Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A quiet day in the country

Hi Mum & Dad,
Today we had a lovely scenic day travelling into the Bolivian countryside. You may not want to read the rest of this entry so advise you stop here!

For everyone else....yesterday I moutain biked down ´The World´s Most Dangerous Road´!!!
It´s a narrow gravelly road cut into the side of a mountain with a huge cliff drop to one side. We started at 4700m and ended at 1100m and the most amazing thing is that you can travel between two completely different climatic regions in one day on a bike. The start is surrounded by bleak, snow-covered sharp mountain peaks and you finish in a tropical valley with heat, humidity and lots of buzzy things! Just to clarify the title world´s most dangerous road really comes from when this was the main thoroughfare into the valley and all the traffic used to be trying to drive in both directions when there is hardly room for one. (Boo, I can´t imagine what it was like for you guys arriving here all those years ago). But now there is a new road and the old road is only used by tourists and hundreds of mountain biking groups. I went with the company with the best security record, Gravity Assisted, though and they were really good at equiping us with great bikes and safety gear, advising us and informing us about the route the whole way down so we were well looked after and no accidents in our group. They have brought 34,000 bikers down the road without a death yet!
The first bit on the WMDR was fairly scary though as the drop is just huge beside you and we were just learning the best techniques for biking on gravel. At points we were cycling through waterfalls that were falling on the road and through a few rivers which was really fun. Began to relax and enjoy the ride more as you progress down the valley - really stunning surroundings when you got the chance to look around. Only one car passed us all day so not too hairy in the end and the lower bits where the road is a bit wider a lot of fun. In total we covered about 70km all downhill except 5km (which we panted through at 4000m) so our hands and arms were the sores as we had to continually have them on the brakes. We ended up at an animal refuge in the valley were there were hot showers, beer and buffet lunch. Completely exhausted last night and was in bed at 9pm. Muscles a bit sore today but not too bad - proudly wearing my ´I biked the World´s Most Dangerous Road´ t-shirt!
Just arrived in Peru - off to Lake Titicaca for the next couple of days.
Chat soon,