San Agustin to Ecuador

15. December 2016.
Check point at the top of Mocoa pass.
After the incident at San Agustin I bought a new tire in Pitalito. In the store they guarded it like a treasure locked up in a glass showcase. Although it was a Chinese copy of a Continental's tire it cost me more than what I'd pay at home. From Pitalito to Mocoa there was the first serious pass of the trip, at an altitude of 2250 m. Pass is obviously popular among local cyclists. Early in the morning about 30 of them gathered, with road and mountain bikes, all nicely furnished with fragrant jerseys and clean wheels. Roadies stop in the restaurant 3/4 of the way, others insist to the top of the pass and enjoy a 10 km descent to the other side.
Until now, the configuration of the road in Colombia was like a hysterical biorhythm: up-down, up-down and again up and down. After Mocoa, however, so they've told me, the road is flat more or less right to the border with Ecuador. I am very skeptical how non-cyclists assess the state of the roads, but I have so far had a positive opinion about cyclists. But now, I will unfortunately have to change even this: now I do not believe them either. Methodical doubt is now finally complete.

In a smaller Colombian town.

Vista along #45.
After the town of Mocoa the road continues through the Amazonian lowlands. There I reasonably expected a break from endless hills. But, the devil is in the details. Instead of the Amazonian plane I rode through a landscape dotted with green, half-spherical collins about 30 meters in high. Looking at the shape of these hills, I remembered a Serbian whim, which can be akwardly transleted as: "one hundred people – one hundreds wits, one hundred women – two hundred tits". But, such a kind of entertainment passes quickly. When every hundred or two hundred meters you rise and descend for twenty meters, with gradients up to 10%, and it lasts hours and hours, your cycling dictionary begins to fill with not too kind words. In one such Amazonian "flat" section I recorded 525 meters of ascent in 38 kilometers - and I didn't gain a meter in altitude. In the end, it all resembled more of a skate-park than the road. For your information: the trip Bogotá - Quito is 1,268 km long and has 16,029 meters of ascent.

In Villagarzon.

Scate-park kind of road in Amazonian lowland.
In this section of the Amazon region another annoyance occured, namely the long sections of gravel and road works. If I mentioned earlier the cycling vocabulary filling with inappropriate words, here I was lost for words. Cycling nowdays reached a high degree of differentiation. Cyclists are not separated only by road or mountain bikes, today it is important how wide your tires are, whether you have rim or disc brakes, or are you cyclocrossist or „graveller“. For those enthusiasts who newly discovered the romantic mystery of gravell roads I would recommend about 15 kilometers of stony road between the towns Villagazón and La Hormiga in Colombia - surely they will experience a new kind of reality and will probably cross to the next cycling caste called not "gravellers" but "stoners".

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