Monday, January 11, 2010

Downhill Distractions in Valparaiso

My wife has grown tired of me constantly checking out the lines here, as in, me imagining how I would hit a set of stairs, or launch out into the street off a nice drop with a downhill bike. Obsessing over lines is something I've done ever since I was a kid and I first started skiing. It seems I can't enjoy a hike unless I convince myself first that it wouldn't be that great of a mountain bike ride. I've never though, had this problem in a city, since I normally think of cities as terrible places to mountain bike. Valparaiso changed that; it is simply so obviously built for 8 inches of suspension, a downhill helmet, and some armor.

So, after feeling a bit OCD, I was thrilled to discover that I am not the first to obsess on the Valparaiso lines. This morning, I was chatting with Manuel, a very relaxed gourmet Chilean chef who cooks for guests here at the cozy Valparaiso Experience; I was telling him how amazing the streets are. He asked me what I meant, and I explained. He then asked me if I was one of those crazy guys. I laughed while my wife nodded. So Manuel went on to tell me a story. Apparently the traditional male Valparaisians are a pretty hardy stock of fisherman and port people. When they first saw an army of "green haired, pierced skinny kids" parading through the streets on their beefy rigs, they laughed. Then, they witnessed the Valparaiso Urban Downhill, and were hand-on-forehead impressed at the kids "bravery." Manuel even described his personal shock at witnessing a hard core rider get some fat air while jumping out the window of a house; upon landing, this rider removed their helmet revealing long flowing locks of blond. Manuel said, with a starry look in his eyes, "we have wonderful women here in Val, they are artists, painters, architects, but wow, I'd never seen anything like this. She was amazing."

After some quick YouTube sleuthing, I've dug up some footage of the 2007 Downhill race. Enjoy.


Pamela said...


I am really enjoying your blog on your trip. The utube clips are excellent and I love how you have added the local music! It sounds like you are all having a fantastic time. Send us your SKYPE name. Ayesha has it -- believe its AYESHADHILLON. Take care, and please send my love to the kids and Ameen. If Ameen is keeping a blog, send me the address.

Antoine said...

Totally amazing. I wish I was there for this race.

Anonymous said...

Apperently the city evokes "Huidobro" the poet of lines,space and daring. Put your hands on a copy of"Altazor" while in Chile!

Deep said...

Will look up Altazor. Thanks for the tip! Pam, Ayesha and I are already linked on Skype, call us anytime.

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