Inca Avalanche Race Is One Epic Race

The downside with flying into Cusco, Peru, with a planeload of disassembled mountain bikes is that you just then need to commandeer the modest airport’s parking zone to bang these bikes again collectively. The chore might be a superb factor, although, to assist us acclimate to the 11,000-foot altitude—and to the problem forward. I’m considered one of 16 seasoned North American riders who’ve traveled to this area of the Andes in southeastern Peru to log six days of rigorous descents as we discover an historical path system within the Sacred Valley of the Inca, with a facet journey to Machu Picchu tacked on for good measure.

With all wheels and handlebars matched to corresponding frames and the bikes secured atop three vans, we shuttle by means of the colonial metropolis’s twisty streets and farther up into surrounding inexperienced mountains to stage our first descent. We unload and, regardless of our stoke, attempt to tempo ourselves as we pedal to a good greater place to begin. Huffing on the skinny air, we’re stunned to come across a gaggle of colorfully attired Quechuans, direct descendants of the Inca, singing and dancing alongside the in any other case lonely go. They weave by means of our ranks, smiling and clasping our palms, then drift previous. As welcoming receptions go, it’s fairly unbeatable.

Mountain bikers line up on grass with person in traditional colorful Peruvian garb watches
Chris Wellhausen

Our inaugural downhill , a llama-blazed, 9.3-mile path referred to as La Maxima, is domestically notorious. It begins as a observe of Andean pink grime bordered by tall, yellow grass. The path is steep and quick earlier than transitioning into rugged rock gardens and scrabbly switches that require fixed vigilance to maintain from washing out. After about two hours of technical maneuvering, nearing the underside and fatigued from the lengthy flight and the journey, I unceremoniously tumble off my seat. I slide feetfirst over unfastened, jagged rock that scorches my bottom, praying I don’t develop into a pace bump for the bikes barreling down behind me. Disaster narrowly averted, I grunt off my scrapes and end the descent. Laughing over celebratory cervezas, we assess that this “shakeout journey” was already the equal of a number of typical rides again house—and we’re set to deal with 16 extra such descents within the days to come back. I make a degree of clinking longnecks with my pal Dillon Lemarr, supervisor of a using workforce for bike model Commencal, and professional freeride mountain biker Aaron Chase. This entire touring, spoke-spinning circus has been envisioned by Chase after seven earlier journeys to journey the Sacred Valley. He’s dubbed it “The Inca Flow.” And proper now, I’m questioning if I’ll survive it intact.

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