In March 2022, an epic adventure unfolded for world-renowned professional enduro mountain biker Kilian Bron – a Frenchman hailing from Annecy in the Alps – and a team of cameramen, documentary makers, photographers and drone operators.
Kilian is considered one of the most talented mountain bikers in the world; he recently won the breath-taking Mountain of Hell race in Les Deux Alpes in the French Alps for an incredible 4th time, reaching speeds of over 100 km/h on a track that starts on a snow-covered ski run before descending over 8,000 feet over snow, ice and dirt tracks.
His South America expedition has been documented in an immersive and dramatic hour long documentary “FUEGO” which premiered on 31st October 2023.
In the footsteps of the Inca
“The goal was simple and clear” explains Mathieu Ruffray, cameraman, co-director and narrator of the documentary. “Follow in the footsteps of the Mayas and the Incas, to bring back images that are out of the ordinary.”
The team, led by Kilian on two wheels, traversed some of the most rugged terrain in South America, crossing Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru on their quest to capture the perfect still and moving images on the journey of a lifetime.
The end result is some incredible footage that is certainly out of the ordinary.
Kilian and Mathieu were accompanied by a talented group of videographers. Pierre Henni, AKA “Nix”, a cameraman and editor whose primary role was to capture riding and action footage. JB Liautard, a photographer – “the one who plays with his camera in the puddles” in the words of Mathieu, and who captured stunning images of the landscapes of the Andean highlands. And finally Pierre Dupont, the drone operator, “having fun with his cameras flying at full speed” and the only one – courtesy of his drone – able to keep up with Kilian on some seriously speedy downhill and acrobatic action shots.
The team travelled across rugged Guatemalan volcanoes, windswept Bolivian glaciers and immense Peruvian sand dunes, venturing to some of the remotest reaches of the continent as well as various towns and cities along the way.
Ruffray explains that the Peruvian leg of their expedition included a memorable stay at the stunning and sustainable Hotel Sol y Luna.
“During these few days we stayed at the gates of Machu Picchu in a hotel that funds a foundation called Sol y Luna. Its primary purpose is to help children in need and we took the opportunity to meet them and share beautiful moments with them”.
Established in 1998, the Sol y Luna Foundation is a registered charity providing vital education, care and support for over 200 disadvantaged children from Peru’s Sacred Valley.
The Foundation is a lifeline for many children whose lives have been blighted by poverty, abuse or abandonment. There is an intercultural school, providing education from nursery up to secondary school level, an orphanage that offers a loving home for children, a centre for disabled children called Paqari, and a further education programme offering financial and emotional support to graduates of the Sol y Luna School, enabling them to pursue tertiary education.
Travel as a force for good
The Sol y Luna Foundation was set up by Petit and Franz Miribel, a French couple who, in the words of Petit herself, “wanted to live somewhere in the world where we could be helpful to others”. As she explains in the documentary, “… when we arrived, we started meeting local people and then, well, it was a bit of a shock at first to return to abandoned schools.”
The couple felt that as educational opportunities were so lacking they had a responsibility to invest in the education sector. And so it was that the Foundation was born, with Hotel Sol y Luna following quickly after.
“We said to ourselves, we absolutely have to create a business to make money and to be able to donate the money to the Sol y Luna Foundation” explains Petit. “Since Franz is an architect, we thought we would build a hotel. This is how the Sol y Luna hotel was born, to then be able to finance the Sol y Luna Foundation.”
Bron, Ruffray and their entourage spent several days at the hotel, learning about the invaluable work carried out by the dedicated team at Sol y Luna and how they are dramatically improving the lives of underprivileged children in the Sacred Valley.
Win a mountain bike!
Kilian Bron was so inspired by his stay at Sol y Luna that he has partnered with international bike makers Commencal to raise money for the Sol y Luna Foundation.
By donating a minimum of €1 via Kilian and Commencal’s fundraiser, you can support this excellent cause and help the Sol y Luna Foundation continue providing educational, pastoral and special needs care to disadvantaged children in the Sacred Valley.
And in addition to making such a vital and welcome donation, each entrant will automatically be entered in to a draw to win a shiny new replica of Kilian’s META SX V4 bike.
Click HERE to enter, and don’t delay! Entries close on 28 November, 2023 with the lucky winner being notified shortly after.
If you would like to learn more about the valuable work the Sol y Luna Foundation do, or plan your own trip out to Peru’s wonderful Sacred Valley to see it for yourself (and treat yourself to a stay in our Relais & Chateaux retreat at the same time!), please do get in touch with the team and we would be delighted to help.
All images courtesy of Kilian Bron and the Fuego documentary
Sol y Luna in Elite Traveler Magazine
Sol y Luna Foundation celebrates its 25 year anniversary