816 km down: 12,825 km to go
Back to riding today after a rest day. The first 17 kilometres from the hotel was a convoy. We were in rush hour traffic on the motorway, it was insane. I kept imagining what the police at home would do seeing a large group of foreigners riding along the motorway in the rush hour.
Every now and then a motorbike got in the middle of the convoy and then wanted to turn suddenly which added to the chaos. One of the other riders, having seen me hesitate, told me that when we had to change lanes not to hesitate because the drivers then did not know what you were doing.
The aim of the convoy, apart from leaving the city safely, is to have the slowest riders up the front. This may be the aim but human nature being what it is I am one of the last at the back within a couple of kilometres. I am not that fond of convoys due to the pressure of not keeping other riders waiting.
After the convoy there was a 21 kilometre uphill climb. After the rest by days my legs were in pretty good shape and I only had to stop a few times before the top.
I had bought a new battery for my speedometer in Medellin as the mechanic thought that would get it sorted but unfortunately this was not the case. It is disconcerting not knowing how far you have come and also hard to follow the directions.
I saw two of the riders at the summit of the climb and as I am not exactly speedy, I expected they would overtake me within a few kilometres. After I had been riding for about an hour and a half and they still hadn’t, I was pretty sure I had somehow managed to make a wrong turn. I was also pretty sure after another hour that I had missed the lunch truck.
There was a really long downhill with some steep ups. There were a few dogs that rushed out at me which is always a bit nerve wracking, as you never know if they are aggressive or not . I found out later they had had a great day rushing out at a number of the other riders. Shirley, one of the riders, was hit a few days ago whilst riding.
I was tired and hungry and started pushing my bike up the hills. A motor bike with two local chaps came past and asked me something in Spanish, but I had to say “No Spanio”. They then speed off and arrived back about 10 minutes later with a mango and oranges for me to eat. I must have looked as tired and dispirited as I felt. I said mucho gracious a few times and they speed off smiling and waving.
In much better spirits I pedalled off again. Five kilometres later – yay there was the lunch truck! Yay I wasn’t lost! Yay also to the news that it was only three more kilometres to camp! And double yay it was all downhill!
Once I got to camp, I put up my tent and I headed over to the bike clinic. The mechanic played around with my speedometer for a while but decided it was beyond fixing. One of the other riders offered to sell me their spare cats eye (a type of speedometer) for US$150, but the attachment that kept it on the bike had been cut so it would not fit around my handlebars and needed two cable ties to hold it in place. I decided that I did not want to pay the price that it cost new for something that did not fit my bike. So I will probably have no speedometer until Bogota, in another five days.
At this stage I realized I had lost my wallet, so I spent the next hour retracing my steps to no avail. Luckily it only had cash, not any credit cards.
I went to bed at the usual time of about 7:15pm and as I was going to sleep I heard the rain starting again. As we had come back down in altitude it was again sticky and hot.