Nov 27, 2012

Distance today = 50.00 km; Total distance = 15,019.03 km; Location = Rufino (36 km east of) – 34 21.841′ S, 62 21.126′ W; Start time = 0914, Finish time = 1702


Today was what most normal people would consider the perfect day of weather. The only problem was, it was a bit too warm for seven hours of running. And we’re without any on-board refrigeration here in Argentina, so my drinks were very hot by the end of the day.

Otherwise, it was ideal, with much less traffic on the road than yesterday – I estimate less than 20% of yesterday’s volume. And the Argentinean countryside was idyllic, even if it is the same, day after day.

Today was a flat as it has been for the past week, which reminds me of the reply I received from the manager of the Department of Similes, Watto from Wagga Wagga. He informed me of the old saying from many decades ago, before the advent of widespread sewerage systems in Australia – “as flat as a dunny carter’s hat” (actually, the more popular version of the time was ” as flat as a s**t carter’s hat”). In those days, when hats were de rigeur, these unfortunate toilet carters would carry the pan on their head to the waiting truck, thereby flattening their hats. Good one, Watto! So, today was as flat as a dunny carter’s hat.

I was stopped again today by a very friendly local, who wanted to talk about what I was doing. I’m pretty sure he was a keen runner himself. We actually conversed in Spanish, which is really saying something about his lack of English.

The mosquitoes have been bad on the road recently. They even attack while I’m running. I have to keep moving at a minimum speed to avoid being bitten. It’s a bit like the movie Speed, only the bomb on the bus has been replaced by dive-bombing mosquitoes.

And talking about dive-bombing, there are birds here that obviously have young in nearby nests. They try to scare me away by flying very close to my head and squawking. However, just as Australia has the most dangerous snakes and spiders, we also have the most vicious bird – the magpie. Anyone in the countryside during September or October should be afraid. These birds, believing they are protecting their young, will repeatedly dive-bomb you, but they don’t pull out. They hit you as hard as they can with their sharp beaks and claws, and can leave you very bloody and in pain. Many on the Tour de Bois cycle trips have suffered this fate, including a famous incident, when Poddy put his hand up for protection, and the magpie’s beak pierced his gel-padded glove and still took a large piece out of the palm of his hand. I’m so glad the birds here aren’t like that, or I’d look like I’d been in a war zone by now.

And finally, I passed the 15,000 km milestone today. I’m well past half way now.