of challenging hills and kick me through endless cold swims.
And now, to round off another month, it is time for my 'Coach's Wildcard Challenge'!
What could it be next, after hill climbs, weighted walks etc.? Well this is proving to be the hardest for me yet. Coach Tom. for weeks has been advising me that I have been putting in too much mileage. Not only am I hitting my interval and heart rate sessions on the bike and swim in expectation of an aquabike event, but I am also adding in the K's on the bike to get to and from swims etc. His challenge? "Reduce the mileage by at least half next week, and make sure you include the fifth discipline of the pentathlon (i.e kayak)"
Arrgh, why does the thought of this freak me out more that the others? I recognise that I have become slightly obsessed with the distance factor and I must admit that my body has been feeling it. But the thought of doing LESS is psychologically difficult for me to comprehend. Added to that, I need to find a kayaking opportunity pronto....
Watch this space!
It feels like this week has been a case of 'rinse and repeat' from last week, quite literally given the quantity of rain that fell!
Just to add insult to injury, a photo memory popped up from this time last year when I had managed to swim for the first time in over 8 weeks when the Victoria Docks Open Water swimming centre opened. The air temperature was 27 degrees and the water was 20 degrees. Not a Dryrobe in sight as I got changed in the sunshine, very unlike the howling 40mph winds gusting by the Serpentine after a 13.5 degree swim this week.
What is going on??
Very similar distances in just three disciplines again this week as I covered a total of 205km, looking like this:
Running: 5.3km (still going easy on this)
As I become more aware of which disciplines are bringing me joy this year, I am going to concentrate on aquabike (swim/run) events when the opportunity arises, so my mileage is all money in the bank here.
With a total of 3,390km now covered I would be just past the city of Cusco in Peru. This is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and is known as 'The Navel of the Earth'. It is as if time stands still with curious little streets with names like "Coffin", "Siete Culebras" (Seven Serpents) and "Harpies". It is also home to the only South American camelid 'theme park'. Camelids cover the family which include the llama and alpaca so often associated with this part of the world. The Awana Kancha, is a beautiful textile and camelid exhibition centre which displays the beauty of this family of animals and also showcases the products obtained from them through a combination of traditional and modern techniques.
If only I was actually there - having reached the milestone of now having completed a full 365 days learning Spanish on Duolingo I'd be feeling pretty confident speaking with the locals!
So what is this 'Mind over (waste) matter all about? Well about 15 minutes into a swim in the Thames at Teddington this week, a lady came over to the water to speak to us. As she seemed a bit concerned, we thought it might be about the river flow which was high again for the first time in months and causing that 'endless pool' effect. But no, it was to let us know that there was sewage coming into the river just upstream, likely to be in this area too. There was a moment where Nerina and I looked at each other slightly concerned and then said "Are you getting out? No, are you? Definitely not!" We had another 15 minutes of swimming to do! So off we set again saying how it might be immune boosting...?? Three days later and I haven't got dysentery yet, so I hark back to my old mantra that if you don't think it will make you ill, then it probably won't.
And besides I'm pretty sure the Thames harbours all sorts of stuff like that most of the time, best not to think about it!
Mind over matter came up again this week when my good friend Dawn led me through a Yin yoga session to demonstrate her newly acquired teaching skills. These stretches, held for long periods of time are definitely what my body needs and I really felt the benefit. Although I think my mind has a lot to get over before it can get into this pose she demonstrated. Yes, she is so low to the ground, you can hardly see her, nice one Dawn, I will work on it!
Here's hoping for some better weather next week, maybe then I won't have to do 67km of my cycling going round Regents Park at 6.30am on a wet Saturday morning...
Well the week got off to a positive start as I had my second Covid jab, and I have to say even as an events specialist I was super impressed by their efficiency at the local vaccination centre. It's not often you can say you have had an appointment of any kind completed 10 minutes before it was due!
