Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Boliva - the Death Road

Mountain biking down the "World's Most Dangerous Road"

The road from La Paz to Coroico is known as the most dangerous in the world, aka Death Road. This is beacuse annually about 26 vehicles go over the edge and an accident here will end fatally, as the cliff drops over 500m into the abyss. One of the biggest attractions outside La Paz is to cycle down this road on a mountain bike, and survive to tell the tale.

We organise a tour with Gravity Assisted mountain biking, http://www.gravitybolivia.com/
one of the most reputable tour operators in La Paz. They pick us up at 7.30am and we drive up to La Cumbre (4750m) to start the ride. The road will take us a distance of 75km and we will descend a total of 3650m by the time we reach Coroico.

It rains heavily the entire day, the road is wet and muddy and waterfalls pour over parts of it. At it's widest the death road is about 3m across and we have to cycle in the left tyre track (the one closest to the edge), in case we encounter any vehicles coming up. Due to the fog and bad weather it is impossible to see the bottom of the cliff, which is a good thing. All I can concentrate on anyway is the few metres beyond my front wheel. The goggles fog up quickly in the rain and are of no use, forcing me to remove them and subject my eyes to the mud and water which pelts me in the face.

After about 4 hours we reach the bottom and everyone is (more or less) in one piece. One of the guides was slightly banged up as he fell off on the way down. Another tour member was slightly shaken, as he also fell off and his bike dissappeared over the edge, luckily without him on it...

The adrenalin was still pumping as we sat down for lunch after the warm showers, and even well into the evening on the way back to La Paz...

Click here for more pics. Password is: photos