[Saturday]
The road to Bogotá is excellent- the surface is good, which makes climbing much easier.
Both of my brakes were squeaking a lot, so I spent this morning fixing this, and giving my bike a little attention generally. Unfortunately, this left me cycling in the hottest part of the day- Pamplona was not that far, but being about 2000m above where I started from, not all that much fun. I set a gentle pace, and stopped in the shade in various places. I asked a couple of fruit sellers along the way about how safe the road was – evidently safety isn’t an issue at all (contrary to what I’d heard) One who I bought some water from suggested that camping was fine, within reason- did I have a tent..? So it seems I’ll have my first night under canvas soon enough.

Tonight finds me in Bochalema, a small town a few kilometres off the main road.
I hadn’t even made it to the main square before I was ambushed by a whole family who gave me water, told me where to stay, and tried to persuade me to stay longer. It’s a surprisingly lonely thing travelling as I am, but today has been really good. I’m not sure what I expected to find, but there is a good energy here. The square is buzzing with people of all ages.

Objective tomorrow is Pamplona at 2300m, which if the road carries on as it has, shouldn’t be too bad. It isn’t actually that far, but it’s a stiff climb of about 1200m. The road tops out some 70km after that at 3400m- that will be hard work indeed, just being at that height; I have no idea how long that will take.

A sharp descent of more than 2000m will take me to Bucaramanga, where I’ll have to decide whether to carry on, or head west towards Medellin.

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