Emmanuel's 80% REPORT
Monday, February 14, 2000 - Day 237 / 188 ridden.
Route Covered: Lima, Lima, Peru to Vallenar, Region III, Chile.
How to: Bike it Solo.
Simply grab a bike, some clothes, food, a tent, sleeping bag, and stay very very determined to continue on no matter what happens. Ride Alaska, Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Upon arrival to Vallenar, Chile, sit down and write "(Solo Travelerís) 80% Report." This time I am the solo traveler, and believe it or not I am in Vallenar, Chile. So according to the How to Bike it Solo rule book, here we go...
To All My Friends,
After 10 days of resting due to my bus accident in Lima, I was ready to continue my southbound bicycle journey. Since I began my trip at the northern most tip of Alaska south is a good direction to be going.
I continued to ride the Peruvian dessert, encountering side and head wind most of the time. The only time the wind dies off is when you go uphill, so riding Peru was a good workout overall. I left Lima January 20, and would meet my dad, Mario, at the Peru-Chile border when I got there. A great incentive to push hard. The more I advanced, the closer I was to dad. And farther from the good friends I made in Lima. Lalo, Guille and their families were very helpful as I waited for my torn quad muscle to heal. I called them often until reaching Chile. Lalo is making plans to meet me before I finish my trip.
I was on the Long Distance track team at Summerville High. Long Distances have always interested me. My track coach told me that if you stop training for one week you lose 25 percent of your training, two weeks 50 percent and by week three your cardiovascular training is gone and you pretty much have to start all over again. Yes, I had lost some 35 percent of my training, but had gained even more determination to keep those wheels turning. And I am on my fifth set of tires already, so they have turned and turned and turned. After one week of riding I was feeling well again. Legs were back at full power and I had overcome symptoms present due to a bad soup I had one night.
I entered Chile February third. As I dealt with passport papers and visas my dad showed up. How great to see him. It was unreal. Four and a half months ago I had seen him in Mexico, and now, thousands of miles later, it seemed like I had just seen him. I still bike it solo, but dad comes along. He comes along in a rented car. We put my BOB trailer and gear in the trunk. Now it is a BOB car. Beast of Burden. In Spanish we could call it "Bestia Ordena Bultos", Baggage Organizing Beast. Not quite the same but close enough.
Now the trip has to keep up a good pace. If I arrive in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, later than March 12, I will not get the record for time. I will still get the record for being the youngest anyhow. So let's go hard. I am so close to achieving both records that it is impossible not to want to go for it.
We crossed the Atacama dessert, the driest place on earth. NASA is experimenting with a robotic vehicle for Mars and testing it here, the most similar place to Mars, surface wise, on the planet earth. Sometimes due to the heat I cannot even see the horizon. Just a blur all around me. Sand, rocks, heat, not even animals or birds. Just me, my bike, dad, and the Lord with us. The wind was stronger than in Peru, and the heat intense, although due to the wind I didn't notice it as much. I had to ride long days, 12 hours plus, to cover the planned daily mileage. Since I entered Chile I am 5 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. The sun sets at 8:30 PM. Riding after sunset one day I noticed the wind died down almost completely. Time for a new plan. Flashers and headlight were on and we left at 1:30 AM to avoid the sun and wind. It was very cold in the dessert at night. I wore 22 pieces of clothing. Dad gives me the best bike headlights I have ever seen and lets me know when cars are approaching. We rode at night 2 nights, then back into day. By now we pretty much just ignore this "be awake during the day, sleep at night" schedule that normal people follow. I ride, he drives, until 10 PM, 1 AM, 5 AM, all night until 1 PM the next day, and progress is made.
This week I will cross the Andes, the highest climb of my trip. Once on the Argentine side, I will get to the Pampas. Large extents of fields and completely flat grounds where cows outnumber people by 1.45 to one. I only have one share of Argentine Cows to my name, the other .45 I have decided to give to my friend David Twining.
I want to thank all of you who follow my trip. I would not have a reason to continue if it was not for all your support. Every word of encouragement helps. My dad built and published my website: www.bikeitsolo.com, where there are pictures, maps, interactive pages, and reports. Check it out if you can.
I am averaging some 120 miles daily. This pace will get me the record for time. A world record, that is. It really just hit me now that this is a World Record I have decided to chase. I am aiming at March 5 to March 12 to complete my trip. If I make it on the 5th to Ushuaia, then I would head back to Rio Gallegos in mainland Argentina on the 6th, and the Argentine Air Force will take me to a Scientific Base in Antarctica on the 7th, with my bike and all, to recognize my efforts. That is a huge incentive to make it by then. The plane leaves on the 7th and comes back on the 10th.
Jesus tells us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. The cross represents suffering, but deny to take it and the suffering will be greater. "My burden is light," He says. So I go hard, these hard days until I finish are nothing compared to what He went through for us.
I also received a letter from my good friend, like a brother, Nolan Lamb. "When you get sore muscles, push harder. When your lungs burn, breathe deeper." Nolan also said he will get me an ice cream if I set a new time record. I suppose he means a White Chocolate Mousse Cookie Dough Shiver at TCBY, my favorite. I began my trip with Nolan on June 23, 1999. He decided to go home on June 25. Maybe all the energy he did not use can be used by me. Maybe not, but I'll pretend it is so.
My 90% report is coming sooner than I think, so I'll bike it solo till then. Time is precious and valuable and ticking until I finish, but there are many more stories that I will then tell you about. Bike It Solo,
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