15th May (Medellin – La Pintada (75km)
16th May (La Pintada – Truck Stop) (98km)
17th May (Truck Stop – Zarzal) (111km)
18th May (Zarzal – Cali) (131km)
Finally managed to extricate myself from the comforts of Medellin after two weeks of redefining what it is to dance the salsa. Am now back on the road heading south with a renewed vigor and an expanded girth. It’s amazing just how much condition you can lose with just a couple of weeks of excessive coffee, beer and pizza eating (conceivably age related? surely no). This and a bit of a cold made the nasty little climb out of town all the more difficult but then there was a flat run south to Cali over the following three days.
The Colombians continue to be a friendly bunch along the road. A guy on a motorbike pulling in alongside to offer up mangoes seems less odd than it did a few weeks ago. Medellin has a well deserved reputation for the friendliness of its people and the time that I spent mooching around the Parque Liares certainly reconfirmed this. I was also able to do a little side trip over to the thriving national capital, Bogota to visit Nick and Julianna for a couple of days and check the place out.
Colombia continues to be a treat to ride with a wide shoulder and lovely people and views along the way. Cali is a rough and ready city throbbing with salsa rhythms and a grimy understated charm. Its a great pit stop for a couple of days before heading into the mountains to the south. Am busily trying to lighten the load even more before spending whole days chugging up hillsides. The Schwalbe marathons are now fitted replacing the chinese jobbies that are now happily discarded
There is about 500km to the border with Ecuador and then a couple of day’s ride to the capital Quito, the next pit stop on the road south. The mountain roads that await in Ecuador and Peru will trace a path along the spine of the Andes that will I think be the toughest riding of the entire trip. The road in Ecuador will roll between 2,000km and 3,000 metres in elevation while it gets all the better in Peru which will be between 3,000 and 4,000 metres. Should be interesting. On-on.