Ecuador – Avenue of Volcanos, Inca Trails and a burgeoning mountain bike scene.
Overview || Day 1-Ilalo and Lumbisi || Day 2-Pululahua || Day 3-Chota Trails || Day 4-Rucu Pichincha || Day 5-Quilotoa || Day 6-Chimborazo || Day 8-Camino Del Rey || Day 9-I-Line || Day 10-La Paz || Cuyabeno Lodge
Day 7 – Mama Rumi
Mama Rumi (Mother Rock in Quecha) is a centuries old Inca trail descending from 3023m above San Miguel de Bolivar in Ecuador to 1130m to Telimbela. Its 12km length and 1920m descent was lost for many years as the jungle took it back until Mauricio Gaibor’s grandfather re-discovered it in the mid-20th century. Now used primarily for downhill mountain-biking Mauricio’s granddad used it as smuggling route for alcohol. Brewers would distill in the lowlands in Telimbela and hike it all the way to more populated highlands starting at 9pm in the evening and finishing in the wee hours of the morning to evade authorities.
Mauricio Gaibor, friends and local volunteers re-opened the trail after countless hours of work fixing holes and clearing back dense cloud forest jungle. Mauricio now holds the Downhill MAMA RUMI race here annually attracting 284 participants in the 2015 edition. Over 600 people come to San Miguel and Telimbela over race weekend and over 150 riders (international and Ecuadorians) come to the region over the year. Particularly for 102 person Telimbela that is a huge tourism economic boost and has resulted in real quality of life changes. Only this year due in large part to the races’ media attention, the government is installing water pipes giving all the people in the valley clean water for the first time in their lives.
You can support Mauricio; the trailbuilder/worker, the community and the trail by going to local businesses. Mauricio’s Panchito Comida Rapida food truck is at San Miguel’s main square Friday and Sat evenings and at regional festivals. You can also try his locally brewed liquor – Lagrima del Inca.
Thanks to Mauricio, Mateo Cuesta of RIDE Ecuador for educating us and to mountain-biking; not just serious business but also making life better for everyone. Viva Ecuador! Viva Mama Rumi!
Speaks for itself!
Traffic is diverse in rural Ecuador
People park wherever they want!
Mauricio at the top of the trail
We go down the narrow deep steep trail.
Head the warning signs!
Nature umbrella for when it rains!
It just stayed moody for us.
A-frames to get over the barbed wire fences that keep cows in and motorbikes out.
Dusty in the mist.
Farms dot the route, who put this mule here?
Now we’re in Telimbela where Grandfather Gaibor distilled alcohol. He would start hiking up the trail at 9pm to avoid the police and end up 800m higher at 6am. You do what you gotta do
The people were very friendly, we hung out and had some beer.
The storekeeper here loves bikers
Elevation Profile for Mama Rumi
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Where to stay
We stayed at the Casa Bella Vista, the homestead of Marcelo Vargas up on the hills above San Miguel. It has a grand view of the valley and has a western theme. Rustic, comfortable accommodations that was perfectly suited for biking in location. Of note, Marcelo.has opened trails around the area so by supporting him you also support local trailwork. Accommodations at Bella Vista can be arranged by contacting Mateo of Ride Ecuador who has his guests stay there.
An option for food is to eat at Panchito’s. This is Mauricio’s food truck with a prime location at San Miguels town centre square serving Burgers, Taco’s, Ice Cream and more!