Today marked the first day of competition of Andes Pacifico. The first thing everyone asked in the morning was "how did you sleep?" Obviously no one slept because everybody was anxious! At 7:30am competitors began to make thier way to the Aguila lift at the La Parva Ski Center which is 2800 meters high. The lift leads to an area called Piuquenes that then goes on to Valle Amarillo.
Special Stage One began with a fast section which then went into very loose singletrack or #antigrip
followed by a rocky area with several little drops that a few riders crashed on before they realised what was happening. Then the track ended with a section of more than 30 switchbacks which is known to burn the brakes. This gave the riders an idea of what was coming for the rest of the day - very loose and dusty terrain and long, long descents.
Special Stage Two began with a nice open and flowy trail which allowed the riders to go very fast. Our friend Chris Ball told us that he loved this stage, the fluidity of the trail and the wide open views which allowed you to see the immensity of the Andes.
Special Stage Three is a classic for any enduro or downhill rider in Chile. We are talking about the famous Curve 16 and Curve 14 which today, for the second time in the history, were used in competition. These two trails made the Special last almost seven minutes and included the infamous and gruelling uphill on turn 14. The trails had lots of stones and ditches as they always do but which are larger than normal of late. This made riders sweat. At the end of this Special was a food station with fruit, sandwiches and Red Bull as well as a Santa Cruz and Mountain Works mechanical station.
Then came the longest liason and the biggest uphill of all the race. 1200 meters of altitude made all the competitors suffer and Sven Martin even mentioned that bikes should have a motor to do that type of climb. But all this effort had a reward which was Special Stage Four - Nido de Condores, Santuario. This stage would drain the remaining energy of the riders and they all unanimously agreed that this Special was the most complex of the day with the 1,100 meters of vertical and a 16 minute duration which left everyone exhausted.
The day ended in the picnic area of the Nature Sanctuary where the river was used to relieve muscles and even clean the bikes of their accumulated dust.
The winner of the day was the World Champion Jerome Clementz who took the lead with 45:29 minutes to the Chilean National Champion Nico Prudencio who came in at 46:23 minutes. Third place went to François Bailly- Maitre with a time of 47:27 minutes.
For complete results Check: http://montenbaik.com/Resultados
Stay tuned for more updates from Andes Pacifico tomorrow!
Photos by Gary Perkin, Sven Martin Dave Trumpore and Claudio Olguin.