Yet again the weather was very up and down for training, however I managed to get one run back into my training as my achilles seemed to have settled down a bit. I even managed some additional shuttle sprints at a bright and early HIIT class in Hyde Park.
Sadly the timing of the rain (as in, nearly every day) meant that the paddleboarding took a back seat again this week. But I still managed a respectable total of 200.5km.
The distances look like this:
(Hillwalking with a bike 2km....)
I was delighted to have at least one of my swims in the Serpentine before the clouds broke, and luckily had my new friend the GoPro with me to capture the mood. It is moments like this that really make me love open water swimming so much. Even the next day when it bucketed down with rain and I sought refuge under a temporary BBQ station by the lido to try and keep my clothes dry. I still loved it!
With a total distance of 3,186km now covered, I would be approaching the world famous area of Machu Picchu. Shrouded by mist and surrounded by lush vegetation and steep escarpments, the sprawling Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site on the continent.. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century.
But of course much as this archaeological gem is very much on my hit list, there isn't much chance of me actually being there anytime soon. There, was however a rather intriguing set of hills which I often pass in the car en route to my partner's in High Wycombe. Northala Fields is a park located in Northolt consisting of four artificial hills overlooking the rather salubrious A40. Perhaps I could set myself a mini adventure to get there?
So on a very wet Saturday morning (yet again) this was my destination. Despite it's location, the best bike route there was along the Grand Union Canal path which is always a nice change from the London traffic. And in fact the rain even stopped for all of 30 minutes!
Some helpful signage gave me the opportunity to finally find out more about this intriguing site. Apparently the hills were constructed using rubble from the demolition of the original Wembley Stadium in 2003. The name ‘Northala’ is how the old manor of Northall (Northolt) was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086.
The rain once again started to close in as I wheeled and carried my bike up to the summit of one of the hills. Well, it had to be done, even though I knew what view was awaiting me at the top. Kind of surreal to feel like you were hiking, but with the sounds of major traffic whizzing by! The fun continued as I decided to take a 'short cut' back down the hill. I now saw why the winding path was a better option than skidding down a vertical muddy path holding onto a bike!
As if the week wasn't exciting enough, the highlight for me had to be my latest video conversation. Very topically, being Mental Health Awareness Week, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, highly acclaimed sleep and energy expert and author. I met Nerina purely by chance just a few months ago when I was swimming in the Thames at Teddington. Joining her for a cold water swim and a chat has become one of the highlights of my week, and it was great to be able to speak to her 'properly' (ie not shivering on a riverbank) and hear some of her wonderful insights and tips.
It's been a weird week! Sunny one minute, freezing cold and hailstones the next. It reminds me why there is a saying where I am from of “Ne’er cast a cloot till May be oot!”
I believe it also translates across various dialects in the UK to basically not taking off too many clothes until May is over.
Sound advice this month, even though I did finally take my neoprene gloves and hat off for my swimming this week. In my mind the water was 12deg, even though I was informed that the temperature in the Serpentine had actually dropped almost two degrees over the past few days. I am a great believer in mind over matter - if you think it is cold it will be!
Much as I would have loved to incorporate some paddleboarding this week, time was against me as much as the weather. Something else conspiring against me at the moment are my hormones, which amongst other things made the idea of running not that appealing. The more research I am doing into this area though the more fascinating I am finding it, and going with the flow of what my body wants.
My total distance this week is still a pretty respectable 183.3km, and breaks down like this:
I was also pleased to be able to finally put my TRX strength training qualification into practice and delivered two coaching sessions this week to clients.
Yet this mesmerizing colonial city has a dark past. Its name, originating from the Quechua aya (death, or soul) and cuchu (outback), offers a telling insight. Ayacucho’s status as isolated capital of a traditionally poor department provided the breeding ground for Professor Abimael Guzmán to nurture the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) Maoist revolutionary movement that caused thousands of deaths in the region during the 1980s and 1990s. But the city’s historically poor links with the outside world also fostered a proud, independent spirit evident in everything from its unique festivals to its booming cultural self-sufficiency.
