Day 534 – All hell broke loose

Posted by on February 17, 2015

Day 534 / Cerro Sombrero – Camping, Chile / 50 miles (Total 14,795)

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I have felt headwinds on tour, but nothing like today. Violent would sum it up. 40-50 mph winds slamming me in the face. I ended up in this shelter for over an hour figuring out if I should head back to town.

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Oh-look, pretty rolling hills. This is when all hell broke loose! The winds maxed out at this point and I’m guessing 60 mph +. I have never felt winds this strong in my life. There was no pedaling at this point. I was off the bike pushing and getting nowhere. The road was flat and paved, and I could not even push my bike at moments. Half of me was getting pissed, the other half was laughing at the situation.

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And life said “lets make it more of a challenge”. A rough, gravel road was placed in front of me. The torture of it all was the smooth, brand-new, paved road that the workers didn’t let me ride. Every time I tried to ride it, I got the boot. The headwinds kicked my ass, and the cross winds flung me literally from the right side of the lane to the left side of the ditch. Seriously some intense winds today. Dangerous winds.

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I ended up asking a worker if it was ok to ride the side ditch of the new road, cause the main road was too dangerous for me. Thank goodness he said yes. I still wasn’t safe to tell you the truth. This may look wide to ride, but the winds still blew me across the entire width. And the scary part was the steep ditch to the left. Some sections dropped over 10 feet and I was close to going over at moments. When the gust hit hard, I would drop my right foot and lean all my weight into the wind and tried to hold myself up. Holy crap – I love this $h!#

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For hours, I pedaled and pushed with nothing to show for, but I’m not here for that. I’m here for the experience of something new, and I fought for this story to tell. I was over the construction and a smooth,  paved road was under me, and a view to admire was in front of me. This may look like nothing to others, but to me, it was pure bliss. I worked, pushed, sweated, and cursed for this view. I came to a perfect rest area, dropped the bike, and absorbed the view. Tomorrow I will be pedaling across this from right to left.

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My goal for the day was a town called Onaisin that was on my map, but didn’t show up on my gps. By 6 o’clock I made it to this small shelter to take a break. My gut was telling me stop here and to call it a day. The room was small, but very clean. I made some dinner and decided to call it and not push the bike into town. Good thing I listened to my gut. The next day when I arrived, there was absolutely no town called Onaisin, just two small broken down shacks at the intersection.

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A nice shelter to call home for the night. It sounded like a freight train was passing me all night with the winds never letting up. The shelter was rattling from the high winds, but I was nice and warm.

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My tarp over the doorway and I decided not to set up the tent. Just my air mattress and sleeping bag for the night. The only thing I really had to worry about are the black widow spiders out her. Blah – who’s scared of those little spiders anyways. I was destroyed from the long day of pushing into the violent winds. My body has not been happy with the hard push since Calafate. My knees are screaming and the rest of my body feels the same way, but I have a deadline for Ushuaia. Today was one of the hardest days of riding on this trip. Once I laid down, I had one of my best nights of sleep.

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One Response to Day 534 – All hell broke loose

  1. Marge Niebergall

    Jim, Looking forward to seeing you soon, back home in Minnesota! Have a safe trip on the way back and I hope you don’t have a problem with getting the bike on the plane. Best wishes and God bless you!

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