Andes Pacifico 2016, Day 4

February 13 — 2016

It's a new dawn, it's a new day!

Waking up in a new campsite after arriving in the dark means you get quite the surprise when you open the tent at sunrise for breakfast and the start of the new day. Condor del Apalta doesn’t disappoint. Oak trees for shade, a farm house that has seen better days and grounds of an estate that was something special in its glory days but yet brings us the respite and rest from the days in the heat of the Chilean Central Valley. But it's the treats at the end of the day boost it up a notch or three—more about that later. 

For the first stage of the day we shuttled about 20 minutes from the campsite and then proceeded to climb 500m; some on the bike, most hike-a-bike to a saddle shrouded in the early morning mist. It made a very pleasant change from last year’s ascent in the blazing sun. The stage down was filled with ruts and lines that ran up as you decided to take them. Another case of find your own best way down. I took quite a bit of strain on the descent after yesterday’s rib-altering crash, and many others did too. But the shady lunch spot revitalised the spirits and refuelled the bodies before the 1000m climb up to the peak. For the first time this week, I played the press/journo card and shuttled to the bottom and walked up.


I felt that after last year’s effort in 45C heat and as the only photographer to make it to the top I had earned my points and didn’t need to repeat it. And coupled with ribs that aren't holding up well to repeated rut smashing I picked the easy way out.


Turns out that was a good call as the stage was eventually cancelled after race leader Francois Bailly-Maitre ran wide, tore some course tape at a critical junction and the next 10 or so riders down all got lost on the multitude of trails the litter the mountain. Video reviews showed the confusion with riders all over the place - heading up, down and all over.


After getting off the bike in the race village we headed straight for the Kross beer stand and then plunged into the grape packing crates which had been filled with cold water with an even colder beer in hand. 


But the fun didn’t end there - a bunch of us climbed back in the pickups and headed to Montes Vineyards and sampled some of their most excellent red and white wines. Talk about the buena vida! Tomorrow brings the last 7 short, explosive stages to the beach at Matanzas to work out the overall which is all to play for - with Mark Scott sitting in second place just 10 seconds behind Bailly-Maitre. 


Mark Scott (Day 4: 2nd; Overall: 2nd) - Pretty solid again. Stage 1 went pretty well. Nothing crazy happened. Massive hike to the second stage of the day, really sick stage with lots of corners but then broken tape lead us all down the wrong way. After a minute i started to panic and then I saw Jerome and we crazy trained down. Made up two seconds on the overall, stoked with that. Its going to be a big one tomorrow. On a multi-day enduro like this you’re at 80% all day, its a lot easier to lose time than gain time. At an EWS you can go flat out as you have had at least one practice run. 

Iago Garay (Day 4: 4th; Overall: 11th) - Great day! Very good result on the 1st stage. Although i was fourth i was very close to the top guys on a very physical one where i wouldn’t have been that fast previously. Little by little getting more motivated to keep training for the season ahead and realising i can be up there with the big guns. I had a great time with my climbing crew listening to tunes. Unfortunately the second stage had to be cancelled because of broken tape a critical junction. But on the bright side we got to session the trail with Mark and had a great time with him down the hill. 

Allan Cooke (Day 4: 12th; Overall: 14th) - Today was awesome, it was as hard as i remember it from last year. But it was so awesome to rail it again. It was much harder this year to race down it, it was a really good time. It was a bummer the times didn't work out—but we had a great time nevertheless. 

Scott Chapin (Day 4: 20th; Overall: 19th) - It was a pretty rad day. I spent it hiking with my bike. And thats cool because every step forward is a step closer to the top and the further you go up the further you get to go down. I had a lot of trouble going off course though as the tracks were pretty wild. But yeah it was a good day.

Full Day 4 Results
Full Overall Results


Making a Dónde Está la Playa playlist...

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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