DAY FORTY THREE
Rio San Juan to Campamento vialidad Nacional
Av speed: 13.4
Moving time: 5 hours 26
Door to door: 8 hours 50
Not feeling 100% and so annoyingly slow start this morning. Wind kicked in as we eventually hit the road meaning that 20k of downhill really felt like uphill on the Ruta Nacional 149.
This was followed by 25k of steep climbing. Legs made light work of the first half but then altitude and cold started to kick in making things much harder! See from the photos how much we enjoyed it!
After 80 miles of not even seeing a building we stumbled across a restaurant which was like an oasis in the desert as we didn’t realise how uninhabited San Juan province would be - and how unforgiving it can be when the sun isn’t out!
Incredible scenery all day but a shame the weather is spoiling the amazing views - we have been told it will definitely be sunny tomorrow!
Amazingly things looked up much for the better in the evening as we stumbled across a campamento vialodad Nacional - a highway maintenance outpost where the man - who’s accent was impossible to understand we couldn’t catch his name - very kindly showed us to a room which we could sleep in.
True hospitality and saving our exhausted bodies from having to put up a tent and cook in the cold! As ever with the lows we were able to finish off the day on a high!
DAY FORTY FOUR
Campamento vialidad Nacional to Gaundacol
Distance: 118.25 miles
Av speed: 15 mph
Moving time: 7 hours 40
Door to door: 10 hours 37
Strange day as we covered a lot of ground but both feeling unwell meaning hard to really enjoy it! Also because we were both ill we were forced to cycle our longest day of the trip so far as we were in desperate need of a loo seat and clean water (all the rivers had dried up!).
Despite this and real testament to how strong our legs have become, we managed to cycle the last 50 miles in 3 and a half hours arriving in Guandacol before it got dark, and completely our longest day of the trip so far.
Found a restaurant to celebrate but again annoyingly for Jim his stomach played up at the wrong time. Twice then in a week he had to leave with out touching his food! Extremely cruel after craving a proper meal all day.
Also we need to mention how great it was was to be reunited with Ruta 40, which we had last left in Calafate in Patagonia. Still winding its way through breathtaking mountains and still basically car free!
DAY FORTY FIVE
Lago del Inca to Uspallata
Guandacol to Villa Union
Distance: 25 miles
Average speed: 11.5mph
Moving time: 2h26
Door to door: 4h18
A lie in day after yesterday’s biggest day yet and luckily Jim not throwing up anymore. Unfortunately both still feeling pretty grim and perhaps cycling our longest day yet wasn’t the best idea.
We left Guandacol at 5pm, deciding on a short day to help us get a bit better. The short ride however was absolutely incredible as the sun was low in the sky making the red mountains stand out even more, as you can see from the pictures it was completely breathtaking. 15 miles of uphill then 12 miles of downhill took us into Villa Union, where we were again forced to check into a campsite due to the necessity of a loo seat!
DAY FORTY SIX
Villa Union camp site to Chilecito
Average speed: 12.7mph
Moving time: 5h28
Door to door: 8h49
A tough day as we began by climbing 70km in some pretty serious heat. The Ruta 40 meandered slowly up the valley through fields of cactus’ and before we knew it we were 2,200m up at the top of the climb. Our hard work was soon rewarded by a incredible descent we really were not expecting. Views which were absolutely ridiculous and seemed to get better and better as we flew down the road.
The downhill seemed never ending and we didn’t have to move a pedal for around 30 miles. Which, when biking, is something you don’t take for granted!
We were going to carry on cycling out of Chilecito but Roos tummy didn’t agree with this so we thought it best to stay in a hostel. Poor Roo was not in a good way at all. Thank god he slept in the bed nearest the bathroom, will leave it at that.
DAY FORTY SEVEN
Whilst we had hoped a night in a hotel would mean we could be back on the road with Roo feeling much better, it turned out he was actually quite ill and couldn’t even get out of bed the next day.
For Roo a fairly miserable day was spent in and out of the bathroom in our grotty hotel room whilst Jim played the role of nurse and feeder for the day/ spent the whole day eating!
Chilecito to Famatina
Average speed: 9.2mph
Moving time: 2h12
Door to door: 3h30
Although Roo was still not feeling 100% we agreed it would be best to try and get out of Chilecito and the bleak hostel we were staying in.
It was great to be back on the road again and we even bumped into some cyclists from Switzerland, the first cyclists we had seen for 9 days! After the usual promise to each other that the other would have tail winds we ploughed on up Ruta 40 although it soon became it wouldn’t be very far as Roo was struggling to even turn his pedals.
We decided to turn for the nearest town, which was a cruel 9kms uphill that seemed to take forever and the worst bit of the trip for Roo so far.
However we found a nice Hospedaje and passed out, praying that finally we would both be 100% again in the morning.
Famatina to Alpasinche
Average speed: 17.5mph
Moving time: 4h26
Door to door: 6h55
After two frustrating things were finally looking up. The sun was shining down on us, Roo finally had his strength back, and despite a lot of uphill strong tailwinds made life on Ruta 40 easy again! We even recorded our PB average speed!
We were also able to final get back to wild camping that we had missed so much after having to stay in campsites and hostels. We found a beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere, in time to enjoy a Yerba as the sun went down.
Our elation at being back in the wild quickly changed to horror as we woke up to the sight of a huge huge spider that had broken entry into our tent and would have most likely killed us both if we hadn’t woken up.