I rushed past wooden crosses, the only thing stopping me from falling off the edge of the cliff, my hands numb from the vibration, my eyes on the path ahead of me. My heart was beating out of my chest, the peddles under my feet barely moving. Once and a while water would trickle down off the side of the cliff beside me, falling onto my helmet. I watched as the greenery rushed by me, the clouds obscuring the path ahead of me.
Five hours earlier I was in a van with five other travelers heading with bikes strapped to our roof to the start of Death Road, Bolivia. Casino de las Yungas is known as the worlds deadliest roads. After traveling to the deadliest roads in India, I though this was not going to be such a big deal. I am not the best bike rider, but I survived mountain biking the winding mountain roads on the way to Machu Picchu, so this is gonna be a piece of cake.
We arrived at the top of the mountain. We each posed with our bike near this lake, thinking, this can be the last photo of me alive. We dressed in protective gear including knee and elbow pads, a full body suit gloves and a mountain biking helmet. After strapping my gopro to my chest we each mounted our bikes.
The first 1/3 of the road is paved and has a pretty good amount of traffic. We dodged trucks and vans, flying past tall snow covered mountain. We stopped a couple hours in for a light snack. We then mounted our bikes to complete the most rigorous part of the road. The rest was dirt, rocks, gravel and wet mud. Our small team zipped through the jungle, stopping to see famous accidents along the way.
"Look down, do you see that charred bus down there at the bottom of the cliff? 30 people died there." We continued... "Here is where people are thrown off the cliff if they have done something bad...you can hear them screaming sometimes at night." We continued.. "Here is the spot where most bikers die ... Look down you can see the remains of the bike frames."
I am sure these stories are told to us to enhance the adrenaline rush. After three more hours of breath holding, heart pounding madness we finally arrived at the end. I finished ... I didn't die. I even got a shirt that says so, although most people know I am crazy enough to do something like mountain bike Death Road, but if you do t believe me just watch the video I filmed.