Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1284, Calingasta – Pachaco: Full Moon Cycling

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on Mar - 29 - 2014

Distance: 87.64 km
Ride time: 5:48:54
Average: 15.11 km/h
Altitude: 1889 m
Total: 25206 km

The nights might be perfect for camping, but from the morning it was clear that this was going to be a very hot day. We were planning to go on a dirt road over a mountain pass to the next village.

Just as we were about to leave town we asked the gendarmeria about the state of the road. “The road is closed” was the firm answer we got – not what we had expected. We tried to ask if it was perhaps possible to use the road with bicycles, but it didn’t seem to come well with the guy. Instead we had a quick look at the map and decided on an alternative route. This route might actually be faster than the one we had planned, but perhaps not as interesting… or so we thought.

We cycled out of town, but instead of climbing over a pass we were descending through a valley. The landscape was beautiful with rough mountains – even more beautiful than I can imagine the dirt road would have been. Perhaps not such a bad thing that the road was closed after all.

Another factor was the heat – the afternoon temperatures were the highest I have experienced since leaving Australia back in November. My thermometer said 37 degrees in the shade while Petters bike computer said 48 in the sun. We found a tree with some shade, had a quick dip in the fresh river and afterwards a long siesta.

After the long siesta we crossed a river. When you are used to cycle in the mountains you know that this could very well mean that a climb is about to start – and so it was! After 4 kilometers of climbing a got a flat tire. At first it seemed like a normal flat, but I discovered a big scratch on the side of the tire. I’m carrying an extra tire since Santiago, but I had hoped I wouldn’t have to use it before perhaps Bolivia. Now there was nothing to do but put on the spare and hope it would be possible to find a replacement somewhere.

With the new tire we were once again climbing. In my mind I had thought the climb would be 15 kilometers long – in other words a typical Tour de France climb. But this one continued; 16, 17 kilometers… still up, 18, 19, 20 km. This was when I needed a food break.

Since midday when the temperature had been 37 degrees it was now only 18 due to the combined factors of climbing almost 1000 vertical meters and the time of the day, now around sunset. Unfortunately the location we had spotted for dinner was absolutely filled with mosquitoes. We tried to cover up the best we could.

Over dinner Petter and I thought it would be fun to continue to cycle after dark. We knew that today would be full moon, so besides being much cooler and more comfortable to cycle at this time of the day, we would also have some light.

It was a special feeling, putting on the head light and start cycling as the full moon was rising over the mountains. I was certainly feeling tired, but also excited about cycling in this new environment. We were constantly guessing what the landscape would look like in daylight – now we could only see the outline of the mountains and the valleys we were passing.

At 11 o’clock we finally pulled over to the side of the road and put up the tents. Soon thereafter I was sound asleep.

Categories: Argentina
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3 Responses so far.

  1. Martin says:

    Amazing pictures Thomas!! Thanks for sharing. Vy 73. Martin, LU5DX

  2. Thanks Martin.. this part of LU is really amazing! 73

  3. Those night photos are spectacular!