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Racing La Leyenda Del Dorado in Colombia

29 Aug 2017

Race report by Azu Simayila - songo.info member

We were lucky to be chosen by songo.info to go and race the mountain bike stage race in Colombia called La Leyenda Del Dorado. It's a 6 day race that consists of 480 km with 16840 m of climbing!

We flew on the 25th of July to Brazil then slept one night there, waking up the following day (26th) we then flew via Bogota, Colombia (Bogota) to Manizales where the race started. We stayed at the Bernidom hotel which was 3km from race start and had a few days to explore the beautiful town of Manizales. 

We did some few rides before the race just to get used to the altitude and we even manage to ride the prologue route which was 43km. 

 Legend

Race Days:

Prologue

Prologue                                                                                                           

At 43km the prologue was longer than most other stage races. Our plan was to take the first 20kms easy then go full gas on the last 23km -  lucky enough our plan worked well and we ended up finishing top 20 overall!

 Waiting to start

 

 Stage 1

 Stage 1 profile

The first proper stage of the race was a 68km with three big climbs and concluding with a fast flowing 20km. Lwazi and I rode well through the first climb before being gapped near the top of the climb. Our plan was to take the first stage easy just to check out the competition. After nearly 3 hours of racing, we reached the longest decent of the day with one short steep climb to the finish line. Everything went according to plan and we were happy to finish the first stage with big smiles.

 1st stage down

Stage 2

 Stage 2 profile

Stage 2 was our first taste of real Colombian climbing with 3457m+ of elevation gain in 103km! The route traveled through steep-sided coffee plantations and we knew that we going to have a long time in the saddle. After 70km of racing we started to feel the altitude but lucky enough our bodies surprised us - we felt good till the finish line in a beautiful town of SALAMINA.

 Signing in

Stage 3

 Stage 3 profile

The third stage of the race was different, it was a XC racing track with three laps. Each lap was 8km with 373m climbing and it was challenging because we never had a XC stage in all stage races we have ever done in the past. This was one of my favorite days of the stages. XC stage

Stage 4

 Stage 4 profile

By the fourth stage of the race I was starting to feel like a machine while my partner was getting fatigue, wake up and climb was the daily routine. We climbed for about 60km that took us almost 4 hours, what we liked about the stage is that we climbed in the morning and after the peak we descended for nearly two hours through high altitude meadows into the town of Cementos Caldas.

Start of stage

Views

Stage 5

 Stage 5 profile

Stage 5 of La Leyenda was the hardest stage of all with the rain during the first part of the stage not helping matters at all. The weather started to clear up as we were about to get to the top of the mountain following this was a long descent to 82km. We then had a short steep climb before we the last downhill of the stage through a flattish road to the finish line. The views of this stage was very beautiful!

Climbing   Beautiful views

 Stage 6

 Stage 6 profile

The final stage started with the pack going out at a high speed into a steep climb but by this stage in the race we were now very used to climing.  As we entered the climb I could tell Lwazi and I were both feeling great - we pushed to stay with the front group but the speed was too high for us and we ended up getting dropped after the first hill. By the time we got to the second climb unfortunately Lwazi was feeling our fast start of the stage.  We finished the final stage and race with big smiles having had a very special experience.

Final Stage

Happy at the finish

Thank you so much to the La Leyenda del dorado race organizers for sponsoring our entry and flights, Columbia is a beautiful country with very friendly people - we loved the race and are greatful for the fantastic hospitality. Also thanks to songo.info for making this opportunity possible.

 Smiles at the finish

For more information about La Leyenda Del Dorado go to https://en.la-leyenda.com 

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