La Leyenda 2019 - Stage 5, Volcano
Stage 5, Volcano, is La Leyenda 2019's brand new Queen Stage, and pushes the boundaries of mountain bike stage racing to a whole new level. Leaving from the race village in Termales del Otoño at just under 2,500m, you'll turn right and start to climb up to Cerro Gualí via a steady, dirt road with humid, verdant green jungle all around. You'll notice the lush vegetation gradually be replaced by intriguing, cactus like, Frailejones, as you reach 4,000m in the Páramo, one of the world's most unique environments. These are high altitude and incredibly fast evolving ecosystems, only located in the Tropics and home to peculiar flora and fauna, as well as being a vast supply of fresh water in Colombia.
Just after 25km, you'll enter Los Nevados National Natural Park at Las Brisas and pass the first aid station of the day, where hot agua de panela will be available to warm the body, before you ascend even higher. After a few more kilometres of climbing in the thinning air, the landscape suddenly changes to a lunar-esque desert, unlike anything you've seen so far in La Leyenda, and probably ever before! Hairpins then line the final ascent up to the Crater La Olleta, the summit of La Leyenda 2019 at 4,700m and the highest point we've ever taken racers, next to the crater of one of Colombia's most famous volcanoes, Nevado del Ruíz, and a worthy place to crown the Kings and Queens of the Volcano. Probably the highest aid station in world cycling awaits you, so take some time to appreciate these incredible atmospheric surroundings, before starting the long descent.
A fast, sandy volcanic track takes you 10km through the National Park, and back down to Páramo level, and then El Cisne, the highest point of La Leyenda 2017 and 2018, and the location of the third aid station of this mighty Queen Stage. The longest descent of the race continues, past more rural farms, the huge 130m Molinos waterfall, and a final short ascent to the finish at Termales del Otoño. You can have a well deserved dip in the thermal springs to ease your legs and be proud to know that you are now within one stage and 24km of becoming a 2019 Legend. 106km, 3,465m of ascent, including going over the top of a volcano at 4,700 masl...the Queen Stage of Queen Stages...done!