Montenbaik Enduro - La Parva

Apr 13, 2014
by Matt Wragg  
What most of us see of racing mountain bikes in South America are the quite frankly mental street races. Steep, dangerous tracks plummeting through narrow streets, flanked by screaming fans and wild dogs. The enduro scene is nothing like that. Sitting an hour's drive and 2,500 vertical metres above the Chillean capital, Santiago, La Parva is a world away from those brutal, urban races. The quiet ski resort starts at 2,500, climbing up to 3,700m at the top of the main lift. It's quiet, breathtakingly beautiful, but utterly punishing terrain to race mountain bikes on. Axle-deep in powder in places, there is a good reason why the locals describe the terrain as "anti-grip." Chileans love mountain bike tracks with long, flat-out straights where you test the limits of your bravery for high speeds. Yet what is even more surprising is how healthy the sport of enduro is down here. Race entries this weekend had to be limited to 400 places, one racer joked that if they didn't it would need to be a two day race just to get everyone to the startline. While Europe may be the spiritual home of enduro, the Chileans have taken it to heart in a huge way.

Early morning sign in. The Chileans take a fairly relaxed approach to racing and unlike most of the European series they run with fastest guys last to try and build atmosphere and anticipation at the finish line.
  Early morning sign in. The Chileans take a fairly relaxed approach to racing and, unlike most of the European series, they run with fastest guys last to try and build atmosphere and anticipation at the finish line.

The Italians are here
  The Italians are here!

The future of Chilean enduro racing was warming up in the pits - we re not sure he ll be ready for the 60kmp h straights for a couple of years though.
  The future of Chilean enduro racing was warming up in the pits - we're not sure he'll be ready for the 60kmp/h straights for a couple of years though.

Barel is back in the hunt for EWS wins this year looking like he s shed some of muscle mass for enduro racing and with a prototype from Canyon underneath him - no details were given about the bike but we d wager money it s a longer travel beast than the Spectral.
  Barel is back in the hunt for EWS wins this year, looking like he's shed some of muscle mass for enduro racing and with a prototype from Canyon underneath him - no details were given about the bike, but we'd wager money it's a longer travel beast than the Spectral.

Montenbaik director and race organiser Matias Del Solar gives the morning safety briefing in both English and Spanish. Just because this race is in South America don t think for one second it s in any way rough and ready the team have put together one of the most sophisticated setups anywhere with accurate chip timing that puts most northern hemisphere race organisers to shame. He was particularly proud explaining how good the insurance for riders was. Matis was responsible for co-ordinating one of the riders to be helicoptered off the hill in the morning and later explained that their insurance meant the rider would be fully covered so he would t face painful medical bills on top of his injury.
  Montenbaik director and race organiser, Matias Del Solar gives the morning safety briefing in both English and Spanish. Just because this race is in South America, don't think for one second it's in any way rough and ready, the team have put together one of the most sophisticated setups anywhere, with accurate chip timing that puts most northern hemisphere race organisers to shame. He was particularly proud explaining how good the insurance for riders was. Matias was responsible for co-ordinating one of the riders to be helicoptered off the hill in the morning and later explained that their insurance meant the rider would be fully covered so he wouldn't face painful medical bills on top of his injury.

It was a relaxed Jerome Clementz who left the start gate to climb up to the stages.
  It was a relaxed Jerome Clementz who left the start gate to climb up to the stages.

There isn t much in the way of vegetation when you get this high up into the Andes.
  There isn't much in the way of vegetation when you get this high up into the Andes.

Stage one started with this blast down a crest at around 3 600m above sea level.
  Stage one started with this blast down a crest at around 3,600m above sea level.

I ll admit I didn t expect Rene Wildhaber to ride as strongly as he did. Last year he put in some good riders but to come out at the start of the season and challenge the French for the podium was great to see from the multiple Megavalanche winner - meaning it looks like the three stars of enduro before it grew to an international sport Clementz Absalon and Wildhaber will all be battling at the sharp end of things once more this year.
  I'll admit I didn't expect Rene Wildhaber to ride as strongly as he did, which is my mistake for underestimating the Swiss big mountain legend. Last year he put in some good riders, but to come out at the start of the season and challenge the French for the podium was great to see from the multiple Megavalanche winner - meaning it looks like the three stars of enduro before it grew to an international sport, Clementz, Absalon and Wildhaber will all be battling at the sharp end of things once more this year.

