The Legend of Eldorado / Colombia

Colombia its been a big pleasure!

I am very lucky that I got introduced to the Legend of Eldorado by a friend last November. The Colombian people, the landscape, the organization, the hospitality plus the riding made it one of my best bike journeys ever!

Before the start of The Legend I joined the Specialized retailer launch of Latin America in Pereira, a short flight away from Bogota. It was very interesting meeting different dealers and market leaders from Guatemala to Belize, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Venezuela or a guy from the Atacama desert in Chile or Punta Arenas in Argentina! Everybody was so enthusiastic and at least 24342342 pictures got taken with me! ūüôā

IMG_1262 IMG_1268

Specialized Colombia together with Latin America organized the best retailer event I’ve ever been to. It was the perfect balance between fun, business, brand connection and getting to know the new 2017 models.

Yes it is me trying to ride on water…. three guys made it!

IMG_1246

It was a short flight from Pereira to Bogota and then quick drive to Guaduas the start of The Legend of Eldorado, not! Well it would been quick, but it took for ever to get out through the Bogota city traffic.

IMG_1305

Once in Guaduas it was great to catch up with Paolo Montoya my friend and race partner from Costa Rica. Paolo helped us three years ago securing a second place at the Cape-Epic, being a super strong backup team!

IMG_1304

Would you believe to see songo.info kids in Colombia? Yes… thanks so much to the whole organization to make it happen! Big trip for Sipho & Rasta. CapeTown-Istanbul-Bogota!

Below a few impressions before the start of the Prologue.

IMG_1317 IMG_1319 IMG_1356

IMG_1343

IMG_1338

South Africans love stage racing and next to the songo kids we met the two very great Mike & Tony who had a great ride too.

IMG_1364

Start of Prologue and also the start of an incredible week!

IMG_1332

Enjoying avocado ice cream. Andres the man in the white shirt was our help for everything and Larry on the right our amazing 1A+ mechanic! Thanks!

IMG_1362

Racing was hard especially due all the very long climbs. The longest climb was 50km straight! Yes, 50km straight…. meaning ¬†2500m of climbing, plus a few more like 25 or 20km with 1500-2000m of straight climbing. There were about 30 starting teams, more then 10 nationalities. Racing was tough¬†especially with Leonardo Paez, one of the worlds best mtb climber in the world.

Except on the kings stage which we won, we always finished in 2nd place and at the Prologue 4th. Guess what place we ended up overall….

Stage three was neutralized due¬†the risk of altitude sickness. We started at 1500m and climbed up volcano Nevado del Ruiz in one go, to almost 4200m and then rode for 1h along the flank of it. This volcano is 5400m hight and the second highest Volcano in the northern hemisphere. One of the most active in the world! 1985 was it’s last eruption and wiped out a whole town during the night. 22’000 people died!

I enjoy this neutralized stage and had time to take picutes, lots of pictures:

IMG_1386 IMG_1388 IMG_1392 IMG_1394 IMG_1397 IMG_1406 IMG_1429

IMG_1462

IMG_1475 IMG_1488 IMG_1497 IMG_1511 IMG_1522 IMG_1524 IMG_1526 IMG_1542 IMG_1550 IMG_1551 IMG_1559 IMG_1560 IMG_1564 IMG_1569

Rain hit us hard on the way down from the Vulano. If we would have known, we definitely would have stopped a little less. Anyway we did get freak’n cold, but luckily our hotel had hot springs and it was easy to warm up again.

Over the following days we rode through lots of coffee, banana plantations, mountains, valleys, lovely towns and always lots of cheering Colombians behind us all the way!

Esteban-4879 Esteban-5613 IMG_1366 IMG_1580 IMG_1581 IMG_1583 IMG_1585 IMG_1591 IMG_1593 IMG_1594 IMG_1595

IMG_1610 IMG_1615 IMG_1619 IMG_1620 IMG_1621 IMG_1622 IMG_1623 IMG_1625 IMG_1626 IMG_1627 IMG_1628 IMG_1631 IMG_1632 IMG_1633 IMG_1635 IMG_1640 IMG_1644 IMG_1652

We riders might became “The Legends of Eldorado” racing over the Colombian Andes, but the real legends were¬†the people behind the race, the landscape and the always cheering Colombians who made this week absolutely unforgettable for everybody! It was a huge pleasure and I will be back again!

3 Comments

  1. Andrés Arango
    August 14, 2016
    Reply

    It was a great pleasure having you in Colombia.We enjoyed meeting people like you who appreciate our country,our people and all the hard work around the race. All your comments motivate the team to work even harder for next year’s Leyenda. We hope to see you again enjoying everything Colombia has to offer. Andr√©s and Carolina

  2. Carolina
    August 14, 2016
    Reply

    The pleasure was having you here! You are always welcome!

  3. August 16, 2016
    Reply

    Lovely pictures. It looked like you really enjoyed yourself. Thanks for sharing beautiful Colombia with the world. I’m sure you made a place for yourself in their hearts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *