Sign in or Create your own Travel blog
Select Location: 

View Entire Trip

Share |
    

Monday 22 Mar 2010
La Paz, Bolivia

Survived the Death Road... got the T Shirt to prove it!

I gotta say. The Death Road mountain bike trek was excellent. Adrenaline-fuelled non-stop downhill (albeit with some flat sections and the odd bit of uphill) through huge misty gorges along a narrow road that could, at any moment, have a huge bus coming at you around every corner.

This is what adrenaline is made for.

 

Death Road
Death Road

I was very pleased with Madness Bolivia. They lived up to their claims of having the best bikes and our Rocky Mountain bikes with full suspension were certainly up to the task (although mine had a puncture and the chain popped off at 2 points which made for some freaky moments as I thought the bike might flip over). We had two guides: Paul from Galway (!) and Josh, an English lad who was the son of a wealthy landowner in Wales who had 20,000 acres of land to play with. Made for interesting conversation anyway and they were top class lads! Paul in particular gave us excellent tuition in how to tackle oncoming traffic without plunging to our deaths (many tourists, and hundreds of people have done just that!). They also had a mechanic on a bike who followed behind the slowest cyclists and doubled as photographer (we got a CD of our trip, AS WELL as the t-shirt)

The 12 or so people in our group were also great fun, mainly English, Swedish and Ozzie but also two Israeli guys fresh out of the army who predictably wanted to always go "faster" and took over other cyclists in a dangerous manner as we were plunging downhill. The fact that there's a large gravestone on the route dedicated purely to Israelis that have fallen off the cliff should be a lesson to them!

The first section of the route was paved and we travelled down the steep 22km road in what seemed like 5 minutes (it was actually around 15 minutes but it was seriously good fun). The road was so steep that we passed many trucks on their way uphill that were nary going at a snail's pace.

 

Death Road
Death Road

This part was simple. Then the road split into the NEW route to Coroico (which was only built a few years ago after many people told the government they were pissed off at having to risk their lives every time they travelled on the route) and the OLD route (the killer one). This is where the paving ended and the loose stones and precarious drop-offs began. It was extremely misty and cloudy for us in the initial section which prevented us from seeing the huge valleys at the start, but on the flip-side made for a much scarier experience as the edge of the road was just white and you could just wonder at how far you would fall if you happened to move another 20cm to the left... or slipped on a stone, which was very probable.

Then the rain started. It made things more slippy, but also kept us cool!

The safest way to tackle the route was ironically to go fast through it as you were less likely to slip on the scree, and I was amazed at how the wheels kept their grip despite the speed. This was also handy for maneuvering onto the side of the road.. about a foot from the sheer drop, when a car came around the corner at full speed. That's right, traffic still use this route, despite the new road. And Paul added, it was the most traffic he'd ever seen on the road! Great! Thick fog and heavy traffic. Guess it adds to the experience!

 

Death Road
Death Road

Eventually the weather cleared a bit, and the views of the valleys were outstanding. Easily the most outstanding mountain biking I've ever done.

The many gravestones dotted at various precarious locations dedicated to the 1000s that have perished only served to remind you of just how dangerous this trip was. And it only added to the excitement too. It would be very easy to slip off the cliff I reckon if you weren't too careful with the brakes (looks at the Israelis)

At the end of the day we had a full free buffet and got to swim in the nearby river, before getting dropped back up to La Paz (driving along the NEW Coroico road, which isn't nearly as exciting). Highly recommend this trip!

1 Comment for this Travel blog entry

Paddy Says:

25 March 2010

He he funny u got a guide from Galway ! Damn, those Irish guys are everywhere, that's scary .... ;)

South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan

Moiagasm!

Moiagasm!


After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

visitors: 563,961

Currently in:

Dublin, Ireland

Buy this Blog on CD!  More...


Makes a great gift for anytime!

Photo Album

  • Death Road

    La Paz

    Bolivia

    Death Road
  • Death Road

    La Paz

    Bolivia

    Death Road
  • Death Road

    La Paz

    Bolivia

    Death Road
  • Death Road

    La Paz

    Bolivia

    Death Road