Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 107 (381km): The law of averages finally caught up to me

We made a conscious decision this morning to not do any more touristy things. Quite frankly I’m a bit sick of it and I’m more interested in getting a move on and riding some of the sick roads in Peru. So we were no longer fixated on going to Cali. We just left Medellin this morning and we were going to get to wherever we got to. 
Saying goodbye to Hostal Medellin
The owner of the Hostel, Claudia, gave us directions on how to get out of town. It was actually quite easy; a welcomed change. We were taking a slight detour and driving to Manizales, Periera and Armenia on our way south since we were told this was the scenic and best way to go. 
Some of the scenery on offer

The first part of the journey was narrow twisty roads. I had anticipated us going into the mountains so I thought it was going to be pleasantly cool. We did go into the mountains, but the temperature remained hot. We saw a sign declaring that we were driving the coffee route so we knew we were on the right track. The scenery was okay (nothing like what we saw driving south to Medellin or in the Santander Province) but the experience was completely ruined by the drivers. Not only was it hard to enjoy the ride because we were constantly driving from one slow moving truck to another but we were constantly driving in fear of oncoming traffic being in our lane. This has been a theme throughout Colombia. 
Lots of green scenery
And then it happened; the law of averages finally caught up to me. We had had several encounters with vehicles driving in our lane but today I had the worst one. I was following a car, and behind me was a large truck. I was coming downhill, around a corner. When I came through the corner there was a large truck in our lane. It was an OH SHIT moment. The car in front of me braked hard, and then I braked hard and for a few short moments I was sure I was going to run into the back of the car. Somehow I didn't (thank you ABS again?) but I did fall over. The combination of coming downhill, leaning through a corner and a slight slope on the actual road all conspired against me. Braking so hard to avoid crashing into the car in front of me completely shifted the weight of my bike and it was too much for me to hold up.

So there I was with a bike lying on it's side in the middle of the road. Thankfully the truck behind me didn't run me over but due to his large size and the way he was taking the corner he was now blocking traffic (because he was stopped for me). Alberto was nowhere to be found because he had gone up ahead. I motioned for some guys (who were stopped in the opposite lane) to help me pick up my bike. About 3 guys helped me pick it up and I could tell by their expressions that they were surprised with how heavy it was. I quickly took off once I had got back on the bike a little embarrassed as I was holding up traffic but also totally freaked out from the whole incident because I was sure I was going to crash. I don't even know what happened to the truck that was in our lane. All I can remember is watching the bumper of the car in front of me coming closer and closer.

I spent the rest of the twisty sections a little more nervous than normal. That is the second time I’ve come around a corner to find a huge semi in my lane. And what is most frustrating is that there is nothing you can do about it and no way to foresee it. The bike was fine, I was more or less fine (a little sore in my leg) but I want to get away from the terrible Colombian drivers as fast as I can. Another reason why we are no longer interested in lingering in Colombia.
The ride got boring
We had entered sugar cane territory
Once we got to Periera the road flattened and straightened out. We had originally planned to go to Armenia but were finding the scenery and riding unimpressive so we cut our losses and followed the signs to Cali instead. At around 4pm we started our search for a fook (f*ck) hotel. It took us a little while because most of the hotels seemed to be for the Northbound traffic and the road was divided. Shortly after passing, a bizarre accident scene on the road: ambulances, police and a crashed airplane, I spied a nice looking fook hotel. For under 20 CAD we had a huge room and, according to the advertisement, all the toys you need. Alberto was disappointed that the tv only had one channel though. 
Putting our sexy chair to good use

1 comment:

  1. Nomes, I am glad you are ok after your accident! that sounded really scary and that it could have had a way worse outcome. be careful i dont want anything to happen to my little nomesy!