Words and photos by Marco Osborne:
This year was my first ever AP and I was stoked! I’ve heard so many good things about this event, so it was time to check it out. 5 days of blind racing and adventures through the Andes sounded like a great way to start off the race season. Without all this big stress of the EWS races, this one was all about the experience. Having fun on the bike, adventuring into new zones, and sharing it with new friends.
Day one- We started off the day driving up too La Parva ski resort where we then took the ski lift up to the first stage. Riding the famous #antigrip was no easy task. My hands were put to the test after 2 months off the bike. Long, Fast and rough stages made for a very difficult first day.
Day two- The second day we were still high in the Andes mountains, very deep into the back country. After a two hour drive in the pickup trucks, we climbed for another hour into the Santa Matilde region.
This area was home to ranchers and hundreds of wild horses. The day consisted of two long stages where the goal was to go fast and try to avoid the dangerous cactus.
Day Three- This was the longest day of the race, taking place in Chicureo. An area known for its endless Moto trails, that ran all the way to the City of Santiago. The day started with a 17 minuet stage descending over 4,000 feet. This stage was a true test of physical strength, endurance and technical ability. We then took the pickups on a serious mission, a three hour shuttle up very exposed and rugged dirt roads. Then we finished the day with four fast Moto style stages, ripping all the way down to Santiago. This was our final day in the Andes on our quest for the coast.
Day Four- Our new camp was based in the small town of La Ligua, a region know for it’s Chilean pastries and hand made sweaters. We were now in the coastal range mountains, so the stages were much shorter. We raced 4 fast and flowy stages that dropped into the Valle Hermoso.
Day Five- On the final day of racing we all had one goal, make it to the beach for a big piscola celebration. We raced in two different areas, two stages in Pullally and two in Papdu. The trails were once again very fast and loose, Ending with very fresh cut course that challenged everyone to the final stage. Everyone’s spirits were high as we could see the coastline and our final destination of Cachagua. We made it! It was time to celebrate, jump in the pacific ocean and share a drink with the crew!
The Andes Pacifico event staff did an amazing job. From the amazing meals, beer on tap, Shuttle drivers, Medics, to the camp set ups , this trip was an absolute treat.
In the last month Chile has been hit with devastating wildfires. The fires have completely wiped out everything in its path, leaving many peolpe without homes and jobs. The fires were so bad, the Organizers at MontenBaik had to change the route of the race. With only two weeks before the event, the MontenBaik team scouted new locations, pulled permits and re organized the last three days of racing. They were very stressed out but made this best of the situation. In the end, the race turned out just perfect, Huge THANKS go out to the entire MontenBaik crew for making this happen!
This race is what mountain biking is all about. Adventuring into the unknown, making new friends and sharing this crazy experience together. Andes Pacifico does it right!! See you next year.