FEBRUARY 25, 2018
Long: 138 km and 2,431m of climbing
Medium: 98km and 1471m of climbing
The nearest airport, El Dorado International Airport, is west of the city’s downtown, and is located inside city limits. There are daily nonstop flights from many cities like Buenos Aires, Dallas, Miami, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Toronto on all the major airlines. A regulated taxi from the airport can cost US$10-20.
Don’t hesitate to contact GFNY Colombia at firstname.lastname@example.org
1700 riders tackled GFNY Colombia
1700 starters tackled the 3rd annual international GFNY Colombia cycling race, the world’s highest all-comers cycling marathon, finishing at 3365m. It opened the 2017 GFNY World season, which consists of 14 races around the globe. The event sold out all 1800 slots one month before the race.
Held just 30 min. outside the country’s capital of Bogota, GFNY Colombia once again had all kinds of weather conditions in store for the riders. It was windy and sunny at times but also cold and rainy on top of the 3365m-high La Cuchilla mountain, where the race’s long route finished. Nonetheless, 1378 riders officially finished the challenging course, making it the largest Colombian cycling race ever.
In the women’s race, 7-time GFNY Champion Camila Cortes was again unbeatable. After finishing fourth in the national time trial championship two days prior, she added an 8th GFNY title to her incredible palmares. Cortes finished in 3:26:06, beating Lilibet Chacon by 5 minutes with Lorena Vargas another 8 minutes back in third place (all Colombia).
In the men’s race, all contenders stayed together until the bottom of the decisive climb up to La Cuchilla. Franklyn Betancourt showed up first on top and won in 3:11:27, defeating David Molina by three minutes. Antonio Donado followed closely in third while multiple GFNY champ Gabriel Corredor had to be content with finishing fourth (all Colombia).
GFNY Colombia brings drama ahead of Campagnolo GFNY Championship NYC
High altitude, fog and pouring rain provided the 1300 racers of the second CRM GFNY Colombia a hefty challenge. The infamous La Cuchilla climb with its 11,040 feet (3365m) of elevation made GFNY Colombia yet again the highest mass participation cycling event in the world. While the course provided a dramatic setting, the men’s race had its own drama at the end.
GFNY Colombia offered two distance options: a long route of 138km / 86miles with 2439m / 8001ft of climbing and a medium route of 98km / 59miles with 1471m / 4826ft of climbing.
The town of La Calera, situated just 20 min from Bogota, was the host of the start and finish of the race. With its proximity to Bogota, La Calera is not only the weekend getaway for city people, but also the main destination for hundreds of cyclists on a daily basis.
Colombians are as passionate about road cycling as they are good at it: winning GFNY Colombia might arguably be harder than winning the GFNY Championship in New York. Past years’ New York winners Corredor and Montana, both from Bogota, are yet to crack winning on home turf. Before it even started, the tension among the leading contenders was palpable.
The Men’s Race
A big lead peloton took the first undulating miles at full gas. Even before the climb up to La Cuchilla began, first attacks were fired. 3km into the climb, it was Corredor who attacked successfully. Behind him, the group fell apart quickly. While three more riders were able to bridge to Corredor, he wasn’t happy with the pace and accelerated a few more times, seemingly unfazed about the increasingly stronger rain, wind and temperatures getting closer to freezing. Corredor later said shrugging: “La Cuchilla is always like that. No problem.”
Carlos Trujillo from Medellin stuck with Corredor while Enrique Quinones from Cajica had an incredible descent off Cuchilla, initially even dropped both leaders. A few miles later, on undulating terrain along the lake Embalse Tomine towards Sesquile, the three Colombians joined forces and it became clear that the winner would come out of this trio. None of them seemed to want to wait for the sprint to the hilltop finish just outside La Calera, but no attack was fruitful. A mishap just 5km before the finish brought a tense moment as Corredor and Trujillo crashed. Luckily both got back on their bikes quickly and worked together to get back to Quinones.
With 300m to go, Quinones opened up the sprint from the back. While Corredor had nothing left in the tank to follow, Trujillo jumped on the wheel but didn’t have it to get past Quinones before the line. But Quinones’ finish celebrations ended abruptly when the jury had to disqualify him for outside assistance. During the race, he was handed a water bottle from the side of the road. This is against the GFNY race rules because not every rider has the opportunity to position a helper along the course. Instead, the organization provides neutral feed stops at set points along the course.
