Well it finally happened; we made it. For me after three months and just shy of 7500 kilometers ridden plus 450 in the truck, it is bittersweet. For the others they left 1 August in Quito and did 11000 kilometers. I climbed 59000 meters whereas the entire trip consisted of 110,000 meters of climbing to include the mountains of Peru which I did not do. Whew
Departed the campground on a nice gravel road along lake then onto pavement and into a bit of wind, but nice riding in a line with Alfred, Barry, and Juerg. Sunshine.
Entered some hills and then the climb of 400 meters but easy grade. It feels very good to be back in trees and mountains. Feeling good and traffic back to reasonable, passing when safe. Of course there are always a few drivers who insist on ignoring cyclists and one must be aware. Lunch was not until 80 kilometers so that we could group up and ride last 20-25 together. And a very happy moment when camp truck passed and Michelle was hanging out window waving, smiling, cheering. Still was not sure of her condition and elation set in. Having seen the bike and realized the damage that was incurred was all done when she was on it. It is amazing she survived at all.
Lunch and waited for entire crew apparently I was snoring away. Then a police escort for final tour. 2 trucks and 4 motorcycles. Arrived Ushuaia and stopped for pictures then proceeded into town square running every red light thanks to police stopping traffic for us as we circled town and the square, where finish line awaited, champagne, beer, food, and people from town and visitors.
I and Joost helped Michelle onto my bike and Joost helped her cross the finish line on a bike. Hooray
“Fin del Mundo” (the end of the world). This is farthest city south in the world and a tourist town for such with ocean shipping, cruises, and the tourist activities accompanying such places.
Had the awards ceremony for the race winners overall and all men were first place James, second, to Alfred, and third was Joost. Amongst the women first was Michelle, second was Hilde, and her sister Kristen was third. Congratulations to them all.
After we realized we still had to find our hotel which had been conveniently placed high up on a hill above town. We managed the very technical ride (due to beverage consumption) through a strange town, in a strange town, joking we were back in the altitudes of Peru and Bolivia. Numerous folks had to immediately begin packing bikes and prepping for departure.
Then a walk into town and a delightful argentine dinner. Restaurant of course did not open until 8 pm and we arrived shortly later. I was fascinated by the cooking room where the chef was barbecuing, entire beef, lamb, chicken on large skewers over a large grill. One went to a window and told him what you wanted and he cut it off. Absolutely wonderful. Then added a side salad from buffet. The place was hopping at 10 (on a Sunday night) and I walked back to hotel leaving about 11. Several took cabs for the uphill return trip. The local cycling club gave each of us a plaque with map of route and it was a wondrous evening filled with the usual sad goodbyes.
This am up for coffee and hotel breakfast and watching some depart. I then had offered to remove useable parts from Michelle’s bike and began this work. For the police report the bike was totaled and insurance wise it was. Actually only everything from rear seat tube back was totally destroyed. Cassette, chain stays, hub, rear brake, wheel. Still amazed she survived. Luckily the car hit her rear wheel sideways throwing her off. Still something hit windscreen breaking it and a large dent in right door. She is walking but very bruised and sore.
And so it ends. Hoopla but the mixed feelings one has. Ready to move on but this has been such an incredible experience I still have not processed it. I will be spending three days here I. Ushuaia exploring and trying to figure out what it all means. In rio Grande I went to dinner with, Hardy, Gunter, and Alfred (all German) and asked they why we did this. Each said there is no reason, it is in our makeup. This is what we enjoy. Nothing more nothing less.
Hence I close although there will be more posts in an attempt to figure it out. I have for myself enjoyed writing this and posting. It kept me connected and I enjoyed the comments. Thanks for the support. For those interested in the actual events they are pretty much finished for now. I will continue to post my ideas for those willing to endure my ramblings. (I can hear the unsubscribe clicks now.
So thanks for the support, interest, and go out and create your own story. It is there and it is fascinating.