La Paz - Death Road

Trip Start May 12, 2013
Trip End Jul 30, 2013

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Flag of Bolivia  , La Paz Department,
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The tour minivan came to pick us up at 7.30am. And we drove around 2 hours to the start point of the death road biking route, at an altitude of 4650m. We were given knee and elbow guards, jackets and pants, and assigned our bikes based on height.

The first part of the ride was on paved roads: smooth and fast. My first fall came almost 20 minutes into the ride, where I was too slow to react to a lone rock lying in the middle of the road. The bike swerved direction and I fell to the ground. Sue, who was too close behind, failed to break in time and she fell over my bike as well. Thankfully for the many layers we were wearing, and the knee and elbow guards, we suffered no injuries other than a tear in my glove.

We biked all the way to an altitude of 3300m, where we had breakfast and loaded our bikes back to the vans. The vans took us to the start point of the second part of the trail, the rocky and narrow part of the ride. It was undoubtedly more dangerous here: there were vehicles, sometimes big trucks, sharing the route with us. And we had to make way frequently when the road was too narrow to allow both to pass. We had frequent 10-20 minutes breaks, and the guides took photos of us along the way. Also saw some memorial crosses planted along the way to commemorate the people who have died on the trail.

The unfortunate second fall came around midway down the trail. There was a steep and rocky slope, and my bike swerved badly and I was thrown of the bike again. This time I had a bad cut on my hip and strained a few muscles here and there. Pulled my bike off the road right away, and the guide put simple first aid for me after.

It was hard to control the bike downhill: one has to have a tight grip on the steers and the breaks, which made our hands tire easily.

We reached the finish point of 1200m elevation at around 2.10pm, and the van took us to a nearby hotel for buffet lunch and shower.

Reached La Paz at almost 7.30pm, and proceeded to the Jackie Chan restaurant with Max and Jared, whom we met on the ride for dinner. Glad they liked it.

Had a few drinks at the rooftop again before heading to bed.

La Paz, Bolivia
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