PROLOGUESunday 30th July 2017
Stage cut off time: 5 hours
Starting in the main square in Manizales, Caldas' biggest city, you'll be cheered on by thousands of people as you start your journey towards becoming a 2017 Legend. Your brakes will get a good work out in the 43km Prologue, as you as leave the city you'll descend the steep Colibrí Downhill before heading all the way down to the Guacaica River and the antique wooden Arabian suspension bridge. A short 200m climb follows up to the Lisbon Height before you carry on heading down, crossing the Chinchina River, and finally arriving to La Rochela and its tropical heat at just over a 1,000m where you'll be for the next two nights.
Stage 1: COFFEEMonday 31st July 2017
Stage cut off time: 8 hours
Stage One is a circuit day that will take you around the south western part of the Caldas department. You'll start directly inside the race village followed by a short, windy, steep ascent through verdant coffee plantations, then onto a descent taking you to the Hacienda Santa Elena where you'll see numerous orange orchards as you climb up to the Hacienda Moravito with views of Lago Dan Fancosco, or La Esmeralda, on your right hand side. Another descent and several easy kilometres alongside a canal await, before you take on the steep climb up to the day's high point at Hacienda La Miranda at just over 1,700m. From there you'll head down, passing the village of El Trebol with all its residents cheering you on, then descend some more to Lago La Esmeralda. The route then re-emerges at Hacienda Santa Elena, where you turned off on 15km, and covers the same tracks back to La Rochela for you to finish the first proper stage of La Leyenda 2017.
Stage 2: JUNGLETuesday 1st August 2017
Stage cut off time: 11 hours
After being eased into La Leyenda 2017 over the first two days, this is the day when things really move up another level. Setting out early from La Rochela you'll cycle a few kilometres before suddenly arriving to stunning views of the powerful Cauca River, one of the most important in Colombia. The town of Arauca has expanded on the steep banks of the Cauca and you'll descend through its tightly packed streets, cross the river and start a short ascent on tarmac. You turn off to pass numerous orange orchards that thrive in the tropical temperatures, before having to cross back to the eastern banks of the Cauca, this time by way of an old suspension bridge! You'll have to keep your eyes looking ahead and ignore the vibrations, but you'll then begin the first substantial climb of the day after passing through the town Km 41. When you reach approximately 42km the steepest climb of the race awaits, 'The Drain.' You'll find out the reason for its name as you creep up it over the next several kilometres! Thankfully once you arrive at the village of Felicia you'll be welcomed by one of the most spectacular views of La Leyenda 2017 which will no doubt spur you on, as will the local school children! The climb continues at a more gentle gradient all the way to the top of Pan de Azucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain), with a short descent to follow to take you past the town of Aranzazu. However, there's still another 40km of undulating tracks before you arrive to the beautiful colonial town of Salamina making this day truly deserve its full 5 cogs difficulty rating.
Stage 3: SALAMINA XC CIRCUITWednesday 2nd August 2017
Stage cut off time: 3 hours
The colonial town of Salamina was undoubtedly one of the highlights of La Leyenda 2016 and the rural town's steep streets and dramatic location, perched on top of a mountain, make it an ideal location for a Cross Country Stage. Your start time will depend on your category, but you'll leave the main square and wind your way through the maze like streets where the whole town will be cheering you on, before passing the Plaza Bolivar once more and descending past the stadium to the 1.5km singletrack. If you're feeling adventurous you can take on the banked corners and you’ll definitely enjoy the challenge of getting down the course as fast as you can, before emerging for the ascent back to the town and the cheering crowds to start another lap. All racers will need to complete three laps of the 8km circuit.
Stage 4: LEGENDThursday 3 August 2017
Stage cut off time: 10 hours
You'll have faced testing descents, steep climbs and tropical temperatures so far, but Stage 4 is the first day when you experience high altitude Colombia. Luckily, the ascent from Salamina to San Felix is fairly gentle and steady, and takes you past some beautiful countryside as well. You'll see the incredibly tall and skinny wax palms, the national tree of Colombia, and pass tiny villages and schools whose students will be cheering you on as you make your way up the green slopes of La Culebrita (little snake), so called because of the number of switchbacks. The climb peaks at just over 3,600m and from the chilly summit you'll be glad to know that there's basically 35km of descent with just a slight uphill, before you arrive at the eerie surroundings of Cementos Caldas, an abandoned cement factory on the outskirts of Neira. You'll then be transported to Termales del Otoño and be able to relax your legs in the thermal springs on offer and recharge before the final two stages of La Leyenda del Dorado 2017.
Stage 5: VOLCANOESFriday 4th August 2017
Stage cut off time: 11 hours
A waterfall, two volcanoes and three tough ascents, the Queen Stage of La Leyenda 2017 has it all! You'll be well rested as you start from Termales del Otoño with a quick descent and the first climb of the day will take you up to the first aid station with the impressive Molinos waterfall close by. Here the long, but steady, 25km ascent up the Western side of Nevado del Ruíz really begins and you'll feel the air getting gradually thinner and the temperature more chilly as you climb higher and higher. The volcano becomes ever more dramatic and mystical as you eventually arrive to the race summit at 3,850m, where the first male and first female team reaching the top will be crowned 'King' and 'Queen' of the volcano, a special jersey awarded just for this stage. From there you'll weave around the base of Nevado Santa Isabel, the second volcano on the ridge, before starting the long descent with rewarding views of Manizales in the distance, if the weather permits. You drop around 2,000m and once you've reached the Río Claro another cruel 10km ascent awaits up to El Pindo, from where you'll be able to see the finish at Termales del Otoño. One more steep descent, a final short climb and we imagine you'll be straight in the thermal springs and happy that there's only more stage to go until you're officially a 2017 Legend! Queen Stage...done!
Stage 6: EL DORADOSaturday 5 August 2017
Stage cut off time: 4 hours
This is it. With over 450km and 15,000m of ascent in your legs, you'll be feeling tired and fatigued, but only 29km now lie between you and your teammate being crowned Finishers and Legends of La Leyenda del Dorado 2017. You'll leave Termales del Otoño and after a short descent, start a steep 5km climb up Alto de La Morena, taking you back up to 2,600m. A fast, flowing single track descent follows to the valley floor, and from there there's just one more ascent that takes the final ascent figure over a staggering 16,000m. There's a water point in the wood to keep you going up to the top of La Tomatera and from there it's all down into the city of Manizales, where you started 7 stages earlier. The main road, the Avenida Santander, will be closed for the race and you'll receive a Champs-Elysee style welcome as thousands of people push you onto the finish line. You'll arrive to the Plaza Bolivar and upon crossing the finish line become part of a select group to have completed The Everest of Mountain Biking! You'll receive your medal and Finishers T-shirt and be able to rest in the afternoon, ready to celebrate at the end of Race Party that night with your fellow Legends. Well done indeed!