WEEK #94 HOW ARE WE DOING? Only time will tell..?

It almost cost me my upper legs. Thinking they would be strong and fit, I stepped up the pace and went just that little bit further. Now, a few days later, it hurts. I’m avoiding stairs, walking downhill and sitting down in chairs. Don’t even ask me to stand up…
What’s wrong? A cyclist went hiking, that’s what went wrong. Using different muscle groups equals pain. But it was worth it, oh yeah, it was worth it. And necessary, too…
Leaving Bariloche, Argentina and now in Puerto Montt, Chile I face a new challenge. Two actually. The first; the start of the famous Carretera Austral. Just over 1200km of mostly unpaved, rugged road heading south through rural Patagonia. A dream for every cyclist, well, most of them I think. The road is tough, the views incredible and the weather is changing. At the time of typing it is raining, something I’ll have to deal with, and the temperatures are dropping as I make my way south. Just a few days ago I woke up with ice on my tent. Yep, winter is coming in Patagonia. “Dress up and keep moving” is the motto.

The second challenge; I’m almost in Ushuaia, Argentina (end of the world, sort of). Then what? Exactly, you’re asking yourself what to do. There is no answer (yet). I left almost 19 months ago not having to answer that question, more important things were on my path and I wanted to be focused. Now, in just 5 or 6 weeks I can be “home”. In Amsterdam. The Netherlands. And then?
That’s the challenge. Though I have a rough idea of what I want to do, some things more certain then others, it is still difficult to change your lifestyle from one day to the other. OK, it’s not going to take forever to find out what I want and to adjust and adapt, but there is a certain change. And with change comes challenge. You know what? Challenge accepted!!!
To give my mind a rest and my body a stir I decided to go on a trekking, a hike. Into nature, through the mountains and back to basic. No bicycle this time. Three days on foot. A backpack, tent, sleeping bag and food, no more.
The location is Bariloche, a small city in Argentina. The setting? Lakes, mountains, snow, rocks and more. A bus took me to the starting point, Cerro Catedral, a ski-station in the hills. Soon enough the scenery changes and you’re in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains. It’s so pure here that you can drink the water from the lakes and rivers, no filtering needed. The hike is three days and takes me over 3 or 4 mountains going up to 2000m in elevation. Varying from easy/laid back to rocky and steep it’s a good mix of physical adventure. Camping is great, between the rocks or close to the shore of one of the beautiful lakes you pass along the way. Everywhere I go I have one thing on my mind, that same question I ask myself over and over again. Now there’s enough time to think about it, or just leave it alone.
I left it alone.
Why? Everything felt good and there were more important things around me to enjoy. If there’s one thing I’ve learned the past 18 months; enjoy the moment. What a cliché, right? But oh what truth it holds when experiencing it…P1170385small

Three days pass quickly and I’m back in civilisation. Puerto Montt, Chile. Start of the Carretera Austral. My mind is clear, my body feels fit. My bicycle is ready and the bags are packed. The last “leg” is about to begin, and end at the same time. I’m hoping to find a project 99%RIDE can support along the way. To meet people who want to make a change, a difference, and to help them out in some way. Who knows what the road will bring. Only time will tell…

Same goes for me I guess. See you in 5 weeks, Amsterdam, or somewhere else..?

From Puerto Montt, Chile,

Dirk Spits

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