It was also a positive week in terms of wrapping up a three week event for Circle (the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities). Using a highly interactive platform we managed to create some great stage, breakout and exhibitor networking sessions. It was fascinating to hear the content from academics across the world speaking on topics around caring. I was delighted to hear the resoundingly positive feedback on the event and to hear comments like 'it is the best platform I have used'. This past year has been a never-ending learning curve but outcomes like this make it worthwhile.
So through all of the ups and downs, I remind myself of my resilience and soldier on!
Waking up to the wind howling and the rain battering down on Saturday morning I gave myself a blast of 'Titanium', one of my favourite songs and pushed myself out the front door. It might have been a very different experience to this time last week on the paddleboard, but it's all good (and you can't really use a GoPro on a turbo trainer!)
So here we are, over 2,800km into my 'trip' and it is time for my end of month 'wildcard challenge'! It seemed fitting to Coach Tom apparently that as I was nearing Lima, overlooking the Pacific Ocean that it was time for a 'watery week'. The challenge?
"To cover at least 10km of your distance this week in, or on water - and it must be outside"
Quite the opposite then of last week where I was told to do at least one indoor pool session! But that suited me, as I am much preferring my open water swimming. That said, the April weather had taken a bit of a turn, with the water temperature dropping back down again by about 0.5 deg per day. Add in the cold wind and my distances swimming outside were going to be a bit less than last week I thought. How to make sure I achieved my challenge? Well of course my newly added in sport of paddleboarding!
But before all that, let's check in with where I am in terms of distance, and did I manage to achieve my challenge?
The distances this week are looking like this:
So that's a yes to achieving my challenge - covering a total of 11.6km in the water!
I had decided to take a full week off running given the training time I was having to spend on my other disciplines, and also it was an unusually busy week with work. Not a bad idea too to give my niggly achilles a bit of a break now and again.
But onto the watery activities! Well as a GoPro novice, not only have I been navigating how to set up the various shooting modes, but also getting my head, quite literally around how and where to attach the camera for my various activities. I really wanted to capture the joy I feel when swimming and looked at various YouTube videos for inspiration. I wondered why no-one was using the headcam attachment for this and we are probably about to find out why...
I felt very creative adding an extra layer of security to my new camera friend by cutting a hole in an old neoprene swim cap to make sure that the head strap (think miners helmet type affair) wouldn't slip off my head mid swim. Much as I am keen to capture the beauty of the Serpentine, I thought my lovely solo swimming buddy, Nerina, would be a lot more forgiving of my camera experiments at a swim in the Thames at Teddington.
So here is the aforementioned 'seasick' footage'! I now realise why headcams are better suited to sedate breaststroke swimming, and not so much to the side to side breathing motion of front crawl! This clip shows both perspectives, from the slow dip and front moving stroke as I enter the water....through to 'whoah, the river is upside down!'
But watch it through to the end if only to see our life guard doggie appearing for duty.
I'm loving the various capabilities of the GoPro, including the ability to capture any frame of a video as a photograph. I went a bit 'arty' with some of these, but also looking back at them realised how brown the Thames is! Best not to think about it...
Well that was 4.2km done in the water, and so now to make up the distance by other means...
I like to think I am making another tenuous South American reference by the fact that I went paddleboarding in Paddington. I mean wasn't that little bear from darkest Peru?
I hired a board to go along Regents Canal, although paddleboards can only go west on this water channel so as to avoid the long tunnel at Maida Vale. I was happy with that option as it means avoiding the numerous 'Go Boats' full of people drinking and not really looking where they are going as they head towards Camden. I definitely didn't need any more obstacles to navigate as the board I was given seemed to be a lightweight racing one, which certainly challenged my balance! In fact at one point as the board went over a piece of floating driftwood and it caught the fin at the back I was thrown forward and almost went into the canal. Quick check, no-one looking? Phew.
