Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sorata Pt. II

Last week I was able to make another trip to Sorata with Ben, Steve, and two guys, Juan and Willie, who came to Bolivia from Columbia specifically for the singletrack. They didn't even bother riding the WMDR because they had better things to do. Namely, rip it up all over the place, including possibly my favorite place in the world, Sorata.

We had three stunning days in Sorata and the memories will be with us for quite a while. The first day we arrived out of town at the beginning of a trail known as Loma Loma. This is where we started when I was here last with Rob, Rene, and Joe.

Ben airing out the first jump at the top of Loma Loma.

Steve with a killer backdrop.

Steve taking the same line that the pros did last month.

Ben with a wall ride. The run in was junk so it was pretty hard to get speed.

Another wall ride.

Steve, completely burying the bike in a corner. Note the expression of supreme calm on his face... and no fingers on the brakes whatsoever.

View of the mountains from the Altai Hostel. The Altai is where we stay every time we go to Sorata.

On the second day we headed up to another trail called ChuChu. It begins up above tree-line and the first sections are singletrack mixed with scree. There is also a large road gap at the top that Ben hit. I wanted to, and had all my body armor on, but after seeing Ben I chickened out. Maybe after I get comfortable with 30 ft. jumps that don't have a gap in them.

There was a slight head wind and Ben had a bit too much speed on the take off, nearly clearing the transition on landing. However, he checked it just enough and landed smooth on the downhill.

Ben and Steve slash scree.

Ben on the lower slope.

Steve making huge and fast carves on the lower slope. Shortly after this photo Steve went whipping by me with a look of terror on his face. Apparently a large rock appeared in his line and to avoid it he cut left, but my bike was in the way. And then he hit my bike that was lying down just below where I was taking photos. He somersaulted several times and ended up 25 ft. or so below my bike. Quite possibly one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.

Ben laying it down after the scree field.

To get to the second section of ChuChu there is a steep hike-a-bike that takes about 3 minutes.

Steve and Juan riding off into the clouds after the hike-a-bike.

Riding at cloud level.

And then one of the most amazing experiences of my life happened. Ben and I were riding up front and we came over the crest of a hill and there were about 7 wild horses right in front of us. They took off and we followed them, keeping up until a little section that cliffed us out. We were literally riding within ten feet of them and they were galloping along in front and next to us. It was seriously one of the coolest things to happen to me. It was what I imagine being an American Indian was like when they would ride into a herd of Bison. We stopped and some of the horses headed down to a watering hole. I climbed up onto a ridge and gave the go ahead to Ben and the guys so that I could try to get a photo of them riding into the horses again. This time, however, the horses were much more aware and Ben wasn't able to get as close as we initially had.

The last frontier.

The next, and last day, we headed up and rode the bottom section of ChuChu again. Unfortunately, no horses appeared, but we had a blast riding some tight and rocky singletrack through trees, fields, and at times local back yards. Dirty and tired we headed back to the Altai, grabbed a quick shower, and then hit the road back to La Paz.

Sorata "cityscape".

Before getting to La Paz we took a short detour to a town on the edge of Lake Titicaca where we had trout fresh from the lake. Pretty great way to end three days of the best riding this side of the equator.


  1. You make me think about ditching my HT, only to get a DH trip to bolivia:)

  2. You make me re-evaluate my life.

  3. Incredible pictures, thank you!(especially of Ben, of course!)