2019 Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico: Day 2

February 21 — 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 second of a series of Andes Pacifico race dispatches from our man on the ground, Gary Perkin.

Andes Pacifico Day 2

The day dawned hot in the valley at camp Antawaya, but thankfully not as hot as some of the record days in previous years. This proved to be a godsend on the first task of the day - an hour and a half hike a bike up to the first stage of the day Nido de Condores. (Nest of the Condors)


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Gary Perkin

So after the hike of 600 meters or so of vert, the first stage was the long run down to the Sanctuary Park just above Santiago - a drop of some 1100 plus meters into the heat of the valley. A mix of loose, rocky trails littered with cactus put paid to any crazy racing down this stage yet some still tried - with a bunch of stitches and even a shattered helmet as payment for running the risk. Thankfully, no serious injuries, just run of the mill Andes Pacifico stuff swiftly taken care of by the bike riding doctors on course.


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Gary Perkin

Iago and Romain lounging at lunch on Day 2. 

After a long, leisurely lunch for some ... and a snatched one for this media crew - it was back to the pickups for the 2-hour drive to the top of the mountain above Santiago for the next series of stages of the day down the enduro motorbike tracks above the city. Whoops and berms created by motos in both directions really set the racers hearts aflutter with many-a-braaaaap noises being heard throughout the afternoon. 


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Gary Perkin

A highlight for me was having a huge condor fly next to me on the trail on stage 2 just above head height for a hundred or so meters before it flew just in front of me before soaring off to join its mates high in the thermals.

The last stage down to Chicureu was one we’ve visited in various forms since the first edition in 2014 and used for the Nomad 3 video that same year with Dylan Wolsky and Iago Garay asking us if we even drift bro …

Tomorrow’s stage is the big one with 2 major hike-a-bike sections in Valle del Arpa up to within sight of the giant Aconcagua.

Sam Dale 
"Day 2  - feels like Day 4, but they keep telling us it's Day 2, so we’ll have to go with that. Yeah, it was a fun day, a lot to like. We headed down these motorbike tracks and there was one moment in particular where I was doing about 40mph, through some whoops on my mountain bike in the sun and it was just unbelievable - I felt like crying as I was going along thinking is this real? Loved it."


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Gary Perkin

Iago Garay 
"Again, another good day in the books. The Raja Motores stage is a classic we’ve done a couple of times and never gets old ... it's so fun getting to ride your mountain bike flat out on moto trails through whoops - and you have to think real fast if you are going to double, manual, triple or scrub - it's a lot of things happening really fast. I had to push it a little harder today and take a few more chances than yesterday but it paid off with faster times and now I have to keep pushing."


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Gary Perkin

Tucked and R2F.

Josh Lewis 
"Mad fast day today - we were posting 70km/h at points - the GMBN boys had a speed gun out on track to check that. The trails were so whooped out - I’ve never ridden anything like that - It's basically hang on or die. It was hard to follow some of the trails today - I fell off the trail a few times - but it was so much fun cruising down with the boys. Everyone is sitting pretty and the boys are doing good. It's mint." 


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Gary Perkin

Romain Paulhan
"Like Sam says, it feels like Day 4 but it's still Day 2 - a really nice ride today. Really nice landscapes today and the ride was just perfect - moto track, full gas, flat out, it was good."


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Gary Perkin

Laura Battista 
"Day 1 was pretty awesome - I've ridden the first couple of stages before during the EWS last year. It was great to ride them again … stage 3 was tough I had a little off and then I got a bit airy fairy with my head but made it down. Super stoked to finish Day 2 - these were some of the best trails I’ve ever ridden - the scenery we rode through was just awesome and super sweet. The corners on the last stage were really hard but so cool - I was trying to drift them but I was not being very successful but it was so fun to try and surf that sweet dirt."

Tune in tomorrow for updates from Day Three.


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