Prologue31st July 2016
Guaduas to Guaduas The inaugural Leyenda del Dorado will begin with the race prologue at a more forgiving altitude than Bogotá. Starting in the picturesque central plaza in Guaduas, a 25km ride through cycling mad Cundinamarca, passing coffee and fruit farms will give you your first experience of the infamous climbs, devious descents and stunning scenery that await over the next week. Further on, you’ll be climbing under the shadow of towering sugar cane plantations with rare, endemic birds fluttering above. After descending into the stunning colonial town of Guaduas, you’ll be greeted by white washed buildings and tropical temperatures.
Stage 1: DESERT1st August 2016
Guaduas to Honda After climbing from Guaduas you’ll be greeted at the top by majestic views of Colombia’s largest river, the Río Magdalena. A demanding descent into the valley will follow, with steep drops, spectacular views and staggering scenery of snow-capped volcanoes in the distance, engrossing you in Colombia. As you cross the river with your arms pumping you’ll be entering the department of Tolima, and then head through hot, arid agricultural scrubland, cycling next to the mythical Magdalena, on your way to today’s final destination, the colonial river port of Honda.
Stage 2: JUNGLE2nd August 2016
Mariquita to Libano Heading west on country lanes through remote villages, you’ll get a true feel for rural Colombia. Steep sided coffee plantations line the majority of the route, leading to a descent into a jungle clad ravine with a fast flowing river cutting through it. After the final steep climb, leading to views of Libano, you’ll descend a 2.5 km downhill single track used for the Colombian National Championships into Libano.
Stage 3: VOLCANO3rd August 2016
Libano to Termales del Otoño The toughest stage in terms of altitude, we will begin our ascent from Libano through elven forest and the breath-taking (literally!) paramo landscapes, unique to Colombia, up to the snow-capped Nevado del Ruiz Volcano at 4,145m. We will then descend through the steep, lush, jungle valleys of the central Cordillera to the luxurious Hotel Termales del Otoño where you can relax in the thermal baths and marvel at the stars above you after the most arduous and spectacular climb -and descent- of the race.
Stage 4: FRONTIER4th August 2016
Cementos Caldas to Salamina After breakfast you will be transferred the short distance to the village of Neira and then head north though Caldas. A relentless, hairpin packed 2,200m climb with some of the steepest gradients of the race, fully justifies the ‘Frontier’ stage name, followed by a relatively smooth 50km descent passing through fields of terraced mountain sides with tall palm trees. The stage will finish in the historical, frontier town of Salamina, perched on a spectacular high plateau surrounded by steep sided valleys.
Stage 5: LEGEND5th August 2016
Salamina to Abejorral The toughest stage starts in the plaza, there will be a controlled start as you ride several kilometres downhill behind the pace car. Racing will be begin as you leave the road, to then pass through undulating, twisting terrain, passing directly under gushing waterfalls and giving amazing views of the coffee farms above and below. A sweeping, cruising section follows along the lines of the Río Pacora, passing by opulent sugar cane haciendas. Then you’ll finish the penultimate stage with one of those never ending Colombian ascents up to Abejorral.
Stage 6: EL DORADO6th August 2016
Abejorral to El Retiro The final stage of our journey across Colombia in search of El Dorado. We will cycle through the rolling hills containing coffee and tropical fruit filled farms, passing by quaint rural villages on our way to the steepest ascent of the race, all the way to the finish line in colonial El Retiro, on the outskirts of Medellin. At the end of the race party, complete with BBQ and a range of beverages, you’ll be able to celebrate your finish in style. Sit back, relax and reflect on your amazing achievement with your fellow Legends. Once you’ve had your fill, you’ll have the option to be transferred into Medellin or to an airport hotel nearby. For those still with energy in their legs, there is plenty of opportunity for extra-curricular South American fun in a city famed for its nightlife within Colombia.