Patagonia: A Special Place
At times the cycling on this journey has felt like a chore being done in order to achieve a greater goal. In Patagonia, it has very much felt like a privilege.It’s a magical place where mountains jut up from the sea, glaciers rest on top of them, and waterfalls feed the rivers in the valleys below. In places like this you are extremely thankful that others before you had the forethought to preserve such a temple of nature for others to see and enjoy in as natural a state as possible. So as we’ve said many a time before, thanks to those before us who have placed the gain of others in place of the gain for themselves.
As we continue pushing onward the wear and tear of 11 months of journey takes a toll on the body and bike. Thankfully, both of them have only had minor issues and normal wear and tear that is to be expected when pushing man and machine to it’s limits on a frequent basis. At times our upper body laughs at lower half, looking down and thinking you have to do all of the work while I sit up here and relax. The legs have taken a pounding, that is for sure, but the human body is a resilient thing, and often works long beyond the point the mind thinks it can’t take anymore. Lately, it has been the feet that are hurting. The constant pressure of pushing against metal day in and day out sometimes makes it feel as if someone has beaten your toes with 2 x 4 boards. The bikes have taken quite the beating also, and although still as heavy as ever, only routine maintenance has needed to be performed. We have gone through about 9 chains on this trip, 2 small chainrings on Andrew’s bike and 1 on Matt’s, a total of 3 rear cassettes, 2 pair of brake pads each, multiple times having to change the shifter cables, and are on our second set of tires. Knock on wood, we’ve avoided the types of damage to body or bike that leave you sidelined for a few weeks.
We also had our first pair of riders that we road with on and off since back in Mexico. 2 Brazilian guys, Daniel and Guilherme, who are on their first tour and are riding part of the Carretera Austral. It was cool to tag off and on with these guys for over a week as we cruised through essentially our own playground in nature.
The weather, surprisingly has been much more cooperative than we had thought. Yes, it has gotten much cooler and we have had at least some rain everyday on the Carretera Austral, but we’ve had plenty of sunshine also. Maybe it’s Nature’s way of paying us back after giving us extreme heat waves on a large portion of the trip.
Soon the scenery will be changing, as we cross back east into Argentina and prepare this plane for descent into it’s final destination, Ushuaia: El Fin de Mundo. And unlike any landing airplane, we DO hope the wind is at our backs.