We spent the morning in the bicycle district (Medellín has a huge bike section around the intersection of Carrera 52 and Calle 55) where we were staying, investigating potential replacement parts and tires. Colombia has an active road and mountain bike community so almost anything that a cyclist could want is available.
I was looking specifically at tires and chains. We have about 1500 miles (~2400 km) left before the chains need to be swapped for new ones¹. Our tires probably have about 1000 to 4000 miles left (1600 to 6400 km) before they will need to be replaced. After seeing the selection of items available in Medellín and the shops in other towns along the way, I was confident we would be able to buy the items down the road.
After leaving the shops, we sampled buñeulos (fried dough balls), empanadas, pastel de pollo (small circular fried pies with chicken filling), and something akin to a large corn fritter with a slice of cheese in the middle. Some people have a sweet tooth, I have a grease tooth. Colombians could easily compete with the vendors from the Texas State Fair where every year novel deep fried concoctions can garner a bustling business.
Refreshed, and well lubed, we made our way to the grocery store and wandered through the Plazoleta de las Esculturas, where more than twenty of Fernando Botero’s sculptures are on display. I had seen paintings and sculptures of Botero’s, most recently in Cartagena, without knowing who the artist was. Botero, Medellín’s native son, has an easily recognizable style, characterized by the abnormal fatness of his figures. Seeing the statues brought back to memory a phrase I first heard in Guatemala, “¡Gordita es bonita!”
After an afternoon updating this site and doing some minor gear repair, we ventured out for dinner and headed to the street with the deep fried goodness. With giddiness we chose what I can only describe as a battered, deep fried meat patty and a few more of the cornbread & cheese concoctions, picked up a few cans of beer and headed back to the room to eat. Nothing compliments something fried like beer, unless it is a side of bacon.
After all this grease my body decided I was no longer a benevolent dictator and went into revolt. I can only liken the experience to a less dramatic version of what happens when a person participates in the gallon milk challenge². Apparently, like a lactose threshold, my body has a grease threshold.
After consuming quantities of delicious fried yumminess all day, topped off by a dinner of a battered, fried meat patty and giant cheese-stuffed hushpuppy, my body enforced the “No fry zone”.
I was sitting on the bed when apparently the color in my face changed from normal to white, I started to sweat, and I had the unwelcome feeling of mouth watering nausea. This was followed by a wave of lethargy and the inability to keep my eyes open. My body was shutting me down, requiring the computer equivalent of the three fingered salute — a hard reboot.
Sarah was concerned that I was having a heart attack, which I assured her I was not (no chest pain or pressure, no weakness or shortness of breath, etc.).
I laid down on the bed, and promptly fell into a stupor followed by sleep.
I awoke the next day with no more ill effects with the benefit of a shiny new coat.
¹Chains wear and stretch with use. If they get too worn then they can start to cause premature wear on the back cog set, necessitating replacement of that part. I’ve found that during loaded touring, chains need to be replaced between 3000 and 4000 miles (4800 to 6400 km) depending on the conditions (rain, dirt, sand, etc.) and lubrication frequency.
²The challenge is deceptively simple. Drink a gallon of milk within an hour and keep it all down. All people have a threshold to the amount of lactose they can tolerate before their body causes them to vomit. I’ve witnessed this challenge first hand (Elliot, one of our cycling compatriots attempted the challenge many years ago), and the outcome was not pretty.