Bolivia had the world’s most dangerous road and someone thought it would be good idea to run a mountain biking trip along it! It starts from outside La Paz and heads down down down for 62km of tight twisty road to Corioco. Needless to say, there are no safety barriers and the drop, should you go off the road, is about 60 metres! Hubs kept reassuring me that this would fun. Staying alive – now that would be fun!
After a boring and non descript cafe breakfast, our group were all allocated our riding gear – helmets, gloves, trousers to go over our own trousers, and a safety vest. We were then driven about 45 minutes to the start of our downhill journey. There was a safety briefing and we were allocated our bikes, with a few technicians on hand to help adjust seats, etc. We practiced riding our bikes and importantly using the brakes on a large flat gravel area high in the mountains. We were currently 4800m above sea level. REALLY high! Around us were mountain peaks covered in glaciers. It was cold, but not as freezing as I had anticipated.
Then it was time to set off!! The first 22km were easy, downhill on a tarmac road. There was some traffic, but besides one idiot car driver and one bus, no one came too close to us. That part of the downhill was fun! The road was being worked on, so there were pot holes and gravel patches which we had to watch out for and negotiate around. At the start of the ride, we stopped frequently to check that everyone was ok. That was good and I think gave everyone peace of mind.
Then it was time to hit the gravel, all 40km of it. Uh-o. It was downhill and gravel. I kept having visions of me or someone else skidding off the edge of the road and falling into oblivion! This road, whilst it is now supposed to be closed off to traffic, it isn’t. There are still cars and mini buses that (illegally) use it. The first half hour was scary, no doubt about it. My brakes were always engaged and I took it pretty easy. I had nothing to prove and there was no way I was going to take any unnecessary risks. TI noticed that the scenery was absolutely stunning, when I didn’t have imminent hair pin bends to negotiate and I could look up!
After the first half an hour, I began to relax a bit and realised that if I took it easy, I’d be fine. There were times when the brakes weren’t on and I felt as if I was flying down that mountain – yew!! What a rush! We stopped several times – once for photos, once for empanadas and a drink, and once for a toilet break. Two Swiss girls on the ride, Christina and Emmanuela were great fun! They also did the Galapagos Islands on the same boat as us, Yolita II, and had Washington as their guide! The difference being, they like Washington much more than Hubs and I did.
Towards of the end of the ride we actually had to use our pedals and ride for a while. I enjoyed that too because I felt as if I was getting a work out! The ride ended through a watersplash, wetting our shoes and the bottom of our trousers. What fun!!
Lunch was organised in a hotel in Yulosa where we had showers, and if we wanted, a swim. A shower was enough and did the trick for me. I enjoyed lunch and chatting with some of the people from our group. Then it was time to go. I was being dropped off and from that point would get a taxi to Corioco, and Hubs was heading back to La Paz.
See ya Hubs! Travel safe, see you in 10 days at our posh hotel in Paracas!