Sunday, November 12, 2017

Colombia day 3: Look Dobbin, mountains!


The 6am alarm felt far too early, again, but we made it down to breakfast for 7am. It's nice to eat a hotel breakfast and not feel like you've consumed your regular calorie intake for an entire week. After running our errands and packing our bags we managed to get on the road by 8:45. The ciclovia was in full swing and the road was full of cyclists and the occasional runner as we made the turn for our main climb of the day: Patios! This is a famous local climb with thousands of cyclists attempting it every weekend. The road was still open to traffic, but was generally very tolerant of the bicycles weaving their way up. The range of cyclists and bikes was huge, though most were traveling faster than us. There were surprisingly large number of mountain bikes both hardtails and full suspension. Given the steepness of the hills, I can understand the desire for lower gears than you get on many road bikes.
Patios was a great way teave Bogota, as soon as you make the turn you are leaving the city behind and once through the crush of cyclists at the top it was into green open farm land. Despite the summit of the climb being almost 10000 feet, we never felt the need for more than shorts and a t-shirt although it would have been quite different if it had started to rain. There were still huge numbers of cyclists around and it was easy to spot our mid morning snack point by the number of bikes. Elisa had given us a great tip about a couple of roadside shacks selling the traditional arepa, a ground maize flat bread filled with cheese.



The road surfaces were quite variable, and there was a number of sections of road with roadworks, one way traffic and gravel surfaces. Dobbin of course ate them all up and we made it to Zipaquirá in time for lunch at a cafe on the main square. Colombia seems to have some similarities to France - plenty of grizzled old men on road bikes, lots of bread and many, many places to buy fresh pastries. I don't think I'm going to be losing My weight on this trip! Lunch was savory pastries filled with cheese and chicken followed by a delicious pastry with layers of honey custard between flakey pastry layers and topped with something incredibly sweet. Yum. After lunch it was a quick walk up to the big local tourist attraction - the salt cathedral. We had just missed the start of the English language tour, so it turned out to be a quick run up the hill to catch them. I haven't really noticed the altitude when cycling, but definitely know about it when walking or jogging up hill! Thus the first tourist attraction of our visit was achieved. 

 



Our first proper day cycling touring for quite some time has gone well, and we are getting back into the swing of it. Tomorrow we face some more rural roads and more climbs. We are looking forward to it.