Friday, 29.01.2010: little exercise…

29 Jan
Since I rested for about four days in San Pedro de Atacama – mainly waiting for the very late TNT delivery of documents – I did not touch the bicycle. So I had two goals for today: getting the ticket for the Laguna Tour and riding again a little for cooling down my muscles who wanted to exercise again!

I compared three-four arrangements for the Tour with the main difference that one was getting back from Uyuni in once while other had one stop in between. Latest sounded better for me. So I booked the tour at “Pamela’s”. Asking ifusing the tent would get any discount (I prefer being outdoor than indoor with snooring people) reduced the bill from 170 to 150 dollars (about), including all entries and fees.
Later, I heard that for the same tour, people had paid the 170, without any Bolivianos for the entries.
So finally, I took the bike and went in direction of Paso Jama, the connection to Argentina. First I had in mind to climb a little bit and then go back to the Valle de la Luna. But the time was short as Birgit, Manfred and me had decided to cook something together (in fact, my cooking was easy: a good bottle of Chilean Shiraz… ;-)) So I reported the Valle de la Luna for another day and concentrated on the Paso Jama.
Well, once can hear a lot from people…like you can buy everything in San Pedro or the Paso Jama is very steep and goes up in one line.
Don’t hope to find any missing part of your equipment here, you will fail. The road to the pass – at least the first 30km have curves, start with a pent of 1-2% for the first 10km and move then from 4-8% for the rest I have cycled. I have seen more difficult…I would not prefer to go back to Calama or do the Panaral pent again! But on the other hand, trucks with a big charge go down with less than 10km/h.
At 3650m (I never cycled so high) I rested for a while, enjoying the beautiful landscape. Then, the best part: going down, without the need of braking: no additional weight and wind from the front.
Arrived down at the 1-2% part (were you should not leave the road for about 4km), the wind was so strong, that I really had to pedal stronlgy. As I was wondering of how strong it was blowing, I turned back: the wind pushed me up without the need to do anything at a speed of 3-5km/h. At that time I thought: well, if I need to get up there, I will do it in the evening (when the wind blows). At the end of the road I saw some truckers playing cards, protected from the wind between their trucks. As I was woundering why they did not drive up, I asked. It is said it is dangerous because of the cold… With my sleepback, it is possible…*smile*.
Back at the Hostal Cruz de Atacama, we had some time for discussion and could then take the shower. Manfred had cooked a persian rice: delicious!
Finally, just before I wanted to prepare my stuff for the tour of the next day (Bolivia), Alexis and his son came back from the Valle de la Luna…the discussion went on very late…
See you soon in the next “report” 😉