Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brent and Von 2 day Ride Report

In the beginning...

Brent and Von Ride Report

No Mas…No Mas!!!
The guys joined in on a local work project for the Altivas Canas Project
It was the cry of Brent and Von after the first day of riding…No Mas…No Mas…Really, they were troopers as we ripped up the dirt on both sides of the Cusco valley. The first day was filled with a super technical climb to the top of Picol Mountain. We literally started at the base, which is where MotoMission Headquarters is located(10,500 feet in elevation). We climbed to the cross overlooking the city at 14,274 feet above sea level. It is no longer than about a 2 mile ride. It seems simple enough, but the number breaths that one takes to get there is equivalent to a full day of normal breathing. It ain’t no walk in the park! The first climb is tight single track riddled with rock and switchbacks that are difficult to swing a bike around without stopping.
Can you tell who made it up the hill first?
The art of the ZipTie
The climb continued to the top of the single track where a needed break was in order. We managed to catch our breath and continued on to the next difficult section. This was a steeply terraced, rock ladened, hill climb full of bushes and loose off cambered traverses. To say it was fun would be correct. To say it was torturous would also fit the description. Regardless of the emotion while screaming at yourself to get up the hill, when it was all said and done, the view at the top brought it all into perspective. Riding a dirt bike to the top of Picol Mountain ought to be the dream of every dirt bike rider. Who gets the opportunity to be at that place with a moto under their crotch? To this point in history, there have only been a few motos that have made it to the top of that mountain; all from the garage of MotoMission.  We can take you there!
Breakfast of Champions
Sittin on Top of Picol Mountain Eating an Andes Mint
Day two started out with a breakfast at The Meeting Place Café in the heart of Cusco. The coffee is incredible and the waffles fill a void in ones stomach the size of a desert tank on an adventure bike…This little café utilizes the same platform for mission as MotoMission. All their profits go to support local social projects. Since the ownership is the same, it all works great to have our MotoMission clients start the day with a great breakfast which supports a good cause.
After we stuffed our bellies with culinary delights, we geared up to hit the trail. On this particular ride, our goal was to run by one of the communities in which MotoMission is quite connected. We stopped by to visit a family that has just lost the oldest child to leukemia. Jason was his name. These particular clients had been involved in the fight against a disease that beat young Jason up. Brent and Von both wanted to stop and see the family that they had heard so much about through our blog posts. It was a highlight for them. It is so nice to be flexible on these types of rides to do things like that. That is one of the reasons we keep our rider groups at a small number. We can be so much more flexible to time, terrain, and ability.
We visited for a while. However, first we had to endure the strong squeeze and a kiss from Jason’s grandma. She speaks no language that I speak, so the communication is more of a grunt and a hand motion here and there. She speaks with love and appreciation. It was evident when we arrived. Our family has become part of theirs. A simple visit from us was enough to bring her to tears. What a treat to see her light up.
Visiting Some Friends in Huilkarpay
It was time to go. Just behind their simple one room adobe house, the trail continued. The route was an amazing double track with tons of obstacles, tight turns, and many a creek to cross. It led us to a shortcut hill climb that put a smile on the faces of Brent and Von. It was there that they looked back to see the view of the city from the other side of the valley. Breathtaking would be the adjective…Not only because of the scenery, but because we had climbed out of the valley into an elevation 5 times higher than where these guys live in the US.
We had planned a tamer ride for this day. The mileage was a lot longer, but the terrain was not quite as taxing. Well at least part of it.
It’ll Be Easy
A View of The Trail
After the high speed ride through the tops of the Andes highlands, we came to the point where the trail began to simmer. It was a wide trail which had skinnied down to a tight ledge in a matter of meters. The guys at this point knew that when I gave them a warning that I was grossly understating the situation. That is a bad habit of mine. By the end of the day, they were teasing me about my common phrase, “It’ll be easy!”
The Peruvian Countryside
They learned that by the fact that I was stopping to warn them, that it was going to get bad. OK, maybe it wasn’t easy, but it was most definitely fun. As long as you stay on the trail, everything would be fine. They decided to stay on the trail; however, it was not an easy ride. In fact, the trail section that we went down was one of the most difficult trails to which I would take a client. These guys did it with flying colors and a lot of sweat and white knuckles. We all arrived at the bottom of the canyon, still on the trail, and alive and well. The smiles were wide and a huge feeling of relief was expressed by the sighs and shaking of the hands to bring the blood flow back to the numb extremities.
Gone Fishin’
At the bottom of the abyss just happened to be a special treat. The stream that we had crossed a couple of times within the previous mile or two happens to be filled with trout. As we descended along the side of the stream, we came to a trout farm complete with a cook, a kitchen, a bench, and a table. We ordered the biggest plates of fresh trout they offered and sat down for a spell.
Trout Farm in Lucre
Fresh Fried Trout Right Out of the Water
There is nothing like watching a little boy with a net, toss it in to the holding pond to yank out three 18 inch trout. Yup, that is what he did! A couple of tries and he had all the fish we could possibly eat. Over to the kitchen for big brother to clean and cut the wiggling critters in just the right place to minimize the bones, and off to Mom for the finish. Mom put them in the pan and started the process to delight a trio of weary bikers with some of the freshest fish on the planet. It really cannot get any fresher than that; from water to pan in about 2 minutes. Now that is another one for the books…Who gets to do that? Let alone get to that place via world class enduro motorcycle trails (more like an alpaca trail) in the Andes.
Another Bucket List Item Checked Off
From there, it was a hurry to get back before dark. We made it without incident with our tongues hanging out, smiles on our face, and great experience of riding dirt bikes in the Andes of South America. A bucket list item checked off for these boys!  Huge thanks to Brent and Von for riding with MotoMission. You have touched the lives of a handful of kids and experienced Peru in an adventurous way.

