OK, it’s time to get this show on the road! Kit up and wheels down. This trip is broken up into 2 Stages: Stage 1 is Santiago to Longuimay and Stage 2 is Longuimay to Bariloche. Stage 1 has 12 riders and Stage 2 has 22 riders, and there are 2 guides and 2 support vehicles. Eleven Australians and one Canadian….ME!. They call me ‘Foreigner’.
Max the Head guide is Australian, Bruno the lead guide is French and Manuel,our wrench is Chilean.
This morning I got picked up at my hotel and met up with my new teammates. A bus ride takes us to the village of Casablanca, halfway between Santiago and Valparaíso. This allows us to be clear of the congested big city traffic. Santiago has very poor air quality because it is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains so the air does not escape, air pollution heavy. BUT our drive takes us through some of the mountains via tunnels and when we arrive at Casablanca, the air is clear and fresh….it is also much cooler. We check in to our hotel, the Hotel Casablanca, assemble our bikes, have a team meeting over a sumptuous lunch, load the garmin with the route maps, and head out for a group shakedown 70km ride.
Chicken and rice
The search for Che has begun!!
Upon return to the hotel some of us jump in for a swim in the pool,relax and get ready for dinner. We are in the heart of Chilean wine country and will be for the next 5 days….there will be mucho vino consumed…..just sayin
Appetizers and Chilean proseco
Crab abs lasagne and Chardonnay and a little entertainment
At dinner, we all received a full team kit….jersey, bibs and socks. Also maps of the entire 29 day trip.
I will finally sleep well tonight. That’s my roommate James