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Lost Nevados Day 03: Off the Back

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Day 03 Objectives & Points of Interest

  1. Go to Hotel Boreal, the owner is the nicest dude ever, and see the Simon Bolivar Statue in the Manizales Square. It’s SIQ.
  2. Find a fuel canister, as our brand new one was confiscated by TSA.
  3. Make our way out of Manizales and on to some #2TRAK. See some fireflies in the backyard of a Colombian Shaolin Temple.
  4. Meet the people from Specialized Colombia, they are the nicest, best, coolest, most amazing people on the planet!!!
  5. Find Cole’s Backpack in the middle of the road.

Did we mean to spend half of the day exploring Manizales? No, but we’re happy we did. I mean if the lemon tree that is life drops a bunch of lemons on the ground what do you do? If you answered, “Just wait for them to rot and attract hornets so that you or one of your friends gets stung and goes into anaphylactic shock like Macauley Culkin at the end of My Girl,” well then you’ve got a morbid streak in you, not to mention a perhaps unhealthy recall of completely-forgettable ’90s movies. No, my friends, you make lemonade. I don’t think the group will mind this, me speaking on their behalf, but we all agreed that we want to come back to Manizales. It’s that rad. Will we? Only time, money, and perseverance can make that happen, but it’s a plan.

“In the meantime you’re supposed to drink the lemonade that’s in front of you rather than look a gift horse in the bush so we drank it in.”

This drinking-in of the city did put us off the back in terms of continuing our bike ride, and it wasn’t until midday that we finally started pedaling. Of course we had a few setbacks getting out of town, which you can read about below. Suffice it to say we had a leisurely introduction to Colombian Gravel, which is to say we got our griiiiiiind on at an easy pace. Yet the stars aligned and we arrived at the Shaolin Temple at dusk. Had we been more ambitious we would have most likely ridden right past the temple and camped in some rando finca splattered with cow shit. Not that it would have been awful, it just wouldn’t be my first choice, especially considering how truly wonderful the Shaolin Hostel was. All this is to say that when you’re out doing your thing in the world, often times your course of action is already prescribed, written in the stars and out of your hands, so you just have to go where the world tells you. Forcing it sucks. Don’t force it. You can be like water or you can be like a rock, just remember that no matter how strong the rock the water will always win—and we’re like 87% water or something so we’re always going to win. Make sense? Good.

