Last weekend we had the honor to guide Shahar from Israel to his ultimate cycling goal: Crowning the Alto de Letras
Starting on Saturday morning just outside of Bogotá, we had a first warm-up day towards Mariquita. We had an amazing day of cycling with clear blue skies and views over the full Andes mountain range
The next day was D-Day, climbing non-stop for more than 80 kilometers from Mariquita to the top of Alto de Letras. Starting at just 495 meters above sea level means riding in tropical conditions, with fruit stands along the road and the sounds of exotic birds surrounding you. It was once again a beautiful day, so clear that we could see the snow peaks of the Nevado del Ruiz and Tolima right from the start
With every pedal stroke we came closer to the Nevado del Ruiz, and the view was getting better and better. It was still nice and warm, and the fruit plantations made way for the coffee fields. Soon we would be surrounded by pine forests, before finally reaching the Paramo system.
The last 15 kilometers of Letras are knowns as the most difficult. Not only because the incline goes up to 10% in multiple corners, but also because of the altitude combined with climbing already for 65 kilometers. The temperature can drop rapidly, and clouds tend to stay within the peaks. We could luckily still enjoy nice views, and could actually see the top of Letras getting closer.
We reached the top after a long but beautiful day, with a warm glow of success and forgot about the struggles along the way. Shahar was emotional after reaching the the police station at the top: “After my wedding and the birth of my children, this must be the happiest moment of my life.”