I am pleased to announce that the above picture was recently selected as the Grand Prize Winner for the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers 2009 Calendar competition. I took the photo on Guagua Pichincha Volcano in Ecuador while Ted and I were on our 2007 motorcycle adventure through the Americas. It shows Jose Rodriguez from Ecuador riding his Honda CRF 450X along a narrow ridge on the rim of the volcano at an altitude of more than 4700 metres. Ted and I weren’t able to get our bikes up the last couple of hundred metres because the slope got too steep and rocky for our heavier machines. We were also not serious Enduro racers like Jose. Even had I been on a lighter bike, I’m not sure I would have made it to the top without soiling myself.
Jose kindly put us up in his home in Quito and took us on a motorcycle tour of the spectacular area surrounding the city. Ecuador is one of the most stunningly beautiful countries in the world, with towering volcanoes rising to dizzying heights above rolling green countryside. These days, my studying is often interrupted of by daydreams of motorcycle adventures, and I often find myself being transported back to Ecuador. Then I wake up and continue to read about acute tubulointerstitial nephritis.