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! 🙂
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Start of Prologue and also the start of an incredible week!
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!
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:
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!
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!