From Buenos Aires to Santiago

Posted: July 24, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
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One of the options we are considering for the bike tour training is going from Buenos Aires to Santiago, though did not mention initially in our initial overview of the options we are thinking about. This is personally one of my lesser favorites of the ideas we have, but it has definite positives…

Looking down from Cristo Redentor, Mendoza Province (C) Angel Longo

The journey is a good 1550km, so a nice distance – marginally shorter than the journey from the north to south of Britain that I discussed last time. The last three hundred or so kilometers of this journey would be going through the Andes, meaning that there will be very high passes to go through, with the highway getting to around 3000 metres above sea level, and there being optional side-tracking rides going up to 4000 metres, with the Cristo Redentor in Mendoza province. When we finally leave São Paulo on the main expedition, we will be going along at similar heights through the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes.

The roads will be a mixture of asphalt and dusty highways, so not in the best of conditions – again something that we can very much expect along our main expedition route. This will affect our speed and how much distance we will be able to cover each day in manner that would be much more similar to the real journey than perhaps we would find in Scotland.

Furthermore, with the distances between towns and villages in Argentina and Chile much greater than Chile, we would be required to camp without being able access supplies in these areas, so we will have to make sure that we are taking enough with us to be able to survive longer periods. So in this respect it will be more challenging.

Then, there is the price – it will be much easier and cheaper for us to fly from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, and back to São Paulo from Santiago than it would be for us to fly to and from the United Kingdom, and north Scotland in particular. Moreover, as well as being easy to get to, Buenos Aires is a great city; the Andes would be beautiful and it will be nice to get to know Santiago. But back to the point… the cost of this is definitely an important consideration bearing in mind that sponsorship is coming along… slowly, to say the least.

The Road through Mendoza (C) FerroFreddy

My main problem with this route is that for 1200metres it will be flat. Not just flat for a few kilometres or so and with a few hills here and there… but flat. Extremely flat. Okay we are going to have much of the journey which is flat, going through Brazil towards Bolivia… but being flat like this is not so much of a challenge and is pretty uninteresting. Okay, we get to deal with the local drivers, but this doesn’t strike me as too hard (maybe I am underestimating this factor though…?). Also, with this planned for February, we would be in the summer/autumn of the southern hemisphere, meaning that weather conditions won’t be quite as snowy or as cold as that in the photo showing the route in winter. It will be much drier, I believe. Okay it will be good to get us going through drier, dustier conditions but I think this would be easier to train for than the harder, windier, blustery conditions in the UK. Am certainly very open to this route, though I will probably take some convincing – any thoughts you might have are very welcome!

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