The most dangerous road in the world.
Wet. Cold. Fast.
I am zooming down a mud road (well, more like a path) and the rain is stinging my face like a thousand pissed off bumble bees.
Shit, I just barely missed a pothole which could have sent me and my bike flying – maybe over the edge.
My sunglasses seem to be helping, but they are fogging up and the water is making thing very hard to see. It guess it´s better than having the water sting my eyes though. Faster and faster I go, but it´s hard to slow down. My hands are so numb that I can barely pull the brakes – and the fact that the back brake doesn’t really work isn’t helping matters. I´m wet. Very wet. With every movement, I can feel my water logged shoes squish. I´m wearing sponges on my feet.
A tree branch smacks my helmet really hard.
The guide said that we only had a few more hours of this. Some people are wearing shorts, some don´t have jackets. Some don´t have gloves. But we all continue on, zooming down the mountain.
When a bus or truck is coming up from the opposite direction, we pull off to the side – but I can barely even see, so I just tail behind everyone and stop when they stop. While riding, I can see the 100-1000 feet drops off the side (and there is no guard rail) but sometimes (and perhaps for the better), the canyon views are obscured by clouds. I dodge a pile of rocks in the road. How have the buses been getting past this, I ask myself? They haven´t had to. The side of the mountain had *just* collapsed and as I zoomed by, I could see some tiny bits still falling.
My bike hits a rock and the front tire dances around while it decides whether it wants to send me flying or not. It straightens out and I sigh in relief.
I can´t believe how fast everyone is going. Are they crazy? I speed up to catch up and splash through a waterfall dropping straight onto the road. Oh well, I can´t get any wetter. Right after, we cross a small river. My foot instinctively crashes down into the water to keep from falling. Again, I can´t get any wetter. Just a few more hours…just a few more hours.
Yeah, it was a pretty hardcore trip. When we finally arrived to the base of the mountain (4 hours later, because the guide broke a rib), we rinsed off and had lunch. We were all literally caked in mud. The tour agency hadn’t suggested that we bring a change of clothes, socks and shoes, so we had to wear our entire muddy and soaked attire the whole four hour ride home. The road we had biked down is called The Most Dangerous Road In The World, and after this, I can believe it. The best part about the whole thing was: on the way back, we got to ride back up it to La Paz. I figured that if I didn’t sleep on the bus, I would at least sleep in the canyon when the bus fell off the side (but for a bit longer).
But we survived. And when I got back to the hostel, I can assure you, a hot shower never (ever ever ever) felt so good in my life.
And the cold, wet, and muddy clothes got to sleep in the corner of my hotel room. I´ll worry about those later.