As we stood overlooking the sprawling brick jungle of La Paz, it sadly dawned on me that this is the end of my cycling trip. It’s been an incredible three months filled with rib splitting laughter, salty tears, falling from grace, gaining cycling proficiency, eating for five, and growing very attached to the two revolutionaries.
It all began last December when I met Ferg and Si in Buenos Aires. I remember reading their latest blog regarding loss of social graces, and thought that my new feminine presence might scare them back to their gentlemanly ways. Quite the opposite happened as I quickly tumbled down from grace and quickly joined the lads in their style of life.
Uruguay served as the perfect starting point, rolling hills helped train me up to speed, the warm summer weather allowed for comfy camping and tasty food was readily available.
The citric plantations of North-eastern Argentina offered a great balance of encounters and long leisurly lunches; and cranking out large distances.
Veering west into the Chaco became ground-hog day. 1000km of flat and bland landscape, roasting temperatures, and a slight head wind wrecked my head. Thankfully, the Andes rekindled spirit and energy as we climbed steadily into breath-taking landscapes. I never thought that the ascent into the Andes would be the highlight of the cycle. And finally Bolivia…well, toughest cycling yet and I’ve never been so filthy in my life.
As I prepare to watch the boys continue the expedition, I’ve decided to match-fundraise the amount of kilometres pedalled during the trip: 3000km. So how do I feel? Super chuffed for having joined the boys at sea level, as a mere cycling novice; and winding up in the highest capital city in the world with legs, lungs and a heart of steel!
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– eating ALL the time
– finding shelter after a long day’s cycle
– ending up in the most random places
– living the landscape (smells, relief, temperature)
– changing into warm & dry clothes
– accepting my cycling pace and capabilities
– cycling effortlessly on tarmac at 4000m
– completing what I had originally se out to do, taking each moment in its own time, taking each day at a time.
– Cycling & camping in HUGE thunder storms. (and Fearghal admitting only yesterday that the charred tufts of grass lining our route had been struck by lightening…)
– Balancing my sleeping bag on the therm-rest while watching rain water pool around and drip on me all night long.
– Always being behind: even with a headstart, the boys would cycle up behind me effortlessly. Infuriating!
– Crackers, tinned sardines, boiled rice and stock-cube soup