ConBigotes Eye Candy

It may or may not have taken well over a year to put this together due to laziness and what it is we choose to call real life, but here it finally is…..The Con Bigotes video log, documentary, video journal, reel, sizzle, whateverthehell you would like to call it.

The wonderful and talented Ryan Wordell worked around the clock, during a home move, caring for 2 children and dealing with his also audio/visual talented wife, Jessica, to get all of our video mashed into something that I think looks pretty damn cool.  My only hope it that it does a little to convey how pretty, cold, peaceful, tiring, fulfilling, lonesome, fun, challenging, grueling, comforting, hungry, dirty and simple life can really be.  We, as people, tend complicate the shit out of things for reasons I don’t think I’ll ever understand.  You don’t have to spend 372 days on a bicycle, covering 2 continents to get that….just get out of your fucking comfort zones for whatever period of time you can handle.  I guarantee your sense of appreciation for what you have will be altered.  Sounds a little preachy, but jesus, please simplify a bit.  Take a step or two backward to learn how to move forward.

This thing wouldn’t have come together if A. my cycling partner and pal Ryan McMahon hadn’t have suggested a cycling trip for no other reason than to get out and LIVE a little bit.  And B. we wouldn’t have bumped into Sir Robert Frank Sargent who happened be carrying a fancy camera and joined us for the last 3 months of the trip.

Here is to all of you.  I’m humbled to be a part of all of your lives whether you like it or not.  I get to continue thinking about how much this year on a bicycle defines who I am day in and day out because of you.

So I bombard you all with a final thank you.

-Conbigotes

 

 

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THE Final Installment

The ConBigotes What Is Next In Life Ponderers think what better way to wrap up this electronic novel than by listening to Ryan seduce you while taking cover from freezing rain and wind in an aluminum shed.  So let it please your ears while I do my damndest not to bore your mind.

FINAL TALLIES: (cumulative)

Cycle: 371 days, 12,406 miles, 19,966 kilometers, 2 frames, 2 forks, 12 tires, 14 tubes, 41 tube patches, 2 pumps, 13 chains, 5 cassettes, 3 cranks, 3 bottom brackets, 11 bottles of lube, 4 cans of WD-40, 2 front racks, 3 rear racks, 17 spokes, 7 rims, 6 pedals, 3 pairs of cleats, 3 pairs of bike shoes/sandals, 3 seat posts, 6 handlebar mirrors, 6 handlebar grips, 5 cables, 3 sets of shifters, 12 sets of brake pads, 104 zip-ties and 3 miles of bailing wire.

Gear and Clothing: 1 tent, 1 tent zipper replacement, 1 footprint, 2 rain flys, 2 sets of tent poles, 12 tent pegs, 2 sleeping bags, 7 sleeping pads, 1 tiger blanket, 2 sleeping bag liners, 2 tarps (1 plastic), 3 headlamps, 11 panniers, 4 rain coats, 2 pairs of rain pants, 11 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of bike shorts, 2 helmets, 3 pairs of shoe covers, 1 pair of GoreTex booties and 3 bottles of butt cream, 4 soccer jerseys, 1 youth track jersey, 5 bandanas and 1 dumb yellow hat.

Miscellaneous: 512 cans of tuna, 11,409 tomatos, 11,409 onions, 231 pounds of rice, lentils and pasta, 6 bushels of oatmeal, 89 loaves of bread, 4 liters of sun block, 4 cameras, 14 rechargeable batteries, 2 cell phones, 2 ipod/iphones, 2 churangos, 1 guitar, 3 harmonicas, 28 rolls of toilet paper, 31 books, 7 million ants, 19 million mosquitos, 11 black widows, 1 Stuart, 2 beards and 2 mustaches.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANK YOU’S: (i.e…people we would love to see again at some type of reunion gathering to share a beer and/or hug)

Riders: Kevin the Prick (Oregon/Cal), Danno Zlotsky (Oregon/Cal), Tandem Canadiens (Oregon), Jill Betterly (Oregon/Cal), Vickshow and Gwen (Cal), Memo (Mexico),  Kae the Peruvian (Peru/Bolivia), Dagmar and Mete (Peru/Bolivia),  Swiss (Bolivia), Finney (Bolivia), Finney’s Dad/Lover Andy (Bolivia), Chilean Hector (Bolivia) and too many more for me to recall.

