Colombia (Medellín): Day 2 - A Gentle Introduction (or Three!)
We left Luz-Marina's hotel, which was hard to do. This place feels like home. Denise and I shared a nice evening in the kitchen with the proprietor last night over a glass of wine. We feel as though we are old friends and were surprised at the small-world connections we discovered!
Ready to begin our ride, we met "the new guy," Zack... We didn't know what to think about the new guy with his fatter-tired hybrid bike. Zack had joined us as our photographer, which is exciting to me because we need great photos to show you all why you should join us here next Fall!
Originally from Virginia, Zack spent some time working for the U.S. State Department. This is where the travel bug bit him; he was sent all over the world to help set up embassies before the ambassadors arrived for duty. He spent some time in San Clemente, CA, has lived in various places in South America and for the moment has landed here in Medellín, Colombia with his German girlfriend, Mia. Fun, witty, young, positive entrepreneur who is a partner in a yoga blanket business called Nomadix. Look for their unique blankets at Urban Outfitters and REI. Little did he, or we know at the time, but this was the beginning of Zack's very own week-long cycling bootcamp.
Today we rode 40 miles. Some rollers (repechos) and then a 3km climb. A nice "gentle" introduction to riding in Colombia. It was beautiful. An old square and a fruit market, beautifully paved roads, and lots of Colombians out on their bikes on Sunday! Men, women and kids! I've been off the bike so I knew this trip wasn't going to feel great in my legs, but it felt great to be on the bike!
Not long after our ride, our first recovery drink arrived at our hotel room -- special delivery from Marcéla. Pink, frothy, delicious. This was the first of what would be a daily post-ride delivery. It was not expected, and I'd never had this kind of post-ride care before, but it was very welcomed antidote to post-ride thirst and fatique.
Post-ride recovery continued at a friend's craft brewery! What a truly wonderful surprise. The location of this brewery has to be seen to be believed. It is situated in a small alcove in the back of his family's home in the mountains. Impeccable. Well-designed, professional. More than a garage operation even though you could call it that. We shared pizza while we tasted three beer varieties. Pablo walked us through several steps of the production. We all helped grind coriander and inhaled the aroma of the orange peels before he added them in the final steps of the boiling process. We took a walk with the dogs, Romeo and Julietta, up the hill behind the brewery/home to see the view. We may have found our next Dude Girl photoshoot location!
After beer and pizza we visited another friend's business. Ivan is such a special individual -- not just in Colombia, but anywhere, and yet maybe moreso because of the challenges here. Ivan is the founder and director of a non-profit called Correcaminos in Colombia. The dedication of this man to the betterment of his country and to caring for young people is something so very rare. Ivan carries so much courage, fortitude, hope, and faith in an effort to create an educated, healthy, happy, society built of good humans whose roots grow from and in the love of cycling. We will share more about this amazing man and organization in an upcoming separate blog-post. It is worth its own feature.
This day was rich. At the end of it, I could not stop thinking about how closely connected we are. Who knew that my new friend, Pablo, the brew-master and his wife, Andrea, would soon be visiting California and headed straight to Russian River Brewing Company, founded my a high-school friend of mine?!
And how there are truly extraordinary people doing extraordinary (and sometimes thankless) things in every part of the world. Look for these people!