There is a road between La Paz and the jungle town of Coroico where over 50 buses a week fall off the side. This road, snaking through mountainous terrain has an accident every week and is naturally a road Gringos travel for miles and pay way too much money to ride along. With three guides, the seven of us set off at 8am for a 90 minute drive to an altitude of 4700 metres. Cold and gasping for air we kitted into our rain/riding attire as the weather proved less than complimentary.

The first half of the ride is along bitumen road and we set a blistering pace as we descended a kilometre. Naturally the pace was not so blistering on the two uphill sections. Staying in formation however we all descended the first half of the road with no problems at all before we reached a turn off where, shall we say, the road became considerably less than bitumen.

The following two hours were amazing as we descended another 2000 meters along a road where it was not uncommon to be a few centimetres from a 700 metre sheer drop. Riding along it was easier to focus on the road ahead than the drop. Figuring it was not that dangerous I took the time to appreciate the steep drop and quickly realised why the road was so dangerous. At times there was no more than 3 meters of road, a sheer drop on the other side and enormous trucks continually snaking thier way up the hill at which point the cyclists had to stay on the outer side of the road to allow the vehicles to pass.

I guess the most confronting thing about the road was the crosses marking where people had gone over the edge scattered along the roads side. That coupled with the stories of various gringos who had gone over the side due to break failure, I most certainly voiced my opinions when my breaks failed and was given another bike quicksmart. Though we were tough, we set a good pace and we made it to the bottom with not even one casualty. It was easier not to think about the dangers, and quite frankly I had an amazing time due to the beautiful scenery and excitement of what we were doing. We stopped 4 1/2 hours after starting at Coroico for a buffet lunch where Bryan and I dominated the fuseball table before being embarressed by a couple of local guys and buying them beers for the shameful victory. Several games later tho our mojo was working and we beat them.

It is hard to say what was scarier……The bike ride down the road or our bus ride back up. With no rocks, breaks, or turns to focus on thier was nothing left for our attention other than the sheer drops we had just ridden past. The scariest part of the ride was when a bigger bus came around the same corner we were driving around and our driver had to stop and reverse back along the barely big enough dirt track; at the time there was a 500 metre drop we all were looking straight down.

Needless to say however, despite the expected terror the road was tame enough and a good time was had by all. We arrived back in La Paz later that night and all played a violent drinking game which ended in a lot of sleep. All in all a good day!

   Unfortunately I cannot upload photos to this blog entrance, dont know why, will try again later.  shame cos there are some cool pics.

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