Full of confidence I leave Guatapé, towards Montebello. The first 15 kilometers go really smooth, until I reach the first real climb. I change gears and once again the old problem pops up. The chain blocks and I have to get off. I push my bike to the side of the road, devastated and ask myself, what I should do now. And I do, what my generation does, when there is a question - Google. And it turns out I am only 600 meter away from a bike workshop.
The workshop is situated in a garage. A young man is doing woodwork next to a dusty showcase, with even dustier bicycle parts, he checks my chain and tells me to wait for his colleague. His colleague shows me the chainring and says, that I need a new one, which I can only get in Rionegro, which is 45 km away. He files the chainring, so I can get to Rionegro without big issues.
I am relieved, when I see the bicycle shop in Rionegro. Bicycles everywhere, shiny showcases with even shinier chainrings and cassettes. For the first time I am kind of relaxed. Jaime and Jorge take care of me, as if I was their own daughter. While Jaime leaves to find the solution to my problem, I am having a nice talk with Jorge. I tell him about the fundraiser and he knows straight away, what SOS children's villages are and where the Rionegro one is located at.
Jaime returns with bad news. My chainring has five screws, the ones they have, have four screws. So I am literally screwed and have two options: wait one to two weeks for the part to arrive or buy a new crank. Within five minutes I have three cranks laying on the counter in front of me. I pick the one, that is almost the same as the one, that Niklas from Little John Bikes had picked out for me.
Since the black crank turns my bicycle into a completely black bike, Jorge and I change it's name from "Little John" to "Little Black Panther".
Problem solved and off I go. I am suffering through the heat, up steep climbs on an unpaved road. Suddenly there is a loud bang and I find myself on the floor. Instantly I check my knees (my weak spots!), everything seems to be alright. I hear a loud hiss - the first flat tire of the trip... on day two. A toothpick had drilled through the tire. I take off the front wheel, change the tube, knock off the dust and get back on.
2.5 KM away from the iOverlander Spot (App for Wildcampingspots) I am loosing all my energy. Since I had to stop in Rionegro, I once again haven't eaten enough all day. Since it is already getting dark, I am standing by the road, thinking "What the fuck am I going to do?!"
A car passes me and returns a few minutes later, William, a colombian-american, who has been living in Colombia for years and years, asks me, if everything is okay. I explain the situation and when I mention the campspot, he shakes his head and invites me to sleep at his ranch, he tells me, that a colombian family, who is living there, could cook for me. I quickly listen to my gutts and they tell me: William is a good guy! (and the were so damn right! (Thank you William!))
A few minutes later I am sitting in his car, with all my stuff and we are going up the longest driveway of planet earth, to his farm. I meet Diego, Brigitte and little Emmy, a lovely colombian family, who instantly take care of me, as if I was there own daughter.
Once again I had met the right people at the right time. The next morning I leave the ranch, after a good breakfast, towards the descent to an altitude of 590 meters.
The last kilometers on the unpaved road are tough, but then I ziczac down through amazing landscapes.
I enjoy crushing 20-25 km per hour and around early afternoon I reach my campspot for the night. Next to the main road, a family lets me stay next to the "natural pool" they are operating. For only three euros I can go for a swim, camp and eat.
The family of three generations lives under one roof, in simple conditions. After dinner they all jump into the pool together and I listen to them shouting and laughing for a very long time.
The way this family is living together, makes me realize once again, that the people in our lives are the most important thing. At the end of the day it doesn't matter, what we own and have, it comes down to out family/the people we love.
And this is why I picked SOS children's villages for the fundraiser - because everyone needs a family.