Day 10. 19km. Laguna Colorada – Arbol de Piedra

Posted: September 8, 2019 in Bolivia, Cycling
Tags: , , ,

Last night I met a couple on motorbikes. They were beyond exhausted having just completed what lay ahead for me. Translating that for me, I discovered today that means pushing – almost the whole way.

The soft road

The soft road

Most of the problem is soft sand. At its deepest, you can push a few metres and gather your breath. The next level is its still too soft to cycle but you can push for longer without stopping. Then there’s a light sprinkling of soft sand over hard earth. This is ok for cycling (about 5km/h) if there isn’t a hurricane headwind. There was usually a hurricane headwind. Then there’s the hard earth – with rocks and corrigations, but cyclable.

Crossing between two tracks. The grass looks greener on the other side.

Crossing between two tracks. The grass looks greener on the other side.

I had generously given myself 3 hours to get to Arbol de Piedra for lunch. Then another 10km to a ruin on the side of the road for dinner. I arrived at Arbol de Piedra just before 3 and decided to stop for the day. I couldn’t risk being caught exposed to the howling wind at nightfall.Arbol de Piedra means tree of rock. It is a place with lots of big boulders just standing there on the sandy plains. There’s plenty of places to hide away from the wind. It’s a pretty cool place.

Arbol de Piedra

Arbol de Piedra

A beautiful wind break at Arbol de Piedra

A beautiful wind break at Arbol de Piedra

Reading the route description, today’s road conditions were arduous but not atypical. Tomorrow I have 10km of better road and 20 of shit road until the luxurious Hotel del Desierto. I fully hope to make it there tomorrow and spend USD120 on a room before finding a lift out of this place. It may all seem better in the morning, but holidays don’t have to be this hard.

  1. valerievolk says:

    This is spectacular, but it does sound as if you’re doing it tough!

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Arduous is the word! Take it easy, Matt.

  3. Keep riding. It’s worth it.

  4. psicotony says:

    Sounds like a very hard but nice route. I tend to think the same often… it is a holliday, no need to push so hard. End up pushing even harder haha. I’ve been waiting for the next post for some days. Hope everything is fine!

  5. […] The Ruta de Lagunas was tough. Deep sand and a constant gale force headwind meant that I pushed my bike a lot of the way. There were moments I just stopped and hung my head over my handlebars in despair. In the elements you can feel the force of mother nature, and you feel so small and insignificant. […]

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