Riding the Mystic Mountain

Biking-TrainingJasmine Montgomery gets on her bike and checks out some of the best routes around Mendoza and its mountains.

The Andes are a hard thing to miss when visiting Mendoza, not only for their striking physical presence but for all of the ancient history they hold. The Andes have borne witness to the unfolding of this region’s history,while having played aprotagonist role. Huge and quiet, the Andes pose an overbearing presence that echoes with a supernatural absence of the auditory senses. Bellowing with energy a silent choir whistles through the vast landscape.

What better way to dominate this majestic place than on a two-wheeled steed, and by that I mean the bicycle. Reminiscent of the mounted San Martin himself leading the people to independence, riding a bike across this terrain is a declaration of your youthful independence. Like the footsteps of the Incas searching for a way through the unknown peaks, the bike is an exhilaratingmrite of passage that means you have earned the freedom to travel distances beyond your childhood front lawn. With the wind in your hair and your heart pumping, cycling is a heroic and ageless activity everyone can share.

10 years ago adversity forced Fabian the founder and owner of Mendoza Bikers to straddle his first seat. He was faced with a leg injury that left him with a practically fused knee, he believes cycling salvaged his mobility. A short afternoon ride with friends turned into day trips to Tupungato, turned into epic treks crossing the Andes. Today Fabian is one of the very few to hold bragging rights to have traced the steps of the famous plane wrecked Uruguayan rugby team, responsible for the gruesome motion picture “Alive”, by bicycle. 5 years later still not having satiated his need to accumulate distance on his 2 wheeled companion, he began guiding visitors from all over the world over the great range.

There are a variety of cycling expeditions one can add to their itinerary while in Mendoza, but “Mendoza bikers”seems to be the force that holds the mountain to the bikers. Equipped with top of the line mountain bikes, a fleet of 8 professional guides, a medical doctor and a sports nutritionist. Mendoza Bikers submerges you in the mountainous landscape by offering extreme 6 day treks across the peaks to a variety of high altitude day trips. These organized trajectories can be experienced as a “controlled descent” fit for every level of rider or as a “challenging ascent” apt for any athlete looking to push their boundaries.

Excursion Cristo Redentor: Start your downhill journey from the highest monument in South America, a bronze statue of Jesus himself, marking the divide in the ridges of what is now Argentina and Chile border. At an impressive 4500 meters above sea level you will descend a remarkable 1500 meters down twisting mountain roads. You will visit the tiny population of Las Cuevas, the area’s last inhabitants. Next you will speed down to the Aconcagua Park look out where you can catch a glimpse of the great peak itself. Finish your day by crossing the Puente Del Inca, an awe inspiring, natural bridge the ancient Incas used to cross the Mendoza River.

Excursion Paramillo: Starting at 3500 meters above sea level at the historic “Cruz de Paramillos” you will whiz past the great summit of Aconcagua while you plummet down dusty roads until you reach “El Balcon” (the balcony) an intriguing natural rock formation. Next you will begin the most breath taking descent in Mendoza down the famous “Caracoles” of Villavicencio, boasting more than 300 turns and curves this protected natural reserve is home to a host of wildlife. Observe guanacos, condors and wild hares. After your 1500 meter drop you arrive at the historic Hotel Termas and then carry on to a picnic spot where you lunch in the open air with a platter of cured meats, cheese, nuts and homemade bread.

Excursion Refuge Sacravelli: You start your descent at an altitude of 3700 meters in the core of the ranges themselves you will descend 1700 meters down to the “Manzano Historico Reserve”. It is said that during his trip home, General San Martin rested beneath an apple tree (Manzano) in these very foothills. Trace the path San Martin forged on his momentous return home from liberating Chile through the Piuquenes pass. See wide rivers and waterfalls on this adrenalin filled course.

Excursion Manzano: starting at 1800 meters above sea level at the picturesque “Puesto de Manzano” a historic alpine post, a place that seems from times past, see herds of goats out to pasture and rolling glacial rivers. Behold the city of Mendoza in all its vivid glory from the heights of this attraction. Finish your ride in the quaint and trendy Chacras de Coria for a bite in the local landmark, the old San Francisco hotel.

Share any of these unforgettable journeys with people from all around the globe while you pedal across the peaks in groups of 20-25 bikers. Most full day excursions range from 700 to 800 AR pesos per rider and include your bike, helmet, transportation to and from the hotel, lunch, bottled water, and personal injury insurance. Families and special requests welcome. With nothing but your bicycle as a conduit between you and the power of this magical place, indulge in an energetic ride throughthe mystic mountains. Let go and fall in love with the distant places our bikes can take us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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