Feb 19, 2009

Trans Andes Challenge Quick Race Report

Trans Andes Challenge is a 6 day Mountain Bike Race. This was its inaugral year taking place in Northern Patagonia. The race began in a quaint town called Pucon. I actually fell in love with this place. The town is situated by a huge lake with the most beuaitufl snow capped volcanoe towering in the background. Infact this town reminded me a lot of Vancouver. It is popular for rafting and trekking, fishing and activities on the lake.

My arrival was not so switft with nearly missing my connection in Santiago and paying a lot of dollars for a visa and finally after some emotional stress arriving into Temuco to find that my bike and luggage did not make the flight with me. Luckily a team from Brazil also arrived and helped me out little as the driver was anxious to get going. To make a long story short Mario and Adriana from Brazil sort of adopted the little lost canadian who at the time had no luggage, no bike, no money and no racing partner.... but as things started to roll into place I finally received my luggage and managed to score a wonderful racing partner Dzenko.

Each day of the race consisted of anywhere between 50 and 120km of riding, some on gravel roads, some on single track and some hike a bikes (hard but beautiful). Each morning we recevied breakfast under the tent and each afternoon and evening we recevied lunch and dinner. We slept in tents despite the changing weather.

I met some wonderful people that I will never forget from around south america and south africa. Galo and daniel from Ecuador were gracious enough to let me into their tent to increase body heat on the cold cold nights up in the mountains.

Most camps were set at a hot springs centre usually with a massage and spa area as well.

The first two days the weather worked in our favor we biked around teh Volcano and camped in Pucon. The third day proved to be the toughest on people not because of the course but becuase of the tough weather. Patagonia has unforgiving weather (this is what I am quickly learning). The torrential rains throughout the night destroyed our food tents as well as all the trails we were supposed to ride. We managed to live through it, it definitely made us stronger and tougher as individuals and athletes.
The fourth day was my favorite with some awesome sunny weather which allowed us to view all the volcanoes and the course took us through some fun single track a tough hike a bike and a great variety of terrain.
The fifth day proved a little more technical and we had to hike a bike a little more than I would have liked. It just means that I have to get better on my bike... It is a great motivation to train even harder. The last day due to some truck troubles had to be done together for safety reasons. It was great to ride with the fast guys and chat even more with other racers.

Me being me as soon as I crossed the finish line I had to scramble to pack my bike and bags and head off to the airport to make it in time for race number 2 PatagoniaExpedition Race. No time to party and chat. Dzenko and I quickly received our award and off I went.

I recommend keeping an eye out for this race in the future. It has endless opportunities and is situated in one of the most gorgeous parts of the world (second to Vancouver of course. I have attached a couple of pictures from the website for now as time is pressing and I need to go outside and have more fun...

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

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