Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ATV Offroad Fury

                We get on our bikes, all in a single file line, rev our engines, and we’re off.  Hold up, my bike doesn’t work.  I try to hit the accelerator and nothing happens.  Uh oh, I’m going to get left in the dust (hehe), I think.  Not to fear.  Our trusty guide Nando lets me take his bike, which is decked out in full camo so it looks like I’m not even riding on anything but in fact gliding on air.  And I’m off!  I floor my accelerator and catch up to the group.  Good thing I did, because I turn the corner and find that they are stopped in traffic.  After inching forward for about 25 minutes, with a number of bike malfunctions on the way, we find out that we are behind a funeral procession, with about 100 Andean men, women and children marching with a casket and trumpets.
We eventually turn off the main road and onto a dirt path.  I’m ready to speed off, but the guide is holding us and a reasonable speed :(.  Who needs safety when you are offroad fury-ing?  We go along this path for a while until we encounter Linus’ rival gang – the goat squad.  They outnumber us by a wide margin – about 50 to 20.  We are nervous, finally facing down after sparks almost flew in Cuzco, but they get distracted by a field of grass off to the side.  Really, I think they just knew they feared us rough riders, but regardless we went our separate ways and we were off again.  We go along on this path for a while longer, passing small houses in this mountain village before reaching the end of the road and turning around. 
Ten minutes pass on the return leg, and then disaster strikes.  My bike, along with Paloma’s, stalls on the way up a small hill.  We eventually push our bikes up, and get back on to continue our ride.  I hop on and hit the gas.  And I don’t move.  I try again.  Nothing.  An old local man starts yelling at me – “La cadena! La cadena ‘migo!”  I look down.  S***, my chain is off.  At this point, Paloma has gone to catch up with the rest of the group.  I am by myself with no one in sight but this old guy and my bike.  One of the guides is behind me somewhere helping out another biker, but I have no idea when she will reach me.  I reach down to put on the chain, and my hands immediately turn black with grease.  I cannot get it on.  I am starting to worry at this point.  Is my moment of offroad fury over?  However, I refuse to give up.  I continue to attempt to put the chain on, over and over again, getting grease everywhere and almost burning my hand on the engine multiple times.  As the guide finally pulls up behind me, I hook the chain on.  I am back in business and ready to rage.  I hop back on my bike, give a badass nod to Jeff (who had the other broken bike), and we floor it.  Complete fury! 

Yet once again the gods of the offroad fury send me a challenge.  Ahead, I see group of about 12 cows coming straight for me.  I was paralyzed.  Never before had the infamous cow crew confronted me before, and I wanted nothing to do with them.  I stood my group and let them pass, and thankfully, they showed me mercy.  Finally, I am free.  I hit the accelerator and speed ahead.  No one can stop me now.  I dash across the dirt road, dust in my face, wind tearing at my clothes.  This is the most liberated I have felt since I finished finals.  I see the group up ahead and finally slow down.  What a moment of fury.  What a ride of wonder.  ATV Offroad Fury: Peru.

Me on my bike

Me in a moment of offroad fury

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