Ride The Flavour (en)

From Buenos Aires to Salta, 1800km towards the Andes! (part II)

Nov. 12th | 0 comments

Aguilares. Concepción. Monteros. Acheral. Mountains are more and more impressive as we get closer. They are there, only a few kilometers ahead of us, like stairs for giants challenging us…

In Acheral (350 m), we turn left to take the road 307. The ascent begins, gently first. It is approximately 3pm.

Is it because our legs were able to relax during these last 2 days, while we were jumping from a pickup to another instead of pedaling? Is it because we can ride side-by-side (there are only a few cars on the road) and chat? The fact remains that the first kilometers are easy. We are pedaling in almost a rainforest, in a concert of feather instruments. The euphoria however does not last. Muscle fatigue slowly grows; the slope requires more and more efforts

Until we find paradise. It is around 7pm. The terrain is flat, covered by a thick layer of green grass. A mountain stream runs below… Five minutes after we find the place, we are already entirely immersed under water. After 4 days in the wind and dust, this bath sends us directly to the 7th heaven.


The sun goes down. We now need to put fuel in the engine. We have enough to eat, but we are running short of water… And where’s the matter? We have a torrent and we have a filter. For the first time, we pump our own drinking water. We are in nature, autonomous, under a blazing sky. God it is good to be a nomad!


The next morning, no warm-up tour: the 10% slope which we left the day before waits us resolutely. We climb and climb, still under a dense vegetation cover. Hard to see where we come from. Hard to see where we are going. When suddenly, the green evaporates. The mountains abruptly leave their mask to show their real skin. As far as we can see, the light returns us a single colour: yellow. The trees have disappeared, only a few bushes are still clinging to the aridity of the soil… We’ve passed a turning point; we are now over 2000 m!

The road flattens and descends gently. Ahead of us: Tafí del Valle. But even though we’re going downhill, the last 10km seem endless. We arrive in the city centre around noon. Our legs and our stomach deserve their break.

The lake that extends to, in the background, Tafí del Valle

Behind Tafí del Valle, the road resumes climbing. “Bah, we certainly did the hardest part this morning, it should go downhill soon…” No way José, the climb continues! To infinity and beyond. Each ridge raises hope of the descent, hope that only lasts for a short time, until the curtain fades and reveals another even higher ridge. Another curtain. Wearied by so many disappointments, we stop worrying about the future and start enjoying the present. Around us, both spectators and specttacles: the yellow of the mountains and the blue of the sky.

And then, finally, we arrive at the top, “El infiernillo” (3050 m). Never before we had been that high in bike and, after more than 2000 m of ascent in the day, this pass has a real taste of victory!

We have won this battle but, as you can see, the war is far from over!


The next day, the descent towards Amaicha del Valle offers us a magnificent panorama. The landscape is very dry, cactus reign supreme on the local flora. The downhill slope continues until Quilmes (a sound which is quite familiar to us because it’s the brand of the most common beer in Argentina 😉 ); we are now at the bottom of the valley.

After Cafayate, the wind rises. Strong. Our progress rapidly becomes a real struggle, both physical and mental. But 20 km ahead of us appears our chance of salvation: a mountain range behind which our road seems to take refuge. Perhaps will it protect us from the wind? Where there is life, there is hope, so we redouble our efforts to reach this sierra


Surprise! A second range was hiding behind the first one and the road decides to sneak between the two of them. Result: we are in a corridor. Wind has not disappeared. It is at least as strong as it was in the valley.

And surprise! This one much better: we enter this narrow valley, almost a canyon, and discover the most beautiful landscape that we have seen until then. With headphones in our ears, good sound, the wind is blocked at the gates of our psyche. The irritation evaporates, the music even electrifies us. We pedal in another universe, between dark ochre mountains and gloomy grey clouds. The wind is howling, desperate no to make even shudder these mountains. When he sees us, he knows who to pour his frustration on. Each kilometer is a victory for us. We ride in complete apocalypse. But what a joy!

After these 100km winding between the mountains, the rest is only formality. Here we are, at the end of this stage without battery. We are in Salta!

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