Team America!

On January 14, 2013

Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales. 3 days and 260 km (or 4 hours by bus). There are times when there’s no wind and KC and I would cruise at 30 km/hr up an incline and other times it would be windy and we’d struggle to keep 10 km/hr downhill. That’s one thing we noticed in Punta Arenas about this type of cycling trip: there are an incredible amount of intense highs and lows in a single day. Usually it would take weeks to get the same number of ups and downs. I’m reflecting on this point while riding to try to make sense of it. We took a group photo of the cyclists (and hitchhikers) in Punta Arenas before we left. Hopefully we’ll be catching up here in Puerto Natales tomorrow.

The first day of riding we started at 1:30 pm. After lunch we made an impressive 107 km ending at 9 pm in an exasperated search for this town we were supposed to stay at. There were long stretches of straight roads and a monument to the wind. We saw a group of buildings with blue roofs and decided to check it out. It turned out to be an estancia of sorts…. just one guy taking care of a house that looked like it was made to house workers. The nice man allowed us to stay inside, bring our bikes in, fed us beef and bread, then gave us breakfast in the morning. Another showing of the amazing hospitality of South America. The next day we left and found the town and hostel a kilometer or two away. Yay for free housing!

The second day was fairly routine. Sunny, combined with that hole in the ozone was hard on the skin. I was all about protecting my face since my ears felt the sun and wind the day before. We got better glimpses of the mountains and they are definitely getting closer. It’s very satisfying to see them approach slowly, knowing that hard work and determination from Tierra del Fuego is bringing Torres del Paine closer. That night we stayed in a nicer hotel, cooked pretty awesome meals, then enjoyed a beer before bed. To make the stay extra worth it, I washed all of my clothes in the bathtub. Since it gets so cold at night I dried them in the wind during the last 65 km into Puerto Natales. Just livin’ the simple life. Eat when you’re hungry (always), sleep when you’re tired, and cycle to get somewhere.

The ride to Puerto Natales was almost all downhill. I repped my Nebraska shirt since all of my wool was drying on the trailer. Also it was my only polyester shirt I have. Thanks, work! Puerto Natales is going to be the first rest town since Tierra del Fuego. My odometer is close to 800 km. Today will be planning for Torres del Paine hiking and a welcome break in cycling.

I just can’t get over how gorgeous this place is. Enjoy the photos. They don’t quite do it justice 🙂

One Response to “Team America!”

  • As for the title, we were dubbed “Team America” by the other four cyclists. Evidentially we’re fast or something.

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