Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Festival de la Bajada (Downhill)

Definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far. Accompanied the Venezuelan National Downhill Longboard team to the mountains near Bogota for a worldclass downhill Longboard Competition.  We missed the bus in the morning so we had to take public transit there including three buses. The taxis wouldn't even take us there because they felt the mountains were too dangerous.
That meant walking up the mountain once we got to the base.  Fortunately we hitchhiked a ride to the top.
Once we got there it was an adrenaline seekers dream.  Competitors from all over the world bombing down this mountain on the boards with speeds up to 100 km/h. I met many people that had flown in to Bogota from North America just to watch this event.
Lots of fearless girls in this event too.

We do not have trees like this in Canada.
The average time on the course was less than 2 minutes.  
This differs from typical longboarding because this one is called body luge.
Sunday was qualifying where you run four solo time trial heats.  Where Monday was the final where you start in groups of four and all race each other down the mountain together.

From the mountain you can see this beautiful lake below.  But the weather is so tempermental.  One second it is sunny the next it is cloudy.
At the top of the mountain at the start line it was a big party with dj's.  All the competitors from across the world know each other and there was great commraderie with people seeing each other for the first time in a while.
There was busses to take the competitors up the mountain but when that failed you could try this.
Here the sun broke through for just a little bit of the day.
Even the police are shuttling people up the mountain by the masses.

For people that were trying to commute through the area they had to wait in big lines as they had to shut down the road for an hour at a time during the runs.  But they had a nice view of all the people on the drive up.

So many giant crashes into hay-bales.  I wish i had caught more.  A lot of people I talked to felt it was the most dangerous course they had ever ridden.  A few people did have to get trucked off to the hospital in ambulances.  And a few people bailed so hard I was sure they broke something but they always got up, walked it off, and some got back on their boards and kept riding.  

Person at the front is a beginner and the person on the back has a go pro on to document their ride down this incredibly difficult course.
Mountain top, sun, Wildflowers.  Another beautiful day in South America.

If you want to see more information about the day and the event you can check it out here on the IDF WEbsite


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