Hosts: I was about to start listing people, but it would go on forever.  Countless people opened up their arms, homes, dinner tables, refrigerators, bathrooms, sheds and lawn space to accommodate us.  I could spend the rest of my life seeking out all of these folks in an attempt to repay them for the seeming small deeds they have done that meant more to us than they will ever know.  I will leave it at that.

THE ConBigotes MEN:

Though we had the unpleasant misfortune to ride with Sargent for only the last 2 and a half months of our slog, he is and forever will be cemented in the history books of ConBigotes lore.  Therefore, he will be referred to as part of the team moving forward for the next 500 words or so because I don’t care to separate.  As you listeners could most likely imagine, and as Ryan and Sargent would agree, it was fucking grueling to spend that much quality time with each other day in and day out.  That being said, it was a god  damn honor being beside these two gentleman for the better part of 372 days.

Ryan, who speaks softly and chooses his words more wisely than I, was an emotional rock when shit hit the fan.  Nothing deterred him from simply pushing on, no matter the circumstances while I would be 7 innings into a no-hitter of a panic attack.  I was first hand witness to his toughing out 7 days of coastal Mexico oven riding while dealing with a healthy case of pork taco food poisoning.  Possibly the most impressive physical achievement of the year.

Robert Sargent, the British bloodline of the the squad, revitalized Ryan and I when we needed it most.  The son of a bitch had done everything and anything you could imagine prior to blessing us with his presence and tight clothing.  Sailed the Atlantic, thumbed his way through Central America and loaded up a touring bike in Colombia to pedal America Sur all by his lonesome with a goal to rarely touch paved roads.  His camera (“richard”) and computer skills were more than impressive as was his UK film collection along with watching him fend off countless advances from Latin female fawners.

Fellas, I have already ledgered the Thank You’s above to a lot of important and contributing folks, but there are no words to express my gratitude to you both.  Nobody can ever take away the levity and significance of what you accomplished out there and in no way, shape or form, could I have done it without you.  Therefore, you are my final Thank You…for giving me something that not only has influenced, but most likely will define, my life forever.  You are both legends!

Well kids, sadly that about wraps it up for this installment of ConBigotes.  My hope isn’t only that you comprehended more than 11% of my non-sensical jammering, but more importantly that you gathered we are certainly not heroes.  We are normal dudes, men, sons, brothers, uncles, friends and taxpayers with the same physical bodies and heartbeat as you.  The other critical fact is that we have the same types of dreams as well.  We all want our lives to be marinated with some kind of perceived importance and to one day have something to tell our grandkids in an effort to not seem as old. The only difference is we made the decision to go DO that, other than continuing to exhaust our spirits by only thinking about it.  Each and every one of the 6 of you reading has the option to make that choice any and every minute that passes.  I sure as shit don’t know much.  I’m not that smart.  I could never hit for power.  I’ll probably never be rich nor am I any good in bed.  I am however, a wizard, knowing that all of you are capable beyond your imagination of doing whatever the fuck your spirit desires, if and when you choose to.  There is, in fact, no secret.

Thanks for being a part of all this nonsense.

-Conbigotes

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This Was a Sign…of the End

This is Stuart. (He looked like a Stuart…we think.  Though, come to think of it, he never actually responded to the name Stuart.  Maybe his name was Rod?)  In any event, he followed us for 4 days for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  Maybe he liked our mildewy hue.  We didn’t have any food or water for the little fella, but he must have found what he needed…by murdering rabbits.  We learned to love him and his determination and his jumping on your waist as soon as you exited the tent.  Seriously, I shed a tear when we had to leave him with the Argentine border dudes to become a sheepdog because he was obviously never going to make it home again after we had led him into the wilderness.

