Chile Postcard

I have lunch with a couple from Buenos Aires. They seem comfortable touring, like they’ve done it before and I make discreet confirmatory glances at their bicycles. Front suspension, XT/XTR mix, decent kit. She’s a GP, he’s a pediatrician, they’re smart fun, funny, we have a great break together. It’s time to go and they’re going to head only as far as a campground 6k beyond the lunch spot. We naturally decide to pedal together, they’re lovely company. Rolling down the track I notice that we’re actually moving pretty well, I’m definitely pedaling. Fernando is in front and keeps slightly ratcheting it up. Okay, I get it, fit successful medical professionals, expensive bikes, tidy Craft clothing. They’re a type I recognize. (I am, no doubt, too, a type.) Um, wait, we’re going fast here. In a moment of I should know better, I’m thinking, huh, he’s surprisingly kind of a dick, we’ve dropped Sonia, he must figure she’ll just get there when she does and then I double take over my shoulder to sheepishly register that I’m the asshole, she’s drafting racer tight on my wheel, showing her teeth.

Their panniers bouncing crazily over holes, his shoulders bobbing, vortices of dust and kicked up pebbles, I’m trying not to laugh at our spectacle, in the big ring now, right, he drops off the front, here we go, can feel what pace they can do, it’s high, and I peg it there, head down, we’re moving, dusty ridiculous cyclotouristas time trial. We get to their camp area sweaty and grinning.

They decide it’s silly to stop so early so we continue on 50k more.