It s not easy to get on the bike and hit 60kmp h out of the start gates but the top riders like Jerome Clementz aren t scared.
  It's not easy to get on the bike and hit 60kmp/h out of the start gates, but the top riders, like Jerome Clementz, aren't scared.

Dropping into the rocks on stage one. The race was tipified by flatout full-gas straights then ugly rocks sections or loose off camber faces.
  Dropping into the rocks on stage one. The race was tipified by flatout, full-gas straights, then ugly rocks sections or loose off camber faces.

The wait for the start for stage two.
  The wait for the start for stage two.

Stage reconnaissance or sight seeing
  Stage reconnaissance or sight seeing?

I can t remember Felipes surname or if I ve spelt his first name correctly so apologies there. What I do know is that he s not afraid to get a bit loose on the bike throwing shapes and dust about as he tore up the top corners of stage two.
  I can't remember Felipes surname (or if I've spelt his first name correctly), so apologies there. What I do know is that he's not afraid to get a bit loose on the bike, throwing shapes and dust about as he tore up the top corners of stage two.

The Andeas are pretty much heaven for any photographer who likes shooting dust sun and big mountains...
  The Andeas are pretty much heaven for any photographer who likes shooting dust, sun and big mountains...

Florian Nicolai put in a breakthrough ride this weekend - taking third place ahead of illustrious neighbour Fabien Barel. He showed good pace last year but a podium in a field this strong signals that he has put the work in over the winter to start playing with the big boys this year.
  Florian Nicolai put in a breakthrough ride this weekend - taking third place, ahead of illustrious neighbour, Fabien Barel. He showed good pace last year, but a podium in a field this strong signals that he has put the work in over the winter to start playing with the big boys this year.

Jerome Clementz tearing across the high Andean plains on stage two.
  Jerome Clementz tearing across the high Andean plains on stage two.

One of the directors of race organisers Montenbaik Eduardo de e Solminihac had the unevenviable job of checking all the stages on his moto after the riders had goen through. He clearly had no fun at all doing it...
  One of the directors of race organisers, Montenbaik, Eduardo de e Solminihac had the unevenviable job of checking all the stages on his moto after the riders had goen through. He clearly had no fun at all doing it...

Suffering and beauty in one photo. When you are trying to get your bike up steep slopes at this kind of altitude the grandeur of your surroundings can get a little lost... By the end of the day there were a lot of exhausted-looking people in the pits.
  Suffering and beauty in one photo. When you are trying to get your bike up steep slopes at this kind of altitude, the grandeur of your surroundings can get a little lost... By the end of the day there were a lot of exhausted-looking people in the pits.

A solid win to open the season for Anne-Caroline Chausson in the women s race. Isabaeau Courdurier took second behind her keeping the DH legend honest and marking her as one of the rising stars of the womens field.
  A solid win to open the season for Anne-Caroline Chausson in the women's race. Isabaeau Courdurier took second behind her, keeping the DH legend honest and marking her as one of the rising stars of the womens field.

Nacho. Former Pan-American DH champion track builder and fearless pickup driver. As he droves up between stages pinning the pickup straight up the face of the mountain in places we asked him what his job was at the race. His answer everything. At one point he told us to look at what can only be described as an incredibly steep field of rocks he said that s where the the Pan Americas track that he both built and won on was. The Chilleans like going fast for sure.
  Nacho. Former Pan-American DH champion, track builder and fearless pickup driver. As he droves up between stages, pinning the pickup straight up the face of the mountain in places, we asked him what his job was at the race. His answer: everything. At one point he told us to look at what can only be described as an incredibly steep field of rocks, he said that's where the the Pan Americas track that he both built and won on was. The Chilleans like going fast for sure.

