July 23, 2015
Words by Sacred Rides’ Rider Peter Mills, as told through daily Facebook posts (and reposted with his permission).
Day 1: The adventure has begun, time for some amazing biking on the trails around the mountains of Peru with our Sacred Rides’ guides Giovanni and Wayo.
Day 2: We had one hell of a day. Without a doubt the hardest climb I have ever done in my life and rewarded with some seriously fast downhill at the end.
Day 3: Holly crap! Yesterday was simply insane but in an epic way. Basically 50km descent from the Andes down a trail called the Olleros. The first 20km was technical downhill and the last 30km was fast paced flatlands back down to the sea. This was one heck of an experience, really couldn’t have hoped for anything better! Holly cow, what a day it was! Bring on today, aww yeah!
Day 4: Sooo. I said earlier that I had done the hardest climb of my life… Well, that climb has been belittled by today’s ride, and in a big way too. It seems each day the rides get tougher and tougher. Today’s shuttle to 3900 meters proved difficult for me to even put sentences together, let alone catch my breath. Our guide urged me to to suck on some coca leaves to take the altitude sickness away, he even made me take the bag of leaves with me.
After prepping our bags we hiked the bikes an additional 300 meters before there was a descent. At the highest point, we all had coca leaves in our mouths to battle the symptoms of altitude. From this point of the ride we were descending and climbing on and off the whole way (about 25km) until we reached the Devil’s Balcony which is located in Chacan, that place was beautiful!
All in all it was one hell of a tough day but also super rewarding. I honestly don’t know how I managed, feeling proud that I did though!
Day 5: Today started off in the Sacred Valley where our Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures Guide “Wayo” lives, it has an altitude of 3,700 meters (12,138 ft.) which gave us views and scenery that left me in awe. We traversed across agricultural farms, through little villages and passed around Lake Huaypo until we finally arrived in Moray which required a 10 km grueling uphill climb where I made a new canine friend. At the top we all chowed down on the food Wayo’s wife cooked, it was seriously tasty. Then finally came the best part of the day, once we reached the town of Maras we had an epic downhill section that took us past some old Inca salt mines until we made it to the bottom of the valley. In total this awesome ride was about 38km.
After the ride we were shuttled to our new hotel, to our surprise we all got our own little houses, I put my bags inside and went outside only to see a double rainbow through the valley. The photo was taken from the front door of my little house, you can see the hotel grounds with the double rainbow in the middle, simply stunning!
There are only 3 days left of which 2 days are biking. As the days slowly pass and the end of this amazing adventure holiday creeps in, all I can do is think back and smile about what we have experienced so far. Bring on the next amazing day!
Day 6: Today was an epic day out, they call it a rest day but really it was a hike around Machu Picchu city. We had a guide called Mario. and no Luigi wasn’t there too. He showed us around the city and explained a lot about the Inca’s life on the mountain. That place was simply stunning, really is hard to get your head around the whole idea of building a city on top of a mountain, and as if that wasn’t enough to make you wonder about the civilization, the way they build is simply amazing, especially when you see the sun temple, wow! It would be difficult to build that even with today’s technology.
After Machu Picchu we went to the town below to have a drink, eat some food and check out the shops. What a day!
Day 7: This day has a reputation for breaking the rider, for pushing them past their limits. Boy oh boy did they deliver on that! We started off at an altitude of 4,400 meters. We were in the clouds for the best part of an hour and it was seriously cold and wet, but our group sucked it up and went for it! We traversed through some muddy parts of the mountains, down trails with serious exposure… but then you see the stunning views and feel the flow of the single track and you realise ‘how amazing!’
We rode through fields with alpaca and through some little towns until we reached a town where we had our lunch, but this wasn’t just any ordinary lunch… It was a traditional Peruvian meal that is only eaten on special occasions. The meal consisted of a very tasty corn tortilla, vegetable soup and get this… guinea pig! After the delicious meal, we went outside to get on the bikes to continue the ride only to be greeted by the local children that were super cute and very curious of our bikes and mobile phones.
Once the kids had their excitement we continued to descend into the valley where we met our shuttle bus, we stocked up on water supplies and snacks ready to tackle.. yes.. I’m gonna say it again for the last time this vacation… the hardest climb of my life!! I didn’t give up though, I managed to make it to the top where one of the oldest Inca forts ever discovered was found, it pre-dated Machu Picchu!! I really can’t believe it, that climb very near broke me! But it was so rewarding. After that, we descended an epic trail as the sun was setting. Looking back, boy was it ever worth it!!
Day 8: The last ride of the vacation has arrived (frown emoticon). We were all promised by Wayo that there would be 0 up hill, he totally delivered. The ride started at an altitude of 4500 meters. The blue skies, cold crisp air, friendly alpacas, graceful rivers and lazy waterfalls, rocky mountains and kind locals were all waiting for us.
Straight away it was a steep descent on a loose rocky surface that would make anyone think twice, the trail quickly changed to moss and single track with the occasional muddy puddle and exposure. Following the technical trail down into the valley we joined an old Inca trail… it had sections of cobble stone that was fast paced and steps to jump down which gave me such a rush… especially on the Pivot Mach 6 bike. Then finally into a very snug valley with steep rocky walls and a beautiful river that was more like a lazy waterfall. If I had the time I could have just relaxed by the river for a few hours to take it all in, but we didn’t… the trails were calling!
We continued to descend, crossing it back and forth until we came across some rough rock gardens that required a certain amount of skill… the amount I wasn’t sure I had, it was very tricky but I just about managed. From there we moved onto another Inca trail again that had some really amazing high-speed jumps that the Pivot ate up with ease. From there we followed a water canal that feeds the farms with water, the single track at this point has some very scary exposure that offered up views and scenery that left me in awe, we followed the canal until we reached a section of high speed downhill and more jumps until we reached Calca where our shuttle then took us to lunch. Wayo really did deliver today, I loved every minute of this ride… I think it might just be my favorite ride of the whole trip, I’m really not sure how it could have been better!
I want to take this opportunity to thank the entire Sacred Rides team for making this happen, it really was an amazing adventure and I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life.
Want to live this incredible experience for yourself? Head over to the Inca Trail All-Mountain Page and check Peru off your bucket list pronto!