La Paz claims ‘downhill’ record in vertigo-inducing mountain-biking route

La Paz, May 21 (EFE).- Around 100 mountain bikers on Sunday took part in Bolivia’s Challenge Downhill 4000, a vertigo-inducing descent into La Paz over ramps, steps and steep paths.

Luis Miranda, in charge of the event, claimed that La Paz broke the world record for the longest urban downhill track in the world at 3.6 kilometers, previously held by Colombia with a 2.4-kilometer route.

“One of our main objectives was to put La Paz as a main landmark, therefore we contacted Guinness records to be able to certify this test as the longest urban descent track in the world,” Miranda said.

He added that they will now send the certification, validation tests and other documents to the Guinness World Records to certify the route.

Around 100 cyclists started at Murillo Lighthouse in the city of El Alto to descend into La Paz at two minute intervals, ending in the Plaza de las Cebras in the capital’s Sopocachi neighborhood.

The competitors rode down dirt paths and over obstacles such as ramps, steps, a sand promontory and a suspension bridge, making this route extreme and complex for the riders, some of who tumbled off their bikes, but were applauded by spectators encouraging them to continue.

The track, at more than 3,600 meters above sea level, was protected by municipal guards and staff from the Mayor’s Office, so that the competitor – Bolivians and one Peruvian – could be assisted.

“It takes a lot of technique, arms, legs,” Claudia Danitza, who won second place in a women’s category and who came from the highlands of Potosí to compete, told EFE.

Fellow competitor Cristian Guachalla, who won a men’s category, the most complex part was the ramps, since a lot of technical and physical work was needed.

“This competition has had its complexity, but it had everything – ramps, stands, bridges, dust – and we want there to be a second,” Guachalla said.

The Mayor’s Office awarded medals to all the competitors who reached the finish line and gave awards to the best times by category, from beginners to elite cyclists.

La Paz Mayor Iván Arias announced that there will be another competition in another neighborhood of the capital and they will decide whether the ‘downhill’ will be carried out twice a year. EFE


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