QuickPeek: Sunny. No Wind. Rolling hills. Flat. Loose gravel.
Today we had about 70 km to ride to get to Carlos’s Campo and we thought a leisurely start from the super expensive hostel was ok. I made a leisurely b’fast, dried up all the clothes, packed up and by the time we got to the carpark in Tortel, it was nearly noon. Well 70 km and relatively flat route, meant we’d get the day over y 6 or 7 at the latest eh. Ah well.
We were told the 20 km out of Tortel was a bit shit road with loose gravel and it got better afterward. Or so people say. Well we had a pretty rough ride out of Tortel and after 18 km, at a small hill, my chain snapped. We just had a conversation with the german cyclists who were in the same hostel as us about chains and lo and behold, by chain snapped. Dang. Well i pushed the bike up the hill and found that the power link was a bit worn out and had slipped out of place. Well, I had been carrying a spare chain for the past 2.5 years and now was its time to shine! We took a snack break and I fixed the new chain and it seemed to mesh well with the drive train and everything was back in shape.
Once we got to the crossing to Puerto Yungay, we continued straight on on the rolling hills and flats. The road was absolute rubbish with loose gravel and big sized stones and with a few cars that’d pass by without any concern for cyclists. I suppose with so many cyclists on this road and so many tourists driving their rental trucks, there was bound to be a lot of assholes on either side and as a result, there was total lack of respect. Bummer The road continued to be shit and after about 35 km on the road, we stopped again.
This time, my fancy Silver shifters (gear shifters) were misbehaving. Dang. Seems like a week of mechanicals. I had to look thro them and luckily without much disassembly and some duct tape, managed to keep things tight and back to working order. It was nearly 5 pm by this time and we still had more than 40 k’s to go. I wasn’t sure we’d make it to Carlos’s place by tonight. We still had to try. My back was killing me due to the constant bumpiness and the intense focus needed to stay on the road and not slip off on the ne rock with ones name on it. Still, I almost lost is many times and it’s good luck that I had these much better Marathon Plus tires to bite into the sand and gravel and keep me upright.
We kept at it, riding at 8-10 kmh on flats and downhills and around 6 pm and still 20 k’s to go, with the light fading, we figured we might have to camp at some place. I saw a ‘campsite’ at a small farm and asked them if we could stay there. With no services and just to put up a tent, they wanted to charge 5000 CLP per person. Ouch, the bicycle superhighway with fairly well to do cyclists seemed to have spoilt the market around here. I much rather prefer friendly locals in unknown villages where people would genuinely want to lend a hand to someone who is tired.
We decided to push on and as we rode out of this section, miraculously the road got smooth, almost newly paved and hard packed dirt that one could get their teeth in. It was great riding that section and though it was a bit of a small hill to climb, it was easy work indeed. The views were stunning and for the first time in the day I could take my eyes off the gravel road and enjoy the vistas. We were approaching a huge ice field and the place was absolutely glorious. we got off the hill and rode a flat section to get to the place that Carlos had indicated to me vaguely on google maps.
When we got to the small house, there was no one and within a couple of minutes, Carlos showed up with his family! Turned out it was his cabin, but we were asked to go to another campo around the bend where his friend Ricardo was staying. We were lucky to have met carlos and he was heading to Tortel and asked us to wait at Ricardo’s. Sweet. We road to Ricardo’s cabin and he was a old time Gaucho and had a small, but pretty well stocked shack! It was a bit difficult to understand his heavily Gaucho accented Chilean Spanish, but we tried to keep up with his chatting. Eventually after a couple of hours, some coffee and a bit of bread, we decided to call it a day and camped up for some good night’s rest. Hopefully tomorrow, we’d have Carlos show us his campo and we might be of some help to him too.
Route: Caleta Tortel to +75 Km
Distance: 75 Km
Road: Mostly looks gravel and rutted. Some parts are packed and ok to ride.
Traffic: Light but a bunch of assholes.
Services: None. Few farm houses around, might sell bread or mermalade or so.
Expenses: SG$ 0
Comments: All Gravel, even if flat, makes for a tough ass day on the bike.