It was the adventure of the year, either conscious or unconsciously, we had been preparing ourselves for a few months already for this voyage. After several days of going downhill and doing little pedaling at La Dormida, Parvazo, Refugio Alemán y Machalí, we had formed a brotherhood set out to search for the longest slope and with conditions more like the ones we’d get on site that day, or at least from what we imagined. The challenge wasn’t a simple one, 4 hours of experiencing the mountain in all of its plenitude; high up in the mountains with its ever-changing landscape, filled with improvisation and obstacles. A minefield, which at times was fluid, sometimes felt jammed, sometimes steep, dry and loose, and then very firm under the shadow of the pre-cordilleran forest.
We had been waiting for it like anxious kids ever since a storm pushed back our excursion, initially planned for October. And although going downhill as far as we could was the main purpose, the mountain, that sacred place nearer to the gods for ancient wisdom, brings us closer and connects us with the basic cycle of water and thus to life. From the highest parts of the cordillera covered in slippery and playful spots of snow, eventually, we arrived at the land of muleskinners; green and wet fenced esplanades for animals during the summer season. Finally, on lower land, millenary gorges appear, whose core is a creek that makes the forest sprout all around it and where the biggest trails of humans begin to appear.
For someone who is not used to it, the adventure begins the moment the hangar that contains our ascendant opens, a helicopter of omnivorous graphic designs set up with a solid rack to transport the 5 bicycles. The take-off, the first sights of Santiago from the height, the mountain over-flight, and the landing on a windy esplanade at the top of the Ramón Hill with the city blossoming at its feet, are different and exciting sensations for the common citizen.
Needless to say, the descent was a demanding and strict delight. There was very little margin of error for switch backs, slopes, fast and rocky areas, river crossings, a few steep slopes and some free ride.
From the moment you get off the helicopter and ready yourself for battle, everything seems to go by as if you were in a movie with different scenes; helicopter, city, mountain, bicycles, and hours of journey make for the formula of fun. We even had time to refresh ourselves and to play at a swimming hole, a glorious moment to replenish the muscles and escape from the heat on the last kilometers of our voyage.
An experience that was completely worthwhile. It was the coronation of a year full of sacrifices and scuffles so we could be on the hill with friends doing what we like the most, it’s something that everyone who claims to be a cyclist must try, at least once, in their lifetime.
Special thanks to Diego Puelma www.andeshelibike.com