Andes Pacifico

Photo by Gary Perkin of myself and Jon Cancellier not op of La Parva right before the first stage of the Andes Pacifico.

Photo by Gary Perkin of myself and Jon Cancellier not op of La Parva right before the first stage of the Andes Pacifico.

I recently returned from the Andes Pacifico race in Chile. I don’t know where to start to describe such an incredible experience, all I know for certain is that my ribs are sore from laughing so much, my pride is bruised from crashing more in one week than I have in the last 20 years combined, and I didn’t take enough photos while I was there. Luckily, Gary Perkin was present and camera-ready at all times and he produced some great slideshows for VitalMTB. Check out the action and the off track eventing with the following links. Day One, Day Two and Three, and Day Four.

Dave Trumpore and Sam Needham were also there shooting for Pinkbike.com and between them they produced some great photos. Again, here are the links: Day One, Day Two and Three, and Day Four.

Between all the "racing" I managed to squeeze in visits to two wineries. This one was with Jon, Dylan and the always hilarious Hope Tech team.

Between all the “racing” I managed to squeeze in visits to two wineries. This one was with Jon, Dylan and the always hilarious Hope Tech team.

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I really didn’t go to race but I’ll admit that when you pass the start line and get between the tape then the heartbeat does go up. The trails were some of the most deceptively hard trails I’ve ever ridden. Chilean Anti-Grip is the least fun trail material to race on, especially when all courses are raced blind (except for a bunch of the local riders who know the ins and outs of the region) and the boundaries of the 12-inch wide course is lined is cactus and rock. The courses on day four (when this photo was taken) were extremely pedally and by then I’d all but given up taking it even remotely seriously. I actually got 7th place on this stage, partly because there wasn’t too much pedaling for once and perhaps my aero technique really did pay off on this long meadow. It might not sound like the racing was that much fun but actually it was a lot of fun and I still maintain that multi-day, blind format enduro stage racing is the very best type of racing for anyone who loves riding true terrain, loves a post ride drink, and loves being on their bike all day long. The Andes Pacifico and Trans-Provence are the best of the lot.

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