The Colombian Coffee Zone Cycling Tour started today. My first visitors from Canada arrived the previous night to join me on a cycling journey through Colombia’s coffee zone, or zona cafetera. I have heard nothing but great things about this part of the country, and have been anxious to check it out for myself. Let the journey begin!
Here we are in Medellin. This is the freshest we’ll look all week.
Let me introduce Wilma and Etienne, two close friends of mine from my home city in Canada: Calgary. We have ridden together for about four years now. All of us enjoy the finer things in life: good friends, great food, strong coffee, and hot spandex. These shared interests were part of the reason that when they expressed interest in coming to Colombia to visit me on the Colombian Coffee Zone Cycling Tour I was very excited.
Climbing to the top of Minas Pass made us hungry. Lunchtime.
I had told Wilma and Etienne before arriving that the people in Colombia are extremely friendly, and that we’ll be asked very often what we’re doing and where we’re from, with genuine interest in our trip. Today the Colombians didn’t disappoint. Before we even got out of Medellin, we were approached by Camilo, a fellow cyclist who spoke English very well. He road with us for a while, chatted, and wished us well wishes for our trip.
Then when climbing up Minas Pass we were stopped for a break, and a man named Mario stopped, told us he was a fellow cyclist, and offered us ice. These two events, along with many friendly honks and waves were nice reminders of just how amazingly friendly the Colombians are.
Etienne admiring the view.
The climb was a challenge, especially with our bikes all loaded up, but the other side was over an hour of descending. We lost over 2000m of elevation from the top until we arrived in La Pintada. Enjoyable descent, as long as you didn’t think about how we were going to climb that same hill in about 10 days. Ouch.
Bike porn with a great view.
We arrived in La Pintada just before dark and found a nice, clean place to stay. The first day is in the legs, and it was a great day on the bikes with amazing friends. Couldn’t have asked for much more, other than maybe a personal masseuse. Any masseuse’s out there want to join us? We could use a chef too.
Me and Wilma near the top of the descent. A bit cold, so we had extra layers on.
One day down in the Colombian Coffee Zone Cycling Tour. Amazing riding. Truly spectacular views. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings.
Totals for Day 1 of the Colombian Coffee Zone Cycling Tour
-800 vertical meters of climbing
-2000 vertical meters of descending