(November 21 – written by Dave)
My entire life I wanted to ride 10,000 miles in one calendar year. I’m not sure why other than I liked the symmetrical sound of 10,000 miles and it seemed like a difficult, but doable target. And yes, to all my friends in Oz, the goal was 10,000 miles, not 10,000 kilometres.
The closest that I’ve ever come was in 1992 when I was racing (I was not very good). That was the same year we rode our tandem across the USA for our honeymoon (giving us 2,000 miles in two months). On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1992, I forced Nancy out onto one of the Portland, Oregon, Forrest Park mountain bike tracks in six inches of snow so that we could ride 10 miles and I could complete 9,000 miles in one year. It wasn’t 10,000 miles but it was a big number, and one I knew that would be hard to repeat.
Fast forward to mid-August of this year. We were in the middle of the Peruvian Andes and I was not feeling very good. I had some stomach issues and had to hitch a ride on two days, August 8th and August 11th. We were riding with our German friends, Philipp and Tine, so Nancy continued onwards and completed both day’s planned distances in full.
I bring all this up now because Nancy could not possibly care less about her annual mileage totals. She just likes to ride her bike. Me, I’m a numbers guy and have annual mileage logged back so far that I was doing it before excel was invented (I used “calc” – a Unix tool in the old days and yes, I am that old). This year, we left La Paz, Baja on January 2nd and have only had short breaks throughout the year. Sometime in October I noted that we would easily pass 10,000 miles for the year. I told Nancy – to which she enthusiastically replied “uh, ok” – yes, she’s not overly interested.
So yesterday was an exciting day, Nancy officially passed 10,000 miles for the year. Because of my two partial days in Peru, I am still 50 miles short. I will pass 10,000 in the next day or two and even perhaps stop roadside and let out a little woohoo. Nancy, will no doubt stop and say something supportive, then perhaps mock me for being slightly behind her. Ultimately, unless I jamb a pump in her spokes, sometime in the next 6 weeks she will most likely hold the “Ertel-Peterson world record for annual mileage.” She won’t care. (Senior editor’s note – shouldn’t that be the “Peterson-Ertel world record”?). Me, I’ll be relegated to second place but also not care all that much, for at least now I can tick “ride 10,000 miles in one calendar year” off my bucket list.
With all of this musing about mileage, you can probably guess that we didn’t ride today. We didn’t hear the official rain totals but then again, the day is still young. It rained all night and has been raining fairly steady all day. Other than the leaks in the ceiling of our hostel kitchen, we are fairly comfortable. It doesn’t appear that is snowed overnight but there is a new waterfall flowing out a rock face above town, a few reports of road washouts and it is colder now than it has been. So long as we stay close to the hostel wood stove (which is in the kitchen and surrounded by pans to catch water leaks) we are fine.
We met two other cyclists today, young German and French women. They are heading north and on a budget that means camping every night. They were happy because they could get their shoes dried in their campground’s restaurant and have dry feet at least for an hour, or so. They were riding today and more or less happy. We also heard from Adrian, the skateboarder. He is in La Junta as well. He was smart enough not to try pushing today. He says that he has to regrease his wheels whenever he pushes in the rain. I know that some readers think we are “hard”. Well, as noted above, we aren’t really all that tough compared to others out here.
We mapped food and stopping options for the next couple days today. And we re-checked the forecast. We think we’ll be able to move on tomorrow and probably ride the next 3 or 4 days. We may have camp a night or two but we have identified camp spots where at least they have coverings over the tent sites. Now if we could only get information on the state of the road washouts, we’d be set.
My 10,000 mile will come on the day we ride from Puyuhuapi to Villa Amengual, probably Friday. Keep an eye on CNN, I’m sure that they run a feature story on the big event. (Senior editor’s note – just to be clear, that would be second place in the Peterson Ertel world record for annual mileage contest…) (Junior editor’s additional note – and all this time, I thought she didn’t care!)