tent-1520

10 January – 9 February 2014

Countries Argentina, Bolivia (on foot) & Chile (total 6)
Distance 1,565.9km (total 8,131.52km)
Climb 14,168m (total 54,843m)
Longest day 160.11km, La Quiaca to Humahuaca in Argentina (our first 100-mile day on this trip, though it took a couple of unnecessary spins around the block at the Humahuaca end to tip us into three figures)
Highest altitude 4,836m, and we will be astonished if we get higher without being in a plane
Top speed 60.4kmh (fastest so far: 62kmh)
Punctures 1 (total 16; Will leads 11-5)
Earthquakes 1 (eating breakfast one morning in quake-prone Tocopilla, we felt our hotel shake and heard the windows rattle; ten minutes later, the temblor (tremor) was being discussed on the TV news)
Touring cyclists encountered 15 (total 33)
Best breakfast Hard to beat porridge with bananas and sultanas on the beach at Hornitos, Chile, where we’d pitched our tent about 20 paces from the Pacific Ocean
Worst hill Is it perverse to choose a downhill? Will’s ride from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama started with a real slog of a climb, 950m in less than 19km – but the way down was even worse, thanks to horrendous headwinds that left him struggling to top 10kmh despite having gravity firmly on his side. Utter, utter misery
Jettisoned en route In one of our periodic we’re-carrying-too-much-stuff culls, our tarp (unused), two hats (ditto), a pair of gaiters (ditto), three shirts (two bought en route), four CDs, a book, some Spanish tuition and our well-marked map of Argentina are all currently heading home, while our two Therm-a-Rest chair attachments and various other camping unnecessaries are now awaiting landfill
Lost in transit Ruth’s headphones; she’s now on her third set
Biggest mystery Whether it matters that when we entered Chile, the Chilean immigration officer mistakenly furnished our passports with exit rather than entry stamps; we’ll find out in the next week or two, when we leave the country (update: the guy at the border didn’t even notice)
Biggest surprise After more than three months and a half-day ride short of 4,000km, how sad we were to leave Argentina

from Iquique, I, Chile