Nov 5, 2021
Two videos today, both of which are worth a watch. The first is something Carmel put together highlighting the US leg. It’s also got a great Rolling Stones soundtrack to it.
The second video is from the start of my South American leg, as are the blog posts and photos.
Nov 3, 2012
Distance today = 51.14 km; Total distance = 13,980.14 km; Location = Quillota – 32 52.097′ S, 71 14.458′ W; Start time = 0935, Finish time = 1727
We flew in to Santiago yesterday, with the Andes resplendent on the left side of the plane. We had a perfect view of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. The light was so different when we disembarked – more like the Greek Islands in summer. It felt like arriving for an exotic holiday.
We picked up the new car and bought new SIM cards for the phones, then headed down to Valparaiso on the coast. The problem was, it was a four day weekend, and every hotel seemed to be booked out. We finally found something on Booking.com and snapped it up, only to find when we got there that the hotel was fully booked. Apparently, Booking.com had sent 48 different bookings there, despite it being full. Our only choice was to take a room that became available at 10 pm that night. Although we were very tired from the overnight flight, it was better than staying on the street.
Valparaiso is certainly worth a visit. There are murals everywhere. Make sure you go up the hill from the harbour. That’s where the best art is, and there’s also a great view of the city and the Pacific.
This morning I began my South American leg. I ran along the harbour foreshore, before heading inland and through the hills. On the way I passed the Sheraton Hotel, where I heard that Korean pop sensation, Psy, was due to appear to sign autographs. There were teenagers everywhere, all behind barriers.
The road kill has changed from deer and raccoons to dogs. Although I only saw three dead dogs, it was more than I’ve ever seen before in one day. The drivers are definitely faster than in the US, although I didn’t see any manoeuvres that were too outrageous.
I suspect I will have a very hilly couple of weeks ahead. Today was not flat, and it will only get more so. I actually felt quite tired, probably due to the travel, and my legs ended up a little sore, even after just two days off. I’ll need to get back into form for the Andes ahead.
We had trouble again with finding a hotel. Luckily, we eventually got a room, but the internet is a problem. As I write, I’m not sure if I’ll get this published today. As I mentioned before, there will probably be days when I can’t publish the blog, so don’t panic if that happens. It doesn’t mean I’ve met with an untimely end.
Nov 4, 2012
Distance today = 50.68 km; Total distance = 14,030.85 km; Location = Santa Celia – 32 48.487′ S, 70 55.998′ W; Start time = 0916, Finish time = 1752
It’s certainly a change, running in Chile. We got very used to life on the road in the US. We now have to adjust to conditions in a Spanish speaking country. Luckily, we have had lots of help from locals, including Alberto at the Alecon Hotel in Valparaiso, and Patricio and Evelyn at the airport.
Today I headed off a bit late after sleeping in, and looked at Google Maps after about 5 km. It was placing me in the middle of nowhere, despite the fact I was on a busy road. I have found there are many Chilean roads that actually exist, but are not on Google Maps. I guess it’s better than the other way around.
We also had trouble having Carmel meet up with me on the road. She found a somewhat similar issue with Garmin maps. And the data on my phone went AWOL. We were so lucky we could still make phone calls, or she would have had no idea where to find me. Carmel often finds herself driving on a road that the Garmin shows as a car icon on nothing (for those who are familiar with GPS imagery).
Another problem occurred last night. We drove to a pizza restaurant and ordered a large pizza. I was told it would take ten minutes. While I waited, and as Carmel drove around the block multiple times, I was accosted by three drunk guys who wanted to share a beer with me, expressed in a rather rude and crude way. Struggling with the language, I politely declined, not actually knowing what they were saying. Another Chilean local apologised for them, and helped me with my order, which was taking some considerable time. It turned out the pizza oven had broken down. After an hour (just what I need in my tired state), I finally received a pizza with slightly uncooked dough. In the end, I simply didn’t care.
The weather here in Chile is great, with totally cloudless skies, although it’s a touch on the warm side for pleasurable running. I was still a little below par, but persevered. After 20 km, I passed the 14,000 km mark. The whole day was pretty much gently uphill, with a net elevation gain of about 1,000 feet. It will go up a lot more quickly in a couple of days time.
I can now clearly see the Andes in the distance. They are an incredibly impressive sight. Tomorrow I’ll get to the base, and will start climbing in earnest on Tuesday.
Nov 5, 2012
Distance today = 49.56 km; Total distance = 14,080.41 km; Location = Los Chaletes – 32 51.457′ S, 70 29.219′ W; Start time = 0935, Finish time = 1712
I’m loving running in Chile. After some early teething problems, I’ve now settled in nicely.
For the past two days, I’ve been ascending very gradually. I’m now just shy of 1000 metres in altitude, and tomorrow I’ll rise another 2000 metres into the Andes. I think it’s a gentle climb during the early part of the day, but will increase in steepness as I get higher. I was thinking of enlisting Michael Palin and going over the Andes by racing frog, but that’s against the rules.
I was lucky to find a cycle path alongside the road during the morning. It went for nearly 10 km. After that, I was forced to run on the shoulder, but it was decent enough. By mid afternoon I’d reached the town of Los Andes, the gateway to the Cristo Redentor Pass. From there, I officially started my climb of the pass, but I’ve only done about 12 km of it so far. Tomorrow I should get to within 10 km of the top, which will be crested on Wednesday.
The part I’ve completed so far reminds me a lot of the lower reaches of the climb of the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, from Luz St Sauveur. However, this pass is almost twice as high as the Tourmalet. We’re talking serious stuff here, as anyone who has climbed the Tourmalet can imagine.
I wouldn’t be concerned about the climb if I was acclimatised to the altitude. I have received some good tips from fellow world runner, Jesper Olsen, who ran this pass last year, from the opposite direction. He was fine, but he’s also a better runner than me, and he was reasonably acclimatised at the time. We’ll have to see how I go. I’ve run to the top of the Haleakala volcano on Maui three times (a 10,000 feet climb), all without any acclimatisation to altitude. Twice I was fine, and the other time I suffered badly. This pass is another 3,000 feet higher again. If I do find myself in trouble, at least I’ll have a great view to ease the pain.