October Round Up: 367 km

Getting so close to the end now!

This month has seen a few key events in the Chile Challenge: The final race of what has been a fairly long season is now complete (Birmingham Half Marathon); the outdoor pool is now closed which for me marks the end of the Open Water swim season; and the clocks have gone back which means we have probably had the last of any remaining good weather, meaning more time will be spent in the gym over the next few months – although I did get in a good 12 km run around town this morning so maybe it is not quite all over…

San Pedro Volcano

The all important question though, it where the heck am I? Well after passing through Antofagasta last month, I have taken a bit of a cross-country route through the Atacama (basically to get somewhere more interesting to write about!) to the desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. I have to add that is not actually me on the bike below, but some sort of doppelgänger. Possibly my identical hand twin…

San Pedro Sign San Pedro Church San Pedro bike

Not if you have been fortunate enough to visit Chile, chances are you have probably gone to San Ped, as it is probably the main tourist attraction in the area – possible the whole country. It genuinely is a cowboy town: dusty streets with wild cacti on every corner, a 500-odd year old whitewashed church, and  genuinely stunning scenery in all directions. Basically, the perfect place to stop on a 4000 km challenge.

San Pedro Geysers  San Pedro Luna

San Pedro also makes a perfect base to visit some of the local natural wonders, which include the Valle de Luna (above right), Valle de la Muerte, Geysers de Tatio (above left) & the stunning Licancabur volcano. I could go on for ever baby. More of a wildlife fan? As well as spotting vicuñas and guanacos hanging around the outskirts, how about watching flamingos having a drink at sunset in the salt valleys. Or what about stargazing in some of the clearest skies in the world with near perfect views of the milky way, perfect for a bit of night training (bonus point for anyone who can identify the constellation in my photo below right, which would help you navigate on the move).

San Pedro Guanaco San Pedro Flamingo San Pedro Stars

Anyway, that is enough on the town as I am starting to sound like the local tourist board – on with the training! Having now completed all of my races for the year, this really is when the Challenge is going to come into its own, to keep me motivated to chalk off the final 600 or so km remaining to get to the border. Fortunately it is also a time to start planning events for next year, to ensure I have plenty of motivation to get through the cold winter months, so keep an eye out for more soon!

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