La Leyenda 2019 - Stage 2, River
Stage 2, River, is the day that La Leyenda 2019 really kicks into gear! It's a 6am dawn start from La Rochela, with a few rolling kilometres taking you to the town of Arauca and the first views of the powerful Cauca River, one of the most important in Colombia. After passing through the narrow streets and crossing the river, you'll soon be off road again, with orange orchards lining the next 10km or so. You'll then be reacquainted once more with the Cauca, but this time the crossing is by way of the stunning old suspension bridge that featured in La Leyenda 2017. The sun will be rising and glistening off the water as you cycle across it, making sure to look straight ahead of course, and the sounds of the rapids will soon be replaced by the screams and whistles of thousands of spectators as you arrive to the town of Km 41.
There's a gradual climb over the next 20km or so, passing more rural villages alongside citrus and coffee farms, with views behind of the Cauca valley you're climbing out of, before you arrive to the original and now infamous, "The Wall I." Returning to the Leyenda route after a one year absence, it's a 2.6km beast, taking you up 423m, with sections of up to 35% and an average gradient of 16%, you'll soon see why we named it so! Thankfully once you arrive at the village of Felicia you'll be welcomed by one of the most spectacular views of La Leyenda 2019, which will no doubt spur you on, as will the local school children. The climb then continues at a more gentle gradient all the way to the top of Pan de Azucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain), with a short descent to take you past more packed streets and local festivities in the town of Aranzazu, featuring on the Leyenda route for a third time.
After Aranzazu there's a new climb to take riders to El Perro, the stage summit at 2,100m, and a narrow ridge with breaktaking views on either side, especially towards Salamina across the valley, your goal for the day. A descent then follows to the Río Chamberí, and the final climb upto Salamina, one of Colombia's most beautiful towns with spectators lining the final steep ascent to finish the stage outside the church in its beautiful tree lined plaza. 104km and almost 3,500m of ascent done in the longest point to point stage...this is what La Leyenda's all about!