I was recently asked by the crew at Biciklo to provide a writeup of our 3 most epic descents in Peru. With so many to choose from, it was hard to choose just 3, but here are my 3 favourites in the land of the Incas:
The thrilling Olleros Descent in Peru is one of the longest mountain bike downhills in the world, if not the longest. The day starts with a 3-hour drive from Lima into the Andes Mountains, ascending 11,000 feet on a remote, one-lane dirt road carved into the side of a mountain.
Upon reaching the town of Olleros, the fun begins with a short, technical descent on narrow singletrack. The trail soon opens up onto a wide, smooth ridge that gives the rider the opportunity to let go of the brakes and hit maximum speed as the mountains whizz by. The ride ends at a dry riverbed valley with 35 kilometres of unforgettable cruising as the sun sets, ending at the Pacific Ocean over 60 kilometres later.
In total the trail drops over 11,000 feet from Olleros to the ocean, a truly epic descent!
This descent certainly qualifies as one of the more unique days of mountain biking in the world. We start the day off with an ascent in the van to the town of San Pedro de Casta, about 7,000 feet up into the Andes from Lima. In San Pedro we switch our van for other, more traditional steeds: local horses. We hand off our bikes to a group of local teenagers who will push our bikes up the last 1,000 vertical feet while we take the horses on a thrilling, technical ascent to the Marcahuasi Stone Forest. The Stone Forest is an ancient geological formation where the rock has morphed over time into human-like formations, a place revered by locals for its spiritual powers.
From the stone forest it’s a thrilling 8,000-foot descent along technical singletrack with spectacular views of the Andes in all directions. Unlike the Olleros Trail, this trail is tight with lots of switchbacks and technical sections to keep you on your toes. When it’s over, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear, exhausted but buzzing with the energy of the Incas!
This is one of the highest altitude descents in Peru, starting at 14,500 feet above sea level. You’ll notice the thin air when you first get out of the van, but you’ll soon acclimatize as you descend. The trail is fast and fun, with lots of little jumps and trail features that will get you airborne should you choose.
Near the bottom the trail descends into a narrow river valley and you’ll ride alongside the river on technical singletrack for several kilometres before finally exiting into a traditional Peruvian village, gulping down all the extra oxygen and wiping the drool off your chin.
Hope you like this write-up - feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about our Peru Rides. We're now taking bookings for spring 2011 - you'll have to book at least 4 months in advance to reserve your spot on one of our amazing Peru Rides!