Wow, La Linea was a struggle today. Altimetrias de Colombia describes La Linea as Colombia's Stelvio Pass, but it felt more like Col de Joux Plane, Col du Glandon, or Port de Bales. It was really tough.
La Linea is known as Colombia's "second most mythical climb." It is a 21km climb rising 1,706 vertical meters to reach the summit at 3,275 meters. The first half wasn't too hard. I took it easy for the first few kilometers to gauge how I was feeling 3 days post-Letras. Up until around the 10th kilometer, I was feeling strong so I pushed hard. But then the gradient changed. Most of the second half had gradients of 9%-11%. I started to crumble and struggled through the second half. I finished in 1 hour and 50 minutes with a VAM of 932 (1706 meters/1.83). I was pretty happy with that result considering my form.
The climb was nice, although I spent most of the time looking at clouds. We were hoping for a view, but this mountain range is generally in the clouds.
Unfortunately, La Linea is heavily trafficked. La Linea connects Colombia's primary port, Puerto de Buenaventura, located on the Pacific, with Bogota. We had been told that trucks are prohibited from La Linea on Sundays (as is the case with the mountain passes near Medellin). Instead, I found myself riding in several slow moving convoys. The noise and exhaust of an 18-wheeler chugging up a steep Andean mountain breaks the serenity of an epic climb, but summiting was still a thrill.