Dead Reckoning: Lost Nevados Day 06
03/07/2016 | Parque Nacional los Nevados to Manizales
We lost over 8000 feet in 20 miles as we hurtled down a ribbon of just-rough-enough two track. I’m talking about the kind of descent where your cheeks hurt from smiling.
I Day 06 Intro & Stats
START – STOP: Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados (Portosi Entrance) – Manizales
DISTANCE: 26 mi.
MAJOR SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
ELEVATION GAIN: 3425 ft.
RIDING TIME: 6:00:01
TIME AWAKE SPENT IN PURSUIT OF THE TRIP, ROUGHLY: 8:00:00
POINTS OF INTEREST / OBJECTIVES: Get back to Manizales. See the volcano burp ash into the sky.
CUE SHEET: KML DOWNLOAD
WEATHER: In the morning we wore our jackets but by the afternoon we were sweating through our t-shirts.
Today was the last day that we were going to be riding in Colombia. The last day we’d be sleeping in tents, cooking outside, falling asleep when the sun went down. Yes there are probably some mystical and metaphysical elements of our journey that should be discussed: the importance of connecting with nature, experiencing other cultures, etc. etc. But you know what stands out the most from this day? The thing that will stick with me forever, long after any trite or half-baked investigation of transcendence has been thoroughly washed and rinsed by modern life? The descent. It was UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE.
We lost over 8000 feet in 20 miles as we hurtled down a ribbon of just-rough-enough two track. I’m talking about the kind of descent where your cheeks hurt from smiling. I am talking about skipping down the road, drifting turns, airing rises, jockeying for position, hooting, hollering, ripping and roaring. It didn’t matter that Benedict got two flats. It didn’t matter that we’d be facing a punishing climb at the end. It didn’t matter that Batman vs Superman is a multi-million dollar turd, or that a failed human might be come our next Commander in Chief, or that no matter what you can’t shove a square peg in a round hole.This was as in-the-moment as in-the-moment can get, but perfectly extended like a reflection caught between two mirrors. Call it catharsis, call it a reward, call it what you want. I call it perfect.”- YJ
II A Chronological Breakdown of the Day's Events
- 6:20 am: This morning we’re up with the sun. Not because we were under threat from the ranger but because it was really bright. No clouds.
- 6:21 am: To be fair I had been up for like three hours because my air mattress suffered a puncion and slowly lost air throughout the night. For the last two hours I’d basically been non-sleeping, but it was dark and what else was I going to do so I just laid there thinking of home, of my wife, of my dog, and of burritos.
- 6:34 am: YAY! We see the Volcano and we see the giant plume of ash rising from the top of it like steam from a kettle.
- 6:45 am: We make breakfast. The oatmeal has not manifested spice even though we have given it plenty of time to think about its shortcomings. It continues to taste like wet paper.
- 7:15 am: Sebastian is loaded up with all of our extra food. He is a good dude. We wish him well.
- 7:18 am: Our ranger friend wanders over to talk with the woman who owns the hostel. He seems pretty flirty. We strongly suspect there is something going on there. We also strongly suspect that he isn’t really into our vibe.
- 7:30 am: Two tour vans show up. And by tour vans I mean two fully-rigged out SUVs, each with an excessive spackling of 4×4 stickers. They’re carrying around 20 young people. From what we can overhear they are some sort of science students. A few of them are obviously from the States. We can tell because they speak English like we do and then they engage in an impromptu yoga competition in front of the hostel. It’s a bit embarrassing, but then again we’re probably embarrassing too.
- 7:45 am: Everything is packed and we’re ready to head off. The ranger is far down the road. Turns out something is wrong with his dirt bike and he can’t get it started. A few of the boys help him push-start his rig and there is a sense of forgiveness and closure.
- 8:03 am: We start descending. It is so fun. The road is smooth, the bikes are fast, the air crisp, the world right.
- 9:15 am: Still descending.
- 9:54 am: PUNCIONES! Benedict double flats coming into a photo trap Daniel has set up. Unfortunately the holes are too big for Stan to handle and he’s forced to repair his tire with a tube.
