Day 95/164: Atocha to Bush camp in Tapiza – 117km

Climbing 1,960 – down 2,490 meters

I decided not to ride today as I am still sore from falling yesterday. If it was pavement I would have ridden but the thought of corrugated, rocky and sandy surfaces, I decided not to risk getting 5 kilometres into the ride being really sore and then having to get another 40 or so kilometres to lunch.

The dinner truck was finally pulled out at about 12:30 am and needs repair, not sure how long it will take. There is a bus to replace it today and tomorrow until the border.

The replacement bus for a day or two

The replacement bus for a day or two (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Max (TDA) has gone ahead today into Argentina to find another vehicle from the border. The TDA staff were up late last night sorting this all out and as always up early (they get up an hour before us at 4:30 am to get things rolling for the day). They are also generally still packing up the day for nearly an hour after we have retired to our tents. In addition they don’t just have one role. Apart from the chef (April) they all take turns at being the sweep (riding behind the last rider), preparing the food, packing and unpacking the trucks, being on the lunch truck, and then designated roles such as medic and bike mechanic).

This latest incident has added more work as now stuff has to be packed into a new vehicle and there is such a lot of stuff. Cooking equipment, outside stoves, pits and pans, plates, gas bottles, food for days, rider’s daily bags, rubbish bins, cleaning equipment, etc etc. It took quite a long time. The riders not riding at all today plus a number of TDA staff had to also get into this bus. With everything that had to be done it was after 9:30 by the time we left town.

Breakfast in the sunshine (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Breakfast in the sunshine (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The terrain was as tough as expected, not only was there corrugated surfaces and sand but there were also some steep climbs. Given that from Uyuni to 30 kilometres from the town we stayed at last night it is a new road being built you would think that would not have 12% gradients. The new roads being built in Peru were all a consistent 4 to 5%, achieved by having switch backs.

A tough track for us out of town (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

A tough track for us out of town (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

We passed a few riders still not at a lunch stop on the way. We stopped at the lunch stop it was over 4,000 meters altitude with a freezing cold wind gusting through. I am pleased not to be out there riding.  The roads are steep and narrow but the bus driver must have driven it numerous times as I was not once concerned about safety (and I can be a nervous passenger).

As yesterday there was great scenery in the afternoon with steep gorges and cliffs again.  Plus a mountain range in the background.

Stunning scenery (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Stunning scenery (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

On the road today (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

On the road today (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

We arrived at the campsite, a soccer field again, in a village, bush camping again. However this soccer field has grass and a number of weeping willow trees surrounding it. We have dropped to 3,100 meters in altitude and it is a lot warmer.

Tonight's campsite (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Tonight’s campsite (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

After helping unload the bus and putting up my tent, I enjoyed sitting by my tent in the sun, being warm! Tomorrow is 30 kilometres of corrugated surface and sand, but then it is paved so I plan to be back out riding.

Dinner tonight t-bone steak, potatoes, honey carrots, and broccoli salad.

Cold in the shade at camp (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Cold in the shade at camp (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

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Categories: Argentina, South American Epic | Leave a comment

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