2019 Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico: Day 5

Februar 25 — 2019 | Chile

Santa Cruz Bicycles - Photographer Gary Perkin

About this time every year, photo-snapper Gary Perkin picks up a camera and departs his Cape Town home to chase Santa Cruz riders around the world.
See more of Gary's photos here and read dispatches from last year's Andes Pacifico here.


The fifth and final of a series of Andes Pacifico race dispatches from our man on the ground, Gary Perkin.

Andes Pacifico Day 5

As the saying goes - all good things must come to an end … and Day Five of Andes Pacifico marks the end of our journey from the high Andes in La Parva down to the Pacific Ocean in Cachagua. 

After four huge back-to-back days, the organizers made some changes to the stages - skipping the second stage of the day - and merging the last two into one stage for an awesome finale to close out the 2019 edition of the race. But not before a 1.8km and 520m vert hike-a-bike to remind you that just because its the last day doesn’t mean it’s going to be a cruise to the beach. 

The first stage of the day in Valle Hermoso was another new one to the race 6km and 909m descent to shake out the cobwebs from the week - it was definitely one of the freshest tracks we rode during the week. 

A quick shuttle to Zapallar and that hike-a-bike later and we were standing 600m above sea level looking down on the Pacific Ocean and the inversion layer from the cold water. It was then we knew that we were just one long, fun, flowy trail from the end and a swim in the ocean before the end of race party!

Some quick numbers for you - we descended almost 15000m of vert in the 5 days with the first two days hovering around the 3500m per day, we were repeatedly above 3500m above sea level, the gap between first and second was just 18 seconds after 159 minutes of racing, there were 91 finishers out 114 starters, and an uncountable amount of Piscolas were drunk at the beach party!
Now we’re all on our way back home, or onto the next adventure, feeling stoked that we had the best of times with great people, ate amazing food, drank in the most incredible views and made a ton of new friends with whom we’ll all remember that time we rode our bikes through the wilds of Chile from the mountains to the ocean.
Gracias por todo amigos! 


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Gary Perkin


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Women's overall podium Laura Battista (2nd), Flo Espineira (1st), Pauline Diefenthaler (3rd) during the fifth and final day of the 2019 Andes Pacifico.

Laura Battista (2nd Overall)

"I don’t really know what to say .. I think if you’re dreaming of long descents it’s the place to come. I always want to ride longer and longer descents - and this is exactly what you get here in Chile. Fast, flowy, technical - all the things you can imagine you get in this race. The scenery, the people, the food is all just wonderful. And you get a 4x4 experience."

Romain Paulhan (2nd Overall)
"Man, it was a real and beautiful experience and I’m happy to be here with this crew - Sam, Loosedoggy, Laura, Iago, Francois, you, and Allan - for setting it all up at the beginning of the week. I would like to thank all the Santa Cruz people especially the ones from Chile - Seb, Teo, Ignacio - and everyone - Allan and Loic Delteil too. It was a wild experience - by far the wildest ever - and I’m really happy with my second place. Really, super stoked!"


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Gary Perkin

Sam Dale, Josh Lewis, Romain Paulhan and Iago Garay on the last hike-a-bike of the race.

Sam Dale (4th Overall)

"A big ol’ week in Chile. I’m definitely feeling it at the moment - I’ve got a bit of a cold after all of it. But as an experience it was unbelievable to be honest - the crew we had out there was ace. They made it all very enjoyable - even though we are all knackered now. The event itself was insane - I’ve never ridden downhill so much in just 5 days before. The terrain was unbelievable - it was like being on Mars some days, then other days we were deep in the bush - like in the Australian Outback. The food, the people, the riding, the experience, the weather - all of it was great. Hopefully, I’ll recover in time for it next year - because it was a good do that and I’d love to do it again."


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin


Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Iago Garay (8th Overall)
"The sixth year of Andes-Pacifico done. Very stoked. It was a really good week as always with a good crew. The Chileans took really good care of us as always. I’m pretty excited for the rest of the season because I felt this week was a good test to see how the training has been going. Bummed I was a little bit asleep the first day and lost a lot of time. But on the other hand, I feel I was able to put in some of my strongest performances in the Andes Pacifico so far - even though the results are not as good as before - but the level was insane. So I’m super happy."


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Gary Perkin

Josh Lewis (12th Overall)
"What mint week man. Just looking back at it it seems like such a long time, but then it seems like it went so fast at the same time. None of us had any big mechanicals all week, no big crashes - I wasn’t expecting that really - I thought we’d all have a few issues along the way. We got lost a few times - but everyone did. The vibes are so good in the camp, everyone was just joking and chilling together - its a proper good experience. I’m thankful for everyone that helped me - I had such a good time - the drivers, the organizers. It’s not an easy thing to pull all that together - so big appreciation. I loved every minute and can’t wait to do it again. Big love."


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Gary Perkin

Until next year... No Pisco, No Disco!

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