The point of all of this babbling is that we, (pause for effect) are about to say goodbye as well.  The Conbigotes Prayers of Wind Direction will have absolutely nothing more to talk about in 3 days after we complete this goddamn thing.   Maybe we will have some final tallys, some uninteresting photos and “thank yous,” but all in all that will be about it.

I don’t know whether to be excited or sad.  Honestly.  I sit here and can’t figure it out.  It’s 7am, 150 miles from the bottom of the earth and the end of more than a year on the bike trying to get here…and I don’t know how I feel.  I do know this fourth cup of coffee just made me feel fairly sick.

The one thing I am sure about is that I miss that son of a bitch, Stuart.

– Conbigotes

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Mildly Interesting Updates Coming Soon…

Gobernador Gregores, Argentina (19,112 kilometers – 11,876 miles)

Apologies to everyone who may or may not be thinking we are being interrogated at length by Patagonian pumas, but we are not.  Instead, we have been in the middle of this on two-wheeled bicycles…

There really has not been much time to find wifi.  Slightly more important has been doing our damndest for the good part of 2 days to find “a” road here in the mountains between the borders of Chile and Argentina…

Which we found here…

And carried on with absolutely no monotony on this…

So instead of blabbering on about every last detail of the last few weeks, we are going to suck on our beer and or wine this evening, thaw our feet and pass out for a month.

Stay tuned for the final 1,000 kilometers or so.

– Conbigotes

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Winner of the “Watson Dowry Fund”

This is Vicente Miranda Sepulveda.  He is 5.  He is curious.  He can be thrown around like a stuffed animal.  He looks darling in my Andean’ish headband.  He burns through camera batteries like shitty cigarettes.  He lives in a tiny town outside of Coihaique, Chile called El Blanco.  He doesn’t like too much milk in the morning.

Most importantly, he earned himself the prestigious title of benefactor to the $50 “Watson Family Dowry Fund,” (not quite the official title) that was generously initiated by my brothers and sisters-in-law to be donated to whomever and as however I see fit.  We met him while trying to hibernate in an old shack for the night.  He must have seen us scout this locale because he promptly barged in and rattled off 312 questions about everything imaginable.  His smile lit up the room and warmed my bones.  In a flash, he was off with a “don’t go to sleep yet…I will be back” demand.  Within 5 minutes he was back, with warm salmon empanadas his mother had crafted.  This earned him the small Watson scholarship and I insisted he tell his mom this is your tip.

As I thought, this gesture of money for no real reason to these unthinkably kind people would be met with question.  Therefore, we were forcefully dragged back to Vincent’s incredibly modest home of no more than a wood stove, tin walls, and too much fried bread to handle, where the three of us were to spend the evening.  It was in no more words, perfect.

Ryan, Chad, Abs and Kathryn….the Miranda Sepulvedas and Vicente especially, thank you.  His hysterical sobbing upon our departure the next morning assured me that he and his family were the appropriate selection.

Love you guys.

– Conbigotes

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The Holy Matrimony of Robert Frank Sargent

Quellón, Chiloé, Chile (18,134 kilometers – 11,268 miles)

We are proud to share that the Conbigotes Chilean Fruit Examiners have tied the knot.  Not to each other as some of our pictures and tight cycle related clothing would suggest, but to a fellow rider.  Mr. Robert Frank Sargent (the devil pictured above) has joined the squad for the last bits of this sojourn south.   So now, we are three.

Rob, who will forever on this ledger be refered to as “Sargent”, proposed to us in Villarrica, Chile while he and his sisters were admiring our bicycles and enjoying an alcoholic beverage in the incredibly touristic part of town.  Who knew we would find love after previously enduring such a retardedly long day and losing each other?  After Ryan was nowhere to be found and the sun had just about buried itself for the evening, I was freezing, with no food and figured the only thing I could do to stay warm was pedal my ass for a few hours in the dark to get to Villarrica.  The following morning, Ryan pulled into town having stealthy camped the night before with only the rain fly.  He found me stealing wifi and sucking cold instant coffee.  “Sargent” must have seen this exchange, as he gingerly strolled over and the conversation went as such…

Sargent: “North or South?”

