It was the coldest trip I had ever did, but there are no low temperatures when a city, its people, and its teachings clothe you with such affection.
📷 Photography by: Natalia Rondón.
With this chapter ends "To the Ultimate of the earth", in Colombia, because in real life I continue to write history.
📌 You can check the whole series in the following links:
•To the Ultimate of the Earth: Colombia # 1 | When something goes wrong, it can go much better
•To the Ultimate of the Earth: Colombia # 2 | Hiking among the clouds of Norte de Santander
•To the Ultimate of the Earth: Colombia # 3 | Pacifying with a frisbee in a war zone
In Venezuela we use the expression "I sweated it!" when we want to explain that we strive to achieve something; and my attendance at the Tournament Flying Disc 2600 in Bogota I sweated it!, because this trip was not saved from resembling the rest of the series, traced by a complex road.
The "DV2600" is one of the international championships with the longest tradition, and I participated in its eighteenth event, held at the Independent Sports Club; attended by 1,033 athletes, in addition to locals, from countries such as Venezuela, Panama and the United States.
Being an athlete and having to work to pay for your competitions represents a constant sacrifice, because sometimes you must decide between training or go for an extra income of money, from time to time you also have to add to your training plan the hours that you spend standing or walking while you work.
Living in Cúcuta, I only moved on public transport, and the Physiotherapy patients I attended were in different municipalities, that's why I was walking with my stretcher under my arm from one side to the other. It was 40 minutes at least to get from my house to where they were.
But they arrived at the precise moment. Three weeks before the tournament I was very worried because I was missing more than half the money to travel, until then I had only paid for my uniforms, and I still had to cancel the registration and get bus tickets.
One morning I woke up very early, I could not sleep. I was thinking about how many lemonades I had to sell in order to gather what I needed. So based on the accounts, I set out to organize everything to produce them. When mid-morning I was called by the father of a great friend, to whom I was doing therapies, to tell me that he had recommended me with two more people.
I was surprised, because when I woke up I spoke with God and asked him to please give me the tools to get what I needed, and it had not happened even half a day and I already had them; the same universal energy was telling me indirectly to continue.
That's how my routine of those three weeks was more or less to leave the house at 6:00 in the morning and return at 10:00 at night. My time was distributed between attending patients and training, until one day before the date of the trip.
And yes, I could get the money, just for the necessary, but it was not something that stopped me, I already have a master's degree in traveling with few resources.
❄️ Welcome to the "fridge"
I traveled alone two days before the tournament, it was 15 hours on the way from Cúcuta. I arrived at El Salitre Terminal after 6:00 a.m, and I did not know if I was in Bogotá or at the North Pole.
It was the first time I felt so cold, the temperature was about 11 ° (and the climate to which I am accustomed is from 25 ° onwards); I did not feel my legs and my hands, and when I got off the bus I had tickling in both extremities, it was as if a lot of ants were biting me at the same time.
However the city gave me a wonderful reception: as the morning passed, the sun shone, and the situation was special because in the Colombian capital it is usually cloudy.
A great friend and Ultimate Frisbee Coach, Javier Yañez, received me.
As I mentioned in previous editions, something that characterizes our discipline is the number of friends we make, which means that you have hundreds of homes in the world willing to receive you 😄
That same day we went to a place that could become the field of dreams of any player: Parque El Country of Bogota; 7.86 hectares of an amazing natural grass of intense green, that causes to roll in it without stopping, although in my case I visualized "flying" 😅
📷 Photography: Sebastian Henao.
But there is more; you fall in love with the place not only because of its grass, but because the opening of the space allows you to better visualize the sky covered with clouds. A complete show!
Despite the constant ventilation, even you forget the cold when you are there; especially if during your stay you are throwing discs.
I had the joy of playing in that wonderful place; In the course of the day, a couple of teams arrived to prepare for the tournament and we did not stop until the last rays of light were left.
Now, if the park is beautiful in broad daylight, imagine what a sunset looks like from that place; It was an experience that I enjoyed very much, because that sky filled with clouds seemed to vanish at the same pace as the sun.
🇻🇪 A bit of Venezuela in Colombia
The first of the four days of the DV2600 arrived. We had to be at the event at 8:00 in the morning, but the traffic in Bogota is endless, and from my friend's house to the Club where the competition was held was between an hour or an hour and a half of road, that's why We had to leave very early.
But getting up early was worth it every day, because when I looked out of the living room window I found myself with an impressive sunrise.
📍 Recommendation! If you are going to do any outdoor sports activity in Bogota, use sunscreen and lip balm. Because while preparing my trip, everyone warned me about the burns I could expose, but since it is a "cold place and I am from the coast", I thought it would not affect me; and the truth is that I burned a lot.
Since I started playing Ultimate Frisbee had heard about this tournament, I had even seen videos about it, and for me it was amazing to finally be there; It filled all my expectations.
There were more than 10 natural grass fields surrounded by trees and bushes, where I met again that hypnotizing sky as a roof, it seemed typical of Bogota when the sun came up, it was a paradise for flying disc athletes.
