Decided to sign up for the last segment of South American Epic 2017 from TDA. In particular, the 2475km from Puerto Montt to Ushuaia (link). I expect to ride self supported from Cartagena to Puerto Montt and then finish South America with TDA.
I’ve written before about trade offs of doing a supported tour (e.g. having gear carried and support for mechanical/medical issues) vs. riding self-supported (e.g. ability to ride at your own pace, route and interact more closely with locals). All else being equal, I prefer riding my own self-supported ride at least in countries where the logistics aren’t too difficult.
However, I also figured it would be a nice blend to get at least some riding in with TDA. Given that the TDA ride generally goes faster, if I wanted a fixed end date (December 21st), then it makes the most sense to make the last segment the supported ride. It also turns out that physical logistics in Patagonia for distances/food/wind are up for a good challenge as well. If I were doing my own ride in that section, I might bias towards ruta 40 on the Argentinian side.
What this also provides is a nice “backstop”. Hopefully not, but if for some reason I end up traveling even slower through South America, then might consider trying to join the TDA ride earlier. Also it helps add some certainty about “finishing” my ride by end of 2017.
I have a lot more riding to do through Mexico and Central America first and then need to ride >80% of South America on my own, before doing that last 20% with TDA, so it is still a ways off…but also nice to put a piece or two together along the way.
p.s. For those who don’t know TDA was originally “Tour d’Afrique” but now named “TDA Global Cycling” to more closely reflect their multitude of rides. I’ve enjoyed my past two trips riding with them:
- Riding through China in 2007 on the last part of the inaugural edition of the Silk Route ride.
- Riding across Africa in 2013 on the Tour d’Afrique ride.