Brett:  “South”

Sargent: “I am on a bike also…my sisters aren’t”

Brett: “North or South?”

Sargent: “South”

Brett:  “Sign here and welcome to Conbigotes!”

So there it was.  A gorgeous set of vows that will go down in South American cycling lore.

Since the joining of bikes and cooking equipment, we have been zigzagging our way southward through some goddamn gorgeous bits of the lakes region on our way to the island of Chiloé.  Jesus, I’m wracking my brain to come up with some newsworthy info to report, but there really isn’t much.  I’m certain nobody wants to hear about unseasonably warm and non-downpoury weather for this far southward in Chile making riding just about fucking perfect.  Nor do you really care to know that each night, glorious camping happens on hidden lakes that have the evening glisten similar to that of my pathetically non-hairy chest in direct sunlight.  Ummmmmmmmmmm, that is about all to tell you the truth.

WAIT!  Holy shit, how could I forgot this.  It may be advantageous for you to be marginally informed about possibly the most incredible place I have seen down here.  Potentially the must unreal thing I have seen, ever.  That said, I’m sure I will do a terrible job trying to convey the magic of the Cochamó Valley so I will spare you the long-winded stuff and give you bullet points and pictures. (I will also update a link to a trip report on Cochamó I did for Ames shortly, so just hold tight damnit.)

– Yosemite, but about 200 years ago and with no roads.

– 2,000 foot granite walls that surrounding you like the guys who work for my college football bookie.

– Rivers clearer and more blue than the eyes of those people who buy the colored contact lenses.

– Wood and fire.

– Wood and fire and horses.

– Wood and fire and horses and whiskey.

– River crossings in a basket on a rope.

– Dudes who climb a lot.

– Hidden waterfalls with natural pools that are colder than we thought they would be.

– Other folks who like me, thought we were in a place that words really can’t explain.  Other folks who could barely breathe after the 6 hour hike in to arrive at a clearing in the forest floor and get the first look at the valley.  Other folks who couldn’t speak for the first 10 minutes while you choke on what you are looking at.  Other folks who would and could probably sell everything they own in order to have 20 more minutes in the Cochamó Valley.  Other folks who might understand this list of bullet points.

Okie doke, that almost gets us up to date.  We  currently rest here at the official end of the Pan-American Highway from Anchorage to Chiloé.  We are hopping the ferry tonight back to mainland Chile and a closer look at this son of a bitch:  Volcan Corcovado.  From there, its due south through the heart of Patagonia on the dirt and gravel roads of the Carretera Austral all the way to the bottom…or close for that matter.  Therefore, this may be the last post for a healthy amount of time.  So for now, please ponder the significance of the end of the Pan-American Highway…because I certainly can’t.  For some reason it is impossible for these cycle related accomplishments to sink in and mean much, because this isn’t just a vacation, it is our lives.  It is all we know.  It is as normal as the morning cup of coffee.  We get up every day just like you and put in the same 8 hour days.  The only difference is our 8 hours are spent on a bike and our legs move real fast.  I hope someday it will all make sense and I will be able to get an idea of what the hell this is all about.  If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

– Conbigotes

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Roadkill of the Week – Volume 13

This fortunately unfortunately is the beginning of the end folks.  The beards have indeed been cut and the remnants pictured above are the result of over 11,000 miles of road, sweat and leftover oatmeal.  As opposed to chopping these bastards at the bottom of South America, we have decided to finish as we started…mustached only.  Additionally, Sargent is incapable of growing a shitty beard, so we had to preserve teamwork and continuity.

Therefore, we will troll the final thousand miles or so with the simplicity of only upper lip hair, making us look like that sexy kid in 7th grade who developed way to fast for the rest of us and/or child molesters.  You make the call.

Before…

After…

– (New) Conbigotes

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