Needless to say there are endless videos I have to go through courtesy of my GoPro, but here are a couple of the photos which I think captured the serenity of this afternoon.
And the other water themed highlight of my week? During a wardening shift at my beloved Serpentine swimming club I checked in Duncan Goodhew for a swim.
He's a bit of a childhood swimming hero of mine, and what a lovely man too.
Well what an exciting week! Not only did I finally manage to introduce a fourth sport into my challenge, but I also got to play with my new birthday toy.....my GoPro!
But before I literally fill this blog with excitement about that, over to the logistics of the challenge....
The past seven days have seemed quite full on in terms of training, but of course not all disciplines are equal and the water based activities take a lot more time. I covered at total distance of 201.7km. The breakdown is looking like this:
I reduced my running this week as my Achilles was up to it's old niggling tricks, but a bit of downtime usually sees that right. In another change to the norm, I also took the opportunity to book a swim session at my local indoor pool. When I say 'took the opportunity' Coach Tom actually told me to do it to get an accurate check on my current swim speed. I am pleased to say that all of my open water winter training has paid off as I haven't lost my swim fitness at all. Not so pleased to report however that I found the whole experience not that pleasurable. From the booking system and Covid rules in place, to the fact that there is always someone swimming slow breaststroke in the fast lane, it just wasn't that much fun.
I realised that swimming indoors now just doesn't bring me the same joy as my open water pursuits. Happily, now that the temperature is steadily going up, currently at a balmy 12.5deg, so I am able to do some swim sessions in the Serpentine which are over 1,000m. So, open water swimming will go on the list as one of my 'Covid Keepers'.
Having completed a total of over 2,500km, I would now have just passed the city of Barranca in Peru. Just north of Lima, this is a small coastal port with its economy largely based on fishing and agriculture. It is also host to the Albuferas del medio Mundo -coastal lagoons with high bird populations & rustic restaurants which run along a beach which is several kilometers long.
So it is very fitting that I would be in a location dominated by it's site on the coast of the Pacific Ocean as I enter a very 'watery week'. Not only has my swimming distance increased, but I managed to partake in the 'Paddle and Pick' session which had been rescheduled from a frosty 2 weeks ago. It was very poignant that we did this on World Earth Day as it involved paddling along the Thames around the Kew Bridge area and clearing. up the plastic and litter along the shores and water. I was amazed to see the effect of things like plastic bags on the environment, wrapping themselves tightly around tree branches, and stubbornly entrenched in the ground around them.
In fact we got so distracted that our attention was broken by a passing rower who alerted us to the turning tide which was moving some of our paddle boards from the shore. And guess who's had actually drifted out into the Thames? Doh! Thanks to the nice rower who rescued it for me 'as a thank you for the work you are doing'.
It was such an amazing time to be on the river though as the sun was going down, and there was such a wonderful feeling of calm. The silence was possibly only broken by me trying out my new voice activated gadget with commands of 'GoPro, start recording' and 'GoPro, take a photo'.
And of course I had to share a little video of the paddle. Some adjustments need to be done to where I have the camera from my various box of attachments, and the 'slo mo' section wasn't intentional, but I kind of like it.
Of course I couldn't resist also taking it out on my weekend bike ride with my cycling buddies. I will spare you the endless videos of that, but I am super impressed with the quality of the images it captures and am loving my new toy! Next challenge is to try it out during my open water swimming....
Well how did this happen.....I'm 53! It doesn't seem that long since my 50th birthday party, and I'm so grateful I managed to celebrate that in a room choc full of people, which seems like a strange concept now.
In a week where I was aware I had been training quite hard, I gave myself permission to ease off a bit as a 'birthday treat'. But then I realised that most of the things I really enjoy particularly involve being outside cycling or swimming and so still I racked up just under 160km this week and the breakdown is looking like this:
The discipline I did cut back on was running, possibly prompted by an eventful one at the start of the week where I had to 'break in' to my partners flat complex by climbing over some very tricky 8' high security gates which had locked shut when I was out on my run. I learned something here - those spiky elements on wrought iron gates aren't just for decoration and can be very difficult to navigate! I am still half expecting the a clip of me perched on top of a column looking worried before I dropped over to the other side to appear on "You've Been Framed".
