GOAL OF THE DAY: SURVIVE LA RUTA DE LA MUERTE!
The adventure of the day is to survive “The world’s most dangerous road”. In the program: 64 km downhill from 4700m to 1100 m n.p.m. So basically we start in piercing cold, wrapped in 50 layers, hats and gloves and we end up in the hot tropical forests, half naked.
La Ruta de la Muerte owes its name to sad statistics. By 2006, around 200-300 people died here each year. In many places, the road is barely over 3 m (!!) wide, and it had to accommodate two lorries at the same time! It was the only road linking La Paz with the Amazon, so despite the poor conditions, traffic here was very dense. In 2006, the new road was put into service, so the Death Road is now much less used by cars (but it still happens). Now it has become wildly popular among the thrill seekers and locals. We definitely fall into the first category, so we just had to do it! :))
The downhill takes around 5 hours. Given that most of the time the hands are clamped on brakes, it’s quite a lot, as hands are aching mercilessly. Btw, you need to be careful with brakes! Pressing them too hard can make you fly over the frame and land outside of the cliff, which is the most common cause of fatal accidents.
The first 20 km takes place on an asphalt, easy road, so you have time to get used to the brakes and your bike. Later, only stones and abyss are waiting for you!
When we reached the spot, it turned out that the Death Road is the only road in South America with left-hand traffic. Which in practice means driving along the abyss! WHat the heck? As in my head, I was planning to desperately stick to the right side as much as possible, I can’t say I was super happy hearing this 😉
When you get used to a fact that the whole road is about bumps, stones and abbys, there are no barriers, the width of the road is 3 m, and your hands hurt, you start to realise, that the views are absolutely marvelous and start to have lots of fun. What a joy when you reach the end safe and sound! And a cold beer is waiting for you! And the guide can finally tell you all the scary stories about accidents on the road. Fatal accidents are now rare, but just last week before our ride a Danish girl was killed. Spinal and ribs fractures are pretty frequent.
Well, beer and life taste even better now!