Biking down the World's Most Dangerous Road

Trip Start Nov 17, 2006
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Trip End Jan 24, 2007


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Update 10: Biking Down the Worlds Most Dangerous Road - The Road of Death
Location: La Paz, Bolivia
Date: Sunday 24th Dec 06

First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Definitely the highlight of the trip so far has been our ride down what is known as 'The road of Death' or the worlds most dangerous road just outside La Paz in Bolivia. It is every kids dream - the hill that never ends! But what would a bike ride be without a good set of handlebars? So the night before, i cleared 5 weeks of facial growth leaving me some handlebars. Steve decided on some 1800īs chops connected by a moustache in the middle and our american friend Matt out on a goatee!

The day started out heading out to the start point, some 4600m above sea level and we would decend to a point around 1000m above sea level (3.6km) over 5 hours. As we drove up to the start point we passed a check point that said 43 people had died on the road this year! Awesome! (this risk is mainly to large trucks and buses in the wetseason not to mountain bikers)

We got our gear at the top - bike, helmet, gloves, jacket and pants. After a quick ride around, we got our bikes tweaked to our needs - i had my back tyre changed out. As we were there another group was there - the ones who paid US$65 for awesome bikes - but they had an absolute dipstick for a guide. We paid just US$32 and our bikes were fine! The other group had a 15min safety brief - we had 2mins - these are your brakes and gears - OK lets go!

The ride down was split half-half by distance - the first being on asphalt (we started round 9.30am) and the second half being on gravel - the so called dangerous part of the road. The first half hour or so was awesome - smooth and fast with lots of fantastic scenery - waterfalls everywhere! After half an hour, we began to ride through clouds and we got quite wet from this and visibility dropped to about 20m. It was fun overtaking big trucks on bicycles not really being able to see whats ahead.

A little later, we hit some serious rain and i felt like my jeans were holding back a dam! they were so heavy. To compound this issue, there was a 20min uphill section, in the rain and my knee began to play up but i was first up the hill.

Round 11.30am we hit the gravel, and it was so fun. But the best thing about it was that we were on the worlds dangerous road in the rain. Well, not just rain but a serious downpour. Well, not just a serious downpour but torrential rain. There were 1km+ drops off to the side of the 6ft wide track with no safety railings with streams and waterfalls to ride through on the way! it was so intense!

As the day went on, the rain eased, and we began to see the scenery a bit more. We all agreed that the rain made it more fun and freaky! You couldnt tell how big the drops were as they just dropped off into the mist! We stopped for a snack round 1pm and we passed the nice bike crew just before, and as they passed us as we were eating they were going so slow it looked boring! So glad we took the cheap trip as there were 13 of us, there was 3 guides and 3 groups of speed - fast, medium and slow! So we got to go way fast!

We eventually arrived at the bottom round 2.30pm or so, and had showers and lunch at a nice hotel. I would recommend this ride to anyone - anyone who wants the best thrill on offer in south america.
The next day, my knee was so sore - aggravated that old injury and my right hand hurts whenever i close it from all the braking on the way down.

La Paz is a pretty cool city - bustling and so cheap. I bought my self a leather jacket for AUD$25 which i think is made in China - thats what the tag says. Oh well, not going to complain for that price. We have been buying heaps of other stuff too.

Tomorrow, Christmas day, we head off into the jungle. Steve and I are catching a military flight up to a place called Rurrenabaque and doing a 3 day tour to the jungle or something. Should be good!

Nath
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