TOURING REPORT: MARCH 2017

COLOMBIA

Rested and caffeinated up it was sadly time to leave the town of Jardin. A mammoth climb out of the valley awaited us, topping out at 9400ft, it would be the highest we’ve climbed so far, and to make matters more interesting it would be on loose gravel with grades between 7% to 10% until we reached the pass. It took us two days to travel the 36 miles of this gravel hell. Navigating thick mud, pushing and pulling the bike over deep holes and wearing out the brakes on the thrilling descent down to the town of Riosucio. It was hard and stressful, but worth it for all the incredible sights along the way. Waterfalls cascading through the lush green cloud forests, the wax palms (the tallest tree in Colombia) punching their giant palm leaves through the jungle canopies, and the stunning views of the surrounding Andes mountains disappearing into the royal blue horizon from the top of the pass. Just breathtaking.

A few days later and we had dropped out of the mountains and cycled along the hot and sticky Cauca Valley. We followed the shady highway South West towards the city of Cali, passing Colombia’s delicious grape region. Many welcome breaks drinking ice cold grape juice.

Cali was just ok, I didn’t warm to it like I did with Cartagena or Medellin. Not to say it’s a bad place, it just lacks the charms of what the other offer. However, Cali is famous for it’s nightlife, and it’s love of Salsa dancing. I had promised Julie that I would take dance lessons with her. Having only danced to house music in my younger days my feet didn’t really flow to the salsa beat and to be honest I didn’t realize I had such little coordination in my legs, I blame all the cycling.

Dancing over, and it was back to the saddle for the last time on this adventure, we had decided to end everything and go our separate ways after the next city of Pasto. Julie headed back to Medellin via Lima (Peru) to learn Spanish, and I packed up the tandem flew back to London to start my new chapter in my life. As sad as I am about everything ending like this, it was probably best for the both of us in the long run.

It’s been a fun year and a half. But the rest of South America will have to wait for now.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Sam

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Houses in Jardin

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Coffee Farms, Jardin

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Cable Car, Jardin

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Road out of Jardin

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Top of the Pass, looking back to Jardin.

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Loaded Tandem

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Bikepacking Setup

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Blackspire Pedals

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Colombia’s Coffee Region

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Colombia’s Coffee Region

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Misty Morning out of Popayan 

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Colombia’s Coffee Region

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Valley near El Bordo

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The Climb Up to Pasto

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Waterfalls, Veracruz
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Valley near Pasto

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Our Tandem on the Pan-American Highway

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