Posted by: paulgilders | March 13, 2012

To Chile Chico

We have made it to the border town of Chile Chico after 6 days, which has included 5 days of intensive riding and pushing. Having reached Chile Chico, we feel that we can ride anything. Since Tortel, we have traversed the width of Chile and effectively crossed the Andes; albeit hugging the shores of the massive Lago General Carrara. The landscape has changed from lush and marshy valleys to the now arid and rocky surface which is covered by hardy and spiky plants. The border with Argentina is a mere 10km down a flat tarmac road.

Our intention is to stay at Chile Chico for a few days to refresh our bodies and minds before going across the border.

The journey from Cochrane was split into two parts by a day of recovery (actually mostly essential laundry and chain cleaning) at the town of Puerto Guadal. We knew that the journey to Puerto Guadal would be tough and we weren’t disappointed. The weather was sunny and hot for both days and, with a good amount of pushing up climbs, we were hot, sweaty and bothered by the end of each day. In particular, the road into Puerto Guadal was incredibly steep with loose gravel. Gill got offered a lift on this section, which she struggled to refuse.

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Our arrival into Puerto Guadal was met with simply stunning lake views. We were intent on camping at a place just 1km out of town, but that 1 km was about 25% and at the top, there was no vehicular access (even for bikes), so we turned back into town for a luxury cabin instead.

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During our time in Puerto Guadal, negotiations between protesters and the government resumed and the roadblocks were lifted. This has meant that some essential food supplies have arrived (seemingly mostly sprite and coke) and that petrol stations have received supplies of fuel which has led to queues of vehicles around the towns. However, the shops are still not well stocked – in particular fruit and vegetables are still hard to find without a tin!

The road along the south of Lago General Carrara is renowned for its steep, tight, gravelly bends with incredible drop-offs. Unfortunately, the most impressive section we did on a miserable day. We were cold, wet and exhausted after 3.5 hours and only 25km, and decided to camp early. In hindsight, this was a good decision, since the rain was heavy for another 2 hours after our stop.

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The final day into Chile Chico was slightly shorter and easier than expected. We were still doing a fair amount of pushing, but the road surface was greatly improved. In particular, we hit a top speed of 50km/h on one section and cruised the last 7km into Chile Chico on a smooth sloping road that felt wonderful.

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Hopefully fruit and veg supplies will arrive into Chile Chico today, and we will have everything we need for a full recovery.

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Responses

  1. Fantastic scenery. WOW. HArd work all day pushing and pedalling along gravel roads to be rewarded at the end of the day with amazing views and huge landscapes. What could be better? ENJOY.


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