Group of four: Salento – Ibague

It might all be pavement from here until Mocoa, somewhere south near the Colombia-Ecuador border. Luckily, we found some riding buddies for the next chapter of our ride. Some amigos are a nice welcome addition to make for a fun ride and take the edge off the anticipated boredom that pavement brings. Plus we are excited to share the road once more with other two-wheel travelers. Come to think of it, we have not ridden with another soul since Costa Rica. 

There’s actually a dirt route connecting Salento to Ibague. I admit to play some sleight of hands when I asked them to come along with us and then mentioning it’ll be some dirt road fun after they agreed. The two, Raimon and Bernardo, gamely said yes nonetheless. So we live to ride dirt another day once and for all and this time as a group of four.

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Meet Raimon riding his cyclocross specific Specialized rig with a trailer in tow.
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And Brazilian photographer Bernardo. He’s the relative newbie between us four having “only” ridden for a month prior to this. But he proves to be a tough one all the while cycling with a cruiser handlebar.

The group blew apart as soon as we left the outskirt of Salento mostly because of the initial    20km gradual climb. But no pressure as Dang and Raimon patiently waited for us on top albeit on freezing ass.

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There’s alway a reason to go slow though. Lush green carpet abound.
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And the on and off fog to cool it off on the climb.
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Bernardo chilling’ like any true Brazilian.

 

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Sadly we were not able to enjoy the view from the top.
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But riding down was a blast
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Cloud making it all the more dramatic
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We pass curious locals, these ones shepherding a hog.
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Maniac Raimon barreling down the valley. He’s a very capable bike rider and can hang with the Plus tire riders.

 

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Although his bike does not agree. Search and Rescue ensues with a bit of CSI Investigation techniques adapted. Question of trajectory, velocity and one good ‘ol police work are involved.
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An hour passed, squeezing our brains for would-be scenarios. There’s no way we can hide a bright yellow duffel bag somewhere on the side trail and expect nobody will discover it.
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Eureka! We decided to do one last sweep and luckily found the cute tire albeit in the deeper part of the side-cliff.
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Happy once again!
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Bernardo busted out some locally sourced chocolate bars hidden in his pannier to celebrate our eureka moment.
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And then Reimon is back at it, this time with little bit care. The trailer was still bouncing though, at one point about a foot high, to my shock.

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I waited for Raimon to pass through this deep puddle. As I expected, he did bomb it.
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You’re wellcome Toche for welcoming us.
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Not sure I’ll paint my house with this screaming colors.
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The 21st century travelers. Always connected.
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My flowery long pants procured long ago in Mexico still alive and making its come back in chilly Colombia.
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What else can I mail back home?
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We rolled our of Toche early motivated by the hot spring somewhere close ahead.
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We saw kids with warm smiles instead
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Dang pondering and still hoping to find the mysterious hot spring
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We did pass a stream with hot water, everyone was not in the mood for a bath by then.
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Osprey Raptor 14. It takes discipline not to overload this pack because the suspension helped with lightening up the load. I limit its load to my 11″ Macbook Air and the helmet if it’s not in use. Ok, and the Arc’Teryx shell too if I’m in a hurry.
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Back to riding, we passed some fincas and was offered fresh milk and to go along side with panela for the sweet toothed among us.
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Bernardo’s Colombia-bred steel steed getting baptized with Colombian dirt.
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We’ll see if we can convert him to shed some of the weight he’s carrying.
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The main road to Ibague on the other side of the valley.

Luckily, we opted for this route. We could hear from our vantage point the revving engines of trucks on the other side of the valley. Simply put, that road on the other side is busy. We arrived in Ibague before sundown, showered all the dirt for the last couple of days and ended the day with a round of beer.

Our route: Salento – Toche – Ibague

If you’re a more visual hombre, you can view the GPS track here.

 

 

 

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