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Thread: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

  1. #1
    Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Default Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm to share literally everything amazing I've encountered in the past few weeks. There's a lot of preconceived notions that go on with my present locale, and I found it easier to just hide my head in the sand instead of attempt to dispel rumors. I'm breaking the ice with an epic photo and word dump.

    Long story short, I'm spending my winter training in Colombia. November to February. Or March. I'm not really sure yet. A teammate from this past season, Cesar Grajales, convinced myself and another gringo DomProAm (Christian Parrett, look for his name next year) that spending our winter in his hometown of Manizales, Colombia would be amazing (liberal perusing of Klaus' brilliant Cycling Inquisition blog didn't hurt). I won't lie, I had my doubts. Adventure is something that I normally crave, but the piles of negative news the media tends to push about this part of the world can be daunting. There are travel advisories from multiple governments that essentially state "Whitey goes to Colombia, piles of cocaine on every street corner, kidnapping at every turn, DEATH DEATH DEATH". I was a little intimidated, but lured by the prospect of high-altitude climbing in the winter, new culture, new culinary adventure, new people, and Spanish fluency.

    I'm glad I listened. It's phenomenal. Almost a month in, and I could write a novella on everything that blows me away about this place. Today, I decided to pen a short blog post on my favorite part thus far.

    Welcome to Colombia.

    Every place has its ups and downs, and this temporary Latin American home is no different. The terrain mirrors the trajectory of its history (like so many of the oft-exploited and neglected cast-off states shaped by failed Western policy), a permanent roller coaster of excruciating highs and lows, punctuated by the cerebral views from the alto de la montaña and the muggy swaddling of the fondo del rio.

    As negotiations in Havana (possibly) decide the fate of its long-running civil war, the people of the Cafe Tero are ambivalent at best. Instead, their attention is focused on things more immediate. This país, these people, they are the happiest encountered. A refreshing mentality, one driven not by a ravenous hunger for more, but motivated by an innate love of their compatriots. Happy to get by, to exist, to spend as much time with loved ones doing what they enjoy in life, and sharing it with anyone in shouting distance.

    This isn’t to say this isn’t a hardworking place - but its people are hardworking because they care about each other, not because they’re trying to get ahead of one another.

    Contenta.

    Me gusta.
    Anyway, enjoy some photos and a terrible GoPro video I shot yesterday. I'll periodically update with more words and images. This place is truly riding paradise - nothing is flat. Manizales is literally built upon a few 7000ft mountain peaks. We can ride to 13,000ft, or down to 2,000. Nearly every day involves a 20-30km HC climb to get home. The longest climb in the world is situated a mere 35km from our front door. The drivers, while completely and totally insane, are also incredibly skilled and kind to cyclists. I've worked as a messenger in large western American cities, and have never felt safer on the road. Aside from the road riding, the MTB (DH, specifically) is supposed to be world-class. We randomly met DH pro Marcelo Gutierrez out on the road up to Letras (aforementioned longest climb in the world) our third or fourth day here. He took tenth at Worlds this year. You know...NBD. There's a fairly big urban DH race here in January we'll get to attend, and we watched the qualifiers this afternoon.

    Mind. Blowing.

























    nebraskacycling and joosttx like this.

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    david's Avatar
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    awesome.
    you'll be outrageuosly fit by march.
    i'll be looking forward to these posts.
    thanks in advance.
    ctfd

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    maunahaole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    You do know that this means no excuses...

    Have a great time. Train well.

    Take lots of pics and keep us posted.

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    hurray for threads worth opening!

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    PJN
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Nate wins. We all suck. Everyone here take the jealousy and shove it. Send him some positive vibes for having the balls to buck the standard and go get lost. Killer shit.

    On a totally different note is the Pereira DWP's old rig?

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    More please!

    especially about Letras:
    LETRAS+vert.+Mariquita.jpg

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    majl is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Outstanding pics! Looks like beautiful country. Thanks for sharing.

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    Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.



    There's no landing by instruments at the airport in Manizales. Seeing the gear on our plane drop without seeing the ground was slightly terrifying. About 30 seconds later, it retracted and we landed 60km away in Pereira.


    Local runner, hung with us 1km to the summit at 320w.


    Letras short side.


    Getting a set before I go home.

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    Pi Guy is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    This thread is excellent. The pics really bring back memories of a 6 month trip around the Andes my wonderful wifey and I recently took. We somehow skipped Colombia (we are kicking ourselves) but your pics are really reminiscent of the mountains in Ecuador and Peru. All I could think about a lot of the time was how much I wished I had my bike. It was a badass trip nonetheless. Anyway, sweet thread. I am jealous. I look forward to your updates.
    Jason Henkle
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    looks like a good time!

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    Chance Legstrong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Nate- thanks for going, so we don't have to. ;-)
    "make the break"

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    fixednwinter is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Great pics and great thread!

    Good text too, Heisenberg. Thank you for writing beyond the usual North American media coverage's view of the country. It's always great to hear first-hand, intelligent correspondence from someone who actually has their boots on the ground (or their wheels on the road, in this case)

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    fa63 is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    With terrain like that at those altitutes, no wonder the Colombians climb like squirrels on acid...

    I have a good friend in Bogota; maybe I should go visit him for my next cycling vacation.

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Thanks for sharing. Good stuff, keep it coming. Que la pases muy bien.

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    Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Quote Originally Posted by PJN View Post
    Nate wins. We all suck. Everyone here take the jealousy and shove it. Send him some positive vibes for having the balls to buck the standard and go get lost. Killer shit.

    On a totally different note is the Pereira DWP's old rig?
    Not so much "old" as it's still his...just mine for the winter. Heh. Thanks for the kind words! My winter options were SoCal (expensive/boring), Tuscon (kind of expensive/boring), or here (inexpensive/not boring). It quickly became something of a no-brainer, especially with local help in the form of Cesar. The flight down was definitely a hassle, but pretty cheap via Spirit out of ATL/Ft. Lauderdale.

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Eyeysyswsyswjkl:"gase
    ge!
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    blood.meridian is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    This is so cool. Thanks for taking the time to post.
    But if I think those few grams are going to get in my way, I can always eat them, can't I? - Krabbe

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    dude, what are ya eating down there?

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    Dude. This is one of the best posts I have ever encountered. On any forum. Keep rocking that shit.

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    Default Re: Colombia, featuring a Pereira. And a lot of pictures.

    At least it is nice to see the landing gear works!

    Keep the photos coming. We're all clouds and drizzle here.

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