Proving that the form he showed at the end of last year was no fluke Nico Lau ran Clementz to the line but had to settle for second. He didn t show the same kind of flare he showed at Finale last year but when asked if he was holding something back his smile said everything...
  Proving that the form he showed at the end of last year was no fluke, Nico Lau ran Clementz to the line, but had to settle for second. He didn't show the same kind of flare he showed at Finale last year, but when asked if he was holding something back, his smile said everything...

It was the final stage that sealed the win for Clementz it was a close day a couple of second margin on the stage was what it took.
  It was the final stage that sealed the win for Clementz, it was a close day, a couple of second margin on the stage was what it took.

There are plenty of reasons to smile for Jerome - opening the season with a win against a field as strong as this is good confidence boost to the season. In his own calculations he says he would have been happy to have come away 5 or 10 seconds off the win. The big question for next week is how much are these guys are holding back
  There are plenty of reasons to smile for Jerome - opening the season with a win against a field as strong as this is good confidence boost to the season. In his own calculations, he says he would have been happy to have come away 5 or 10 seconds off the win. The big question for next week is, how much are these guys are holding back?

What better way to finish a long day of racing than with a barbeque and beers with your friends
  What better way to finish a long day of racing than with a barbeque and beers with your friends?

www.montenbaik.com


23 Comments

  • + 31
 Makes me so happy to see articles like this one on pinkbike. The montenbaik enduro series truly are a top race, the organizers has give a diferent face to the Chilean mtb scene, so cheers on u guys and shame on our national federation who never did anything fo our sport. Next week is gonna be sick, not every day we're host of a world wide race like this so lets bring on the fun, bbq, wines y buena onda!
  • + 12
 que impresionante el nivel de estas carreras en mi pais! FUERZA VALPO!!
  • + 10
 Bien ahi los hermanos Chilenos!!! Bien organizando eventos de envergadura mundial. Fuerza para la gente de Valpo.
  • + 7
 Where's Gravesy?
  • + 2
 was thinking the same...
  • - 2
 This wasn't the EWS race. That is next week. Looks like this race was at the same venue the EWS race will be at so Clementz and others are getting practice for EWS.
  • + 5
 Nevados de Chillán and La Parva are not the same. This race was good warm up and acclimatization for the EWS round, but not same-venue practice. Don't forget a lot of these guys and gals came out weeks back and raced the (I believe inaugural) Andes Pacífico Enduro as well. Lots of great early season racing in Chile this year!
  • + 3
 La Parva is not the same venue of the EWS. The EWS next week will take place at Nevados de Chillan, a southern ski resort, different ground.
  • + 2
 The EWS at Nevados de Chillan it's about 6 hours driving from La Parva.
  • + 2
 Sea Otter?
  • + 3
 Awesome pics and good to see Rene Wildhaber battleing it out with the FrenchEndurodomination .......
  • + 2
 Amazing & brutal race! Nice to see the eyes of the Enduro (and MTB) world gazing upon Chile... let's keep doing things right guys!
  • + 2
 Articles and coverage like this make you want to quite Downhill and jump in the Enduro band wagon Frown Go Chile!
  • + 1
 hola a todos el es mi hijo es agustin baeza y le cambie el stikers para que no se pareciera mañana les dejo la foto de el nuevo luck de la bike !!
  • + 2
 Was that a wooden push bike that kid was on?
  • + 13
 top secret prototype...check back for more details
  • + 5
 New wheel size?
  • + 4
 EarlyRider Bikes, my son have exactly the same bike and I puted the same RockShox stickers on it! I'm from Chile but I'm living in Vancouver (maybe is a Chiliean prototype LOL)
Awesome race!
  • + 2
 @kumabiker Yes I believe its a new prototype wheel size, for now all we know is that the rims are a blend of carbon fiber and titanium and the whole bike smells like deep mahogany. the bike's estimated msrp price will be at about 15,000. So pick up one when its open to the public this summer!
  • + 1
 Great to see coverage on my country racing scene!, thanks Pinkbike
  • + 1
 I fn love these race reports!
  • + 1
 Great Race!!

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