- 10:07 am: It was a solid 13 or so minutes of trying to get the sealant to fix the tire before Bene resorted to installing a tube. During that time a trio of Colombian kids sparked a joint just up the road. They seemed to be enjoying themselves and why wouldn’t they be? Seemed like a pretty good life; doing a little grass, working on a farm. Also there was a cute old pit bull running around their farm. SO CUTE.
- 10:08 am: Erik, Kyle, Cole and Daniel continue descending, It appeared that the situation was under control and the rest of the dudes would be along shortly.
- 10:21 am: This doesn’t feel like “shortly.”
- 10:36 am: Still no dudes.
- 10:40 am: Just as we were beginning to think that we’d have to ride back up the hill the rest of the crew shows up. Turns out that the puncion in the rear required the same treatment as the front. Bene was now running double tubes, and according to rumor had broken his seemingly unbreakable cool. Though only witnessed by two of his closest friends, allegedly in a slight fit of rage and frustration Bene threw his pump in the field. A lesser man would have cracked long ago my friend—we applaud you. Of course, by the time he caught back up to us the anger had run out and Benedict was back to his regular old #coolasacucumber self.
- 11:35 am: We’re still descending but it’s getting hot.
- 11:38 am: Cool jump.
- 11:52 am: We’ve bottomed out. The crew regroups on a bridge. We think we have a sense of our general whereabouts. “It’s just going to be a short climb back to the main road then it’s back to descending, descending, descending all the way into Manizales right?”—Everyone.
- 12:27 pm: Yeah this climb isn’t going away. At this point it’s hot, humid, and sunny. The group is shattered and spread out.
- 12:45 pm: We haven’t connected with the main road but the road we’re on seems to be getting steeper, that’s a good sign right? Like an always darkest before the dawn thing? But dawn is long gone and it’s jacuzzi-hot out here.
- 1:15 pm: Patrick and I link up to the main road and keep riding.
- 1:23 pm: It feels like the rest of the group may take a while to catch up. I leave Patrick to nap and wait for the rest to catch up. Because we still need to organize transportation from Manizales back over the mountain to Mariquita (where we’ll meet our ride to Bogotá) I keep riding towards Cell Service.
- 1:53 pm: I can see Manizales.
- 1:54 pm: Carolina says that she can organize a ride for us to Mariquita.
- 1:55 pm: My wife is happy that we’ve made it back to Manizales. Our dog is doing fine. Yes they are still making burritos in the States.
- 2:16 pm: After making contact with Carolina I keep descending. I ran out of water long ago and I have no idea how long it’s going take the rest of the guys to get down the mountain.
- 2:17 pm: Having come across the mountain bike trail that we noticed on the way out I figure, “Ah, what the fuck?” and take it. 30 feet in I realize it’s a fully-taped DH course. I don’t send the doubles, but I ride most 90% of it. Such a blast and I am surprised by how well a fully-loaded AWOL handles this terrain. Now if I just had a dropper…
- 2:54 pm: I’ve just purchased a Coke at a local tienda on the outskirts of Manizales when the rest of the dudes show up. These guys are mashers! Turns out Benedict dug deep and led the charge off the mountain. Unfortunately he’s really dehydrated, like see-the-doctor-and-get-an-IV dehydrated.
- 3:10 pm: Carolina once again to the rescue. She sends Santiago to pick up Andy and Benedict and take them to the hospital. The rest of us ride back to Hotel Boreal.
- 3:57 pm: Our friend at the Hotel is so happy to welcome us back. He assigns us the same rooms and we take care of our personal hygiene.
- 4:30 pm: Cole, Daniel, and I head to the mall, buy some fries and beer then take a walk through Manizales. Cole scores some pretty rad kicks and a nifty pair of fútbol shorts.
- 7:30 pm: We all head out to dinner with Carolina and Santiago. It’s truly nice out. We eat, we drink, we laugh. In the morning Sanitago will ferry us over the volcano.
III Words & Phrases to Know
TERMINADO: finished. ‘Dudes, if you think about it, when we get down to the bottom of this deal the riding part of our trip is over. But our journey is by no means terminado.’
