Any good guide knows, don’t deliver the goods too early, don’t raise your client’s expectations too soon on a trip or your job becomes infinitely harder. As a ski guide in the winter, I use “powder appreciation runs” (ie not the best of the best runs) to keep the expectations low, and then proceed to blow the skier’s minds with epic-ness.
When we started this trip I was worried that Alistair had committed the cardinal sin, and given up the best trails too early. Everyday, however, he surprised us with more and more, the veritable cornucopia of perfect rides. This trend thankfully continued these last four days where we explored another little slice of Bolivian mountain bike heaven.
We were based in a little town called Sorata, nestled in a lush green valley, surrounded by rivers and forests, with two 6000m peaks towering overhead. To cap it all off there are mountain bike trails on every aspect in the deep valley, starting on the high ridgelines and tumbling downwards.
These trails didn’t magically appear. Although many of them exist as access to higher grazing land or to farmer’s fields, a good handful of them are mountain biker built. Shredding perfect berms or pre-built alpine booters was something none of us expected. These trails are the handiwork of a keen American rider who spends his winters in the States, living in a snowcave and working multiple jobs in order to save enough money to return to Bolivia each year and live the dream. We never had the chance to ride with Travis the American, but were more than stoked to appreciate his great trails.
The idyllic setting didn’t end at the trails. We stayed in cozy little cabins down by the river, where ducklings ran around free and lazy dogs dozed the days away. The restaurant there was really good, serving the largest steak I have ever seen in my life. Literally, this thing looked like it came from a Brontosauras. I will probably be digesting this thing into next year.
Even with our ridiculously high expectations, we were surprised again by the variety and quality of the trails we rode. The goods were delivered once again, with no “powder appreciation runs” in sight!