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Published: September 5th 2007
The Start"This is not a video game, this is real life, and real life hurts"
Starting out at 15,980ft. I'm the 3rd from the left...good thing the picture is taken from too far to see the "Oh shit!" look on my face.
We are sitting on our bikes at 16,000ft., being briefed on how to survive our 12,000ft. descent into Coroico on the "World's Most Dangerous Road". "For the next 4-5 hours we will be riding 40 miles down a road that we will share with other bikers, cars, buses, trucks, dogs, and people. We will be riding on the cliff side, because the motor vehicles drive on the inside as to avoid causing avalanches. Play with your breaks, learn to break slowly. Do not break hard with the front break, or you will go over your handlebars and over the cliff and drop 2,000 ft....this won't hurt, you will not survive. Don't break too hard with your rear brakes...you will skid out and have the same result. 4 people die a year on this ride, but not with our group"
I am half-way hearing what he is saying, but his voice is being drowned out by the voice in my head. This particular voice is screaming "WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE!!!!!"
The last time I was mountain biking was....oh, who am I
kidding, I have never been mountain biking. I am not supposed to be here. This is not me. I am the least athletic, most uncoordinated person I know. Bikes scare me. Cliffs scare me. Pain scares me. Dying kinda scares me too.
There is only one reason I am here; because a certain person told me I couldn't do it. Before I left I told this person that one of the activities you could do in Bolivia was mountain bike down the world's most dangerous road; this certain person than proceeded to tell me that I was too fragile to do anything like that. She was probably right, but here I was...giving my pride precedence over my life.
He's explaining the gears now...there are gears on the right and the left...what the hell does that mean? I don't get it. Screw it, I just won't change gears. I'm really in trouble here, aren’t I? Those Spanish brothers are already riding around and jumping their bikes off little mounds. I am so screwed.
Time to go...I am fourth in line and we're on our way down. The first 20 miles is asphalt and I'm gaining speed...I come around
the corner and I can see the road winding in the front of me....gaining more speed...this is actually fun....more speed...I feel like I'm flying...more speed...woooo!!!!....more speed....a semi passes me, I start to wobble....SHIT!....ok, got control...slowing down...slowing down....ok this is a good speed....stop shaking. I don't know what's more exhausted after the first 20 minutes, my body or my mind.
I finally get comfortable for the first hour or so, and then the uphill part comes. Uphill part? No one said anything about an uphill part? Raise my seat? Why? How do these gears work again? This is f'in' hard. Peddling, peddling, peddling...this sucks!!! I know I'm out of shape, but we're at 15,000 feet and you want me to ride a bike up a hill....bite me! Get on that lil walkie talkie and call the van, I didn't sign up to ride uphill!
We're on the dirt and gravel part now. We have to stay within the truck tracks on the cliff side. Don't want to be riding on the lose gravel because if we need to brake quickly we'll skid out and there's no room to skid out. I am having fun now, but my nerves are
There's where the Israeli kid went off the edge, there's where the bus with 110 people went over, there another cross, there's another marker, another reminder of another life lost over the abyss.
This is fun, can't wait to write a blog about this. Wait until Barry hears I rode a mountain bike 40 miles...Mom's gonna freak out...Kevin will tell me this road isn’t shit compared to what he rides in Colora....SHIT! Curve! Mini-Van! Break! SHIT! Too hard...skidding....ahhhh....gotta concentrate, don't let the mind wander anymore!
Lunch time...not hungry.
After lunch I have some confidence. Standing up on the bike...can't sit anymore...ass hurts. Really starting to fly around these corners...this is awesome!!! What? We're almost done? That's the bottom? I was just getting the hang of this.
Bottom. Beers. Swimming Pool. Food. Adrenaline Rush like I've never felt. High for hours. Get on the bus back to La Paz. Put a little Megadeth on the iPod (seems appropriate)...pass out. Never felt so good in my life!
* All pictures taken by tour company, B-Side. I didn't carry my camera because I was pretty sure I would crash and break it.
from another website Darkroastedblend
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