Two-day bike ride

November 22, 2021

The other day I mapped out a route to ride. It would be a loop of around 100 kilometers. Nothing much to get excited about. Until I got out of the city and started into the actual route.

First, leaving my town (Roldanillo) I have to cross the Cauca River. Right now the bridge is not open because there is a new being built. It is scheduled to open in about a month. So, that means, for cyclists, motorcyclists, and walkers, we take a "ferry". The ferry is a boat that has had a few extra planks added to it so it can carry motorcycles. Once across the river, there is a long straight ride into the town of Zarzal. So far, so good. I rode through the small city and found the road that leads out of town to a pueblo called Lemones (see photo album), then after that a pueblo called Vallejuelo (see photo album). That road, from Zarzal to Lemones to Vallejuelo, is not paved. It is dirt, gravel, rocks, sand, clay, and lots and lots of puddles. Potholes full of water, puddles as wide as the road full of water. Clay holes full of water. It was absolutely awful! The view in Google Maps street view shows a decent enough road to ride. But that Google view is a few years old. Did I tell you, that road is awful! In that section, I averaged only 8 kilometers per hour, or 5 miles per hour.

Once in Vallejuelo, I rode around in the little pueblo and took some pics, then found my way to the highway, there were two choices - one dirt road and the other paved. I chose the paved road. That took me to a tiny pueblo called Quebrada Nueva (see photo album). It was only a 40 minute 10-kilometer ride.

The next leg was Quebrada Nueva to Corozal. This short section, about 7 kilometers, took about 20 minutes. It includes a hill climb called "I-40 Climb". The climb is only 1.2 kilometers but it's a 6.8% climb.

From there the route to Caicedonia (see photo album) was hilly, mostly gaining elevation, but nothing exciting until just before entering the small city. There is an incline of 5.2% for about 2/3 of a kilometer. After that, the city, which is itself quite hilly. I have seen photos of Caicedonia on google but what I found was less pretty. It's not an ugly town, but it's not quite what the photos show, anymore. The city has a population of around 30,000.

The ride from Caidedonia to Sevilla (see photo album) is about 20 kilometers, almost all of which is an incline, most of which is between 6% - 7 1/2%, with a short bit of more than 9%. After reaching the highest point there's a small drop into Sevilla. This small city sits high in the hills at about 1600 meters (5300 feet). It's a very pretty town. Lots of decoratively painted buildings and homes, two nice plazas (main parks), a soccer stadium, and a bustling downtown. The population is somewhere around 44,000.

Leaving Sevilla means going downhill. All that uphill climbing results in a lot of fast and furious downhill rolling. About 10 kilometers of zooming down the mountainsides into a small, and very beautiful valley, then it's back to climbing up the other side of that small valley. that involved a few climbs of 5 - 6 1/2%, generally. There are 3 false summits before reaching the real summit, then a quick 5-kilometer blast down the other side and to the town of Uribe (see photo album). I had to actually slow down because I was stuck behind a bus. I decided to pass the bus on a wet road at about speeds of 45 - 60 kilometers per hour wasn't too smart.

From Uribe to home was an easy mostly flat 26-kilometer ride at around 30 kilometers per hour. The entire trip, which included a lot of exploring in the pueblos and towns, added up to 147.3 kilometers (91.5 miles). Back in my younger days that was an easy less-than-a-day ride. This particular ride, with its awful dirt/mud road, the many climbs, and the time exploring, meant I spent the night in a hostel (see photo album) in Sevilla. That was quite pleasant. For COP$50,000 (US$12.74) I got a big room and breakfast. And it was located across the street from the town's main plaza, in the center of the city.

It was a long, strenuous ride, and at my age, I'm definitely not up to doing such a ride in one day any longer. But that's life, right? It was fun, though.