Andes Pacifico Race Director Shares 5 Tips for Enduro Stage Race Success

Jan 22, 2020
by Montenbaik Enduro  

Words by Andes Pacifico Enduro

The seventh edition of the Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico is right around the corner -- the registration closes in a few days -- and there are certain myths that we want to dispel, such as: that it is a race only for the pros. Find out what you really need to participate in this adventure.

Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico is a blind enduro race where all riders must demonstrate not only their physical abilities but also mental ones. With five days of enduro on Chilean trails, it will become an experience of a lifetime for all the attendant riders.

But make no mistake, this mountain bike journey is not just for pros. Even though it is a race that requires a certain degree of expertise, it may be that your time has come to do it, you just didn't know it. We talked to the race director, Nacho Barbosa, who shared some tips with us.


The first thing you need to be clear about is your goal. Why am I racing this event? What are my objectives for these five days? Nacho explains:

bigquotesThe first thing to enjoy an Andes Pacifico is to have clear what your goals are, to know yourself and your capacities. If you are riding to win one of the categories and you have the skills to win it, ok! But if you are racing to have fun with your friends and want to finish the race and compete with your partners, it's a different scenario.Nacho Barbosa

This competition is not only about racing the day-to-day stages, but also about sleeping in a tent, getting up at 7 am, going to bed late, keeping the bike spotless every day, among other factors. In other words, the race is both up and down the bike, and the one who does best is not the fastest, but the one who, for example, planned the week, did not get lost, read the race map well or brought enough water.


One of the most important things when it comes to competing in an Andes Pacifico is the previous racing experience. If you have never competed in enduro, it is not recommended to start here. Having competed in one national enduro event -- or other similar race in your country -- gives a lot of perspective of what an enduro race is. You have already become familiar with the frustration, the tiredness, the competitiveness, the pressure and the adrenaline. And in that way, you can anticipate what it means to ride 5 days in a row.


The physical demand required for a Santa Cruz Andes Pacífico can vary but this is always expressed more in the descents than in the ascents, as these are largely assisted (which is always appreciated). "If you ride your bike 2-3 times a week, you can race an Andes Pacífico," says Barbosa.

If your current physical capacity doesn't convince you and you still want to prepare well for the competition, Nacho recommends:

bigquotes"Ride long trails, by this I mean look for descents of 7 minutes or more, in which you don't get off the bike".Nacho Barbosa


In order to know the technical demands of the race, we have to focus again on your goals. If you are not Pedro Burns or Mitch Ropelato, the main goal should be not to break your bike or yourself. If you arrive at a more technical and difficult zone (which even though they are marked in the circuit, you can be taken by surprise) you can get off the bike and walk through it. The race has around two hours of timed stages in total, so to try to gain 10 or 20 seconds in a technical zone that you want to pass on the bike, where you can fall and lose even more time, it's not worth it.

bigquotes"The doors of Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico are open to a lot of people, so the technical part is more about getting to know yourself, seeing what you can and can not do, and handling that pressure during the race rather than being a super technical rider in the bike,"Nacho Barbosa

Bicycle and equipment

This is where the budget is a limiting factor, but every dollar invested in this sport pays off when you are riding in awesome places. Ideally, a good enduro bike is recommended but it can also be a trail or an all-mountain model.

"It's important to realize that this bicycle will be ridden for five days in very natural places, which means it can be very rocky," says Barbosa.

It also becomes crucial to have good DH tyres with strong walls and to do a complete maintenance to the bike before leaving for the adventure. Tire inserts are also highly recommended, and check the bike after every day of racing -- the organization provides space, tools and bike mechanics to help you with all that during the race.

The Santa Cruz Andes Pacífico is a race to enjoy incredible landscapes while you ride over the historical trails that were once made by the diaguitas and Indians who traveled all over the Andes. An unforgettable week in the company of the great enduro stars and a bunch of cool people from different parts of the world, all united by their passion for mountain biking.

Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico is the original adventure enduro race from the Andes mountains to the Pacific Ocean that will take place on February 17th to 23rd 2020
Registration closes on January 27th.
More information at

About the organizer:
Montenbaik is responsible for introducing enduro races in South America and is recognized worldwide for being the organizer of three Enduro World Series in Chile (2014, 2016, 2018 ) and the Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico that had 6 editions every summer on the best trails of the region. In addition, Montenbaik received the award for the best enduro event for the 2014 Enduro World Series in Chillan, and was once again nominated with the 2018 Enduro World Series in Lo Barnechea, winning the 2018 Trail Of The Year award with the iconic Parvazo.


  • 23 0
 To have the race director reminding everyone that your finish depends more on your ability to make responsible decisions than it does on your fitness outright is awesome. Sage words that every racer must learn one way or another. Hopefully one of these days I'll make it out to this event myself.
  • 5 0
 Having attended, I would also recommend some practice hiking with your bike. The biggest thing I was not prepared for were the huge hike-a-bikes, because you don't get big hike sections in US races. I was fit as a fiddle for riding, but the hiking was still really hard and drained me for the stages, which were all awesome.
  • 2 0
 Very good point @dthomp325 . Day3 from 2019 was a huge hike a bike. But keep in mind you don't have a strict time to complete it and can do it at your own pace. That said, is true that hike a bike is almost a regular activity here in Chile.
  • 3 0
 @Montenbaik: It's not a bad thing. It's an adventure and you need to hike to get to some of the beautiful inaccessible areas, but most racing in the US has very little hiking in comparison and I was not prepared. I will add a hike day per week to my training if I do it again of just got ng straight up the side of some mountains.

Also the bike I had was very difficult to carry on my back due to pivot location, so I'd recommend checking to see if it's comfy on your shoulders for the steeper stuff, something I never have needed to consider outside of this event.
  • 2 0
 @Montenbaik: Really amazing week of racing through beautiful mountains and tough, loose, raw, perfect enduro terrain. Hope to be back sometime.
  • 1 0
 I had a buddy that was a big time hiker, not much of a biker. I could drop him on any climb on a bike in a few moments, and he could do the same to me hiking. I could not keep up with him on foot, the fitness is very different!
  • 2 0
 This is the best experience I've had on my bike so far and I hope to be back one day! All stages are simply fantastic and the event vibe even better.
Even the racers fighting for the top spot on the podium could be found having dinner together on the camp and talking about how great their day was. Such a chill vibe!
As Nacho mentioned, you should determine your goal and go for it. Mine was just to complete every timed stage without stopping since some of them were very long (and I was able to manage if we don't count the crashes, hahaha).
  • 2 0
 Amazing event and best things of the year! Will be my 4th time this year and cant wait!

The hike-a-bikes and trails may be crazy long sometimes, but always so worth it! A good tip is to not go to hard from the start, +1000m desending is alot. And more when doing it over and over in a day, or 5 days in a row..
  • 5 0
 This looks amazing and so much fun. Bucket list item.
  • 3 0
 I can't wait to get there! My Wife and I have been watching the media around this event for years and this year we are finally going to do it!
  • 3 0
 Nacho is a pioneer and a legend!
  • 1 0
 thanks friend!!!
  • 1 0
 I'd like to do this event in the next couple of years but genuinely concerned my sea-level lungs will leave me ruined at those elevations.
  • 1 0
 How much vertical drop,
and how much assisted vertical lift?
be cool to know how much you actually ride up and down, percentage wise?

looks like fun!
good luck all.
  • 2 0
 Last year was total a total desending of over 15000m. Most the upps was in pickups and the longest hike a bike was just over 800m climbing, folowed by 3 stages of with a total 2400m desending. The other days was more desending.
  • 2 0
 Oh a very nice view indeed.
  • 2 0
 Lovely photos!
  • 2 0
 Beautiful event.
  • 1 0
 woooow!!!! amazing!!!!!!

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