I was interested in visting Cali's velodrome; the Velódromo Alcides Nieto Patiño. Cali has hosted the World Cup eleven times since 1996. The most recent World Cup meet in Cali was held in December 2011. The next World Cup in Cali will be in 2014. (Many of the World Cup athletes raced in Medellin one week after the December 2011 World Cup. I wrote about it here).
Every year, the World Cup is contested over 4 sessions. Each session is held in a different host city and typically lasts 3 days. The athletes race in a variety of events, including pursuit, keirin, sprint, scratch, etc. At the end of the year, the points are tallied to determine the World Cup champion for various categories.
You may think it unusual that Cali has hosted so many World Cup events. However, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and the athletes consider Cali's velodrome to be one of the best quality tracks in the world. Cali has also hosted the Pacific Games and Pan-America Games.
The track is 250 meters in length and made of Abarco wood from the Pacific coast (outdoor tracks are typically made of concrete, like Medellin. The banking is 46 degrees on the bend (max) and 11 degrees on the straight. There is seating for 7,650 people.
I was hoping to see several 'estrellas' today, but races are held on Sundays and today is Monday. There were a dozen or so cyclists training, including Colombia's Junior Champion.
As for Cali, I think its a very nice city, although I also find it quite different than Medellin. First, Cali is hotter because its at a lower altitude (approximately 900 meters). Secondly, most of Cali's population lives on flat land, with just a few on the western slopes. Cali was founded in 1536 and still has a lot of colonial architecture. Medellin has very little. Cali is also far less noisy than Medellin and the traffic is quite orderly. And finally, there are a lot of palm trees.
|Cali in relation to Medellin|
|Sunset over the infinity pool at our hacienda last night.|
|Waking up this morning.|
|The hacienda produces coffee beans. We took a tour of the land and facilities. The guide confirmed that all of Colombia's best coffee is exported (for the higher prices). I thought so. Its quite hard to find good coffee here.|