In Ecuador, the Andes mountains form two big ranges, the central and the occidental that goes along the country. The occidental range has some big volcanoes like Chimborazo, the highest in Ecuador with 6,263 meters above sea level, and it is closer to the Pacific Ocean. Its occidental face drops from about 4,000 to less than a thousand meters of altitude in a few kilometers. The vegetation changes dramatically from Paramo, highlands full of grasses, to the dense Tropical Montane Forest, and then to Tropical forests and agricultural lands. In these steep slopes, you can find some of the best trails in the country, long and technical singletracks that were established by merchants even before the Spaniards came to America.
The most famous of these trails is Mama Rumi, a long track with a mix of technical and fast terrain. Most of it is a single trail full of bobsled sections, called "culuncos", that offer great natural berms and ruts. It also has lots of sharp rocks in every size, slimy roots, and jumps. With only a couple climbs, Mama Rumi offers a beautiful adventure that crosses forests and plantations in 12 kilometers that descend from 2,800 meters above sea level to only 800. Ten years ago, the idea of racing this trail entered the mind of local rider Mauricio Gaibor and the journey began. The trail itself has seen a lot of changes through the years but the last unusually long and dry season made the surface really fast and dusty. With the addition of some jumps at the finish, next to the small town of Telimbela, it was set to be one great race.
With a track this long, anything can happen and the last riders down the hill had to start the race in the rain. It was not a problem for the Ecuadorian Downhill Champion, Mario Jarrin. He was the first to break the track record. Behind him was the last Open Shimano Latam winner, Cristian Valdivieso. The third best time was set by Alejandro Cedeño, who spent a long time in the hot seat. Last year's winner, Patricio Pereira was not able to put on a fight after he slipped over a rock and punctured his rear tire in the first section of the track. In the women field, Gabriela Loaiza made a clean run and a set a great time.
1. Mario Jarrin – 19:58.139
2. Cristian Valdivieso – 20:24.226
3. Alejandro Cedeño – 20:32.962Women
1. Gabriela Loaiza – 32:20.614
More information and photos at Mama Rumi