Day 1 at the Andes Pacifico! The first thing everyone asked in the morning was how did you sleep...obviously no one slept because everybody was anxious.
From 7:30 am competitors began with the first liaison to the Aguila lift La Parva Ski Center at 2800 meters, which led to the sector called Piuquenes on the way to Valle Amarillo.
SS1 began with a fast section that enters a singletrack with no grip or #antigrip as the locals call it, before reaching a rocky area with more than a few little drops where a few riders had crashes without even realizing it. The track ended with a sector of more than 30 switchbacks that boil the brakes. This gave the riders a preview of what was in store for the rest of the day. Very loose terrain, dusty and long descents on singletrack mainly used to carry goods.
SS2 began with a very flowy trail which was open and allowed riders to go very fast. In this special our friend Chris Ball told us that he loved the area and had been enjoying the flow of the trail and the open views allowing you to take in the immensity of the Andes.
SS3 is a classic and a favorite of every Enduro or downhill rider in Chile. Today for the second time in the history this single track was used for a competition. We are talking about the famous curve 16 with the curve 14. These two singles connected to create a special that last almost 7 minutes which included the infamous uphill on turn 14. The circuit as always has lots of stones and ditches that have become larger of late – all of which made the riders sweat even more than just the heat.
At the end of this special stage, it was the food supply area supply was where Santa Cruz and Mountain Works gave mechanical assistance, supplied parts, and where riders could enjoy the food brought by the organization – fruits, sandwiches, nuts and Red Bull.
Then came the longest liaison and uphill pf all the race. Sven Martin opined that bikes should have a motor to do that type of climbs [where's your e-bike, Sven?]. 1200 meters of climbing was enough to make all competitors suffer. But all this had an award which was the special SS4 Nido de Condores - Santuario that would take the last sparks of energy from the riders to complete. Unanimously all riders categorized this SS as the most complex of the day as 1,100 meters of vertical and over 16 minutes – safe to say it left everyone exhausted.
The end of the special stage was in the picnic area of the Nature Sanctuary where the river was used to relax the muscles and clean the dust off the bikes.
The big winner of the day was the World Champion Jerome Clementz who took the lead with a 45:29 minutes, ahead of Chilean National Champion Nico Prudencio with 46:23 minutes. Third place went to François Bailly-Maitre with 47:27 minutes.
For complete results Check: http://montenbaik.com/Resultados/
Photos by Sven Martin, Gary Perkin and Dave Trumpore.