Riding Up the WMDR SERIOUSLY PERVERSEThe Peverse Reverse, the Ultimate Challenge for the Insanely Fit!
Melissa Griffiths wrote:
In November 2007 I decided to do something a little crazy. After descending 12,000 feet on the Worlds Most Dangerous Road with Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking I thought I'd play with fate a little longer and ride back up it. Believe it or not, the ascent up the WMDR feels safer than the descent. And that's pretty safe given Gravity's outstanding track record.
When you bike up the road the first thing you notice is how quiet it is, which means you can hear traffic long before you see it. Since you're climbing, there are no screaming brakes or sudden corners, and because the pace is obviously much slower going up, the air isn't whistling around your ears. It's nature at it's most beautiful and only by going up do you get an appreciation for the enormity and beauty of this place.
You begin the ascent in the tropical climate of Coroico. When I started at 7am there was a thick fog covering the whole of the mountain range and visibility was barely a hundred feet. Due to the humidity of the rainforest even my lightweight shorts and t-shirt felt too heavy. I'd recommend leaving early as it's a memorable experience to interact with bemused children on their way to school. The camaraderie was wonderful although I'm sure they thought I was a little insane.
After the first few miles you leave the uncivilized civilization and it's just you, a bike, and the rainforest. As you climb, and believe me you do a lot of climbing, you emerge from the fog to a stunning view of majestic mountains, steep cliff sides and of course the relentless road which you can see snaking away into the distance. It's a view that never gets boring. This is true wilderness and there's a ton of wildlife just desperate to perform for a lone cyclist. Several times I had to duck from excited birds or over zealous butterflies that accompanied me for long lonely stretches. Along the way there are many reminders of the dangers of the road from single crosses to mini mausoleums; all immaculately cared for. It certainly brings a sense of reality to the experience.
The only real drawback to this ride is the weather. It starts to get cold about half way up and then it starts to rain. Since you're ascending it only gets worse. I took a backpack with several layers and a waterproof to put on when you stop. Extra clothing is essential. When you're moving it's not that bad but you cool down very quickly so be prepared. Don't let that put you off though. It's an amazing experience and after a 5 hour climb you've definitely earned the beers in La Paz at the end of it.
Melissa climbed for around 5 hours and gained 2000 meters in altitude (6000ft) at which point she meet one of Gravity's groups that was going down the road, and as arranged joined them to ride back down to the bottom (and stretch her legs out).. It is possible (if you are truly insane to climb the full 3600m (11800ft) and the current record to do so is 5:36 (by a complete psycho called Nathan from New Zealand). Melissa did this in "shoulder season" which means that she hit some rain. For many months of the year (May-September) it might be possibleto do the ride without being rained on.
If you are interested in this doing the "Peverse Reverse" (apologise to the Karapoti Race) please contact Gravity well in advance so we can discuss options with you. These options include: bike-rental, bike-rental-plus-guide, and bike-rental-plus-full-support. Quite a few of Gravity's guides have also been crazy enough to do the ride up the World's Most Dangerous Road, so you will be in good company if you decide to go up with a guide. This ride is challenging enough that we are trying to figure out how to put together a race up the road ... maybe if we can get enough riders together on the same date we can hold the first one.
Check out Matt, one of our international guides (NZ), and Gus, one of our Bolivian guides, and Fiona, who guided and worked for us in the office taclking the Perverse Reverse here!
IN "Riding Up the WMDR SERIOUSLY PERVERSE":
Prices of 1-Day Rides
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The World's Most Dangerous Road
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Riding Up the WMDR SERIOUSLY PERVERSE
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About Gravity Bolivia
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The VERY VERY rough guide to Tourist Visas to enter Bolivia