1,850 meters climbing, 700 down
Thankfully there was no more heavy rain so no one got flooded again during the night.
My tent was soaking and the ground sheet was caked with mud. My thermal rest was wet but luckily with my Alpaca blanket on top of it under my sleeping bag I stayed warm.
Today is cold, windy, and rain is expected. I decided not to ride a wet, slippery, gravel, corrugated, sandy ride with a significant climb. So into the lunch truck I went. All the mountain bikers will be going “What?! It sounds like a great ride!”.
The Lunch truck had to stop for lunch at 35 kilometres, because where it was going to stop at 42 kilometres it’s snowing! So I am pleased I decided not to ride, the five other riders in the lunch truck with me were all feeling the same.
We made a fire to keep the riders warm at lunch, and helped set up lunch, then when the dinner truck came past they picked us up and took us to camp. Another desolate spot bush camping, no shelter, windy, and cold. Some fantastic scenery on the way down to camp.
Another nine riders got into the lunch truck at lunch as the conditions out there were too bleak.
Mostly the people completing the day were those who still have their EFI and/or are obsessed with the race! These riders don’t stop for lunch, or stop extremely briefly, if they think that will give them an edge. A number of people are so obsessed they ride when they are sick, even stopping a number of times whilst riding with gastro.
I was lucky and managed to get my tent dry and up before it started raining.
The wind changed direction about an hour after we got to camp. The TDA staff had set up the kitchen on the protected side of the truck and then had the wind coming directly at them and had to change sides.
It was looking like it was going to be a windy and cold night. I was hoping the wind would either die away or change direction before we ride tomorrow as otherwise it would be a strong cold head wind.
I have had problems with my tent leaking again and it’s not because I have forgotten to clip all the bits in. The top layer rests on the back right side and quite a lot of water has flowed in and my thermal rest is wet again! I have discovered if I stake the fly out so tightly I can’t shut it then the top layer doesn’t rest on the tent. I will have to get some tent guy ropes and pegs and lay around to get something that works as I can’t have a tent that either flies or can’t close (Editor’s note: sorry that this doesn’t really make sense. I’m not quite sure what Kaye was trying to say).
It had not been a problem till now as last night was the first night we had rain since the day before we rode into Cusco, and I put that flooding down to not having clipped the tent up properly. So I went off to the rider’s meeting at 5:45 not feeling very positive about the night ahead!
At the riders meeting we are told that due to the weather conditions, the high probability of lightening, and how exposed our camp is, we are going to the next rest day hotel tonight. So after dinner down come our tents, and mini vans arrive to take us to Uspallata a day early.
We got to Uspallata at about 9 pm. The hotel was about a kilometre out of town. The restaurant was still open but did not sell snacks, the only option was a two course dinner, which a number of riders, myself included, decided we could manage with no difficulty.
There was only one option which was Meat loaf with pumpkin and potato mash, and a pink desert that was like instant pudding with cherries and sweet biscuits that I didn’t eat. There was no vegetarian option. Argentina is a big meat eating country and does not cater well to non meat eaters.
I had dinner with Sue who is still having dreadful problems with her tooth and is hoping to see someone about it tomorrow. If it cannot be sorted here Sue is going to go forward to the next rest town which is Santiago to get it fixed.
Yay a bonus rest day tomorrow!