2018 Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico: Day 3

February 16 — 2018 | Chile

The third of a series of Andes Pacifico race dispatches from our man on the ground Gary Perkin.

The Andes Pacifico is one of those events that always manages to add a twist — something new and well out of your comfort zone. I’ve been at every edition since 2014, and I have a fair idea of what a day holds but Day three was, once again, a different vibe altogether. We hit a completely new zone high up somewhere near Portillo and San Estaban. 

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

After an hour shuttle we were dropped off near a cat-ski piste. Those lucky few who carry a camera bag or medical pack loaded up bikes and bags on a mule train and proceeded to hike up to a Martian landscape. An hour - and no stops - later we unpacked traversed a massive scree field before climbing again to reveal an amazing view of Aconcagua at 6962m. We were at the highest point of the race at 3500m-something and it literally and figuratively took your breath away.

Next up: three of the fastest stages we’ve had this year — it was mad how fast these trails were after the tech, loose, brake dragging stages we’ve had so far. Despite the ten hour day, everyone was buzzing from this massive ride in the mountains. It’s always rewarding to get pulled out of your comfort zone and to see just how far and high you can go on your bike.

Josh Bryceland

"One of the most beautiful days I’ve had on my bike. Just so out there and adventurous. I had a good first stage, and then snapped my chain out of climb on the second. I thought I’d left it behind but then it went in the spokes, ripped my mech off, and flatted my tyre - just had a bit of nightmare. Then I popped my inner tube on the last one. Out of the running which is a bit gutting because I was getting right into it. Still what a buzz, what a day it’s been mint."

See Josh's rider page.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Mark Scott

"Pretty solid day, kinda found a good pace again. Not taking too many risks - gotta be safe in this kind of race. Just on the last stage I had a bit of a mistake and lost maybe about 10 seconds - I missed a little climb and had to run back up - but not disastrous and I’m still in the mix."

See Mark's rider page.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Iago Garay

"It’s been a sick day three it’s basically a big day out with the boys. A huge mission to get to the first stage - it was cool we stopped on the liaison when it turned to scree / freeride stuff and we took photos and videos. It was super chilled as there is no set start time. Then we had three sweet stages - they were flat out. I think my top speed was almost 70 km/h. Fully tucked and hiding behind the stem - just to save energy for the next pedaling section. Survived another day - this time no crashes - managed to finish 5th on the day. Stoked."

See Iago's rider page.

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Onward and upward. Day Four is on the horizon. 

Check out videos from the race.

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