Trip of a lifetime!! This was the ongoing theme while biking in Peru for the Inca Avalanche Trail Festival. Peru has this magical quality that keeps bringing me back.
We spent our time staying in Ollantaytambo which sits just over 9000 feet and is surrounded by towering jagged mountains in every direction.
One of my favorite things about Peru is the color. Absolutely everything has this vibrant glow so even on the dark rainy days everything seems a little brighter.
I suppose the real reason I go back is because the trails are mind blowing…and in a lot of cases bike blowing. So bringing a lot of spare parts is helpful, especially tubeless tire plugs.
While there are some established mountain bike trails, most of the trails are a fun free for all through rocks, mud bogs, farms, hiking trail, open fields, towns, and more often than not someone’s backyard! The wildlife just adds to the excitement of the high altitude and rugged terrain.
We rode past and were frequently chased by llamas, alpaca, bulls, dogs, pigs, and even a herd of wild horses running around on the hillside. On one trail Joni and I were almost chased down by a bull but luckily we were fast enough on our bikes to avoid the horns! Yikes!
It was amazing how much we fit in. Most days were filled with a mixture of riding numerous trails, sightseeing and enjoying the ruins. The planned itinerary for the festival allowed us to experience so much with little effort while leaving a lot of flexibility.
We were able to visit and pass by many schools, where the children were so excited to see our bikes more than us. They would oooh and aaah and jump on to ride them around.
I also learned some amazing yoga moves from the other women with us, Luana and Gisele.
The food is absolutely amazing and I was able to enjoy some street vendor food without getting sick (the hot dogs on a stick were oddly addicting).
We even found ourselves dancing the night away with the locals to a live band and giant bonfire. I am pretty sure about half the men in our group were being challenged to a dance off as some of the local farmers were trying to convince them to marry their daughters. So brush up on your dancing and watch out for that chicha!
(Drinking the Chicha: local beer made from fermented corn)
We did so much and that was all just leading up to the race, which was it’s own adventure.
Mass starts are pure chaos! At one point I went face first into a giant mud pit! I will never leave home without tear offs. They saved me but that mud also destroyed my clothes and appears to be staying in them forever. What an insanely fun trail and of course my favorite parts were the jumps at the end and Aaron yelling “Abra Malaga!” at the start line.
We came, we saw, we biked, we did it all! There is nothing like being on a trip with a group of amazing riders and friends with non stop laughs and smiles the whole time. I can’t wait to go back next year! – Christine Dern
For info about the Inca Avalanche Trail Fest, visit IncaAvalanche.com