In addition, the logistics were very good: well demarcated fields, correctly synchronized schedules, medical attention, restrooms in suitable condition, and adequate supply of hydration and refreshments (I confess that I ate too many guava snacks with banana during the whole event 😂).
The best of the competition was having participated with "Las Chamas", (is a typical word of my country for call to the young people), by the name they will deduce to which country we represent. The curious thing about the team is that we are all Venezuelans who do not live in Venezuela.
I felt great because I was once again sharing the field with great players I had known for a long time, and to whom I have great affection and admiration. When I started, several of them were an example to follow for me and now we were on the same team! 😍
I will make a parenthesis just to share this photo that seems cool to me, along with our reinforcement, my friend and dance partner, Nati, from La Roca Ultimate Club (with whom I was dancing every time we could, if they want to see what I speak can check this video 😜
The objective of my team was to reach the podium, and considering that we had very good pieces, it was a possible goal. But let's say that in the first five of seven games it did not go as well as we expected. The moods began to change, and in each game we tried to improve the attitude, but the determination to win always led us to the same situation.
I decided to stop pursuing the general objective, and "having fun" became my personal goal; although at a certain moment I began to question myself as to whether I was contributing what was necessary from me to the team; But my spirit of play did not allow me to dedicate myself to achieving victory if that would cost me the enjoyment of what I do.
At the end of the fifth game, with "Bamboo" (one of the best women's teams in Colombia), I made catharsis. Since 2011, when they were in the final of the Ultimate Frisbee Pan-American Championship in Medellin, they are one of my reference teams. That was the meet that most wanted to play.
I was just coming out of this dilemma between winning at all costs or having fun, when watching them play it was a very clear answer: "if you smile, you're on the right track", the same words as Kate Kingery, one of the coaches of my favorite team from all over the world, Seattle Riot, she told me when she gave me a gift as a featured player in the "The Latin American Tour", a clinic on Ultimate Frisbee dictated in Venezuela.
In the usual "Circle of Spirit" I shared with Bamboo my perception and that experience in the sports clinic. I was captivated to see them smile while playing, and I came to the conclusion that if one of the best teams in Colombia enjoyed the game, that was an important part of the formula for victory.
Hours later I took a giant surprise: one of the Bamboo players approached me to give me a shirt of the Colombian Sub 24 of Ultimate Frisbee, and told me that I was satisfied with my words. I could not believe it, but it was a more accurate way of life to reaffirm that I had chosen the right attitude.
For the last two games, the girls forgot the obligation to win, and that was noticed in the score, because we won. Maybe it seems to have no logic, but when we dedicate ourselves more to enjoy, better we did the work.
I enjoyed a lot and I learned too much from each one of my friends and the others players, and with that I consider that, personally, I won the tournament.
At the end of the tournament the website of the DV2600 published general and individual statistics. Gather the number of assists (passes to complete the goal), interceptions (blocking the disc from the defensive position) and goals.
The players who score the most points in each category are considered leaders of the same, and those who have the highest score among all, are considered MVP (Most valuable Player).
A total of 1033 athletes participated, between the Masculine, Feminine and Mixed categories. In that general MVP statistics, Las Chamas achieved three places among the first 160: my teammates Ángela Cadenas in 7, Yessika Araque in 144, and I placed myself in 152.
As for the Top 30 MVPs of the female category, where 197 athletes participated, we achieved four places: again my teammates Ángela Cadenas in the first, Yessika Araque in the 20, I in the 24, and Mariale Marcano in the 27.
I really did not expect to achieve those positions among so many players with level, but thanks to that I said that we played as we trained, and we won according to the attitude with which we assumed the game.
🌅 Walking in Cota
At the end of the tournament my last trip was through Cota, another municipality of Cundinamarca, near the city of Bogotá; It is 10 minutes from the Independent Sports Club, where the DV2600 was made.
To get to the site you can take a bus or a taxi, it is about 14 kilometers from Bogotá, from 30 to 40 minutes or so, depending on the traffic, as I mentioned before.
In what little I could go, I got the impression that it is an agrarian but modernized city. If you look to the side of the street you will find several establishments, mainly restaurants or bakeries, but if you see the other side you can get up to a field where they raise cows.
In my opinion that is the attraction of Cota, its balance between rural and urban; It is a place that gives you the opportunity to escape the typical fast pace of the city, and to do activities like in the city but in a natural environment.
Most of the people I saw were walking along the main avenue, riding bicycles or having coffee.
The weather is as cold as in Bogotá, although when I was there it was not so much breeze, and the afternoon I went it was cloudy. However I was lucky that once again the clouds merged with the sun causing a beautiful backlight to down the night.
Maybe I did not have time to do the typical cultural tourism in Bogotá or Cota, but with what little I visited I can assure you that these are places that you would enjoy a lot, especially if you are going to play Ultimate Frisbee.
📷 All the photographs used (except those that specify their source) are my own and were captured with my Smartphone Samsung Galaxy SIII.
✏️ My native language is Spanish, sorry if I use any expression you do not understand, I try to translate the text as best as possible, but if you have any questions you can ask me.