QuickPeek: Hills. Headwind.
It rained pretty much all night and it was great to have been taken in by the Bomberos yesterday so we could spend the night under a roof! Awesome! Gracias 3ra Compania de Quillon! Viva Los Bomberos!! I was up around 6 am, it was dark out and was raining hard, dang, I hoped the rain would pass and we’d have a decent day’s ride in. Eventually was up after 9ish and made a quick b’fast with eggs and Tortilla and coffee and packed up for the road. It was almost 11 when we got on the road. Most of the bombers had left already as it was a Sunday and we had to leave the empty fire station and start the day’s ride.
I had noted that we had a couple of 150m hills, and just as we got to the end of town, the first hill started. it was a pretty gentle one and took a proper 30 minutes to get to the summit. The traffic was spewing smoke and it’s been a while since I had been subject to traffic pollution and ugh its bad. Anyway, I was hoping that the rest of the route was going to be smooth going, with just one more hill to go! Oh, was I mistaken.
Turned out that this Island Chiloe, though tiny and jutting out of the water, is pretty much hill country. The mounds are hardly 200 m tall, but they seem to be designed in a pretty diabolical way that the roads constantly had to go up and down one slope or another. The road designers were pretty evil too, I reckon, given that every hill we climbed was between 9-12% grade. Dang.
After an hour or so of riding, we stopped for a quick break and luckily there was a nice bakery with fresh bread to boot! had a few helpings of bread with some super lovely jam that Jaime and Pola had packed up for us! We had a bit of a stiff headwind coming our way and with the steep hills in tow, the snack was burned by my system in no time. It was work-work all day long. Every hill was an effort to climb and every descent a bit of precarious ride in the strong winds. Around 4-5 pm, we spotted rain in the distance and figured we might call it a day early. I looked around for serviced camp sites, mostly to avoid being poured down all night long in a tent. But we weren’t lucky. There were numerous cabins and campsite options, but they were either too expensive or unsheltered. Bummer. We eventually decided to head on to the next town still about 25 km away.
We were lucky today though, the side of the road was glittering black, it was Blackberry season and the small shrubs were full of them and just ripe enough to eat! Also it was apple season, but difficult to reach the private groves while on the road. Instead, we decided to much on as much blackberries we could stomach. So after every climb, we’d take a short break and forage some berries and eat them. I must have stopped atleast a dozen times to pick off berries right off of my bike! They were super delicious and a good sugar boost for the next climb ahead!
Eventually we got to the small town of Chonchi and I tried my luck at the Bomberos again. This time we weren’t as lucky as there was to be a shift change and we’d have to wait till 9 pm to get any indication of weather we could stay or not. Bummer. We tried a campsite in town, but it was exposed and we figured with the impending storm, it might be a good idea to find a hostel instead. A couple of chilean cyclists were in town too and they recommended a small place they were staying at and we decided to head there. It was a really lovely home turned into a hostel and the lady running the place was super sweet. We made a bit of a meal with everything we had at hand and knocked off in the real comfy beds!
Route: Quillon to Chonchi
Distance: 68 Km
Road: Asphalt with a generous shoulder most of the way.
Traffic: Light to Moderate - this is Pan Americana already.
Services: Numerous. All along the way.
Expenses: SG$ 24.07
Comments: So many hills and so damn steep. A hard day’s work!