QuickPeek: Headwinds. Gravel. Rolling hills. Estancia Camping.
After looking thro numerous detailed views of the route ahead, I figured, given the winds we might be able to do 60 k days realistically and prepared for the day’s start. We decided to take a while and make sure all the gear was in place before starting. I had a real good night’s sleep and was up after 8 AM and it was nearly noon when we actually started the ride. We had a lovely b’fast with Fernando and bid him farewell and did some last minute supply shopping and took to the road.
The route out was windy to say the least, it was a crazy side wind and with the traffic riding close by in town, it was a challenge to keep from running into them. I was super slow and at the first turnoff felt the super heavy headwinds. I was heading west and figured this would be the average wind conditions. It wasn’t encouraging. I almost felt like we should head back take a bus to Porvenir and give up on Tierra Del Fuego. Well, I braved the wind and after an hour, managed to take a turnoff where the wind was at my tail. For 4 k’s I was not even bothering to pedal, the wind was pushing me up to 40 kmh. Holy cow. Makes a big difference which way one is riding here, thats for sure.
We eventually got to the gravel road turnoff towards Radman, the border crossing between Argentina and chile. This was a gravel road and we were heading into the wind on gravel for the next 70 km to get to the border. After that it’s the same thing in Chilean side for the next 300 km. Son of a bitch.
The gravel road was pretty well laid though and it was easy to find a decent line to avoid the road burr and big stones. The route however was rolling hills and each of them was at 8% or more. I was on granny gears on the flats because of the 50kmph winds, and now with the hills it was a tough job climbing. There was not a moment of respite. I recall coasting at a 15% downhill for 20 seconds in the entire day. Dang. I was slogging pedal stroke after another and after 26 km (12 km on gravel), We spotted a Estancia (A large farm) with people in it. We stopped for a bit of coffee and snack and thought thro the situation.
Fernando had advised us about an abandoned shelter about 20 k’s further down and given the rate we were riding at, it might take another 4 hrs. We had already ridden for 5 hrs for the 26 km. We decided to ask the Estancia for a place to stay. I scouted around and found a Gaucho (Cowboy) who was happy to let us camp there. I asked if we could have a sheltered spot and he thought and let us sleep inside an unused house. Sweet! The bathroom was rank, but the place was pretty sweet otherwise. It was great place to be, since in a couple of hours it started to rain and the wind sounded like we were sleeping inside an aircraft engine.
As we were preparing to setup inside the estancia, our friend Fernando rode up. Turned out that I had forgotten my kindle at his place. Gasp!! That is super dear to me and a source of great entertainment all the time. It was really lovely of him to ride up 50 k’s just to pass it to me. Wonderful chap. He even offered to take our bags up a little further, but we figured it was better to stay the night in a cozy place with water access.
I made some dinner and knocked off to sleep soon.
Route: Rio Grande to Estancia Canchicot
Distance: 26 Km
Road: 14 km Asphalt from Rio Grande. hard packed mud / gravel the rest of the way.
Traffic: Low - None.
Services: None. Few rivers along the way for water. Occasional Estancias for shelter.
Expenses: SG$ 0
Comments: Riding in molasses. The headwinds are serious in these parts.