For explorer and expedition cyclist Dr. Kate Leeming, a 4400km altitude journey through the awe-inspiring Andes, the high plains of the Altiplano and the highest, driest non-polar desert on Earth, the Puna de Atacama, was one of the toughest challenges of her career so far. It pushed Kate to the edge of her capabilities.
From the unworldly, treeless landscapes of Bolivia’s Lipez Range to the subtropical rainforest near Salta in Argentina; from tackling corrugated, stoney tracks and water crossings to gliding over perfectly smooth tarmac: from chasing llamas to be chased by dogs – this is an opportunity to experience the spirit of the Andes (virtually), without having to deal with the oxygen deficit, bumps and swirling polar-like mountain winds.
Kate has partnered with FulGaz to produce a collection of spectacular rides to share with members of all standards.
Count the Llamas Challenge
On the Quetena Chico through the Lipez Range route, there is one man, one dog and there are four sheep, but how many llamas?
Simply count the llamas and share your best guess on our facebook group, FulGaz Riders, for a chance to win one of Kate’s two books, Out There And Back and NJINGA.
Support future Breaking the Cycle expeditions and projects
The Andes expedition was a part of a series of journeys, one on each continent, to help Kate prepare physically and mentally for Breaking the Cycle South Pole, which will be the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent via the South Pole.
QUETENA CHICO AND THROUGH THE LIPEZ RANGE
This is the main route across the Lipez mountains, from Quetena Chico, a village of about 500 people, to Tupiza. The ride features chasing llamas, snow-capped peaks, including Uturuncu (6008m).
Surface - gravel, sand, steep undulations, water crossing
Altitude range - 4156m - 4298m
Oxygen level: 12.2%
The third continuous climb for the day, from the valley floor to the summit overlooking the
spectacular coloured mountains, valleys, and the town of Tupiza in southern Bolivia.
Altitude range: 3874m - 4367m
Oxygen level: 12.2%
Surface - gravel, bulldust, sand
A truly spectacular descent with eye-catching badlands and multi-coloured geology - pinks, greys, browns and black. Lower down, the slopes are adorned with large cactus and stunted shrubs.
This ride could be paired with the Tupiza climb as a reward for the hard work, or it could just be an easy ride.
Altitude range: 4367m - 2973m
Oxygen level: 12.2% - 14.5%
Surface - gravel, gully erosion, stones, sand
This ride contrasts the high deserts, cycling through the rainforest near Salta on an undulating course above the city’s water supplies and farmland.
Oxygen level: 17.3% - 18%
Surface - asphalt road
ACROSS SALAR DEL HOMBRE MUERTO
The Salar del Hombre Muerto, (Dead Man’s Salt Pan) probably got its name after the discovery of Inca mummies in the area. The Incas used to mine for gold but now the salt pan is one of the most important lithium sources in the world. I struggled with powerful head and cross winds that swept across the lake.
Surface - gravel, salt road then loose gravel
Oxygen level: 12.5%
EL PEñóN PASS
The climb actually began from a flat plain, altitude 3075m, but this recording starts in the town of El Penon at 3400m, climbing continuously to the summit at 3999m. At around 3575m, the gradients ramp up and the wind morphs into powerful, swirling cold gusts that make it a struggle to keep the pedals turning and the bike on the road.
Surface - asphalt, but extremely rough with high rolling resistance.
Altitude range - 3400m - 3999m
Oxygen level: 13.5% - 12.2%
DESCENDING TO BARRANCA LARGA
A spectacular descent through a rugged gorge to the village of Barranca Larga. A nice, easy warm-up or cool-down ride to enjoy.
Surface - stones, corrugations, sand
Oxygen level: 14%
RUTA 40 TO BELEN
This route follows a small part of the famous RN40 which tracks the length of the Argentinian Andes, more than 5000km. This undulating route gradually descends along a valley (into a stiff breeze) and through a gorge to reach Belen’s city limits.
Surface - asphalt
Altitude - 1689m
Oxygen level: 17.3%
AROUND THE ZAPATA RANGE
The quality asphalt road winds around the base of the spectacular Zapata Range. We gradually gain altitude but there are no significant gradients. The route ends with a section of gravel.
