About : RASAM

That's this Ride Across South AMerica from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Lima, Peru. It is 5,410 kilometers or 3,360 miles, which I will ride in two segments. Part I goes from September 26 to October 17, 2004 and is from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Salta, Argentina: 2,595 kilometers / 1,612 miles. Part II dates are November 7 to December 5 and is from Salta to Lima: 2,816 kilometers or 1,749 miles. Many people ride the coast of South America, especially along the Pan American highway. Few, if any, ride across the continent. There is a dearth of support--hundreds of miles without accommodations or good supplies. The only reason I can do it is that I will go 'safari-style'. A support and gear (SAG) wagon will carry my supplies.

Salta! 51m, 82k ***

Dalton and the Chain

The day started amiably enough. We had only a 50 mile ride, albeit with some significant climbing, to make it to Sala and complete part I of RASAM 2004. By 9am we were at our starting point and took a pre ride picture of los tres amigos.

The Dalton launched. He spoke the day before about giving it everything the last day, and he did. 15 mph uphill, 25 mph flat, 35 mph downhill. He flew. I stayed within catching distance, and when he paused, flew by him taking the pace up another 5mph. No $100 for a good race time, no keep up with anyone, just go as fast as you possibly can.

Our first break. Why am I laughing so hard I can hardly stand up??? What is Dalton explaining?

There are these periodic toll plazas. We fly by them as if they were police checkpoints.

Here’s the sequence. First there’s this big metal black and yellow barrier with “pare” (stop) on it. Shortly thereafter is a less visible red and white chain. I went through this well ahead of Dalton and skirted both obstacles.

Dalton passed the first gate/barrier, bud didn’t notice the chain until he was flying, literally, over it. We reenact. This is speculation. All we know is that Dalton hit the chain riding in excess of 20mph, maybe 25 or so. The chain remained intact after Dalton and his bike passed.

Dalton was disappointingly (for him) hardly injured – minor scrapes, no battle scars. He jumped up to rejoin the race, but his chain was off and he lost unrecoverable time. The reenactment was so much fun though, Eduardo took a picture of it.

The day’s ride would have been much less memorable without Dalton’s self-predicted disaster (“it’s going to happen on the last day.”) Prior to the crash, heading north on Ruta 9, we came across this roadside religious shrine.

That’s a baby suckling on his dead mother’s breast surrounded by dirt, dripping candle wax, a busted tire, a bottle of liquor, rusty license plates and a bunch of other filth. While we paused here, a truck pulled, the guy got out, walked over and started praying. Gross.

Halfway to Salta, at the laughing break point, we turned west and took Ruta 34 (I think) up the hills toward Salta.

We took our last break of the day at another toll plaza where we did the reenactment. Here Eduardo and Dalton demonstrate their camaraderie and the difference in…

We had a deal that whoever was last to the Salta sign (at the top of a big climb) would be thrown in the hotel pool. Dalton loves water, but wanted the sign points (we give and subtract points for everything), so he flew past me on the uphill and got there first.

We checked into the Hotel Plaza del Sol, washed up, and walked over to Salta’s main town square. Here’s the hotel, a couple of buildings on the square, and Eduardo and Dalton writing up their background statements posted on the site a couple of days ago. Salta is said to be the best preserved colonial city in Argentina, and also home to the “train to the clouds.”

We’re done with part I. We will put together a little wrap up update with stats, learning and a bit more about Salta, and post it when we get back to the states. It is now Friday, October 15, 2004 at noon. Dalton and I are at the Salta airport waiting for the long flights home. Eduardo is back in the Fiat Diablo heading east toward home in Mococa.

Thanks for coming along again!

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