WHY GUATEMALA IS THE NEW BEST PLACE TO RIDE MOUNTAIN BIKES

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Guatemala isn’t known for its mountain biking. And that’s a good thing. This yet-to-be-overrun spot is littered with great riding on everything from mountainous Mayan footpaths to carefully placed flow trails that run through lush jungles. Last month, photographer Max Whittaker followed Diamondback rider Eric Porter and a couple of guests as they sampled the goods.

Eric Porter wheelies across a suspension bridge during a 12-mile flow-trail descent through dense cloud forest at the private El Zur Mountain Bike Park outside the city of Antigua. The trail took more than four years to build.

Eric Porter enjoys post-ride beers at the Porque No restaurant in Antigua. A Unesco World Heritage site, the city was founded in the 1500s and is surrounded by picturesque hills and volcanoes.

Berne Broudy, a freelance journalist, rides the Cielo Grande Trail back into Antigua. The trail drops 2,500 feet for more than eight miles through working avocado, tomato, and flower farms. Halfway down, Earth Lodge, a tourist-friendly retreat, provides hamburgers and beer, and even a treehouse if you want to stay longer.

Eric Porter rides the rugged Slickrock Trail in the highlands above Antigua. Slickrock drops more than 3,000 feet over ten miles on some raw and rowdy Mayan footpaths. No sustainable trail building here, just thousands of years of foot traffic between small villages.

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