Stats: 49.28 miles, 14.4 avg, 33.9 max, 3:25 hours
The mountains began after I passed through San Alberto. After biking 40 miles through intense heat, I was struggling up the hot incline. I wanted to quit, but I felt I had to get to Bucaramanga, about another 40 miles away. I stopped to rest in some shade, and I put my thumb out to a passing truck. It didn’t stop. Destiny, I guess. I had heard that hitchhiking was difficult in Colombia. So, I got back on the bike. 100 yards later, I passed a stopped box truck. The driver taking a pee, and as I passed he said something to me. I asked if he was going to Bucaramanga. He told me to get in. Flow like water.
Henri was really friendly. He joked around and asked me lots of questions, and I did my best to understand and answer them. After a few minutes of getting to know me, Henri told me that he could give me another ride the next day as he’d be driving his delivery truck further towards Bogota, and that I would be welcome to stay at his house in Bucaramanga with his family.
Henri was reckless on the road. He didn’t have any patience as he’d overtake cars around blind curves. He risked both our lives frequently. At one point, there was a huge line of semi-trucks struggling up a bend in the mountain. Henri boldly went for it. I braced myself up against the back of the seat as we spent 15-20 seconds in the oncoming lane. His intuition worked.