Andes Pacifico 2016, Day 5

Februar 15 — 2016

Vamos a la playa!

 

Saturday and the final day of the 2016 Andes-Pacifico dawned hot in the Condor del Apalta. It was going to be a tough day … little did we know just how tough. Seven physical stages with some tough transitions stood between the riders and the Pacific Ocean at the beach town of Matanzas. 

After a two hour shuttle, stage one set the tone for the day's stages. Short, physical, pedally, rut-filled with steep shoots every now and then to keep you on your toes. As Mark Scott put it: this wasn’t going to a Tour de France style last day procession to the finish line. It was going to be one of the hardest and longest of the race so far. We revisited some stages from last year’s race but with enough taping and line changes to make sure no-one had any real local knowledge, or previous racing advantage. As the temperatures climbed, the racing got more intense and the liaisons become tougher and tougher on the steep coastal hills. 

 

But spirits lifted dramatically when the riders started seeing the ocean from the stage starts—you could almost taste the sea breeze and cold beer at the finish. Racing was tight all day but a total of about 10 hours in the heat and the physical stages started to take their toll on riders and times slowly started to slip against the more powerful pedallers. 

 

It was the longest day yet with riders arriving at the beach just at sunset around 20h30, then chips were handed in and results were tallied up. In the end Francois Bailly-Maitre added 11 seconds to his 9 from the previous day over Mark Scott to take the overall. All four of our lads were inside the top 20 overall. 

 

Dinner was a traditional sheep on a spit BBQ on the beach and the beer and pisco flowed freely before quite possibly one of the rowdiest podiums I’ve ever been to. Maybe Steve Peat’s win in Canberra in 2009 comes close. But pisco creates a different kind of chaos compared to Aussie beer. Celebrations ran well into the night before most folks eventually found their tents. 

 

Its been an amazing week filled with good times, struggles, crashes, near misses and so many rad stories. It’s been a privilege to work on my third Andes Pacifico and we all owe a huge debt of gratitude & praise to everyone involved. From the Montenbaik staff, to drivers, chefs, operations crew, medics, moto riders, etc—each and every one of them spent the entire week making all of us feel so damn special. 

Muchas gracias! Thank you all! 

 

An exhausted Scott Chapin (19th overall) summed up as best he could - I can’t wait till next year. Best part was 5 days instead of 4. Yay Bikes! 

Mark Scott (2nd overall) - An epic week with a good crew and amazing trails. Stoked to be top 3 and pushing for the lead. I couldn’t be in a better place physically - my training is all on track for the first EWS in just over a month. This was my first Andes-Pacifico and it wont be the last. Its mad, epic, proper hot, gnarly tracks and big mountains all the way to beach. It feels really good to come out alive at the end. 

Iago Garay (11th overall) - I’ve done all three Andes-Pacificos now and the dirt isn’t get any grippier but the food gets better every time - can’t wait to be back. The extra day was challenging. I feel like four days is the limit to riding on this kind of thing - the 5th day was a bit of a struggle for me. But it was also an extra day of fun. I got 2nd on two stages so i’m really, really happy with how the race went - other than the flat which dropped me down a couple of places on the overall. I’m really surprised by how my fitness worked out on stages that I didn’t think I would do well on. I’ve been able stay be really close to Francois - who is one of the toughest guys on the on those kind of stages. I’m looking forward to put in some good miles on the road bike for the EWS season starts and hopefully get into the top 15. 5 weeks and we’re back in Chile. Yes! 

Allan Cooke (14th overall) - It was amazing from start to finish, food, trail, logistics to Pisco it was all gravy. The heat was tough during the transitions but the good crew we were riding with kept things cool. 

¡Hasta luego! 

Gary 

You may recognize Gary Perkin's name, or his 'Flipper' moniker, from DH World Cup coverage in years past, or from his work at Cape Epic. Gary's been traveling the world shooting bike racing for as long as anyone can remember, and 2016 is no different. Just a few weeks after a trip to Patagonia for the Hightower launch, Gary's turned in another 18 hours of air travel to get back to Chile. We've featured Gary's photos before, but this year, he'll be writing a series of dispatches from Andes Pacifico, accompanied, naturally, by his inimitable photos.  Check back each day for the latest from him, featuring Iago Garay and Mark Scott of the Santa Cruz Bicycles Team, Scott Chapin of Santa Cruz Factory Racing, and Allan Cooke—Santa Cruz's man-about-races and Doer of Things. 

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