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Tristan’s Training Diary Day 3 – Part 1

5 Mar 2014

Day 3 was very difficult. 8 hours on the Bike. Beautiful, but very difficult.

I woke up at 07.00, like I have everyday, and waited for instructions from Jorge Garros, the head trainer. I sent Jorge an SMS saying I wanted to push it to the limit today. Jorge has a big heart but is a tough trainer: he’s in charge of fitness for the Argentinean army. He wanted to show me what Argentinean military training was all about… and I wanted to show him what it means to be a NOMAN.

At 10.30, I heard a booming “Permiso” followed by three knocks on my door. El Teniente Luis Cuaranta, dressed to the nines in fatigues and sporting a burly mustache, fought in the Guerra Malvinas (The Falkan Islands War) – but harbored no resentment to “Los Ingleses” (The English). On the contrary, Cuaranta befriended many when he fought alongside them in Kuwait during the First Gulf War. Cuaranta was eager to tell me a few war stories over Mate (South American mountain tea that doubles as a sport drink) the next morning and I was happy to lend an ear.

Cuaranta asked me: “Estas Listo?” (Are you ready?). No, I wasn’t. But not wanting to keep Argentineans sporting machine guns waiting, I changed into my cycling gear and hurriedly applied SPF30 sun cream to my white, winter skin. My escort Diego took me to the Parque, where they store weapons, ammunition, and mountain bikes. And there I met Hugo, my trainer for the day.

Hugo’s instructions were direct. We started at 1045 and we didn’t finish until 1900. Just over 8 hours on a mountain bike – 4 hours more than I’ve ever done in my life (which was Training Day 2). We cycled across the Rio Tunuyan, breathing the honest air and exploring the army’s “Restricted Access” land.

We took a break after about 2 hours – but only because I ran over a prickly bush, puncturing the rear tyre. It was complete training – not only the effort, not just the technique, but also the practicalities of dealing with such mishaps along the way. I realized there is a lot to biking that I still need to learn.

 

 

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