For the last seven Canadian winters I have been flying south from Canada to Argentina in search of sun and biking. 2014 proved to be one of my favourite seasons yet.
Argentina is an incredibly diverse country. The main mountain range, the Andes, runs the entire length of the country and changes dramatically from north to south. The south is much like British Columbia, Canada where I live, lush and covered with forests, lakes and rivers. The central and northern areas are much dryer and rockier and the mountains are much higher, mostly barren of trees. Argentina is home to the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, Aconcagua, ringing in at a massive 22 837 feet. With this mountainous geography it is no doubt that Argentina is a mountain biking mecca.
Earlier in the season, in late May, I had the opportunity to join a project called Girando, in english it translates to "Turning", which is exactly what our bike cranks would be doing on this trip. The idea of the project was to travel the length and the width of Argentina with our bikes. We would meet up with like minded riders, friends and friends of friends in each place and have them show us all their golden trails. Then, hopefully make it a regular thing and share what Argentina has to offer with the rest of the world.
Our trip started in the south of Argentina in Patagonia and we worked our way north to the famous Andes mountains of Mendoza, and then east to the Sierra mountains of Cordoba.
Here are some of my favourite shots from our journeys.
| Our trip began in San Carlos De Bariloche in the beautiful Patagonia.|
| Little crispy at the top.|
| Lake views all the way down the perfect single track.|
| Bariloche is one of the most beautiful towns on the planet.|
| For the second lap of the day we went to the other side of the mountain where there was a whole other trail network equally as awesome!|
| Cepi cranking the berm.|
| Manu airs over Cepi, kind of.|
| A nice treat awaited us at the refugio halfway down the mountain, cervezas and pie.|
| Time to rip down to the lake below.|
| To the east of Bariloche is a totally different geographical zone. When the weather is rainy closer to Bariloche, this place is always dry and rideable. It was raining on the second day so we loaded up the truck and headed out. A little river crossing on a make shift ferry and we were there.|
| This zone also had some really fun rock slabs to ride, speckled throughout the mountain.|
| Cepi, charging through the sagebrush.|
| A little freeriding was even found along the way!|
| A quartz rock slab smack dab in the middle of the mountain.|
| Last light in the trees.|
| Typical "after ride feast" of pollo al disco, a damn good way to finish the day.|
| The trailside landscapes of the Patagonia are world class.|
The next leg of our journey bumped us about 1200 kilometers north to the famous Andes mountains of Mendoza. The Andes are huge in Mendoza and the riding is also huge. It was a very extreme contrast from the Patagonia as there is not a tree in sight in the Mendoza desert mountains.
| The Andes are so massive that pedaling from the flats of Mendoza to the trail head would mean a solid day of dirt road riding. We opted for the truck to get us up to the goods.|
| Our trusty stead, a 1967 Ford Mercury 4x4 with a diesel engine. From the era when Ford actually made tough trucks!|
| Kicking back in the truck box and watching the sun rise.|
| Let the riding begin, Cepi and Kittu peddling up and earning the descent, one crank at a time.|
| The train is off!|
| Dropping in, hello Mendozaaaa!|
| Can you say layers...|
| Big Landscapes make for unforgettable rides.|
| The landscape in the Andes is breath taking. Nowhere I have been on this planet has made me feel so insignificant.|
| Sebastian taking in the view before the decent.|
| Coming down to Pampa de Canota, you can see the flat areas that were shaved down by glaciers thousands of years ago. This landscape hasn't changed since.|
| Rafa coming in hot for the corner.|
| Pristine singletrack.|
| The shadows in the Andes are part of what makes them so unique.|
| In and out of the shadows all the way down.|
It was hard to leave the massive descents of the Andes behind but we had some friends in Cordoba that were planning some rides for us and we had to move along. The next stop was the Sierras de Cordoba, much smaller mountains than the Andes but they proved to be equally as technical.
| We made it to our refugio for the night. The outback of Argentina is speckled with refugios. Refugios are shelters that people can sleep in and escape the elements. They are usually taken care of by a Guacho (Argentine cowboy) that has animals grazing in the area. They are similar to back country cabins in British Columbia.|
| The inside of Argentine refugios are pretty simple, everything you need and nothing you don't.|
| The Gaucho's herd of sheep watching the sunrise.|
| The crew.|
| Right off the bat we realized we were in a different landscape once again. First ride of the morning we were climbing our way through super sharp white quartz.|
| The Sierras are full of these rock gardens, super majestic to ride through.|
| Into the mist.|
| Railing through the rock garden in the mist.|
| Over decades, bikers have slowly wore a smooth line down through the rocks.|
| And that's a wrap. Our last day of riding ended with an incredible Cordoba star show.|
Must Read This Week