Daily Archives: November 13, 2015

Day 110/164: Rest day in Villa Union

Today was not a day of rest as I had lots to do, so I was up at the usual time of 6:30, and at breakfast at 7am.

First of all the bike had to be washed and cleaned ready for Antonio the bike mechanic to fit a new chain, cassette and brakes, then to change the tyres.

I was really irritated to find that Burkes Bike Shop in Kilbirnie where I had taken my bike nearly two months before I went away have given me a 32 cassette instead of a 34 cassette like is already on my bike! This means I have lost my two smallest gears and getting up steep hills will be harder. My bike already has poor gearing for hills! I feel a bit disillusioned with the shop as I gave them all the info of what I was doing and went to them for expert advice.

It would have been useful if they had said “you know your bike is not really set up for hills can we suggest to try …” rather than give me replacement parts that made it worse. I won’t be going back.

I have already had both bike mechanics shaking their heads and spending ages readjusting the way my front brakes were set up by Burkes. If it wasn’t for the fact my chain is slipping and the cassette has pretty much had it, I would just leave the old parts on and buy new ones in Santiago.

Then I had hand washing to do, and hanging out to dry. I washed my tent as it was getting grubby and it was a good drying day.

Then I sorted through my bags, packing things where they are meant to be, and going up to the town to buy food for lunch and dinner before the supermarket closed at 1pm. I didn’t want to be waiting until after 8pm to eat then have to get up and ride in morning.

Up in the town I got some nice blue cheese, olives, tomatoes, pears and fresh bread (plus chocolate, peanuts and chippies).

There is very bad wifi, the signal only works in the main reception area and takes forever to log on and get emails. Sending even a couple of lines takes forever!

One of the riders, Walli, from the Trans Europa trip 3 years ago was going to join us for the rest of the ride in Santiago, but is now not coming. I was looking forward to catching up with her. Walli is thinking about the Trans-oceania so hopefully will get to see her in the New Zealand section of that.

Only 3 riding days until the next rest day.

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Day 109/164: Sano Gasta to Villa Union – 85km

1030 climbing and 1060 down

I got out of camp and about 500 meters up the road found I had a flat tyre again! Back tyre again! This time it was because of a thorn. Normally I check my tyre before I leave camp but I forgot today. I suspect it was already flat when I left camp but took me 500 meters to notice as it was over gravel and a corrugated surface until then.

First 20 kilometres we were climbing with most of the 1,000 meters of climbing for the day.

There was great scenery. Near the top of the climb I came around a bend and there were about 5 goats watching me. Another rider about 2 minutes later saw the goats and they were watching a fox that was in the middle of the road watching him. I did not get to see the fox but did get to see the photo.

Fox in the road

Fox in the road

Then there was about 30 kilometres down to lunch. After lunch we had a side wind for about 20 kilometres then a tail wind for the last 10 kilometres, with a downhill gradient.

We are staying at the Cuesta de Miranda Hotel in Villa Union, which is a very small town, mostly one street with a small town square. Everything is shut as it was after 1pm by the time we got in. Nothing was open for eating until 8pm . Thankfully there is a petrol station next to the hotel where snacks could be bought.

There is no laundry service so will have to hand wash again. Thankfully a good outside area for drying clothes. And thankfully a shower after four days of not having one.

The local tourist attraction is a view of the World’s largest inactive volcano “Corona de Inca” 6,800 meters and large mountain ranges over 5,000 meters. There is mountain bike rides, plus 4 wheel driving places galore. Given that I get motion sick very easily it was not something with much appeal to me.

At dinner the menu was in Spanish and did not have photos – I thought I was getting steak, but managed to get greasy fatty chops instead.

The wine at dinner came from the Chilecito region that we rode through a couple of days ago. Most restaurants keep their red wine in the fridge along with the white, which takes a bit of getting used to, this was no exception. Was quite nice though.

Sue has been having a lot of trouble with a tooth abscess and managed to find a dentist here, hopefully has fixed the problem.

Rio Miranda

Rio Miranda

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