Day 83 - October 24th

So today we decided to mix things up a bit and try something not related to travel, culture, history, architecture, etc. Today was a mountain bike day! The hostel we were staying at rented mountain bikes for the day, and a German ex-pat living there knew all the trails and secret spots. After a quick breakfast, we jumped into a truck to shuttle us to the top (because we're lazy and out of shape!) A half hour later, we were almost at the top when Thomas (the German) told us we couldn't drive any further because we were almost out of gas. Perfect. The last 3 or 4 kms uphill were a bit of a slog, especially when the elevation is over 3200m, but we made it. 
At the top of the pass was an abandoned school. It consisted of one main classroom, a bathroom, and a small back storage room. The windows were all smashed out and graffiti was drawn on all the walls. One part said "no mas guerra", or "no more war". The school was abandoned around the time of the civil wars, so about 15-30 years ago or so. (Disclaimer - don't quote this blog for any actual historic research purposes - it's probably wrong.) It was cool seeing the location of the school... It seemed as though it was in the middle of nowhere! All that was around it was farmers' fields, cows, and steep mountain ridges... Not what one would expect. Another cool thing about the area was that the trail we were riding was originally built and used for guerrilla warfare. Apparently Simon BolĂ­var (a major historical figure in Colombia who liberated many countries from Spain) used the trail way back in the day. Pretty cool.
After a quick snack beside the school, we hit the trail. It started riding along an epic ridge line, with grassy slopes falling away to either side for hundreds of metres. You could see down into the valleys and to the other ridges coming off the mountains. It was absolutely stunning. After avoiding some cows, we stopped at a barbed wire gate. Thomas opened it, and we went through into the yard of a farmer family. We stopped, said hello, and they made us all coffee. Pretty sweet deal.
After the break, we kept going on the trail. It was an excellent combination of fast and flowy, slow and technical, ups and downs, forest and fields... It had it all (besides big jumps). So much fun. After about three hours, we made it to the bottom.
On our way back to town, we saw a rather unfortunate incident. Two puppies were playing close to the top of a 4m cliff, lost their footing, and fell to the road below. One landed on top of the other, causing the bottom one to break his leg. So sad. After calming it down, somebody came to take it to their house to nurse it back to health. Hope for all the best for you, young puppy.
Once back in town, we had a meal and a beer. Post sports beers are always a good time. Unfortunately, we enjoyed it for a bit too long... Just as we were about to leave, the rain hit. Oh well. Guess we get a nice wet ride home.
Back at the hostel, we spent the afternoon/evening pretty relaxed. Napping and reading was really the only thing on the agenda after the big day of riding. A bit later on, Johanna came over to our hostel to hang out and play a game or two. A couple more cervezas was more than enough to put us to sleep.

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