ruth40-1598

10 December 2013 – 9 January 2014

Countries Argentina & Chile (total 5)
Distance 1,450.04km (total 6,565.62km)
Climb 7,677m (total 40,675m)
Longest day 123.95km, Chilecito to Salicas in Argentina (longest so far: 142.26km)
Top speed 60.6kmh (fastest so far: 62kmh)
Punctures 4 (total 15; Will leads 11-4)
Falls 1 (Will, who came a cropper in a sandy stretch of ripio on the way back from some mystifyingly dry hot springs near Hualfin but got off rather more lightly than the last time he took a tumble)
Touring cyclists encountered 16 (total 18)
Boats 1 (total 21)
Planes 0 (total 2)
Times running out of water 1, a miserable morning en route to Marayes
Best breakfast Argentina’s breakfast culture continues to disappoint, but we were delighted to be offered porridge at the lovely Casa Árbol in Cafayate
Worst hill The biggest was the Cuesta de Miranda, a 950m climb between Villa Unión and Chilecito, but it was beautiful and not terribly tough; by contrast, the most miserable was a very short stretch of Ruta 40 near Hualfin – unexpectedly unpaved (our map was wrong), in terrible condition, nudging 10% at times and tackled in appalling heat (we goaped)
Jettisoned en route More clothes
Lost in transit Will’s beard, mercifully cut down to size after five and a half untamed months in a San Agustín de Valle Fertil peluquería
Biggest mystery Never having ridden above 2,400m, whether we’ll be susceptible to altitude sickness as we gradually get higher
Biggest surprise We’re developing some semblance of a route plan that we may actually follow

from San Salvador de Jujuy, JY, Argentina