A Chronological Breakdown of the Day’s Events

  1. 6:23am: Construction initiates outside our hotel room. From the sounds of it a chorus of drills is torturing a phalanx of chalkboards.
  2. 6:45am: The Manizales Drill & Chalkboard Symphony is still playing
  3. 7:15am: The next movement begins, and there is an easily recognizable fugue that might best be called, “Child plays with hammer in a crowded coffee shop.” It’s obvious the composer loves this piece of music, he’s tickled with himself, and lavishes this composition with time.
  4. 7:45am: The child is still keeping Hammer Time.
  5. 8:15am: I guess we’ll just get up.
  6. 8:16am: Some of us get up and make our way upstairs for breakfast.
  7. 8:19am: Breakfast is great. We enjoy some fruit, granola, eggs, juice and coffee. Also the MD&CS has either taken a break or can’t be heard in the dining room. Whatever the case, breakfast is great.
  8. 9:19am: Ok so we can’t just get on our bikes today; we need to go buy some fuel canisters.
  9. 9:34am: We’ve been introduced to Carolina, she is the boss marketing lady for Specialized Colombia and a truly wonderful person to meet. She assigns Santiago to give us a ride to a camping shop in the center of town where we can hopefully buy a couple of fuel canisters.
  10. 9:35am: We’re told that camping isn’t huge in Colombia.
  11. 9:53am: Downtown Manizales is rad. Hey Bogotá, you’re rad, but when I move to Colombia I am moving to Manizales.
  12. 10:13am: We see the Simon Bolivar statue. Is basically a man’s legs with a condor’s head, so it’s pretty fucking sick.
  13. 10:23am: We strike out at the first camping store. It’s basically filled with Coleman rejects from the 1980s. A gold mine right? Unfortunately we don’t have the time to dig nor the chests to bring whatever treasures we find back with us to the States.
  14. 10:53am: Turns out there is another place just a few blocks from our hotel. Mind you getting into downtown Manizales took some time. So finding out that the next place we needed to try was just a few blocks from where we started was a bit of a hit. But we had to try it because #nochoice.
  15. 10:54am: They had what we needed!!!
  16. 10:56am: We’re back at the hotel and the crew11NOTE: While Cole, Patrick, and Kyle were hunting down fuel canisters, Daniel, Andy and Benedict went shopping. Erik came fully prepared with all his food, so he just kicked it at Specialized for a while and caught up on the South American scuttlebutt. is packing up.
  17. 11:10am: The crew is still packing up.
  18. 11:25am: Yep, packing up.
  19. 12:25pm: What’s crazy is that we just rode our fully-packed and dialed bikes into Manizales the day before. I guess it had something to do with jamming food into bags that were already stuffed full.
  20. 12:38pm: We’re ready to ride.
  21. 12:39pm: For reasons unknown, Kyle has been appointed/elected to guide the crew to the gravel road that will take us out of Manizales.
  22. 12:42pm: Kyle takes us up the wrong exit. After looking at the map it becomes clear that it’s the very next exit that will take us to our gravel road. But the rest of the crew doesn’t bother to stick around to hear this bit of information, and they take off down the road, which is going downhill, which means they take off quickly.
  23. 12:43pm: Kyle follows them but suddenly the bananas he’s got strapped to his seat bag eject, so he stops to gather them up. The next turnout is just 50 yards down the road but the rest of the Dead Reckoning Expeditionary Force has rocketed past. “Fuck ’em,” Kyle thinks, “I’ll just wait here for them, they’re bound to figure it out, plus that hill is steep, we’ve done so many hills up to this point and I don’t think the hills are going to stop any time soon.”
  24. 12:57pm: The crew returns. Turns out some Colombian woman saw Kyle stopping to gather his bananas and sensed a certain amount of distress. She took it upon herself to flag down the group. What did I tell you? #thepeople here are amazing.
  25. 12:43pm: Kyle follows them but suddenly the bananas he’s got strapped to his seat bag eject, so he stops to gather them up. The next turnout is just 50 yards down the road but the rest of the Dead Reckoning Expeditionary Force has rocketed past. “Fuck ’em,” Kyle thinks, “I’ll just wait here for them, they’re bound to figure it out, plus that hill is steep, we’ve done so many hills up to this point and I don’t think the hills are going to stop any time soon.”1:01 pm: We have taken the correct road.
  26. 1:02pm: Benedict’s chain decides to go where it knows it shouldn’t: directly into his spokes. Uh Oh.
  27. 1:10pm: After much struggling, things are not going well. Suddenly a Colombian man pulls up in a beater car containing a dog, walks over to the group, pushes Benedict aside, flips open the quick release and lets the wheel pop out. Then stares at our group with a satisfied look. #thepeople
  28. 1:11pm: Problem is we weren’t tryin’ to get the wheel out the frame. But it’s cool, we appreciate the help anyway.
  29. 1:15pm: Erik uses the tip of his pliers on his Leatherman to unscrew the cassette lockring. The chain is free. We can ride.
  30. 2:45pm: We come to a place where the pavement ends and there is a sign that says bicycle traffic can not pass on this road during the weekdays. It’s a weekday. We decide that we’ll employ Gringo Innocence if accosted. We ride on.
  31. 2:15pm: This road is steep.
  32. 2:16pm: Kyle comes across Cole’s backpack lying in the middle of the road. Cole is nowhere to be seen. This troubling.
  33. 2:17pm: After a quick recon of the area Kyle picks up Cole’s bag and continues riding. “At least,” he thinks, “I can bring this back to his new wife as a memento.”
  34. 2:23pm: Turns out it’s very hot, the road is steep, and Cole is still dealing with a Scuba Gnome, so he’d taken his backpack off during a rest stop and simply forgot to put it on.
  35. 2:45pm: The road converges with the main road that will take us up the Parque Nacional Los Nevados.
  36. 2:46pm: This road is great.
  37. 3:17pm: This road is still great and the scenery is spectacular.
  38. 3:34pm: We come to a crossroads. There is a sign that tells of a Hostel some 21 km up the road to the left. There is no sign for the road to the right. We go left.
  39. 4:15pm: Our group runs into Daniel Ruiz Carrascal of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University. We chat. None of us know it yet, but this man will play a pivotal role in our trip.
  40. 4:45pm: Palm trees are fighting with Pine Trees.
  41. 5:15pm: We see the Colombian Shaolin Temple Hostel resting on a knoll behind a spectacular waterfall. We do photos.
  42. 5:45pm: We arrive at the temple. Yes they have rooms, yes they have food, yes they have showers.
  43. 5:46pm: Half of the group decides to sleep in the manger (Erik, Benedict, Andy, and Patrick), the other half books a room in the hotel.
  44. 6:15pm: Those who are staying in the manger cook their meal. Those in the hotels order a meal.
  45. 7:23pm: There is some pretty serious lightning and thunder going on.
  46. 7:45pm: It still hasn’t started to rain.
  47. 8:23pm: Fireflies!!!!!!
  48. 9:45pm: Lights out in the booked rooms. Best wishes to the boys outside. We all hope they don’t get soaked.

