Marc Gasch and Steve Graepel think the Colombian Andes have all the ingredients for an exciting, far-flung cycling adventure. The 3T – XPDTN3 COLOMBIA team went there to ride, but came to love it for so much more than the cycling.
“I’ve never been a coffee connoisseur. I tossed coffee back by the 24 oz paper cup for the pick-me-up, not the flavor. Could just as well be siphoned from the office can, pumped at a gas station, or a five-spot cup of hipster brew excreted from the pits of cherries pooped out by feral cats. I was indiscriminate.
By now I could probably have paid for a year of my child’s education at some fancy private high school…all through the purchase of mediocre coffee. But that was then, before I traveled to the equator to a place proudly distinguished as the Coffee Triangle.
Wedged between the Pacific and the Andes Mountains, just 5 degrees north of the equator, sits a small plot of Colombian soil that is acidic (laden with volcanic ash spewed from nearby Nevado del Ruiz), with mild temperatures (a mean of 70 F, 21 C, never hot, never cold … nearly always friendly to short sleeves and trousers). It gets wet. Really wet. So wet, in fact, that the rain comes not once, but twice a year, in April and October, falling in sheets, dumping upwards of three meters annually.
The yields of this trifecta? Near-perfect conditions for what some deem to be the very best coffee fruit in the world, the Coffea arabica…”
Coffee was clearly a strong theme of their riding in Colombia, but Marc and Steve were impressed by more than just the beans
All along their ride they were greeted by smiling locals in quaint, colorful little villages. ‘Round every curve in the smooth road they found more verdant vistas, with only a spot of traffic to interrupt their riding. When traffic did appear, it was mostly in the form of characterful vintage jeeps.
And that was before the awesome climbs, of which there were many. All long and steep — and all beautiful.
Think Colombia sounds like your next cycling destination? Then check out the route that the XPDTN3 team rode on this trip and save it to your own personal Collection!
Read the original blog post here.
All photos © Marc Gasch & 3T