Book update and recent bike rides

Oct. 26, 2021

Hi, It's been too long since my last blog. This one is an update about my book and a couple of recent bike rides. The book was with the editor recently, and she finished with a half-dozen suggestions for changes. I've been working hard on those and the final changes will require rewriting the last two chapters, but that's okay because it will be a better story when I'm finished.

I am still hoping to see it released early in 2022, so keep an eye out here and on my various social media sites for updates.

A few months back, actually, more than a few, it was in March, I think, I bought a bicycle. It's a road bike, Gios Road Pro. So, the gearing is for more-or-less flat terrain. But, being that I live in a town at the base of the Andes Mtns, I've been using it in the mountains, also. In the photo albums, you can find pictures of the towns of El Dovio and Versalles, and the communities of Sabanazo and Cajamarca, all of which are in the mountains. Getting up and over the pass between Roldanillo and El Dovio isn't all that hard, but getting to Versalles, oh my god! There are two ways to get there from the "highway" and, of course, the route I chose was the difficult route. In fact, it is so steep there was no way I could pedal my bike up the mountainside. I walked/pushed the bike a couple of kilometers and that was difficult. I've never come across a steeper road. But, the views and scenery were incredible.

For comparisons:

  • Roldanillo, where I live, is around 985 meters elevation, about 3230 feet. Average afternoon highs around 29°C. (in the low 80's F.). Population: approx. 33000
  • The pass is at 1727 meters, or 5666 feet
  • El Dovio is at 1440 meters, or about 4700 feet. Average afternoon highs in the low 22, 23 C. (low 70's F.) Population: approx. 9000
  • Versalles is at 2694 meters, about 8838 feet. Average afternoon highs around 21 C. (70 F.) Population: approx. 7000

After visiting Versalles I rode back home via Sabanazo (a community of around 120 people) and the city of La Union. The road between Versalles and La Union is not in the best of condition. There are a few kilometers of it that barely has any crumbling asphalt left and is mostly potholed dirt, the rest of the road has potholes. This route I won't be riding again. Instead, I'll just use the Roldanillo - El Dovio - Versalles route, it's in good condition.

I've also ridden south in the Valley to the city of Riofrio, but I had a flat on the way and I discovered my tire pump was broken. I used it a few weeks ago and it worked fine. Why it was broken is beyond me, so I had to walk to find an air pump, which was 1 - 2 kilometers. So, by the time I reached Riofrio, it was already 3:30 in the afternoon which meant I had no more than 2 1/2 hours of daylight left to get home. It wasn't easy, but I made it with a little time to spare.

The ride should have been quicker but right now I have only 4 speeds available, the two front chainrings and the bigger 2 cogs on the freewheel. That's because the shifter for the rear derailleur is broken and only works for the top to gears. Maybe in November I'll buy a set of shifters/brake levers (they're integrated).

If you explore my photo gallery for Colombia you'll see many cities visited, most of them are small towns here in Valle del Cauca. Some are towns and some are communities. Here in the northern half of the Valley, the actual cities are Cartago, La Union, La Victoria, Roldanillo, Zarzal, Riofrio, and Tuluá (I haven't visited Tuluá, yet). The other places visited here in the Vally are all very small towns or communities.