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Lost Nevados Lord Nerd Beta

Lost Nevados

Lost Nevados Lord Nerd Beta

March 1, 2016 | Bogotá

We wanted to ride our AWOLs on unseen backroads through washed out ravines, we wanted jungle and Joan Wilder, we wanted angry mountains and backwoods compañeros.

Lost Nevados Lord Nerd Beta

I II III IV

I Lost Nevados Prospectus

With the winter beginning to saturate the Pacific Northwest we went looking for any place not cold and not winterized, and Colombia wound up at the top of our list. Cursory research and confident speculation revealed that the country would be an alpine jungle paradise brimming with an unending supply of fresh fruit, “A”-level coffee, and miles upon miles of the road less traveled—and for the most part we were right. We were going to ride in Marquez’ land of Magical Realism,  and we’d be cycling through centuries-old towns founded by empires and exploited by other empires. We’d pass through ancestral fincas serviced by serpentine roads in the midst of crumbling back into nature and down seldom-traveled cow paths lost to the mist of the cloud forest. Note to mention that our crew was tight!  With all this at our disposal all we needed was a route.

 

Cycling is big in Colombia, and more than a few Colombians have moved up the ranks to challenge for podium positions at the highest of levels of bicycling competition. A competitive cyclist needs to be comfortable in the mountains. Whether you’re climbing or descending, being able to excel in steep terrain is an essential part of winning big bike races. It follows that to get good at this business, it helps to have mountains around to practice on. Colombia is great at mountains, it’s world-class. It geologically well-endowed with three main ranges (called Cordilleras) harboring peaks nearly 18,000 feet high, that branch out from the Andes in the southwest corner of Colombia and transect the entire country in three tight rolls of sky scraping rock. In between the cordilleras the elevation nearly drops to sea level. The mountains rise and fall like a set of waves rolling across the top of South America into the Pacific.

 

Amazing terrain with huge potential but Mars has amazing terrain too and we needed a route. After working with a friend of a friend who ran a local guide business it became very clear that what most people wanted out of a bike trip in Colombia is far different from what we wanted. Our rambling, self-supported, sleep-on-the-side-of-the-road, push/carry/drag your bike if needed approach to cycling has yet to really catch on with your typical Colombian cyclo-tourist.

We wanted to ride our AWOLs on unseen backroads through washed out ravines, we wanted jungle and Joan Wilder, we wanted angry mountains and rowdy compañeros.”- YJ

Fortunately we had assembled a crack team to take part in this trip, and one of the many perks of assembling a crack team is that you also get a crack collection of crack team contacts.11other known perks include sharing tanning tips, coffee snobbery , riding bicycles, telling jokes, eating snacks, looking good in photos, etc. It’s a well known fact in the crack team world that crack team members keep extraordinary friends, some of whom will likely be crack-level operators themselves. Turns out Benedict had one such friend who just so happens to live in Bogotá for the past couple years. Andy Grabarek—aka @captain_agrab, aka Andy G, aka The Pusher, aka the Snow Man—happens to be a first rate rippah and is one down adventure hound. After a couple calls, it quickly became obvious that we (a) had our fixer and (b) we had to ride in Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados.

 

Los Nevados is centered around an active volcano named Nevado del Ruiz. This volcano is considered active active, like Tinder active, fedora and fancy wingtip active. Nevado del Ruiz is ready to party. Still the draw was obvious and as we began to look deeper into our volcano adventure we stumbled on a few disparate stories from a couple other intrepid adventure bikers who had circumnavigated the slopes of the volcano by traversing a long, closed mountain road high up on the volcano’s flank. Why is this road closed? Apparently the government in collusion with scientists thought that it wasn’t safe to be up on the volcano, cool opinion guys.  All of our research pointed to a difficult passage, a little bit of law-breaking, and an all-time adventure. For the past couple months the volcano had been belching dark plumes of ash into the sky on a daily basis, but that didn’t deter us. We’ve made all kinds of stupid decisions in the past. In our mind there was no other option—we were going to ride the volcano. What’s more, we could spend the first two days of riding climbing Letras, which at 80 kilometers is famous for being the the longest sustained road climb in the world. Fully packed bikes riding at altitude? What better way to prepare for a couple days on a volcano?

 

In the end our plan was to take a van from Bogotá to Mariquita where the Letras climb begins. From there we’d ride over the mountains to Manizales, stock up on provisions and pedal into Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados. At some point we were going to need to sneak past a guard’s hut in the middle of the night as we made our way around the volcano before descending back into Mariquita. At some point the volcano wouldn’t erupt and rain fire and molten rock down on our bikes, ultra-lightweight gear, and our fab bodes. On paper it was great plan.

Did it account for altitude, humidity, humility, food poisoning, semi trucks, park rangers, shaolin temples, or three feet of ash? No it did not. Does that make it bad plan? No that makes it a great plan.”- YJ
The Lost Nevados Roster
Yonder Journal recruited a top-notch crew of the world's finest, most accomplished adventurers for this trip. →→→
Patrick Newell - aka @ultratradition, aka Coach, aka Slim, aka The Texan.
Kyle von Hoetzendorff - aka @newantarctica, aka Sandals, aka the Hushin’ Prussian, aka vonvon.
 Andy Grabarek - aka @captai_agrab, aka Andy G, aka The Pusher, aka the Snow Man.
Benedict Wheeler - aka Poppi, aka @ultraromance, aka Johnny, aka Bene, aka Cyber Shark Shark Shark, aka Boltar. 
Erik Nohlin - aka @hellhommus, aka The Dark Princes, aka The Black Lord, aka The Swede.
Cole Maness - aka @coelmaness aka Calves, aka Stache, aka Tom Hardy.
Daniel Pasley - aka @yonderjournal, aka Blue Bear, aka The Shutter, aka Oso Azul.

