Exposure

Chile’s Crazy MTB Race from the Andes to the Ocean

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Photo: Dave Trumpore

Eighty riders descended more than 30,000 feet from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean this February during Chile’s second annual Andes Pacifico, a four-day enduro race. Beginning high in the mountains, with stages comprised of leg-burning climbs and fast singletrack descents, the riders made their way through Chile’s wine region before finishing in the small coastal town of Mantanzas. Photographer Dave Trumpore captured the entire event, which, of course, included plenty of dirt, pisco sours, and Chilean barbeque. 

Photo: After climbing 37 switchbacks on asphalt, Frenchman Fabian Barel makes quick work of the twisty Parvazo singletrack on his way back down the mountain.

Photo: Dave Trumpore
The calm before the storm. On the eve of the race, Gary Perkin, Jon Cancelier, and Felipe Vasquez take one last opportunity to relax and share a few beers with friends. Having participated in the event the year before, they know the challenges they lie ahead.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
Each evening, officials briefed the riders on the upcoming stage. Riders weren’t allowed to pre-ride any of the stages: good maps and course descriptions were critical.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
Racers navigate what looks like the surface of Mars to reach the top of stage one, where the only spectators were a few wild horses. This same route is also used by many backpackers hiking to the top of nearby Cerro Plomo.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
On day two, riders made their way down to the lower slopes of the Andes, and for the first time began to see signs of life: trees, green grass, and the occasional livestock.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
Rush hour in the Andes Pacifico takes on a completely different form than in the city as you head higher and farther into the mountains.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
British racer Sam Flannigan made the trip to Chile to escape the cold winter back home and to get some valuable pre-season training in. A bit out of his element the first few days, he would eventually find his groove to land 5th place.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
Race organizers strategically planned for each night’s campsite to be close to water, and after ten-hour days in near 100-degree heat, it was a welcome luxury.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
Day three saw record temperatures (well over 100 degrees), in Chile’s premier wine-growing region in the Colchagua Valley. Luckily, shade and refreshment could be found at the Lapostolle Vineyard located alongside the course.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
With over 4,000 feet of climbing and record-breaking heat, day three turned out to be the most difficult stage, leaving many racers wishing for a little more horsepower.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
With the finish line and the Pacific Ocean finally visible on the horizon, Yeti Cycles racer Nate Hills put it in overdrive on day four.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
When you spend long days in the hot sun and arid climate of the Chilean summer, you crave water. Even something as simple as a neighborhood irrigation ditch was not to be passed by.
Photo: Santa Cruz Bicycles Events Manager Alan Cooke made the trip to Chile and had no trouble showing the the loose, unpredictable dirt who was boss.
Santa Cruz Bicycles events manager, Alan Cooke, made the trip to Chile and had no trouble showing the the loose and unpredictable dirt who's boss.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
A city of tents under the stars was home for the week. As riders made their way through each difficult stage, a small staff would break down, transport, and rebuild camp daily.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
While the climbing was arduous, riders were rewarded with amazing trails and incredible views.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
With the race over and third place in the Women's division bagged, Colorado native Sarah Rawley heads for the beach in the small Chilean surf town of Matanzas.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
It’s usually surfboards that fill these racks on the beach in Matanzas, but when the Andes Pacifico enduro rolls through town, things look a bit different.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
Strangers became friends over the five nights and four days that it took to reach the Pacific Ocean. Here, Chile's Felipe Vasquez and Frenchman Fabien Barel congratulate each other on a job well done.
Photo: Dave Trumpore
France's Nico Lau, who eventually nabbed the top spot, had no idea that Fabien Barel, who’d led the race from the start, had a mechanical early in the final day. It wasn't until the two riders turned in their timing chips that Fabien broke the news and congratulated his fellow countryman on his victory.

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