The beginning of the week saw me cycling to Arica which is 20km short of the Peru border. The day involved two large climbs, one of 21km and the second of 15km. The one thing I will take away from South America is the fact everything is on a grand scale.
I now look at the mountain ranges here as normal, when in fact the majority of them are much bigger than UKs highest peaks.
Logistically the 2 x vehicles we had for the support team from Ushuaia were to be swapped out in Arica. One was plain sailing, however the second had issues with the sellers paperwork as they needed the persons thumb print that they had originally bought from, quite difficult as he was in Switzerland and more annoying for the sellers as they are now unable to sell.
This vehicle issue meant we had to look at the options available to keep me moving, it was quickly highlighted that this would take a day at least to square away and I was to stay in Arica for a day. I wasn’t planning on a rest day, but the situation presented to me, left me with no choice.
The decision then was to move with one vehicle, once again minimum equipment to see me through to Panama. We had to be brutal in the breakdown of equipment, identifying what was mission critical, and what was nicety.
The following morning I was back on my way and finally into Peru, we automatically gained 2 hours crossing the border and so I took advantage of this situation to do a big ride (174 miles) and my furthest ride to date.
Unlike Chile and Argentina, the supermarkets and banks are limited, and so we were having to eat in local restaurants, although a fraction of the cost of Argentina and Chile. This unfortunately resulted in myself getting food poisoning, still not keen about having to take a forced rest day in Arica, I decided to push on that day covering 130miles...mentally and physically my hardest day as everything felt laborious.
Thankfully the pains subsided and I have been pushing some big miles. Currently I am 20 miles shy of the 4000mile mark and tomorrow with a long ride will see me in the Peru capital of Lima. Having now ridden 5 big days back to back, I have caught up the day I had spent in Arica and so still just over a week ahead of the South American world record.
I am now in auto pilot with each days ride and the evening rest and recovery routine. I am approaching this challenge in bite size form, if I was to analyse how much remains of the challenge, it could consume you. Until now I have been focussing on one country at a time, and day to day, this still remains the case except I too am counting down the days until Cartagena (the official end of South America) and the end of stage 1 and first world record.