Rest day here in this upscale ski town of about 130,000 people. Nice town obviously built for tourists with lots of quaint shops, outdoor centers and multiple hotels often with the word ski in front or after the name. Beautifully situated on the shores of some big lakes (Nahuel Huapi, Gutierrez, Moreno, and Mascardi) with snow covered mountains as a backdrop (Tronador, Cerro Catedral, Cerro Lopez). The towns economy is based entirely on tourism and apparently not only has skiing in winter (July, August) but water sports, trekking, and climbing.
Bariloche is also famous for chocolate of which I have not tried although there are numerous chocolate shops. And it is infamous as the residence of several German WWII war criminals including Adolph Eichmann. There is apparently an advanced science and technological research center.
We arrived yesterday in temperatures of low 20’s or high teens; very nice cycling temperature. Staying at the “Hotel Islas Malvinas” which I am unsure of its significance to the Falkland Islands. There certainly are signs on the road throughout Argentina stating the Malvinas are Argentina. For those that remember there recent history England and Argentina fought a war in the early 1990’s over ownership which as I remember was inconclusive, but England was a bit embarrassed as I remember it.
As usual hot soup, fruit, chips, cookies were available on arrival which was great. Seems all are ready for a rest day of doing nothing, overrating, oversleeping, and indulging. Here Jon Willem and Carroll depart. Jon
Willam did the last part 4 years ago and is excited to see his family having started in Quito, the first of August. Carroll must return to work having joined in Mendoza. Both are incredible cyclists. I asked Carroll yesterday why the Dutch seem so good at hills. I think it is because since they do not have big climbs they do not know that they hurt. Carroll said it was because since they do not have big hills they just want to get to the top. Meanwhile I huff and puff. I will miss their comradeship. But we are joined by 5; 2 from Australia, 2 from Belgium, and one from Germany. Makes 35 of us plus crew of 6.
The last days of cycling have been beautiful in the mountains. Actually several national parks (Lanin, Nahuel Huapi) which were of course beautiful. At first I was comparing them to the high Sierra or Canadian Rockies, or Colorado, but finally settled on this is Patagonia and it too is unique. Mostly we were on highway 40 but this section is known as "Ruta de 7 Lagos". (Route of the 7 lakes). And every since the first lake at San Martin we have been cruising along the shores.
And the cycling continues. I have almost reached 5000 kilometers ridden in South America. Thus far although officially I have only ridden about 4500 for the race. Route 40 kilometer posts are now down to 2065 from Ushuaia although our distance is longer due to we often get off the main road for back roads and are going into Chili next week. My bike the Ibis Tranny is doing great without a problem as yet although now on 3rd chain, 2nd cassette, and still needs a major cleaning, but is holding up well. Loving it. Changed the saddle again today in hopes of rearranging the sores on my butt, which are improving. Physically I am doing good. Even think I may have lost a bit of weight which was and is still necessary. Started at 98 kg and weighed myself in Salta many weeks ago and was 90 kg with clothes, so still fat but improving.
And as far weight loss have concluded regular diets do not work. I have tried not eating and it works well for several hours then I get hungry. And I reside with someone who is an excellent cook and know several people also excellent cooks.
Thus twice now I have gone on a eat anything you want,mad much as you want and I seem to lose weight. I did that on the great divide and it seems again here. Get up eat bread, rolls, jam, sausage, cheese, hopefully porridge, yogurt, bananas, coffee and juice. Several snack bars during the day with bananas, lunch is rolls, sausage, cheese, vegetables, (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc),fruit (bananas, apples, kiwis, pears, watermelon, oranges) juice. Snack at end of ride, soup (yesterday was tomato noodle) with chips, cookies, juice, and lots of fruit. Dinner is a big plate of delicious whatever. (Two nights ago curry rice with chicken and lots of peanut sauce and vegetables, with an ice cream cake for desert). And of course two cups of coffee after dinner. Rest days are anything you can get your hands on. Last night a liter of beer, and two large pizzas for 3 of us and 6 empanadas. Breakfast today at hotel toast, sausage, cheese, cereal with yogurt. Lunch was beer and 4 empanadas. Dinner I am in search of an Argentina steak of which we have found a restaurant which opens before the usual 8 o’clock. Of course as with last night it will be followed by 2 scoops of ice cream.
And I am losing weight. Bliss
And as usual group dynamics is an interesting phenomenon. When Rob announces the next day activities there are boos and cheers. Too early, too late, too much pavement, too little pavement, weather too hot, too cold. And everyone feels strongly about whatever. We all are individuals, but work as a group toward a common goal. Enough said.