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One of the things that sets the mountain bike apart from other sports equipment is that it is also a vehicle. Not just a toy, a bike has the capacity to transport both your body and your soul, and to take you to destinations you might never otherwise have gotten to see. A year in mountain biking is full of stories. Stories of people, places, and races. Any trip worth taking is one where the journey is the destination, and never is that more true than in a year of mountain biking. Thanks to the hard work of our photographers and friends out there in the trenches, we are proud to be able to bring you these stories as they unfold, right here on your favorite website. And to help us relive these special moments, here are 5 stories that were part of the great big 2014 adventure, as told through the only format that could possibly do them justice - the slide show. Time to crank up the volume, hit full screen, and voyage.

Andes Pacifico

The brainchild of the Montenbaik crew in Chile, the Andes Pacifico is an enduro stage race that lasts four days with liaisons and special stages that run east to west across Chile - from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean.The competition starts at 3550 meters and crosses ten valleys of different geographies, landscapes and vegetation to reach the Pacific Ocean after 4 days and nearly 10,000 vertical meters of descending. Sven Martin, Gary Perkin, and Dave Trumpore joined the trip and came back with the goods!

2014 Valparaiso Cerro Abajo

The Urban DH race in Valparaiso, Chile is just about as different to the Andes Pacifico race as you could imagine. A legendary stop on the Urban DH circuit, the Valparaiso Cerro Abajo sees the world's best downhillers take on a course that cuts straight down the city, taking in huge jumps, drops, and gaps as well as the infamous staircases along the way. This race is a truly unique event, and we sent Dave Trumpore down there to tell the story as it came to him through the lens.

Enduro World Series Chile

We didn't really realize until we compiled this Best Of, but it turns out that Chile told 3 of the most memorable mountain bike stories of 2014. The first ever Enduro World Series race in Nevados de Chillan delivered possibly the biggest case of trail envy ever, as day after day reports came in of "the most amazing trail ever ridden", "best dirt in the world", etc and so forth. It was all we could do to not hurl our monitors out the window as we sat chained to our keyboards processing the epicness flowing in daily from Sven Martin and Dave Trumpore. It will surely be one of the most missed destinations on the 2015 EWS calendar.

2014 World Cup Downhill Finals

Any World Cup weekend is a story worth telling again, but the final race of the 2014 World Cup season in Meribel, France was extra special. Sam Hill took his second win of the year and Josh Bryceland sealed his first ever overall World Cup victory on what was widely considered the best track of the whole campaign. Sven Martin and Duncan Philpott were on hand to capture the magic as it happened, and all you have to do to relive the story is press play!

Taking the Measure of Red Bull Rampage

The Red Bull Rampage moved to a new event location for 2014 (the opposite side of the ridge that was home to several previous editions), and it was truly epic to watch the riders and builders descend upon virgin terrain and transform it into a giant playground over the course of a couple of weeks. And while the riding rightfully takes center stage in all the media coverage, we also took the opportunity to get up close and personal with the features being built this time around. This is a story of cold hard facts in a world where a foot is a foot, brought to you by Vital's own Brandon Turman and a perfectly accurate tape measure. Utah is no place for fairy tales!

Stay tuned for more Best Of 2014 features coming your way soon!

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1 comment
  • stone881

    1/5/2015 11:02 AM

    I can speak to the riding in Chile having lived there for the last 18 months and it really is amazing. If you decide to go make sure that you do so in the Fall (northern hemisphere) which will be the spring in Chile. October- December is the best time of year and you'll want to move south depending upon how late it is. There actually is next to zero traction in the Andes when its dry, but when it is still holding moisture it is really good. Another thing to keep in mind is that you will be doing long and steep ascents to access the goods and the Andes are seriously steep. The coastal mountain range holds a lot of promise as well, but the trail system isn't really developed, One last thing, the whole trail system is still under development, especially outside of Santiago. If you're willing to do some bush riding the possibilities are endless and in another decade this place is going to be ridiculous.
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