Interval training

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, November 26, 2012

We had our usual oatmeal breakfast, packed up and set off at 8am. We cycled to the end of the road and I pulled into a bakery for a coffee.  It just seemed like the proper way to start the day, and although Kory shook his head at my need to start the day with a hot beverage, he quickly jumped on the bandwagon by ordering himself two, along with two doughnuts.

As we cycled out of town we instantly hit a hill, which lasted for a couple of kilometres and then instantly went back down again, only to be faced with an identical hill.  To sum up a long and tiring day, this is how the whole day went and how we cycled the 85km to Popayan.  We would slog up the hill, at 4-6kms per hour, and the 2-3km that we covered would take us at least half an hour.   By the time we reached the top, we were pouring with sweat and our hearts would be pounding out of our chests.  We would immediately descend the same distance but of course, going downhill this would only take a few minutes; just long enough for our heart rates to return to normal and the sweat to dry on to our sticky faces.  Then we would instantly start to climb again; it felt like interval training. 

We knew that we had about 1000m to ascend and it was really frustrating to make up the elevation, only to drop back down again.  At one point Kory and I both noticed at the same time that we were amongst coffee plantations again, so we realised that we must be around 1500m elevation.  It felt good to be able to read the land in this way and use the knowledge that we have gained whilst travelling here to help us navigate around.  Of course, it didn't make much difference though as we just had to follow the road and quickly descended again. 

We stopped for a quick lunch, which was fairly unremarkable, other than somehow, the drink that came with it, which is normally orange juice or lemonade, tasted like it had been smoked.  It was very strange and quite horrible but we weren’t actually sure how it would happen, that the juice would taste like a smoky fire.   Thankfully our luck was in and the shower that had been threatening all day broke whilst we were in the restaurant.  By the time, we were ready to leave, it had almost finished and we only cycled in what was a refreshing mist for a few minutes before the sun came out again.

So, all in all it was a long and tiring day, it took almost 6 hours of cycling to cover only 85km of road, and we estimate we probably ascended around 2000-2500m in total.  As we approached town, a sign said that we only had 8km left, which was welcoming news.  Somehow there were still another 6 fairly substantial rolling hills that were fit into those 8km and once we had completed those, we saw that it only took us to the turnoff for the town, and in fact we had a further 10km to go. 

So by the time we arrived into Popayan it was 4pm and we were pretty exhausted.  We checked out one hostel that was pretty unremarkable and decided to look at "Parklife Hostel" too, which was much more appealing and full of character.  The local guy who checked us in was really friendly and thought we definitely deserved a beer or two having cycled all that way, over so many hills.  After the best hot shower I have had in the country (in fact the first hot shower I have had in two weeks), life was good again.  We walked around the town area for a while and bought food from the street vendors, as it was quick and easy, before hitting the hay exhausted but happy to have made it to our destination.
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Grandma on

The country is really pretty, and so GREEN,They must get alot of moisture..... and like you say, there has been rain quite often, so helps to keep it looking so lush. Pretty tiring to cycle all those hills. Keep well and safe!!!! Love and hugs from us.

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