Downhill mountain biking down death road!

La Paz Travel Blog

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Well I could just lounge around until the plane......or I could go down Death Road with I think you know which one I picked :)

This was fantastic, dangerous...and I wouldn't want to be responsible for convincing you to do it....but it was fantastic!  The guide must be nicknamed Ewan McGregor, he sounded like him and had the long hair.

Be sure to take advantage of enjoying the asphalt road section at the start since you can get incredible speed up with great views (and at this point in the journey you can actually look up from your bike :) ) Emma was a natural and flew down the mountain at an incredible speed!  After going through a tunnel we hit 3 or 4 kms of uphill (which is never mentioned in booking your DOWNhill bike ride) and is quite hard to do at this altitude, but I'm happy to be able say I made it without having to stop and push.  Our reward was a quick stop for chocoloate, bananas and water then we were off again!

After not too long you start to hit the dirt road part, and you have to keep to the left (precipice) side to avoid hitting trucks coming around corners! yes that's right, you have to ride on the edge of a steep cliff and could hit an oncoming truck at any moment :) The tour splits in to a front group and a back group, I made it in to the front group which is assumed to be able to handle hearing 'death road' statistics and stories which the back group isn't told until the end.  For example, "the most recent fatal accident was last Satruday in which all in a lorry were killed going off the edge", "a tourist bus went over the edge only 3.5 weeks ago. 

We were introduced to La Francais corner where a girl stopped off her bike to get out of a truck's way, took 1 step back to get off the road, then another, don't have corners named after you if you survive :(  Similarly Italiano corner where a tourist didn't hit the brakes soon enough.

At the narrowest part of the road, 'san Juan something' where 81 people went over on a loaded bus returning from a party in Coroico.  We had a water jump with 5 minutes left, which is just a chance to get up some speed and do a trick for the camera.  My steering was a bit screwed after that which isn't ideal since there's a lot of rocks, dust, and still a decent drop of the mountain! 

But I made it to tell my tales, and the free beer at the end went down very well :) On to the bus to Hotel Esmeralda where a shower was very much appreciated, and a good buffet meal too.  Then it was in to the bus for the drive back up the 'death road' we'd just heard all those stories about.  I was amused by the German guys' question 'Up the same road ?' where did he think we'd go ??

For my last night out of the travel I was joined by Emma and Louisa who were great company.  We tried out a bit of the house red at 'Sol y Luna' followed by a 'mojito' at Oliver's travels.  We celebrated our survival of death road, and I was realizing that the dream holiday was over....

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La Paz
photo by: wilfredoc2009