Biking down the World´s Most Dangerous Road

Trip Start Jun 16, 2007
Trip End Nov 13, 2007

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday19th July 2007

Mountain Biking down the World´s Most Dangerous Road   - La Cumbre to Coroico (64 k, 3600m descent)

We met in a cafe on the main drag through La Paz where we had an early breakfast and met our fellow mountain bikers. We then met our guides and boarded the busses (roof racks loaded with full suspension konas) which would take us to the top of the hill for the start of the ride.  This was at 4,700m and there was snow and ice at the top of the mountains. 
02 The start of the long way down

01 The Machine

We were kitted out with our gear and bikes - protective clothes, googles for the dust, helmets and gloves.   Ross is easy to spot in the pcitures as his extra large head means that he had the only blue helmet!  We were given instructions on our bikes, and reminded that too much front brake resulted in going over the handle bars and over the edge of the cliff.

We then set off on the ride - a guide in front to set the pace and a guide at the back.  The first several kilometres were down a tarmac road to get used to the bikes.   This meant we could go pretty fast and there were fantastic views!  It was also pretty cold at this height and snow about.

After passing a drug checkpoint we were at the start of the World´s Dangerous Road.  Claire came off at the first gravel stage which wasn´t the best start, but no injuries.
04 Slowly does it for one!03 Start of the world´s most dangerous road
The next 17k of the ride was down narrow gravel tracks with a sheer drop of 1000+ metres on the left of the track, and cliffs overhanging the road on the right.. There is now a new paved road which most lorries use but there were still a number of trucks who passed us rather closely!.  Crosses marked the spots where many vehicles had taken a plunge, and a couple of bikers too.  This 17k consited of Ross speeding up the front and Claire hanging on at the back! Luckily it was pretty foggy and you therefore could not see the drop too clearly.  The narrowest section also had a waterfall cascading over the road!

We stopped on the cliff edge for a pcinic lunch and carried on down the road.  It eventually widened out a bit to a dusty track, and this meant that we could speed up (some of us anyway!). 

It got hotter and dustier on the way down, and 64k later we were at the bottom and headed to a Animal Santuary/Hotel in the Yungas for dinner.  We were rewarded with a cold beer, a T-shirt and pasta buffet!  The Yungas is a sub tropical valley below La Paz at around 100m, and the climate is warm and sunny and mosy friendly!  The sanctury was great to visit and we met rescued monkeys and parrots who stole our dinner! 
05 Parrot stole our lunch!

Ross loved the day, Claire did too, albeit in a kind of terrified way! 

We had decied to stay a couple of nights in the Yungas, rather than heading back to La Paz, and checked into a hotel with a pool in a small town called Coroico.  The views were fantastic and we spent a day relaxing by the pool before catching the overnight bus to Rurrenbaque.  Fantastic to finally be at a lower altitude and warm too!  The challenges were now biting insects!

P.s Parents and grandparents, we booked this moutain biking trip with the most expensive and reputable company in La Paz - massive of safety checks on bikes and safety gear too! They also have rescue equipment, including winches, rope harnesses, belays and oxygen!   Nonetheless it was scary, but we´re still alive!!  

Rurrenbaque is a small jungle town on the River Beni and from here we were going to do tours into the Bolivian pampas and jungle. 
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