stories • happenings • adventures

Leonardo Brasil
April 8, 2024

Documenting the Ruta del Jefe

Posted by in Adventures Ambassadors

In September of 2023, just as Adam and I were about to fly to La Paz, Bolivia, to start our Qhapaq Nan documentary project, Sarah Swallow sent us both a message on Instagram to gage our interest in participating in her Ruta del Jefe as social media creators. Admittedly I didn’t know much about the event, just that it was going to take place in Mexico and that my calendar was free for the month of March. We both instantly said yes.

Located just a few miles south of the Mexican – United States border, Cuenca los Ojos is a 121,000-acre protected area which steers the unique desert wetlands, open grasslands, and soaring mountains of the Madrean Archipelago. And that’s where our adventure takes place.

I flew from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Adam drove from Colorado. We met in Ciudad Juarez and arrived at the Cuenca los Ojos campground on Thursday afternoon, just as the first social ride was about to happen. We instead stayed back and did some maintenance on our bikes which still had Bolivian dirt on them. Over the next three days, we spent hours riding in new-to-us terrain, exchanging experiences from past and future adventures with friends, and learning about the area we were at and its culture. The food was absolutely delicious and the weather was incredible – until the final night, when a cold front arrived which brought strong winds, cold temps and rain.

Ruta del Jefe is much more than just a cycling festival. It’s a form of advocacy about border issues and conservation efforts, a very important step into starting a conversation around what we, as humans on this earth, can do to help. Stoked to have participated and witnessed first hand the impact of their work around the community.

Check out more photos from the event below!