After spending a noisey night camping to close to the motorway I was up and away before sunrise. The K´s racked up along the hilly highway, going from 5km/h to 50 the whole day. I did stop to taste the local papaya juice (superb!) in an oasis of a town that had the only flowing river I had crossed since leaving Santiago (interesting to note that this is not the dry region and is the end of winter!!). I belted along with views over scrub land and amazing coast line continuing.
With all the downhill setions I started to take an interest in my top speed and was amazed that I had managed 58km/h before, so with that the head was down and managed to hurtle down another section at a personal record breaking 70.6km/h (it is the first time I have a had a speedo!), which with about 40kgs of luggage on an old quill stem bike my arse was clenched!
So the day turned into on of watching the clock, listening to my learn spanish mp3s, and clocking up k´s. I was amazed to make it to the thermal spring town, Socos, just before dark. But unfortunately the thermals were closed, so I made do with a cold shower and a great nights sleep. After another record smashing 140km ride I was knackered :)
After getting medical attention in La Serena Dani is out of the ride, so I decided to keep heading north to meet her, and got stuck into another day on the highway. This time I exposed myself for the first time to the world in lycra shorts (ok carmdown there are no photos... ;) ). A big step for any cyclist and man I think!
The road was a bit kinder today with some good flat sections. The flowers at the side of the road had been changing over the last few days with the common orange been replaced with blues and then whites (sorry no names). I stopped for another papaya juice and got given a strange looking fruit, which i must find out the name of...tasted great. Otherwise I passed goat cheese and meat sellers and fine views of the Andes.
About 20ks south of La Serena the developments started. As I entered Coquimbo (La Serena´s ugly port city sister) I was amazed to see a Union Jack on the cities coat of armes...??? I read the city got ransacked by an English pirate (Sharpe) back in the 16th century, but how the flag got there I will have to find out.
I arrived at the German run hostel in La Serena after another 100k + day ready for plenty of food and beer.
347kms in 3 days and 7 days ride from Santiago with one days rest, the first section of the first leg was completed :)
God the lycra feels good!
Breaking Chains and Not Burning Rubber
BREAKING CHAINS - Freedom: Cycle touring is the greatest way I have found to experience freedom. Whilst I celebrate mine I hope to help others gain and realise theirs, and protect ours, by fundraising for Amnesty International
NOT BURNING RUBBER - Environmental Awareness: Cycling is one of the most efficient and sustainable modes of transport. It's slow speed allows you to become more aware and connected with our surroundings, and therefore the pressures that they may be under. I intent to have a minimal negative impact on the environment whilst I travel, and will share my observations and experiences about my journey, environmental issues, and sustainable living here: