I’m a 59 year old who likes riding his bike. I rode a lot as a teenager but never competitively. I returned to cycling in my early 50s when I retired from the RAF (for the first time). Modern equipment is just fantastic – I have a SuperSix Evo which is a far cry from the 1961 Dawes Lightweight of my youth! I love climbing although I’m no great shakes (185cm 73kg). In December my middle son married a Colombian girl in Manizales so I had the chance to ride the Alto de Letras. I have ridden quite a few of the climbs in the Pyrenees including the Tourmalet but the Letras is something else. When you see a KoM of 2hrs52 you know it’s big! My son very kindly drove me to the start and it took an hour and a half just to drive from top to bottom. It was a tropical 24 degrees at the start and the first 40km were quite enjoyable as I climbed through banana plantations with the odd short descent to give a chap a break! I was never going to give up, but there is quite a psychological barrier to overcome with 20km to go as it starts to get tough as the air begins to thin. The gradient is never that steep but it just goes on and on and on. With 10km to go I had really slowed and the temperature was down to 10 degrees. Above 3000m your power output seems to fall off a cliff (I don’t have a power meter) I had to split the last few kms into 50m sections to try not to be overwhelmed by how far I still had to go….by now in the pouring rain. The 81km took me 7 hours, which is a pb and a lifetime best as I’m not doing that again! Definitely the most satisfying day I’ve ever had on my bike and reading the tales of others who’ve tried it I can say that it’s not a climb that every MAMIL can do. Keep up the great work; I really enjoy reading your articles.