Archive for the ‘The Good. The Bad & The Ugly’ Category

Grounded

Alex and I had no idea the dramatic changes the next days would bring – how could we. Alex had to suddenly leave South America while I was grounded for a month and a half. It is precisely these challenges that make life on the road so interesting as well as challenging.
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The Longest Night Of My Life

A series of problems would soon impede my progress through Bolivia. However the country has so much to offer in terms of people, landscapes, food and culture that I would take these problems (more or less) in my stride and still enjoy my time there. I was so excited about visiting the Salar de Uyuni and Bolivia’s South West, I couldn’t foresee that I would end up losing my sight for three days.
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Alone Again

After more than two weeks rest in Esquel (Argentinian Patagonia), the gash on my leg finally healed. I thanked Maria and her family who were exceptionally kind and had given me a home away from home whilst I recuperated. My partner in crime on the Carretera Austral, Hobo Dan, had traded his bike in and taken a plane to Bolivia so it was time to set off alone. Whilst my Spanish was improving it was still basic and communication was a continuous challenge. This meant as I cycled north I could go days without really speaking to anyone. Cycling through the Patagonian desert I battled icy wind, freezing rain, and snow.  I felt all alone.
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The Carretera Austral

The Carretera Austral is a road that is famous among cyclists. It was built in the 70’s and 80’s under General Augusto Pinochet in the context of a growing conflict with Argentina. Prior to the existence of the road to access this region of Chile you had to cross into Argentina before crossing back into Chile. As such it was strategically important for Chile to be able to independently access this vital portion of its southern territory. Construction of the road was a logistical nightmare as the area is made up of dense forests, fjords, glaciers, canals and mountains – but this is exactly what gives it its majestic beauty. The route runs almost 1,000 miles through rural, southern, Chilean Patagonia. There is much hype about it being one of the best roads in the world to cycle and yet, when expectations are set so high, it’s so easy to be disappointed. Thankfully, as you will read,  this was never the case with the Carretera Austral.
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The End of the Beginning

The exit from Melbourne was a nice one. The road was flat with a bike path for most of the way. I left three days earlier than Matt, who resided in penthouse luxury whilst I made my way to the finish line in Sydney. The reason for my early departure from the cool cafe culture of Melbourne was pedalling her Rockhopper arduously behind Colin and me.

Mum had decided to join us on our final 1000 miles. She prepared her body for the stiff physical challenge in much the same way as Matt and I had in the lead-up to our adventure; by eating a lot but not actually riding very much. Also, to make sure she was properly tested, she damaged her knee back in June. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bald Eagle

I have spent several weeks deliberating over this idea and have finally come to the conclusion that I will just put it out there…what’s the worst that could happen? Andy and I are still determined to reach our fundraising target of £50,000 for War Child. So here goes…
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