Osorno is the last stop for bike stuff before the long ride south and back. How far? About 4000K down and part way back to Puerto Natales. From there depends on further choices.
There are three ways to get there. The easy way goes down the east coast. It’s mostly paved the whole way. The middle way goes down Ruta 40 on the east side of the Andes. It’s about 30% paved from this latitude. The best way, and the hardest, is down the Carretera Austral on the west side of the Andes, then cross over to Argentina and continue down Ruta 40. There are great features, some the stuff of legends, going down the western route which we’ll write about as we ride them.
Anyway, I’ve done that thing which has saved my ass a few times since starting: I’ve changed my mind. I was going to do the smart thing and replace my tires with new Heidenaus, which although lethal on dirty wet pavement, can withstand the punishment and distance ahead. But I’m going to take a risk and put a TKC80 up front. A softer tire with better dirt characteristics, it’ll maybe make it the distance. But it should be more fun in the ripio, which makes up about half of the distance ahead. The problem is I changed my mind as soon as I arrived for my tire change and they don’t have a 21″ TKC in stock. So I have to wait a few days as they bus one down from Santiago. No problem. I spend the time loading my GPS with all possible options, check every possible loose or worn part on Lucinda, throw out more gear, binge watch Game of Thrones, and not writing blog posts for some unclear reason.
As you can see they’re mostly Heidenaus. And one completely yummy looking TKC rear. But no way will that get down the route alive.
Hilariously, they can’t break the bead getting the slightly non-standard 150 on the rim. It’s a stiff fit normally but going up to a 150 from the spec’d 140 is a bear. So it takes two of them to seat it by sitting on it
Then, being Latins and, depending on the individual, quite possibly either somewhat or extremely homophobic, they realize what they look like and have to take a few minutes to laugh hysterically and figure out a different way
I guess I’ve gone through maybe 6 sets of tires and every time I get this crazy grin and the feeling that the world is a truly beautiful place. That may seem over-the-top but I’m not alone in this, everyone out here feels the same way.