Travel Story | Enduro Adventures in Peru
Wayo Stein is a friend of us at ENDURO, he is a 9x National Champion and has been guiding all type of bikers for 7 years. He is now guiding multi-day enduro tours in the Peruvian Andes. Read on to experience one of these unforgettable trips to Peru!
We started offering mountain bike trips in 2006 and since then we have heard lots of times “this is the best ride of my life” or “this is the best trip I’ve ever been on”. We have a variety of trips but we are mainly focused on offering all mountain/Enduro and downhill trips since we are real and experienced riders that have a big passion of mountain biking and we want to share our trails to the rest of the world. We brought fame to the Olleros trail that have appeared now on quite a few magazine covers; this ride is 50Km long and 3,600m of pure singletrack downhill.
Nowadays there are amazing bikes that can climb pretty well and descend almost like a downhill machine and we have also created the trip for these types of bikes and riders. A couple of months ago we had the mission to create a 2 weeks mountain bike trip and what best to put together our best trails. The challenge now is that for one side it’s an amazing itinerary but on the other side you have to be very fit to handle the trip! The locations selected are Lima where we ride trails from 0 to 4,250m and Cusco & Sacred Valley where we ride trails from 2,750 to 4,500m. In all these locations we can experience almost all the different type of terrain you could imagine; from dry, loose, rocky and dusty to muddy, lush green, hail on the trail and roots. Also riding these trails on remote locations gives you the chance to experience the real Peru up in the mountains, meet the local people, make new friends and learn at the same time a bit of our culture.
Maybe you have been all around the world riding your bike on amazing smooth state-of-the-art trails with perfect berms and jumps. Here in Peru we don’t have that. We have remote ancient trails that 1,000 years ago they were smooth state-of-the-art Inca trails but today due to the erosion they are quite challenging and they are the closest to “untouched terrain”. Maybe this is one of the reasons all these rides are amazing. You have to check all the time for the best lines on the trail and it will make you a specialist on choosing the right lines!
No wonder if you find a herd of llamas or alpacas on the trail above 4,000m or meet a convoy of llamas carrying the food that is going to be negotiated at the top of the mountains at 4,500m. Here in Peru life seems to be as easy and simple as hundred of years ago.
Early this year we got in contact with Wayo Stein, former DH Champion and pioneer in Enduro races in Peru to put together a two-week Enduro trip in Peru. After several emails and Skype chats we knew we were booking one of the most amazing and demanding Enduro trips around the globe. Wayo offered “his best trails”, remote Inca trails on top of the Andes where there is no chance to see any vehicles, just our bikes surrounded by nature and wildlife.
The tour started in Lima with our first ride in Pachacamac that is Lima’s mountain bike backyard and where mountain biking started around 25 years ago. We went to ride the best trails in the area: Chirimoyo and Lomos. Steep climbs to get to the top of the mountain passing by ancient Inca villages was our first contact with the mountains of Peru. Then on top, it was possible to see the ocean ahead and time to enjoy two great descents in which we reached more than 70Km/hr!
The next day we were heading to the Andes. 4 hours of shuttle on a bus with a lot of mountain bike personality and we reached the start of our next trail near the village of Quipan at 3,550m. It was an amazing descent with different type of terrains. We climbed 150m and descended more than 3,000m in 37Km. We had very technical sections as well as flowy singltrack and full speed areas. We passed from the Andes and reached the coast in around 5 hours of riding.
These were the two rides in Lima to get used to the rhythm of riding in Peru. Now it’s time to fly to Cusco so we took an early flight and in just one hour we were on the Inca’s capital and a true mountain bike paradise with trails everywhere, trails that were made thousand of years ago that now they are great for our type of riding style. We couldn’t waste time and we built our bikes to have a short but very intense ride in the afternoon. Our bus dropped out of Cusco at 4,000m where we started pushing our bikes a couple hundred meters more to reach a small trail on the side of the mountain. Here we had one of the best views of Cusco area with the whole city below us! Time to ride our bikes and drop down to Cusco main square where cold beers are waiting for us!
For the next few days we rode epic rides every day. More than 5 hours every day going through the mountains riding those ancient Inca trails was very special. We were not only riding great trails, we were surrounded by the best landscapes on earth, lots of history with Inca sites along the trails, fortresses, meeting the local people on the way, seeing wild animals on every ride and experiencing one of the best riding around the world on trails that were not made for mountain biking. Peru has it all!
One of the highlights in this part of the trip was to ride the whole valley of Patacancha, from the top at 4,500m to the bottom at 2,700m reaching the Inca village of Ollantaytambo and riding through the streets of the old town. On that ride we made a stop in the village of Huilloc to have lunch and meet the locals. They invited the food they eat every day and it was a great experience for all of us. Then the ladies showed us their handcraft products made of Alpaca wool and tinted with natural colors, the same way the Incas did more than 1,000 years ago.
Another highlight in Cusco was to cross the Vilcanota Mountain range with our bikes and descend towards the other side of the mountains following one of the most flowy trails I have ever rode reaching at the end of the ride the natural hot springs of Lares. We had to push our bikes towards the mountain pass being helped by local porters and horses. On the other side the hot springs and a delicious lunch was awaiting us.
We took a “day off” to rest and visit Machu Picchu, one of the new 7 wonders on earth. I have seen dozens of pictures but being there is totally different and I’m glad I could do it in this trip.
On the last part of the trip we returned to Lima to ride the newest trails Wayo found in this area. It is the Inca trail that goes to Pachacamac. We were dropped by our driver in middle of the mountains above 4,000m and since then we hadn’t seen another person until the end of the ride. We were cruising the Andes above 4,000m on one of the main Inca trails. After 2 ½ hours going up, we finally reached the mountain pass and a huge valley appeared in front of us. More than 1,000m of descent in front of us! We had amazing views with the glaciers, the valley, and endemic trees like the Puya de Raimondi which has a 10m tall flower that flowers every 100 years.
The next day we rode a couple of Inca trails that goes through the valley and the farms. Both rides were pretty similar: 150m of climb and near 1,000m of decent. At night we went out of the village and set up a fire where we had a delicious BBQ watching the stars and the bright moon.
The last day of the trip we rode the famous Olleros trail. This trail is very unique because it starts around 3,500m and it goes all the way down the mountain until you reach the Pacific Ocean. 3,800m of accumulated descent in 50Km of trail to finally reach the ocean and finish the tour!
For more information in this trip contact Wayo (firstname.lastname@example.org) www.inkasadventures.com