Today I will set off for the so far biggest adventure of my life. 23.000 km across the Americas, almost halfway around the world.
The route is very diverse and so will be the challenges I have to overcome. Time for a short route overview.
Leg One – from the Arctic to Mexico
Although the beginning will be tough, this is by far the easiest part. The first 830 km will be on a bad gravel road North of the Arctic circle. Here I will be most exposed to changing weather conditions and want to get through as fast a possible. From Fairbanks on I will be on pavement but still in the wilderness of Northern Canada for another 3.000 km. This will still be very hilly and challenging until I reach Edmonton in around two weeks. What follows is the high prairie, a pretty flat ride south all the way to Mexico. Prevailing winds on the entire leg are favorable, so this is the part where I want to be significantly faster than my 230km daily target, a cushion I might need later on.
Leg Two – Mexico and Central America
This part of the journey will be highly influenced by safety concerns. As I’m unsupported I won’t cycle at night, leaving me few daylight hours to reach my daily target. Terrain will be hilly with some big climbs in Costa Rica and Panama. Efficiency during the day is key to spend as much time riding as possible.
Leg Three – South America
Now the proper challenge starts. I hope that I start this leg with at least an 240 km average, so I can loose a bid here. Columbia and Ecuador will be relentless climbing, 4000-5000 meters every single day. When I reach Peru it gets hilly but a strong headwind will make this part even tougher. After around three weeks of wind and mountains I will be tired but the toughest challenge is just ahead. The Atacama desert is the highest desert on Earth, famous for its strong winds and the impact of high altitude at 4.000 meters. Following the desert , the Passo da Yama mark the high point of the Andes at 4.800 meters and my last border crossing into the Argentinian plains. 4.000 flat km left across the Pampa and then the windswept Patagonia. Wind directions will be the deciding factor as I spent my last remaining energy to make it to Tierra del Fuego.
It’s very hard to calculate an average speed for the end as I might be riding 100 or 400 km depending on the wind. One more reason to be fast in the beginning.
Sounds like a wonderful adventure :)