Three Words & Phrases to Know

  1. HUMEDAD: humidity. ‘Why does it feel like someone is shoving a wet rag in my mouth? Oh that’s the humedad.’
  2. MAÑANA: morning. ‘Guys it’s so hot out, there isn’t a shadow, people seem to be having lunch, what time of the day is it, it can’t be mañana.’
  3. ROTO: broken. ‘Oh man, this chain isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Instead of dancing with the cogs it’s flirting with the spokes, it’s roto, everything is just so roto.’

Rise & Shine in Manizales

Wherein we take half the day preparing to leave.
Benedict is animated. Cole is cool. And Andy is fucking amazing!
Patrick demonstrates the now-infamous Hotel Boreal closet crapper. Designed to foster and sustain an intimate relationship with dumper and the dumper's cohort. "Shit, Sit, and never miss a minute of the conversation."
Sometimes you pick the camouflage for the occasion and sometimes the occasion picks you.
Pears, Bears, and Blue Eye'd Stares.
This went on for a while. It felt like maybe five hours, but that can't be right.
It's all got to go somewhere.
Manizales is SO rad. Go there. Spend money there. Enjoy yourself there.
We made it pretty clear that the drivers in Colombia are cool. But that doesn't mean that their exhaust is cool. In fact it's hot and filled with lung bullies. Benedict wore a face dress to protect his lungs from the bullies. Only time will tell if his efforts were effective.


Wherein Benedict’s bike expresses fear for what’s to come.
At its essence this is a biting the hand that feeds you photo.
This dude stepped in out of nowhere. Elbowed the gang aside and flipped the quick release open. It was impressive, though not at all what we were trying to accomplish. But still you have the applaud the effort and god damnit #thepeople here are amazing!
At its essence this is a yeah that's my boy out there handling business photo.

The Gravel Gets Ground

Wherein the crew leaves the paved road behind.
Did that sign explicitly warn us that bikes were not allowed on this road? It did. Did we just ignore it? Would you believe me if I told you that our decision to blatantly disregard this sign still weighs on me like an albatross or some other metaphorical animal-shame-anchor?
Isn't that life tho?
Bro's probably transporting milk. But it could be Cool-Aid or Miller High Life—or maybe those are just prank kegs. What? Were we supposed to accost the guy just to satisfy your curiosity? Didn't seem like a big deal.
Turnin' and Burnin'.
If there is a school then there's a basketball/football court. Yeah that's right football, er, fútbol. While Yonder Journal refuses to kowtow to metric hegemony we do recognize that the name football correctly applies to the sport known as soccer in the States. Sure the metric system is rational, we get that, but calling a game football where the only foot-specific part of the sport is relegated to one guy who's either called in when all else fails or to clean up the party is asinine. Especially when there is a sport that already exists where the very essence of the game is a foot and a ball working together in harmony. Anyway football is popular here.
[Score for this Caption] This is that Shaolin Temple Hostel view we've been telling you about. Nice right?
Like I said. Sometimes you pick the camouflage for the occasion and sometimes the occasion picks you.

Arriving at the Colombian Shaolin Hostel

Wherein we find Shangri-La.
Can you find the cat?

Night Comes to Shangri-La

Wherein the crew just wants to eat and sleep.
Cole, "So you're going to sleep in that field?" Andy, "Yeah." Cole, "They've got rooms here." Andy, "Yeah I know." Cole, "The way I look at it, it's like what Moses always said: 'Don't sleep in the manger when there's room in the hotel." Andy, "..."
If you couldn't spot the cat in the previous cat challenge image don't worry we'll give you another chance. There's a cat somewhere in the photo, can you find it? If you think you've found it, please take a screenshot of this image and send an email along with the screenshot describing where exactly you think the cat it located. Details are important, so please be explicit. Emails should be sent to [email protected] Your participation may or may not automatically enter you in a yet to be announced talisman sweepstakes.
Good night sweet Dark Prince.

Lost Nevados Threads

A Systematic Breakdown of Tom Hardy’s Clothing

Good bald-headed accessory when it's too hot for a hat.


Found them in my drawer before I left. I had just finished the last episode of Narcos, seemed like a good choice for Colombian style respect.


Chose a monotone cotton/hemp blend for its anti-bacterial properties and uncanny ability to never dry...

Swim Trunks

I expected to ride through an Atmospheric River, only to be met with zero mosquitos and a mild climate. But the low elevation humidity provided my wet weather bottoms with a chance to shine.


Multiple pairs of wicking socks were needed. As were the no-elastic diabetes socks for the flight home.


Again, grabbed the first pair that made sense for long days of riding and hiking. Super comfortable, but completely non-waterproof.

"Not until I saw a picture of myself did I realize I made some offensive pairings."

Cole Maness

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