PUNCION: puncture. If the gods are going to give you all of these gifts—the hair, the muscles, the tattoos, the perfect sandal feet—you’ve got to expect them to ask for something in return. Well today they came to collect, and Benedict suffered double puncions to his tire. Only puncions of the trip. Major bummer.
In Australia they have a saying, Too Easy. What’s Too Easy you might ask? Well, in the land down under just about everything. It’s a universal rejoinder, acknowledgement, and affirmation. Ordering a coffee, Too Easy. Riding your scooter to the pie shop, Too Easy. Chilling against a wall, Too Easy. Everything in OZ is TOO EASY.
IV Just Another Sun-Splashed Morning at Portosi
V Racing to Beat Gravity
VI Bottoming Out
VII Something Strange is Afoot
Lost Nevados Threads: Daniel Wakefield Pasley A Systematic Breakdown of Blue Bear's Clothing
- 1. I wear Oakley exclusively. Duh.
- 1. If i have to wear a helmet, this is the helmet I wear. Mostly I try not to wear a helmet.
- 1. Something with SPF.
- 2. Don't forget it, seriously.
- 3. You won't forget it if you refer to our handy packing lists, it's always in there.
- 1. It's less important, seriously.
- 2. Worst case, you burn for a day or two. Who cares?! I mean, even at altitude you can't get that burned.
- 3. Yes you can.
- 4. But who cares?! That's how you get a base down.
- 1. Seriously, my Orion is one of the most wonderful and reliable pieces of equipment I've ever owned ever. It's my favorite piece of waterproof breathable anything.
- 2. The vest is a little extravagant but I love it too. It's a lot like the jacket only without sleeves. Otherwise it works just as good which is to say it's amazing.
- 1. Dude, WEAR a wool t-shirt of some variety.
- 2. Except for when it makes more sense to wear an old cotton t-shirt. Which, when you sweat like I do is almost never.
- 3. I like my Mission/Acre wool shirt for when I'm feeling tactical, or I have some old busted thread bare Icebreaker shirts that run good too. I do v-necks because they're classy.
- 1. If I could I would wear SWAT everything. Specialized would make me a SWAT shirt, something in wool with pockets in the back, one with a zipper, maybe a chest pocket too, SWAT socks, again, probs wool, but they would do a trick too.
- 2. Point is, SWAT bibs are the best thing to hit Adventure Cycling since tubeless. I LOVE THEM.
- 3. You can fit whatever you want in there and it works, it isn't uncomfortable. From the back you might look like a bloated pack mule but who cares, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. The capacity is insane and the utility is even insaner. When the US government sends Navy SEALS to Alpha Centauri they will ride Specialized Fat Boys (the carbon all-back one) and wear SWAT bib shorts.
- 4. One time I was in Australia (OZ, we call it) and I rode for 60 miles with a can of Cream of Corn in one pocket and three bags of party-sized Doritos in the other pocket.
- 1. Sometimes I wear an old pair of Outdoor Research lightweight stretch woven shorts that I hemmed because they were too long.
- 2. They dry fast, don't require a belt, they're great for modesty, and they provide a few additional pockets which can be handy.
- 1. When it comes to wool socks I feel like I'm talking about which of my many ex-girlfriends and I had the best sex. I mean, you always want to believe YOU were the one, that it was you. Outlier. There, I said it.
- 2. Also, same as shirts. if you don't wear wool socks of some kind you are literally stupid.
- 1. Don't get me started on footwear.
- 2. First of all, if I could I would have the PROTOTYPE YONDER BOOT—IN ALL BLACK. And one in a pink and blue gradient/fade. But for some reason I can't. At least, not yet. I mean, I love LOVE love my Mixed Recons, but the Yonder Boot would be better for this kind of riding which is mostly hiking and walking.
- 3. Also, I hate my camp shoe game. Never again will I wear questionable sandals, regardless of how practical they are. Adidas Slides or Crocs from here on out.
IX Day 06 Route
PS: TALISMAN CONTEST WINNER ANNOUNCED TOMORROW!
To find the rules for entry, please read previous Lost Nevados posts.