Daily Archives: July 15, 2015

Day 1: Cartagena to Finca – 90k

90km down: 13,551km to go

The group!  (Photo credit: Tour De Afrique Instagram)

The group official start photo!
(Photo credit: Tour De Afrique Instagram)

We left the hotel and rode the first 20 kilometres in a convoy, then after that we rode at our own speed. It was so hot, it got up to 36 degrees! I’m not really used to the trip bike, have not done enough training, and am carrying too much weight – it’s not a great combination.

Official start photo!

Official start photo! (photo credit: Sue)

There was crazy traffic – big trucks, lots of scooters, horses, donkeys pulling wagons, people on motor bikes with long pieces of wood and chairs etc, whole families on the same bike. I saw milk urns being brought out to the road by a donkey. About every kilometre there were people selling mangos and water. There were quite a few check points and tolls, but bikes are able to go through for free. With the mangos you couldn’t buy just one you had to buy about 20 and I am already carrying enough weight with my gear on the bike. Every three kilometres or so there would be a highway bar run by locals with beer, water, and homemade lemonade. I bought a bit of water to pour over my head. The sun was beating down and there was a slight breeze but not enough to offset the heat. I stopped to put on sunscreen, but forgot to do my legs the first time I reapplied sunscreen and will need to wear leg warmers tomorrow to cover the sun burn on my legs but my arms were fine. Lunch stop was at the 60 kilometre point, I could quite happily have stayed there. Broke the afternoon into two stages.

Lunch stop (photo again stolen from Sue's Facebook page)

Lunch stop (photo credit: Sue)

I finally got to camp and it was still so freaking hot. We stayed at a farm for the night. There were so many chickens, chicks, ducklings, dogs and puppies, a donkey, one cat and – it turns out – roosters.

Arriving at camp

Arriving at camp (photo credit: Sue)

When I got there I had a sleep and woke up drenched. The camp was by a main highway and with the heat and the trucks it was hard to sleep. The rosters started about 4:30am and then the dogs and then the donkey chimed in. No one asked this morning “Did you sleep well?”. Some of the riders who have done a number of rides said it was the worse night they had ever had. I lay in my tent, dripping with sweat and thinking “Seriously, I want to do this because??”.

Categories: Columbia, Cycling trip, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments