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Your Winter Sucks: Part 2. 

Posted at 7:25pm and tagged with: full width, medellin, colombia,.

Your Winter Sucks: Part 2. 

It’s cold, so I’m writing about Colombia. New post on www.localsarepainting.com.

Posted at 10:48am and tagged with: colombia, rapha, tony pereira, pereira cycles, willysjeep,.

It’s cold, so I’m writing about Colombia. New post on www.localsarepainting.com.

30% grades in switchbacks. Unearth the inner Tommeke. 

Posted at 6:41pm and tagged with: colombia, cycling,.

30% grades in switchbacks. Unearth the inner Tommeke. 
  • Nate: less melting pot, more Colombian food Japanese-style
  • Nate: it's like, look, we took Chicharron and cooked it in SOY SAUCE!
  • Christy: So gross.
  • Nate: ish
  • Nate: it's the original fusion.

Posted at 8:40pm and tagged with: comida tipica, colombia, food,.

Whimsical suffering. 

Posted at 9:47am and tagged with: full width, colombia, caldas, cycling,.

Whimsical suffering. 

Truly, another world to behold at 12,500ft. Color bleeds from the landscape like an Ansel Adams shot, as unrequisite as the thin foliage of the air-starved peaks. The lungs and legs scream for oxygen, if for nothing but the mental solace of pushing forward at some speed more befitting an “elite” cyclist. Elite or not, when the sky touches the ground, and when one visits that juncture, experience, trainingweight, and all things that should matter? They don’t. Survival here is a laborious, sedentary business, and the insignificance of pedaling a bicycle is far down a long laundry list of more pressing import. 

Posted at 3:59pm and tagged with: cycling, altitude, b&w, colombia, letras,.

Driving and cycling tend to occupy separate spheres of the time/space continuum in my mind, but in Caldas, they’re starting to meld. I was invited to a party at a finca (a country house) on Christmas Eve by some ever-hospitable Colombianos, who proceeded to treat the two lonely gringos like their own familia. I came away from the experience with two thoughts unaffected by the aguardiente and copious volumes of deep-fried deliciousness:

One, Utah Mormons (my upbringing, though no longer) and Colombian Catholics are not terribly different, save I might wager those that swing towards the Vatican vs. Salt Lake City know how to have a touch more fun. Remarkably strong family ties transcend culture, ethnicity, theology, and income. People are people, and tradition is tradition. It’s a comforting fact.

Two, and back to my original thoughts on driving; it’s impossible to get anywhere quickly in a vehicle in Caldas. As we rolled down the La Cabana climb to the finca in the two-door Landcruiser packed with seven adults, Christian and I were both cognizant that we could reach our destination twice as fast on a bicycle. In the US, distances become skewed by the vast interstate highway system, covering hundreds of kilometers in the space of a few short hours. It makes “huge” rides seem far less expeditionary and a bit more pedestrian. In Caldas, riding a mere 70km from home is considered a very long distance, even to those who own automobiles - many people I’ve met don’t know the pueblitas I ride to inside their own department. The social changes as one crosses from one cell of habitation to another 15km away are considerably vast, far more so than in the interconnected sprawl I call my home. It’s astonishing.

And on a total non-sequitur: Rare moments when the ubiquitous green box mode is the best mode - or maybe the algorithms that make the little Canon estimate sunny-16 solo are getting that good. In any case, I’d kill for a rest week with a motorcycle and my old Pentax 6x7 right about now. Or even a 5D with a 50mm, if I’m not being picky.  

Posted at 8:52am and tagged with: cycling, driving, caldas, colombia, photography, manizales, christmas,.

Christmas morning, two days late, thanks to @rapharacing. Festive timing could have been achieved, but seems other countries aren’t so lax about customs on small shipments as the US.

Life goes on. At heart, I’m a minimalist. As such, high-end and team-edition kits tend to…well, most slightly irk my aesthetic sensibilities to a certain degree. The Pro Team kit I now have is not only visually stunning, but it’s one of the most well-made garments I own, and supremely comfortable. While Rapha initially distinguished themselves to me by utilizing marketing strategies unbeknownst to the industry, they now set themselves apart based on sheer quality as well. Consider me sold. 

Posted at 6:27am and tagged with: rapha, cycling, colombia, pro team,.

Not feeling very verdant today.

Posted at 8:09am and tagged with: full width, colombia, cycling, manizales, termales,.

Not feeling very verdant today.

Staring at the summit of the Nevado del Ruiz, touching the sky at almost 17,500ft, brings a sense of serene insignificance. The lofty peaks of the Andes, obscured for much of the day, reveal themselves in the early morning hours - like, as a boy, seeing my mother before she put her makeup on for the day. Unveiled, the crest of Nevado will retreat to its throne in the clouds in little more than sixty minutes, and the unenlightened will remain as such, snoring in blissful ignorance.

image

Sundays are for tipica, y montar a tranquiloMazamorraChicharron. Bandeja Paisa.image

imageCycling is my life. It’s not a bad one. In fact, it’s one I’d never dreamed of. Even scraping by on a daily basis, I feel like one of the most fortunate people on earth to be able to share it with anyone who cares to listen.

Posted at 8:17pm and tagged with: bandeja paisa, colombia, comida, cycling, food, full width, tipica,.

Staring at the summit of the Nevado del Ruiz, touching the sky at almost 17,500ft, brings a sense of serene insignificance. The lofty peaks of the Andes, obscured for much of the day, reveal themselves in the early morning hours - like, as a boy, seeing my mother before she put her makeup on for the day. Unveiled, the crest of Nevado will retreat to its throne in the clouds in little more than sixty minutes, and the unenlightened will remain as such, snoring in blissful ignorance.

Sundays are for tipica, y montar a tranquilo. Mazamorra. Chicharron. Bandeja Paisa.
Cycling is my life. It’s not a bad one. In fact, it’s one I’d never dreamed of. Even scraping by on a daily basis, I feel like one of the most fortunate people on earth to be able to share it with anyone who cares to listen.

I’m honored to have been interviewed by Cycling Inquisition (one of my favorite online cycling publications) about my winter adventure in Colombia. Klaus, author of the blog/native Colombian residing in the US and I share a common desire to scream to the whole world praises of this forgotten cycling paradise.

Colomiabano Evangelicos. 

Posted at 9:12am and tagged with: cycling inquisition, colombia, manizales, cycling,.

Give Letras an inch, and she’ll take a mile. Or just your saddlebag. 

Posted at 5:26pm and tagged with: cycling, manizales, colombia, full width, letras,.

Give Letras an inch, and she’ll take a mile. Or just your saddlebag. 

Most of the time we just gape like awestruck kindergarteners on their first Disneyland visit.

Posted at 8:10pm and tagged with: caldas, climbing, colombia, cycling, neira, full width,.

Most of the time we just gape like awestruck kindergarteners on their first Disneyland visit.

Bike riding in paradise is serious business. Flat tires are especially serious.

Posted at 7:51pm and tagged with: cycling, colombia, vittoria, pitstop, manizales, flat,.