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I spent last week at a friend’s house in Maitencillo, one of the northern most towns on the litoral central. I am finally starting to understand which town is where, a feat better managed by mortals with far better geographical memory than I have. In order for me to understand how one thing is connected to the next, there is only one way for me to do it: by bike.

Which is why (along with testing out the kit) I wasn’t too alarmed when the offer of a bike rack turned into bikerack pieces on the ground near C’s car, and me returning home only to leave the next morning by bus. I took the bus to Viña del Mar, and from there headed out to the ocean, turning right and pedalling until I reached Maitencillo, some 60ish km away, most of it slightly uphill, but none of it terribly steep. It was a slog though, between the weight of the panniers, my own winter weight (argh! summer now) and the fact that I haven’t done any long-distance cycling in a while. But I kept my pulse below my own lactic acid threshold (blablabla to all of you who don’t care), which in my case is around 167, and stopped to graze a little on the way, and all was well.

I’m feeling physically more confident about the trip in NZ, though I’ve just looked at my planned route, and it will require me to ride more than 50 miles every day. This is tomfoolery, but I am nothing if not tomfoolish, so more on that as “plans” develop.

Maitencillo was lovely, waves crashing and barnacle-covered shells washed up on the beach, their occupants breathing in fresh ocean breezes. There were a surprisingly large number of aguas muertas (jellyfish) washed up as well, including one that looked very much like a liver. (insert joke about washing-up medical waste here).

And there were these glasses. These not-retro but actually old glasses that were made probably in the 50s out of old pisco bottles. G explained how they do it, with a string and some fuel and a bucket of cold water, which explains why the rim of the glass was a bit sharp (it had been filed, but it’s not like a regular glass).

glasses 2

I loved the blue one so much that I think that if I’d been leaving any way but on a bike and with my panniers, they’d have searched my luggage to make sure I didn’t have it with me. Though the way back was mostly slightly downhill (and a full 75 minutes shorter, yay gravity). But I wouldn’t have wanted to balance and egg on a spoon or worry about a stolen glass the whole way.

Onword and eastward. My legs hate me already.