Santisimo Downhill means something half way between Sacred and Blessed DH and is one of the most iconic races in Peru and South America, the same Valparaiso Cerro Abajo is for Chile, Open Shimano for Argentina or Santos for Brazil. It has been held the 3rd weekend of April since 2009. Riders claim it is more than a race, it's the perfect time of the year to come to ride your bike to Cusco. Why? Santisimo DH and the Incavalanche are held one weekend after the other. This means in 10 days riders can put in 2 races and in between there is plenty of time to ride around this top MTB destination.
This past April 23rd the 9th edition of this race was held inside the Sacred Valley of the Incas: Huayllabamba (Cusco, Peru) a place gifted with trails perfect for MTB. This district holds about 9 different trails with an average of an 800-meter drop. This year, the race gathered riders from 6 different countries.
MTB has become a real important touristic activity since Cusco is a top destination for the sport. Local kids love MTBikes.
Since the Inca empire, corn has been and will always be an important part of locals diet. Did we mention Huayllabamba is the capital of the white corn?
Hardtails, enduro bikes, DH bikes, the Sacred Valley has something for everyone.
Thin air at 9400 feet (2,800 meters over sea level).
The road is closed for cars all the week (except for ambulances and rescue team), a very important detail to get 5 road gaps going on.
Dust is a classic factor in this place, making riders wish for some rain.
A guy from the hood, Ario Ferri lives right next to the trail. He could watch his house from any place on the trail.
Jumps, drops, road gaps, great views.... this is Santisimo Downhill.
Andres Cisneros from Ecuador was pushing hard.
The Sacred Valley Brewery made the first road gap this year.
The race gathers about 5,000 spectators who climb walking to different parts of the trail.
Lucio Vellutino is a 13-year-old rider from Cusco who is stepping it up, taking 1st position in his class by far.
The ramps and features are only available for 4-5 days, some riders have been waiting all year to try them, others come early trying to check them of their checklist.
Peruvian rider Sebastian Alfaro was gliding over the trail all the week.
The Acurio family has all 4 brothers in the MTB scene. Cecilia Acurio waits patiently for her race run.
Riders chilling before the race run.
Pablo Noriega from Argentina made it to 7th.
Mario Jarrin from Ecuador had a massive crash on Friday, sitting him down all Saturday. Mario handled a 6th place on the race run.
Mauricio Acuña from Chile was one of the favorites. This year he got to 5th place.
Juan Pedro Illescas from Peru was killing it all weekend ending up in 4th place.
Sebastian Alfaro from Peru made it to 3rd, only 2 seconds away from the title.
Alejandro Paz from Peru made it to 2nd place, only half a second back from the title.
Pedro Ferraira from Chile made history taking the top step of the podium for the 3rd time. His time was 3:22:447
A whip off contest was held in the main Plaza between the race run and the award ceremony.
Of course, some riders whipped off, others wiped out.
Lucio Vellutino on the top step of the podium for the Under 14 class.
Will we get to see Lucio in future World Cups? Only time will tell.
Aria, a 3 year old biker kid, handing the medal to Piero Vellutino (Lucio's dad).
Aria, handing in the medal to Pedro Ferreira.
Three Peruvians made it to the top 5 steps of the podium. It was a good race day for Peru.
Full results of UCI categories.
The old Sacred Valley of the Incas saying good bye to another edition of Santisimo Downhill. Until next April.
Special thanks to the people on the local government and to Beto Santillan for all the pics.http://www.santisimodh.com