Friday, 18 February 2011

Suffering and the kindness of strangers,

Suffering and the kindness of strangers,

The last few days have been tough, I knew it would get tough, I had no idea it would be so soon. It started on my way to viedma I stopped for the night in a small town the next morning It was dead I had nowhere to get any water oh well I still had 1/2 a litre something would come up soon. Nothing came up for miles I was really dehydrated that when I finally got to a shop when I took a swig of water I was just sick straight away I lay in the shade outside sipping water till I had the strength to carry on.

I got to Videma and got a hotel room I splashed out and got one with air con I needed to recover, I drank plenty of water and had a nice meal. The next morning I set off two guys in pickup trucks asked if I wanted a lift I politely declined I wanted to cycle this, a couple stopped and gave me some bananas they also gave me there address and insisted I stay with them when I get further south (they are on holiday in the north). By lunchtime I was starting to feel awful again my water had heated up and made me gag as I drank it I realised I hadn't fully recovered from the previous day and here I was back in the heat with no shade, still I had no option to push on. At about 6pm I was really suffering I had only done about 50 miles the headwind and exhaustion had broken me, I turned off to go and find a town 12k off route 3 after about an hour nothing the garmin told me I had gone past it but there was nothing there, I hadn't had a mobile signal for hours or I would have given someone at home my lat and long and got them to look on google earth for me I saw a turning with what looked to be some buildings in the distance I was in luck it was a farm there was a guy outside 'excuse me sir may I have some water' I shouted "si" he filled my bottles up from a stand pipe, I eyed the water tower there was no way he could be on mains out here. So far on this trip I had only drunk bottled water of sod it I thought time to stop being such a wuss, these people are alive, so I just drank straight out of the bottle when he handed it back to me. I rode just out of sight of the buildings and pitched my tent between some bushes it took forever the surface was about 1" of dust with what felt like concrete underneath, I searched for ages for a rock to knock the tent pegs in but couldn't find anything bigger than a pebble. I fell into my tent only to scream as some spiky plant dug straight into my back I stamped it flat with my shoe lay back to rest for a few minutes, when I opened my eyes it was the next morning. I got up eager to find this town before it got to hot, I rode around for about an hour there was nothing, other than the farm I hadn't seen anyone since I had turned off I decided to get back on route 3 at least that had people going past in case something happened. I could see from the garmin and the compass that the track I was on was heading back to route 3 I wasn't far away when cruelly the track came to a dead end just some big concrete pipe sticking out of the ground in the distance I saw a bus I was about a mile away, I threw my panniers over the fence there was no way I was going back. It took me about an hour I couldn't cycle the dust was to deep the spiky plants had scratched my legs to pieces, I had long finished my water by now. When I eventually got on to the main road I realised I was going to have to ask for help, a camper van went past slowly I grabbed my water bottle and waved it in the air the van pulled over two young guys they gave me 2litres of frozen water I couldn't believe it, I wish I could have thanked them better. The ice was melting so tantalising slow even In the heat, I was going to cut the top open and smash the ice so it would melt quicker, I decided against it at least this way it would stop me drinking it all to soon. I was about to strap it to my bike when I suddenly thought off the tour de france riders and stuck it down my shirt against my back every kilometre mark I would talk it out and have a mouthful. 3 or 4 times I pulled over and made myself as small as I could in the shade of my bike unable to carry on in the heat I would stay like that for 1/2 an hour or more when I stood up I felt dizzy and it was an effort to get the bike going again. The strange thing was, there were small storm cells floating about, 3 times it rained on me I kept my collapsible sink in my jersey pocket and every time it rained (only for about 60 seconds then everything would be dry again) I would get it out and collect as much rain water as I could it was hardly anything I would just slurp it out of the bottom and off the plastic bag on the back off my bike.

With 45 kilometres to go to San Antonio I saw a farm about a mile away I decided to go and ask for water, I cycled to the gate then took my bottles in I was greeted by 5 scruffy looking dogs who jumped around barking, a guy came out of a building to see what was going on I explained I was cycling and may I have some water, he pumped 5 litres of water out of the well for me it was brown and tasted of mud I thanked him and I had drunk 1 1/2 litres by the time I had got back to the bike. By the time I got back to the main road I was starting to feel better, I had something to eat drank some more, put in my ipod and set of a different person than one I had been 20 minutes before, my strength was back and spirits were high again, I powered into san antonio drinking brown water like it was champagne.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog!
    Glad to see you have managed to maintain your humour through your hardships!