Biking the Worlds Most Dangerous Road

Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2006

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, November 12, 2006

On Sunday the 12, me and 4 friends made the day trip just outside of La Paz to mountain bike downhill to Coroico. The road has been labeled the "Worlds Most Dangerous Road" because more people die on this stretch of highway than anywhere else in the world. On average 26 vehicles per year disapear over the edge into the abyss. We used the most prestigous company currently offering this excursion...Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking. They're expensive...but you get what you pay for. We saw some companies on the mountain that really looked suspect...with how they handled their riders and the state of their equipment.

Our day started early as we had to meet the company at a local breakfast stop at 7:30. We arrived and met our guide (Guy pronouced Gee) and loaded into two buses along with about 20 other riders for the two hour trip to the starting point. On the way up we got our equipment which included a jacket, pants, neck gator for dust, helmet, gloves and a bright orange saftey vest so they could keep an eye on us. We passed throught a couple military checkpoints on our climb to our starting point. There was no way I was taking my big camera with me so you might have to wait to see photos of this adventure. I took my small camera and I think they sell a CD with photos of you on if I can find a way to upload photos, I will. At our starting point we each received a nearly new full suspension Kona mountain bike with disk brakes...pretty expensive equipment. We received a debrief from our guides and then as is tradition before headign down this road, made a small donation to mother earth (Pachamama). That donation consisted of each rider consuming a drink of some vile grain alcholol and then pouring a bit on the ground for Pachamama.

The first part of the ride was fairly tame...all on pavement. There were some tricky uphill sections, but nothing terrifying. As soon as we saw the pavement end we knew we had reached the start of the worlds most dangerous road. After another debrief and equipment check...we started down. Within 2 minutes we had our first casualty. Some poor girl went full front brakes and no rear brakes and did an end-over...she was done for the day. The first section was the most dangerous section as it had the most extreme drop offs which hopefully my pics will show. One corner is called E.T.'s corner because one girl went over the edge full speed and looked like Elliot riding his bike with E.T. in the basket as she plummeted down. The ride itself wasn't too bad...but facing oncomming and downhill traffic sucked as you were pretty much eating dust for a few minutes after cars went by. The drop offs were indeed extreme and the road was pretty nasty at points with waterfalls washing over the edge. Poor Andy had to give in halfway through given his stomach condition...hated to see that happen as he was the most excited about the ride. I road in the front group the entire ride and Lara and Ally were right there with me...not bad given neither one had riden before. Lunch was great and just off the side of a road near a waterfall. The last part consisted of the biking company blocking off a spot in the road to force all of to go through a big puddle...bastards. :) They bought us all a beer, a tshirt and lunch at the end and we had free access to showers as well. I highly recommend gravity and would not use any other company for this road. We all decided to overnight at the end point of the road wich is a scenic town called Coroico. Spent a little bit of cash for the Hotel Esmerelda, but it was nice to splurge for one night and have views like the ones we had. Andy started feeling better and the food at the hotel was great. The next morning we had a bit of difficulty trying to get buses back to La Paz...but eventually spread the entire group over 3 buses. I was not really looking forward to going back on the Worlds Most Dangerous road in a bus...but given we were going up wasn't too bad. Downhill traffic has to take the outside edge when they encounter another car coming uphill...that is so the driver of the downhill vehicle can see where his tires on in comparison to the edge...makes sense.

Arrived into La Paz a couple hours later and did a bit of site seeing. That is all for now.
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