Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

Getting back into the swing of things,

The part was meant to turn up for my bike on the Thursday before Easter, nothing came and everything closes down at Easter in Chile, the Monday was not a bank holiday so I decided to go and ask at Chile express if there was a parcel for me. I knew UPS had used a third party but I didn't know who it was. "No, no parcel for Robert joy" I was told. I went back to the hostel and sat in my room wondering what to do when there was a knock at the door, it was the mother of the family looking all excited "parcel here" she said "here at the hostel" I replied "no, but here" I wasn't sure what she meant by that so I said" Chile express?”, “yes" she replied. Still didn't make much sense I had just come from there I decided to go back and ask again. This time she produced the missing parcel.

I quickly fitted everything back on to the bike as I was putting it together it became clear the rear derailler was bent. I went to the bike shop he didn't have one which would fit as I walked back I thought there is no way I can spend another week or so here. I borrowed a vice and hammer off the guy who owns the hostel and started to gingerly tap it back to shape it took all of about 2 minutes before I lost my temper and started to hit it as hard as I could. It was a state but I could get three gears it will do I thought.

By now it was 3pm I might as well set off first thing tomorrow I thought (only 3 hours of daylight).I went and had dinner in the cafe and said goodbye to my favourite waitress. The next morning it was raining I didn't care, I was back on the road. By lunchtime my legs were killing, I was just climbing and with only three gears it was taking everything I had. I realised that I hadn't peddled for one month that's the longest break off a bike in years, my knee was starting to hurt from pushing a big gear in the climbs. After 8 hours I could do no more I was exhausted I set up camp and fell asleep. The next morning I shook the ice off my panniers and wiped the frost of my saddle, it was going to be a cold day. I started climbing again and was soon riding through patches of snow, not for the first time I wondered if my kit was up to this. I could only manage a short day my knee was killing me and the cold was getting to me. I was starting to feel ill my legs were shaking and I had no strength, I would have struggled to walk up stairs at that point. I made a large pan of pasta enough for the morning as well and went sleep. It rained heavily during the night but was clear in the morning, then my route turned to dirt track with all the rain the night before it was a sticky mess I was stopping every 100 metres or so and having to dig mud out from between the wheels and frame with a tire lever, in the end I started pushing the bike, without my weight I was actually going quicker, it took me all day to cover 50k and again tonight I'm exhausted.

You may think I'm moaning, I'm not. I'm just telling you how it is, frustratingly slow and hard. But I am so happy to be back on the road even the cold and the problems are better than being stuck. I'm in my little tent right now typing this and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

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