Trujillo was crowned winner of GFNY Colombia in 3:48:02, followed by Corredor. Jhon Botero from Bogota finished third, four minutes back, and Campagnolo GFNY 2015 Champion Raul Montana came in fourth place.
“I trained thoroughly for a long time to win this race,” said a happy Trujillo. “I rode 7000km in the last four months and lost 10kg over the last two years to be competitive. Lots of sacrifices for a tough race that requires strength. I’m incredibly proud to have won. Let’s see what I can do in NYC!”
The Women’s Race
Colombians have a passion and seriousness for road cycling that can only also be matched by Italians. Hard training and dedication to the sport are common even in the amateur ranks. But while Italian women are still starkly underrepresented at granfondos, Colombian women love and live the sport just as much as their male compatriots. Many are as serious about racing as the elite men but groups like Bike Girls also bring style to bike racing that men can learn from.
In the women’s race, once again Camila Cortes from Bogota proved to be too strong for everyone else. The multiple GFNY winner sealed the deal up La Cuchilla and finished the race in 4:06:41. Her domination should not overshadow the strong performances of second place finisher Ana Bonilla (4:18:54, Bogota) and third place finisher Maria Cordoba (4:34:48, Bogota). Both performances are incredible considering the terrain and on a day where merely finishing the race was a laudable effort. The Campagnolo GFNY Championship in New York next month is their race to lose.
At the finish, double NYC champion Cortes was already thinking ahead: “Next stop New York! And then I plan to race GFNY Mexico City.” She of course is the hot favorite there as well given that she lives at altitude and the race is reaching even higher than La Cuchilla. But Cortes also won the pancake flat GFNY Cozumel 2015 so there really doesn’t seem to be anything she can’t do.
Overall winners as well as King of Mountain champions were tested for banned substances.
For the majority of riders, CRM GFNY Colombia was their last chance to snatch a coveted racer corral spot at the GFNY Championship in NYC on May 15, 2016. The top 10% in each age group earned one of the spots in the front of the 5000-rider peloton in NYC.
“Fully closed roads, passionate cyclists and amazing landscapes provided an incredible experience during the race. And as soon as the riders crossed the CRM GFNY Colombia finish line, they were greeted by a town square filled with over a dozen local vendors of foods, textiles, souvenirs and arts and crafts and were treated to cultural performances like dancing and drums. La Calera truly rolled out the red carpet for CRM GFNY Colombia riders. Finishing such a challenge gave the riders a huge sense of accomplishment and that festive mood carried throughout the afternoon,” adds GFNY President Lidia Fluhme, who participated in the race as well.
CRM GFNY Colombia: big success on fully closed course for World’s Highest Gran Fondo
The long-time sold out field of 800 racers enjoyed fully closed roads at the inaugural CRM GFNY Colombia on April 26, 2015. 400 police officers ensured safe racing under tough weather conditions with cool temperatures and numerous rain showers throughout the day.
Colombians Oscar Tovar and John Franklin Betancur separated themselves from the other contenders on the climb up to La Cuchilla, world’s highest granfondo climb. Its crest reaches 3,365m (11,040ft), a whopping 600m above legendary Passo dello Stelvio in Italy. Driving rain, gusting winds and temperatures close to freezing made the descent as tough as the climb. Tovar and Betancur worked well together until the last 2km climb to the finish line of the 148km/94mi race, where Tovar proved to be stronger. He won in a time of 3:52:57.
The women’s race was a sweeping win for 2013 Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York champion Camila Cortes Severino from Bogota. She stormed up to La Cuchilla and rode to a solid win in conditions similar to those in New York at the 2013 Campagnolo GFNY. Her time was 4:18:23.
Only a few racers were in the hunt for the overall win to claim the pro-level racing bike with Campagnolo Super Record components as the top prize. However, age groupers were fighting hard to be in the top 10% of their category. It was their last chance to snatch a racer corral spot for the GFNY Championship in NYC on May 17, 2015.
“Having a GFNY event in this cycling-fanatic country is an honor for us,” says Lidia Fluhme, GFNY President. “Juan Carlos Martinez and the whole CRM GFNY Colombia organization has done an amazing job pulling off the event. Take Colombian friendliness, passion for cycling and a flawless organization and you get an instant classic. Based on the overwhelming number of requests for entries this year and how well organized CRM GFNY Colombia was, we expect 1,500 riders from across the globe in 2016.”