This week saw me take on the Atacama desert, the driest non poplar desert in the world and I can see why.
When I first did my research on this challenge, 3 main areas of concern for difficulty in riding conditions were highlighted. One being Patagonian winds, which we have experienced and overcome, the second being the hot and dry conditions of the Aticama desert, the third will be revealed on future blog.
The heats I was cycling in were high 30s and low 40s. To that end I would cycle early to ensure the majority of the distance was covered before it’s peak heat time which is about 15:00hrs. As with most desert environments, when the heat is at its peak then big winds blow through and this was the case like clockwork everyday, however nothing like I had experienced in Patagonia.
The area is huge for mining, especially copper and so huge huge trucks and low loaders would take up the whole highway. The region too is famous for observatories with an amazing view of the night sky with no light pollution for miles, one satisfaction of sleeping out.
We finally managed to get our equipment from our container in Santiago, and so my risky decision to start with limited equipment did pay off, I now have plenty of clean Lycra to use instead of repeatedly wearing the same ones.
Yesterday I had to facilitate a media interview for a Sky documentary in May, and so a team flew out to conduct this. This meant me having a couple of shorter days riding to ensure this was conducted but I had anticipated this and covered more miles in the build up so as to not compromise my timelines.
I am now 3225 miles into the challenge, 2 days away from Peru, 25 days into the challenge which is half way and still just over a week ahead of the world record for South America.
I was kindly informed that the winds always blow north in Peru, which is perfect for 2400km and a potential look forward, however I too was told the same about Patagonia but that wasn’t the case.