Recently, however, Marcelo decided to transition out of pro downhill racing. This change of pace has opened up new opportunities for him to explore other two-wheeled adventures. Freed from the strict discipline of training for downhill, as well as the near year-round travel required of a World Cup pro, Marcelo has been focusing on different challenges closer to home. He has been spending more time on his road bike, riding with friends, and connecting with new communities.
“I have always loved road riding, but during my racing career I couldn’t do it that much,” Marcelo said. “The fact is, road riding doesn’t help much for downhill racing. In downhill, you need to build short, fast-twitch muscle fibers. Riding long distances with continual efforts makes you fit, but it develops a different type of strength—longer and slower muscle fibers.”
As he spent more time riding his road bike, Marcelo began eyeing the massive mountain peaks east of his home in Manizales. “From Manizales, it’s a 28km climb to the top of the Alto de Letras,” Marcelo said. “But to do the full climb you want to go to the other side and start from Mariquitia—so that’s what I did. It’s about a 110km drive over there to the start.”