And so real life can be just as exciting as pretending you are in another continent it seems! Speaking of which, having covered just over 2,400km, I would now be around the town of Pomabamba in Peru. Known as the 'City of Cedars' this town is located on the left bank of the Pomabamba river and is a popular resting spot for trekkers.
But the best part of the week had to be my many forms of birthday celebrations. It's not everyone's idea of a perfect day to start it with strength training on Zoom with a friend from Aberdeen, and then go on to cycle a round trip of over 55km to swim in the Thames and then meet friends at Regents Park. But it did involve some of my other favourite things too: friends, cake, cava and cute dogs! We were appreciative that our little lifeguard dog at Teddington doubled up as a perfect hand warmer after what was a chillier swim than we expected. I'm not so sure pure little Mira appreciated my cold hands on her and was probably thinking I should keep my distance. But then in every other way social distancing was being observed, even by the slices of lovely homemade carrot cake!
We took advantage of the latest easing of restrictions to actually go OUT for dinner!
It was exciting to put on proper footwear (not trainers) for the first time in months, and get the tube into Green Park to a great little Lebanese restaurant where we could tell everyone was as delighted as us to be back to some sort of normality (albeit still eating with my jacket on. Then the next day it was snacks, cava and cakes on Hampstead Heath with some friends, and a very red face for Ian and I, who never quite remember that it doesn't take much sun to do that to our Scottish skin.
And then there was the highlight of it all, the best present ever from Ian.....a GoPro!!
Not only that, but a case choc full of adapters of all types to use with it so that I can record all of my adventures, and I can't wait!!
After last week's spell of summer-like weather, the past seven days were in stark contrast with temperatures plummeting to -1deg!
I think I might have cursed it last week when I was getting changed at the Serpentine and commented that I felt 'cheated' that I wasn't shivering. Well not only had the water temperature dropped by a few degrees this week, but my swimming costume and flip flops froze to the ground when I took them off. The shiver factor was well and truly back!
Sadly the change in weather also put paid to the introduction of the fourth discipline in my challenge - paddleboarding. I had booked a 'paddle and pick' session on the Thames which would have meant I was not only getting some more mileage on the water, but also clearing the river of plastic at the same time. Ah, but it wasn't to be. The organisers rang me on the morning of the session to say that it was 'too cold' which made me chuckle having just spent 20 minutes swimming in it! BUT, the session has been rescheduled for 2 weeks' time, so fingers crossed this challenge which is currently stubbornly remaining as a triathlon will get a boost then.
The distances this week are looking like this:
I was also pleased to be back at the 'Be Fearsome' bootcamp in Hyde Park this week. Following the recent easing of Covid 19 restrictions, we are once again able to join the early HIIT/HIRT class on Wednesday. All socially distanced of course, it was great to be able to do my strength training around others. The photo above shows that the chilly 6.45am start was worth it for the view of the sun coming up over the Serpentine.
By now I would just have passed the city of Cajamarca in Peru. Situated in the Northern Andes, 2,750m above sea level it is known for its numerous examples of Spanish colonial religious architecture, beautiful landscapes, pre-Hispanic archaeological sites and hot springs in the nearby town of Baños del Inca.
Yet again there are few similarities between Cajamarca and London in terms of climate. Apparently in that part of South America over the course of the year the temperature rarely goes below 3deg or above 21deg. Whereas in London we have gone both below and above that over the course of one week!
And with 2,254km completed I am now officially one quarter of the way through my challenge. My next milestone will be next week when I hit my 53rd birthday, eek, how did that happen!?
Denise Yeats is an events director, communications consultant, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.