Sorata, bike

Sorata, “Shining Peak” from the Aymará shuruata, also known as: “Perla Andina” or “Paraíso Terrenal”, is a semitropical village in the Bolivian Andes at 2,677 m (8,783 ft). It is located at the base of Illampu, 6,368 m (20,892 ft), and Janq’u Uma, 6,427 m (21,086 ft), the northern anchors of the Cordillera Real. North-west of La Paz and east of Lake Titicaca.

This small, serene Bolivian village is a maze of steep staircases and narrow cobbled streets, with at its center a plaza lined with tall date palms and a statue of General Enrique Peñaranda del Castillo. All against an amazing backdrop of impressive snowy mountains. 

Wheel, spokes & breathtaking viewsOne of many breath taking views from Loma Loma.

But the surroundings of Sorata are much more exciting; steep descents with spectacular mountain views, which make for some superb downhill mountain biking!

It is home of the Jacha Avalancha or the “Big Avalanche”; the largest avalanche (all riders start together at the same time) downhill race in South America, which takes place once every year and attracts mountain bike riders from all over Bolivia and abroad.

Chu Chu at the top

The snowy “start” of Chu Chu.

The event takes place over a weekend and is made up of two different timed races. On Saturday the route of 16 km leads from Loma Loma, 4260 m (13,976 ft), to Sorata, 2766 m (8,783 ft), with the finish line at the Puente Colgante, the hanging bridge over the Río San Cristobal. On Sunday the 18 km route leads from Chu Chu, 4718 m (15,479 ft) down to Laripata, 2775 m (9,104 ft) and is followed by an apthapi; a traditional communal lunch prepared for the riders, by local families.

The Boys, taking a rest

A break to take in the stunning surroundings.

After the finish, the riders make their way into village, where the people of Sorata greet the competitors at the main plaza and the riders, in turn, show off their skills descending the stairs and showcasing some amazing jumps. The day is closed off with an award ceremony for the winners in the various categories.

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