Volcano Boarding, Leon

Many moons ago I was desperate to go Sand boarding in Ica, Peru but the protests at the border and the necessity of a flight from La Paz to Lima meant I missed the opportunity so I ensured I didn’t miss out on Volcano Boarding in Leon!

I’d known about Volcano boarding for years as it was where a mountain biker tried to get the land speed record and ended up destroying his bike falling off and breaking every bone in his body. It sounded very much like my sort of thing!

It was an 9am start and we headed in the BigFoot Hostel’s truck to the bottom of the volcano and the atmosphere in the truck was great. People were obviously scared and were looking up at the volcano as it loomed overhead. We all jumped out and picked up our “board” (aka a plank of wood with some Formica on the bottom) and started the trek uphill. Its not a taxing walk at all with the only difficulty coming from the carrying of equipment rather than the walking although I still managed to fall on the steep bit!

I should say at this point that the Volcano is still active but it hasn’t erupted for a few years. At at the top we walked over to the crater and could feel the heat coming from the ground. Digging down a small way the ground was so hot you couldn’t leave your hand there and you could see the Sulphur smoking. It was brilliant and could only have been better if there had been Lava glowing somewhere!

It came time for the ride down hill and we were given our instructions and off we went. It was with a whoop and a sharp lurch that we accelerated down the 41 degree slope and then I watched as the guy on the other lane went faster and faster and faster until all I could see was a whirlwind of his dust. i was left behind. He hit 68kmph and I managed a paltry 29kmph. I was expecting speed. I was expecting adrenaline. I was expecting to fall and have a war wound. I was expecting wind in my hair, grit in my eyes and a speed to brag about.

It was the most disappointing thng I’d done and didn’t live up to the hype at all.

The fast guys had come off and ripped their legs open on the rocks and were covered in filthy ash. Some of the girls had managed faster speeds whilst braking for goodness sake! Ok, whilst not hurting myself was a good thing I really missed out on a “fix” – I think mountain biking has given me a warped sense of danger as boarding just didn’t make me nervous at all!

If the actual event didn’t live up to expectations, the day easily made up for it. Not only did we climb an active volcano, but the people and ride back was tremendous fun. Everyone else felt exhilarated and  full of a sense of achievement so much so that the rally-crossing across the rocks with a beer brought out roarchous laughter. It only got better as we started to play a drinking game of “smash a shaken beer can against your head” and people were squirming away from the squirting beer.

Back in the hostel by 1pm we got showered, had our free mojitos, ate and continued drinking. We were all getting increasingly merry and by the time it came for the pub quiz its fair to say there wasn’t a sober face at the table. By 22:30 none of us could cope any longer and called it a day. Nine hours of drinking and a beer bill of $250 for seven people probably goes some way to explain that! I didn’t even have any of the Rum the others did!

Oh, and one last thing especially for my old UK Pub Quiz cronies, AYBBTU raised it’s head in Leon. It came forth out of thirteen.

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