It all started in 2011 - we decided to ride Lands End to John O Groats, since then we've completed a number of 'challenges' raising over £15,000 for various charities.
You can read about our adventures here, and also our on-going efforts to keep on cycling!
El Espectador, a national newspaper, printed its Sunday cover on pink-tinged newsprint, while fans in Quintana’s home province of Boyacá dyed their traditional long wool ponchos, known as ruanas, to match the 'maglia rosa' of his victory.
Quintana is the second Colombian to win a grand tour and the first to win the Giro.
“Today is a historic day for Colombia,” said the president, Juan Manuel Santos, wearing a pink button-down shirt, after joining throngs of fans to watch the last stage of the Giro on a giant television screen set up outside Quintana’s family home in the small mountain-top town of Cómbita. “We are very proud,” he said.
Quintana’s win in the Giro, the first ever for a Latin American, served as a reminder of Colombian cyclists’ glory days in international competitions during the 1980s, when the country’s extraordinary climbers were known as the escarabajos, or beetles.
That generation of cyclists spurred a nationwide passion for the sport, especially at weekends and during holidays, when thousands of Colombians took to the country’s steep and winding Andean mountain roads.
That passion was seen again in Bogotá on Sunday when cyclists stopped pedalling so they could crowd around giant televisions set up along the city’s cycle routes, known as ciclovías, to watch two of their countrymen take the winners’ podium in Trieste. A third Colombian, Julián Arredondo, took the blue jersey for the mountain classification.
“For Colombia this is just as great as when Lucho Herrera was riding,” said recreational cyclist Carlos Alberto Torres, waving a pink balloon. Herrera won the Vuelta a España in 1987, becoming the first South American to win a Grand Tour race. “Things dropped off since then but they’re taking off again.”
For many Colombians, the Giro offered welcome respite from a tense presidential election campaign tainted by scandal and mud-slinging. “With election burnout, the country received with joy the feats of Nairo Quintana and other Colombian cyclists,” Semana, a news magazine, wrote on its cover, alongside a picture of Quintana decked out in pink from helmet to boots.
News presenters, dressed in pink, gushed about the new “glory” of Colombia, calling Sunday the “most important day in Colombian cycling”. One newscast dedicated 40 minutes of its one-hour programme to the results of the Giro, profiling the Colombian riders and interviewing fans and family members.
Many fans hope that alongside Colombian cycling’s resurgence there may also be success for the country’s footballers at this summer’s World Cup, the first time they will have taken part in the tournament since 1998.
“This [the Giro] is the best preamble that we could have wished for the World Cup,” said Carlos Camacho, a cyclist on the ciclovía, wearing the yellow jersey of the Colombian national team.