Now That Was a Good Day!

Bayside Adventure Sports Ride Report

It’ll be Easy
It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining as it should be. We had about five days of rain prior to today. What a blessing to see the blue sky! We could not have asked for better weather.
I picked up the 3 fellas from the Bayside Adventure Sports group from their hotel. With a lot of anticipation, we piled into the car to head back to the MotoMission headquarters and gear up for a sweet day of eating dirt! Ah, the feeling of grit in the teeth!
Look at Me When I am Talking to You!
On the ride to headquarters, I was able to explain the details of how Motomission works. The guys asked a bunch of questions. I answered while swerving in and out of traffic and trying to maintain proper eye contact with the person in which I was communicating. My daddy always told me to look a man in the eye! I wasn’t so sure they were impressed with my eye contact as they would have rather me be watching the road. In any case, it was a good indication of the reckless abandon that we might encounter on the trail if it turned out to be the great day that we were all expecting.  Our expectations proved to be spot on.
This was a great bunch of guys. In this line of work, you pretty much have to take what comes to you. With guys like this, it was easy to enjoy the company and the ride to boot.
During the process of getting to know the skill level of these riders by means of specific questions regarding their experience and knowledge of motos, I felt comfy that they had been real with me and that their abilities would be in the intermediate range. I then confirmed that we would go through a series of trails and hill climbs, and areas that would stretch them to the limits of their abilities. I explained what we might face in the near future. It got them all excited and ready to ride.
Man Down!
After all the gear was fitted, we fired up the bikes and hit the dirt. Just behind headquarters is a single track testing ground to see what these guys were made of. It was a fun start with only a few mishaps; at least nothing that would seem out of the ordinary. However, there was a funny little moment that created the first “man down.” It was one of those stops on a tight ledge where there is grass that one might think they can put their foot down. It happened to be longer grass than originally thought and the spance of nothing solid under the grass was the intended stopping point for the right foot of one of our riders. Down the ledge he went with the bike right behind. The feeling of silliness and maybe a bit of embarrassment made itself present. No biggie, he got over it and blazed up the trail with force.
The trail that was before us was some incredible single track with plenty of technical spots. We got through it with just a tiny bit of oxygen left. The climb started at about 10,500 feet and went up to about 13,000. It was full of all types of terrain that was perfectly suited for these three riders. With lots of challenging obstacles, we mustered up the energy to pound through each one. My goal as a guide was to make sure the guys had a good time, got home in one piece, and were able to stretch their comfort a bit to make better riders out of them. Through the numerous rocky sections, single track, climbs, mud, and other random challenges, we ended up at the edge of the Sacred Valley of the Inkas. It was there that the cameras came out and many a pic was taken. The guys were spent at that point so it was back to Cusco we rode. This time it was more about getting back so we could eat.
The Homecoming
The return to Cusco was much tamer as we took mostly double track trail back down the mountain. It was fun, fast, and full of tight turns and random animals in the trail. With the last 2000 foot drop into Cusco, we found ourselves roaming through a pristine farming area full of Inka ruins and fun trail.
At the end of the trail, just happened to be a plate of fire roasted chicken and fries that would easily satisfy any hungry motorider. We ordered about 150 percent of what we could possibly eat, sat down and began recapping the adventures of the day. We laughed about the silly crashes, shared the emotions that were generated by the sketchy drop-offs, and relaxed and rested as our muscles which were begging us to call it a day.
This was a day that will not soon be forgotten. These guys, all part of an adventure group from the US, had one of those experiences that many never get a chance to have. Riding dirt bikes in the Andes of Peru is an amazing experience. Thanks Greg, Durk, and Robert for making it a sweet day! Tomorrow will be the icing on the cake as we use our aching bodies to help finish a concrete project for the Altivas Canas Children’s Project (not a requirement of one of our tours, but a great way to see where the profits of MotoMission go!).  Thanks for turning up some dirt with MotoMission! Until next time… Scott