Surface - asphalt, finishing with some gravel
Oxygen level: 17.9%
Cycling 22,040 km over ten months, Kate’s Breaking the Cycle in Africa expedition was not only a physical quest but an odyssey to highlight the development needs and activities of war-torn and poverty-stricken nations.
Cycling through twenty countries, Kate aimed to find out what is being done to give a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘hand out’ – to shine a positive light on the issues, cultures and geography of Africa.
In June 2019, Kate completed another original expedition when she became the first person to cycle the entire Namibian coastline, a 1621km sand cycling expedition from the mouth of the Kunene River on the Angolan border, along the Skeleton Coast and the Namib Desert to the Orange River mouth on the South African border.
Kate has two earlier world firsts under her belt – the Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition (1993) when she became the first woman to cycle across the new Russia unsupported (aiding the children of Chernobyl), and the 25,000km Great Australian Cycle Expedition (2004/05) which included the first bicycle crossing of the Canning Stock Route by a woman.
Kate’s latest challenge, Breaking the Cycle South Pole, will result in the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent via the South Pole (2023/24). To prepare, polar expeditions have been completed in Svalbard (Arctic Norway), Northeast Greenland and Arctic Canada and since 2018, a preparatory expedition – in polar conditions, on sand or at altitude – has been performed on each continent (except Antarctica). These include: the Baja Divide in Mexico, Iceland, the Finke River in Australia, the Indian Himalaya, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and the Andes, the Altiplano & the Atacama in South America.
Breaking the Cycle education aims to help prepare our future leaders to make informed decisions to create a better world. Students across the globe can follow Kate’s preparatory activities and Antarctic expedition and partake in the Breaking the Cycle Education learning modules and lessons with the end goals of creating their own projects.
1. Download FulGaz and set up a free account. To activate your extended trial, simply enter the promo code found in your registration email.
Downloading the trial gives you full access to FulGaz with no restrictions on content, or how often or how far you ride. If you’re returning to FulGaz for another go, send us a support ticket and we’ll hook you up with another trial on the house.
2. Connect your devices
When you load up FulGaz and hit Get Started, you’ll be greeted with a pairing screen. Here your smart bike/trainer/speed sensor will be picked up and listed. Select the devices you’d like to connect and click Let’s Ride.
Pro Tip If you can’t see your devices when trying to connect, they are most likely paired with another app (RGT, Rouvy, Zwift). You will need to deselect your trainer from that app’s pairing screen, quit that app, and restart FulGaz.
3. Set your preferences, weight and slope scaling
Click the settings icon to take a moment to set your display preference (metric or imperial). For the most realistic experience, enter your weight and bike weight. There are many other settings here also; it’s best to get a feel for riding FulGaz first before adjusting these. Start at around 60% uphill to get the feel. You can adjust this in ride also.
For the event itself, you won’t be able to adjust your bike weight. Only rider weight so please keep that in mind.
Pro Tip If you find the hills too hard, you can adjust the Slope Scaling, this is essentially the “trainer difficulty”. Adjusting this won’t make you faster, but it will make hills easier!
4. Download a video and ride
We always suggest downloading the video ahead of time. For any event you must download the video. Before the event, test your set up with something from the Easy collection. These rides will give you a good “feel” for how FulGaz looks and interacts with your trainer or smart bike.
5. Get event-ready
Before you start your event, make sure you turn up at the start line ready.
Here’s a quick checklist
- Download the ride ahead of time
- If joining us on Zoom for social rides, download the app and run it on a different device.
- Stay hydrated – have at least two bottles of water available
- Have a towel and fan to help you cool down.
To participate in this event from the comfort of your own home you will need some cycling equipment.
- Road Bike
- Smart Trainer (e.g Elite Suito,Wahoo Kickr) or a smart bike.
- Road Bike
- Standard Trainer (Check out some options here)
- Speed Sensor if using Standard trainer.
FulGaz works on Apple TV, MacOS or an iPhone or iPad as well as Windows and Android devices. To get started you will need to download the app onto your respective device. For an amazing viewing (and riding) experience we highly recommend using an Apple TV connected to your lounge room TV or monitor.
Please note rides in ‘event mode’ will force you to download the ride prior to starting. This ensures an uninterrupted riding experience so make sure you download each stage well ahead of time to avoid delays.