Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Cochrane Index Day 35 Day 37
Day 36: Camp Carretera #1 -> Cochrane Brian: 60KM, Yan: 78KM Blowout (Part I)

Must be our lucky day. It was sunny out. Our first in quite awhile.

After breakfast, Brian hung his bike up on an abandoned A-Frame and worked some more on the shifting. The rear derailleur cable was clogged with dirt and debris so he took everything apart and gave it a good cleaning.

We set off around 10am. Brian stopped to put on music and do some filming so I kept going by myself. From here, there were two stories happening at the same time.

Yan's story: I cycled on. It was another wonderful ride with pretty flat terrain through the forest. The temperature was perfect; the sun made me happy. I noticed a new kind of berry bush by the road I had never seen before so I stopped and picked one - it was dry and bitter.

A small bus came across me at a narrow section of the road by a lake, so I stopped and moved to the side to let it pass. The driver waved at me, and I did the same.

After a small hill, the road followed a lake. At the corner of a turn, I looked back and saw Brian just over another corner in the distance, so I kept going.

The scenery was terrific. I crossed a bridge where a construction worker was pushing the sediment up the river bed with a bulldozer. I waved at him and he did the same to me. A couple of more small ups and downs later I stopped by a small farm house. It looked very lonely with the vast valley and mountain in the background. Where is Brian? Normally he rides a lot faster than me. Maybe he stopped to do more filming. I didn't think too much about it and kept going.

At another narrow section on the road, I heard a truck coming from behind so I stopped to let it pass. Quite strangely, the truck stopped and the driver stepped out. He was walking towards me.

Brian's story: 2 kilometers after Yan took off, I was on a downhill and suddenly started to hear hissing noise that sounded like a river or waterfall. But there were no rivers or waters. The noise was from my back tire - I got a flat!

Oh boy, not good. I got the patch-kit but Yan had the pump. Luckily, a small bus was coming from the other way. I waved the driver to stop and asked him where Yan was. He said she was only 1 kilometer ahead. "Is she cycling?" I asked. "No, she stopped."

So, I took my backpack, carried it on my back and started pushing the bike. I walked for 2 kilometers and Yan was nowhere to be seen. "This is crazy, I can't be doing this." I said to myself. A delivery truck came by and reluctantly stopped. The driver offered me a ride but he was in a big hurry and the back of the truck was so high that it would be a major effort to bring my bike up. So instead, I asked the driver to stop Yan and tell her that I needed the pump - "bombin".

Yan's Story: I was a bit worried when the truck driver came over to me. He started talking. I could filter out a few words: Amigo, Necesario, Bombin: Friend, necessary, pump. Then he squeezed my back tire and said "Problema". No good, sounded like Brian got a flat. So I asked him how many kilometers, he raised two fingers up.

I couldn't believe it. It was some of the better ripio we had ridden. How could he got a flat. Anyway, I turned back and started cycling really fast. After over 1 kilometer, I heard rattling noise from my rack. I stopped and looked. One of the screws to connect the rack to the frame was about to fall out. Brian had the alan wrench.

If Brian was 2 kilometers away from where I was, he should be just over the corner. So, I took all my packs off, set them by the road, and took only our passport/money pouch and the pump with me. Without the luggage, I could ride much faster.

Over the corner, no Brian. Another 2 kilometers, nothing. Another 2 kilometers, nothing. I was getting really worried and rode as fast as I could. 9 kilometers away from where the truck driver stopped me, I saw Brian over the distance not very far at all from where I spotted him a while back ago.

Brian's story: I stopped to take the tube out hoping the truck driver would stop Yan before she had gone too far. I got the spare tube. But wait a minute. I don't. All of a sudden, I realized the spare was a shreader for my old bike and my new bike got presta valve!

Nothing was wrong with the tire. But ironically, even it was a tube-less tire, I decided not to use that option because I had never dealt with them before.

I was near a lake, so I started patching the tube while waiting for Yan to show up. I soaked the tube in the water and found 3 holes. So I patched them with 3 out of the 7 patches I got. Back in Candelario Mancilla, I gave General 4 patches to repair his wagon tire. I soaked the tube in again and saw 5 bubbles coming out! I was getting really worried. Time to get creative. I cut each patch into 4 pieces to make more. It was a gamble but it was my only hope. I was simply running out of patches. Some of the holes were so small that I had to soak the tube in 3 times to pinpoint them. When I was patching the 9th hole, I saw Yan coming.

Yan's story: I gave Brian the pump and told him I needed the wrench. After he found out all my bags were 8 kilometers away by the road, he was shocked and wanted me to go back right away. We didn't talk much. He tightened the bolt and I took off. I rode like a manic. To my great relief, my bags were still at the same place 8 kilometers away. I was exhausted. I sat on the bags and ate a bread roll. A herdsman and three horses walked passed me across the meadow. After almost an hour, I was getting cold and decided to ride back to Brian.

Brian's story: I continued patching. In the end, 14 holes! Unbelievable. I had been patching holes for the past 2 1/2 hours! Hopefully nothing happened to Yan's bags. I loaded everything back on and started riding. 6 kilometers later, I saw Yan coming my way.

Okay, that was the long version of "Brian got a flat that day."

Blowout - Part II

Index Day 35 Day 37