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Archive for September, 2005

Tierra Del Fuego

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

Tierra Del Fuego
The first day of riding could not really have gone any worse. The plan was to ride to the Southern most point of the main island (the Southern tip of South America is made up of many Islands) from Ushuaia the southern most city in the world then return before venturing north. We set out fully loaded up with the gear we would take also as a test to see if the bikes could take the load.
The scenery was breathtaking, snow covered mountains surrounded us, wildlife we had never seen checking us out as we rode past and bountiful half frozen lakes and bridges frequent. The road was muddy enough to cover us and our bikes and at times bring us to a stop. The wind ferocious, changeable and chilling with steep climbs and descents. We got to the end (our start) ok. Angela’s bike however was all over the road under the strain of her panniers which were actually bending the frame as she rode. After having the official start to the expedition ceremony in front of some locals we peddled off. In the first 10km I was laughing to myself about how I would tell Angela she could not take all those shoes with her. As I laughed my steel front rack I had made in Vietnam suddenly went through my front wheel tossing me into the handle bars and tearing almost every spoke from my front wheel leaving my bike un-rideable. Ange rode off to the Ranger’s hut to see if I could get a lift to Ushuaia. When I got there carrying the (bloody heavy) bike he said he was going home now and we had to wait outside. As he left a snow storm started with an increase in wind and below 0 temperatures. “Bugger” I said, we ended up getting a lift back, though I did insist on riding Ange´s bike behind the car so as to have made sure I have ridden all the way (a bit anal I know). We then fixed the wheel at the local bike shop, put Ange’s rack on my bike and made a very funny video of all the things we were throwing out even the hair dryer and platform shoes!
We have since made some incredible progress!
Our days since the first catastrophic “this is going to be too hard” first 10k very briefly have been as follows –
16/9/05 – Distance104km, ride time 5:40, through the most primo mountains! And above the snow line for most of it camped in Tolling (blink and you miss it town of which I’m sure there will be many).
17/9/05 – Distance 120km, ride time 8:13 Average 14.5 very hard wind 80-100kph lifted off bike Angela pushing bike in ditch next to road.
18/9/05 – Distance 82.62km, ride time 4:38, Average 17.8 stayed in boarder town lucky not much wind.
19/9/05 – Distance 156.61km, ride time 9:19, Average 16.8 very long day undulating gravel road into head wind.

Looking forward to the rest of Patagonia but feel very pleased to have completes the first leg of the trip!

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