Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Cycling in support of Limbs For Life
Cycling in support of Limbs For Life

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

More of the same. Except totally different

I had been in Lapaz nearly a month. A bustling, deranged and truly fantastic city. It will always occupy a warm spot in my heart, as will some of the people I met there.

The Lapaz Casa de Ciclista. A cozy place set aside for  traveling cyclist. Amazing and odd all at the same time; just the way I like things. A big thanx to Cristian for concocting it all and going above and beyond.

Davie and I's room for our time there.

How you know you are in a place by cyclist for cyclist

Leaving town. Davie, Mike, Jo and Dave. Photo by Karen. 

Back to what we love. It took us 60 some odd Kms of pavement to get our tootsies back in the dirt 

She told me- It has been 12 years since the last train. I wondered if she is still waiting for someone.

I was just in time. They needed a 4th for hand ball

Into the out there

one of these rocks is not a rock

too small to even make coffee in

A fantastic state of decay...

An ancient lock. Installed with a machete and square nails.

 The two rails I seek solace in to guide my way 

Some deeper than others. I cross many a day

Chasing double track and dodging storms

Mario was my guide out of Okororo. Him and his young wife found me in a shack the evening before, during a down pour. They came back with hot tea and a lama wool poncho. Then were there to see me out of the pueblita in the morning.  A transcendent level of sheer kindness... almost tear inducing 

Volcano Sajama. the tallest in Bolivia. Sajama fo yo mama... Yea Ma, that one is for you.

This guy whispered to me: "Hey buddy, you might wanna drink from up stream". 

A beautiful Lama hair rope gate

The South American Beast of Burden and one rather dapper Sajama

Many places will have red doors or blue doors. Other than maybe lack of color choices; I have not figured out the significance yet

Sajama village grocery

I met a group of 4 French cyclist. We rode out to some geysers together.

In case you haven't seen my left ear in a while. Its still attached

Coffee water coming right out of the ground

Go in filthy... come out with no skin

couple'a trouble makers

No one out here but Davie and I, some Vicuna and a few Rhea

Once again. A trestle coming in handy

The military post at Macaya. Seriousness only

Riding across open land due to flooded roads.

Bumped into these. Still couldn't make coffee in them. Not comfortably anyways.

Not exactly prayer flags but a welcome splash of color

Like camping in the shire ghetto

One narrow bridge

Ben and I have been through the "Death Mud" on the Arizona Trail. I deemed this the "Insanity mud" It will drive you insane with gloppy frustration if you can not get through it quick enough. We slopped through, reaching dry ground just as I was giggling uncontrollably and having thoughts of eating it. Pitching out all my gear and replacing it with delicious mud.

 Insanity as far as the eye can see

This was a bit more doable. Just put in the earphones, crank up the tunes and try not to think of the life being taken from your components

An inland sea. The Salar de Uyuni. I've arrived too late in the season to ride across it. Beautiful non the less 

Where salt and water meet

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CHORO!- A jungle trek... with bicycles. (an alternative to the not so death defying "Death Road")

You hear alot about cycling the infamous Bolivian "Death Road" (Ruta de la Muertos). Vans loaded with bikes and gringos go streaming out of Lapaz every day. That old road chipped from the sheer cliff side sees thousands of bikers every year. The scenery is absolutly stunning (when its not hidden behind grey walls). Though, if you are a true, blown in glass Mt. Biker and crave single-track like a polar bear does seals? You might very well find yerself board to death by the "Death Road". I only compare these routes because they start and end in virtually the same place, taking different valleys.
L to R-  Gabriel, Some dude, Mike, Karen and Christian.  ( Thanx to Christian for the lift to the top)

A look back down at La Cumbre and the main road
The ever amazing Christian from the Lapaz Casa de Ciclista gave us a lift to the Choro trail head. This trekking path is normally hiked in 3 days. We planned to do it in 1 on bikes. From a lofty 4870m down to a balmy 1300m- a decent of 3570m (11,712ft) How challenging could it be?
Karen picking her way down from the top

Only ancient Incan roads to be found here.

Stupid good fun

Toothy and rocky

The weather was amazing for us- considering it was the wet season in a very wet climate

Que the Conan soundtrack 

Inca pavement. One of  Davie's favorite

Lama rush hour

Some convenient bridges


Those Incans were busy folks

Beware of pumas 

Karen in one of the few rideable mid sections

400 year old highway

Gabriel, starting to feel it. 

Mike pushing on
I only had 50 Km on my odometer but it took us 12.5 hours of hard effort. We finished the last stretch in the dark. Head lamps sweeping the fast and rocky decent to Chairo. Amazing and difficult. We shared a beer and some hearty cheers all around at the end of a beautiful days ride. Don't expect a T-shirt.
We slept on hay mattresses around an old pool table in a concrete room. At 5 am we caught this truck back to Lapaz

Gaboo... sore, tired and smiling

Early morning snoozes

    I highly recommend this alternative route to anyone with a hankering for the unbeaten path. A light weight bikepacking set up and breaking it into a 1.5 day run would be the most ideal. Be prepared for some serious hike-a-bike. The rideable stuff is in the beginning and the end.

  "There is absolutely nothing else I would rather do with my life than ride routes like this around the world"- Kurt Alan 10:45 pm- beer in hand