Andes Pacifico 2016, Day 1

February 10 — 2016 | La Parva, Chile

Mark Scott 2nd Overall, Iago Garay in 5th!

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. 

The interminable hike-a-bike to the top of La Parva

The first of three days on the antigrip in La Parva took its toll on bikes and bodies today in brutal heat, rocks and dust of the Andes mountains. But much fun was had on the day! 
After a good night in the tents, and a hearty 7am breakfast we shuttled to the one of the ski resorts chairlifts and then rode, hike-a-biked to the top of the La Parva range at 3600+m 
Rider briefing on the edge of cliff and at that kind of altitude and sure does focus the attention of riders before dropping into unknown. 

First stage up was Ville Amarillo - one we’ve raced twice before and its a good warmup as of what to expect. 
The second stage was another one that had been raced before .. and was an integral part in the Nomad launch video - Refugio Alemana down to Yerba Loca Nature Reserve. 
SS3 took us down 16-1 - a trail that goes down from switchback 16 to the 1st switchback on the Camino Ferralones. Its an epic trail with off camber turns for days and run offs that lead to massive clumps of cacti .. and this is before you hit the lower slopes which have more options than a mobile phone contract. 

Scott Chapin dancing with the infamous anti-grip

A quick shuttle back up to Ferrallones for lunch and its a 3km liaison to SS4 - Lomo del Viento - Hill of the Wind. This trail was introduced last year and the term coined by race organiser was a “Festival of Switchbacks” … unfortunately some folks had the wrong ticket. The first switchbacks claimed many a victim .. and these weren’t even the ones mentioned in the briefing. The ones that were mentioned are worth mentioning again! There were an overcountable amount … i lost count after 50 … lost count or got by mind cleared by the what seemed like nonstop off-camber loose rocky switchbacking that dropped over 500m! 

Iago Garay, blastin'

All in all a rad day on the bike … and now here’s some words from our lads: 

Iago Garay (5th overall) - Total satisfaction. It seems like all the winter road riding has paid off. Its great to see results from all the training and makes it all worth while. 

Mark Scott (2nd overall) - Buzzing! I had a steady day ... I knew how much I could blow up if I pushed it too hard too early. The training is paying off and it feels really good. 

Scott Chapin (26th overall) - There's nothing like riding in Chile! You can put six months of use/abuse onto your bike in one run. It's f*cking awesome ... It's just so raw. 

Allan Cooke (15th overall) - Its been therapeutic. I came In with a heavy heart with the loss of my buddy Dave Mirra. During the stages was the first time I could actually switch the emotion off … But it also made me realize he would have loved this sport and been so good at it. BMX rider, rally driver and triathlete - what a combination! 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s 5 stages on the more southern slopes of La Parva and Colorado ski resorts where we will revisit some of the trails from Day 2 of last year’s Andes Pacifico plus we’ll hit an all new 6.6km descent which none of us have seen .. even those who’ve been to all the editions. 

Capt. Cooke in his element. 

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