II Bike Setup

Lost Nevados Lord Nerd Beta

III FYI

  1. For the most part Colombia is jungle-hot—but not in the mountains. In the mountains there is snow. So you’ll need to pack a variety of clothing.
  2. Water is readily available on this route. Definitely get bottles from the store when possible, though. Filter at your own risk.
  3. Provisions are available in towns along this route.
  4. Sunscreen is not readily available in Colombia. But the sun is! Be sure to buy sunscreen before your trip.
  5. There are no toilet seats in Colombia. While this is not 100% true, it’s true enough that you shouldn’t count on a comfortable squat. Come prepared to hover.
  6. Eat the chicken. If you eat chicken, it’s good here.
  7. Colombia never stops going uphill. This is more a feeling than a fact.
  8. All the good coffee leaves the country. So the coffee you drink in Colombia is usually the instant kind that was once beans from Colombia but traveled to Jersey or Buffalo or Duluth to be processed into coffee crystals and then shipped back to Colombia. The world is a twisted place.
  9. Campaneros = Rednecks. FYI.

IV Packing List

Category
Food
Item
Qty
Suggested
Dehydrated Meals
1/day
Mountain House (Mexican Rice & Chicken is good.)
Granola
2 packs/day
Individual Packages from the States
Bar #1
2/day
Clif Mojo
Bar #2
2/day
Clif Kit's Organic
GORP
3oz/day
Bulk, Home-Assembled
Jerkey
3oz/day
Teriyaki, Hot & Spicy, or Mango
Candy
3oz/day
Haribo Gummy Bears
Chips
2oz/day
Try out the local flavors—we stuck with salt. Crush chips to reduce volume.
Flour Tortillas
10/week
Largo Taco size
Extra Sharp Cheddar
8oz
Tillamook
Salami
1 log
Artisanal
Coffee
3 units/day
Stumptown, duh.
Category
Clothing (Bike)
Item
Qty
Suggested
Padded Bib Shorts
1
Specialized SWAT
Stretchwoven Overshorts
1
Mission Workshop The Traverse
Gloves
1
Specialized BG Ridge
Cycling Cap
1
MFS Karan Singh (but maybe you give it to Erik Nohlin on the first day because he forgot his)
Socks
2
Specialized (Wool)
Shoes
1
Prototype Specialized Yonder Boot
Helmet
1
Specialized Airnet
Shell
1
Mission Workshop Meridian
Puffy
1
Mountain Hardwear
T-Shirt
1
Mission Workshop Linear Merino or Poler Camp Vibes
Category
Clothing (Camp)
Item
Qty
Suggested
Hat
1
Poler Floppy Arrowhead Cap
Underwear
1
Icebreaker Merino
LS Baselayer
1
Icebreaker Merino
Camp Shoes
1
Slides (YJ is always searching for something better, but locker room slides have yet to be bested.)
Glove Liners
1
Wool
Camp Shirt
1
Poler, cuz that vibe is right.
Camp Shorts/Pants
1
Mission Workshop The Signal
All-Over One-Piece Field Suit
1
Snow Peak (Also check out the Mosquito Suit.)
Category
Gear (Bike)
Itemy
Qty
Suggested
Seat Bag
1
Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion
Frame Bag
1
Porcelain Rocket Frame Bag
Handlebar Bag
1
Porcelain Rocket MCA
Top Tube Bag
1
Specialized Burra Burra (We only had prototypes, but we like it.)
Backpack
1
Mission Workshop Hauser
Bottle Cages
3
Two on the front fork, one on the downtube.
Bottles
3
Draw from your home library.
Minitool
1
Specialized EMT Pro MTB
Patch Kit
1
Rema
Tubes
2
Specialized, FRESH ones only!
Tire Levers
2
Whatever's chilling in your toolbox.
Pump
1
Specialized Air Tool Flex
Spare Parts
1
Chainring bolts, bailing wire, spokes, pliers, brake pads, nuts & bolts, tire boots, zip ties, etc.
Category
Gear (Camp)
Item
Qty
Suggested
3-Season Shelter
1
Snow Peak Lagos (can be set-up fly-first, keeping everything dry)
Sleeping Bag
1
Mountain Hardwear Phantom (30° or warmer)
Stuff Sack
Lots
Sea to Summit EVAC
Seeping Pad
1
Therm-a-Rest Neo Air X-Lite
Multitool
1
SOG
Headlamp
1
Snow Peak Mola (with fresh batteries, not from your smoke alarm)
Spork
1
Snow Peak
Cup
1
Snow Peak
Bandana
1
Yonder Journal
Oral Care
1
Whatever your dentist recommends
Book
1
Collected Works of Gabriel García Márquez
Water Filter
1
MSR Sweetwater
Lighter
1
Bic (in Ziplock)
Sunscreen
1
MAX SPF
Sunglasses
1
Your favorite Oakleys
Repair Kit
1
Home-assembled (with needle+thread, sleeping pad patches, etc)
Sharpie
1
Wrap it with Gorilla Tape
Wet Wipes
1 Pack
Small soft pack
Soap
1
Dr. Bronner's
Stove
1 per 2 people
MSR Whisperlite International
Fuel Cansiters
1
MSR (filled with gasoline)
Cord
50ft
Paracord
First Aid Kit
1 per 2-3 people
Homemade
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