I want to tell you about one of the most amazing adventures I have ever had in mountain biking. I traveled halfway around the world to spend time in the Andes Mountains battling the most challenging trails that area had to offer. My travels began in a town called Huaraz, which is in Peru.
The bus ride to the small town took us 15,000 feet up through winding mountain roads. Our bike gear was strapped to the back of the vehicle and we kept an eye on it to make sure it didn’t tumble down the side of the ravine. Once we arrived at our destination we were greeted by the locals, who met us with warm smiles and outreached hands.
Once we had unpacked, we got busy installing our X2 Levers for our suspension. I knew we would need the extra cushion for the rocky trails we would encounter. It was funny, the custodian at our hotel was so anxious to lend a hand with our project. He even brought out his toolbox in case we didn’t have everything we needed. We settled in for a hearty meal and prepared for the day ahead.
Just as important is our bike gear, was our weather gear. The climate all throughout Peru can be challenging, and we wanted to be prepared. Before leaving, the woman at the front desk warned us about the ice cold winds that come down from the top of the mountains. She went into the back and returned with an alpaca scarf and tucked it into the back of my coat and then wrapped it around my neck. I was grateful at the gesture, but soon realized how warm the wool actually was.
My friend asked her where she got it, and she stated that they are produced here in Peru, but can be found in the United States. We asked her if she had any other cold-weather tips since apparently we weren’t as prepared as we thought we were. She told me just to keep the scarf around my neck and face, and keep pedaling very fast. Which she added with a mischievous laugh.
There are tour groups that come to these areas with bike guides, but we decided to make this journey ourselves. The scenery was just breathtaking. There was a mix of lush greenery along with areas of pure white snow. And there were small banks of clouds that would float by us in waves just drifting along. Many of us are from the city, and weren’t used to such crisp clean air. Several of us joked about just staying here, and not going home.
Along with the beautiful landscapes, the trip offered some challenging bike trails. Some areas had wide open paths, while others were curvy and rock strewn. I have to admit I was thrown off my bike several times from a rock that would appear out of nowhere. Overall it was an amazing journey, and I look forward to returning there within the next couple of years.