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I was out riding through a fog so thick it looked like I could have eaten it with a spoon, had the gummy worms (secret weapon #2, with #1 being sweetened cold tea in one of the water bottles) not been enough.

Every year they close the highway from Santiago to Valparaíso, a distance of about 120 km from where I sit, and a whole bunch of people walk and ride out to Lo Vasquez, a Catholic sanctuary that celebrates Mary for the Assumption of Mary, Dec 8th. Many of them are religious pilgrims, I am a person who enjoys long, car-free bike rides.

I have many things to say about this tradition, and about different experiences I’ve had on the road from here to there. As luck would have it, I am about six breaths away from falling over. Turns out replacing a night of sleep with a night of pedalling isn’t really an even exchange. You can add the bike, but you cannot remove the sleep from the equation.

But the thing I am struck by now is Luis. Luis was a guy I worked with at a publishing company. I was getting really into swimming, and told him how I was working towards a mile. And he said “you should never swim a mile.” Why? I asked. Because you’ll always want to swim a mile after that, and you have better things to do in the pool and with your time, unless you’re planning on becoming a distance swimmer. Luis was a triathelete when I knew him, and I have reason to believe that he’s correct.

Which brings me (right now, surely after I wake up I’ll be in another place) to the thought, now that I’ve done this ride so many times, will I always want to do it, even though sometimes sleeping or riding half way or walking or not going at all would really be a better use of my time?

I have 364 more days to ponder. Coming up, what I brought, ate and saw. And if you think you’ve heard part of this story before, you have a very good memory, because here is last year’s report. Now go eat some fog.