2019 Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico: Day 1

2月 19 — 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 first of a series of Andes Pacifico race dispatches from our man on the ground, Gary Perkin.

Andes Pacifico Day 1

And so it is with happy hearts that we return to the high Andes for the 2019 edition of the Santa Cruz Andes Pacifico - the multi-day enduro stage race in the heart of the Chilean Cordillera.

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Gary Perkin

Sam Dale, Josh Lewis and Romain Paulhan load up prior to the first day of the 2019 Andes Pacifico.

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Gary Perkin

Laura Battista ascending to the start of the 2019 Andes Pacifico.

After last year’s absence of the classic start at the top of the La Parva, it was great to return to the oh-so-famous ridgeline today to kick off the first big stages of this year’s race from 3641M above sea level to the coast over the next 5 days.  

With three special stages - the classic Valle Amarillo from the top of La Parva, then down Parvaso and then onto the Alto del Torro which includes aptly named festival of Switchbacks to give us around 3000m of descending over the course of the day.

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Gary Perkin

Santa Cruz & Juliana Bicycles crew ready for the start of the first day - left to right - Iago Garay, Romain Paulhan, Josh Lewis, Francois Bailly-Maitre, Laura Battista, Sam Dale. 

These classic stages gave riders the ultimate introduction to the joys and heartaches of anti-grip - which gives and takes in equal measure. Just when you think you’ve worked it out you brake too hard into a switchback and lose the front, or try to scrub speed when cresting a rise in the trail before the next rock section and the back wheel lets go right when you really don’t want it to. But it's an experience that will stay with you long after the heart rate subsides.

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Gary Perkin

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Gary Perkin

Romain Paulhan pushing up to the start of the first day. 

Romain Paulhan

"Its a bit surprising to finish in 4th... it was a really good day. The anti-grip is really anti-grip - I just tried to stay on my bike. The landscape and the mountains are really beautiful - it's wonderful here.  I’m happy to be here and happy to be sharing the experience with my Santa Cruz teammates."

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Gary Perkin

Iago Garay dropping in on day one of the 2019 Andes Pacifico.

Iago Garay
"A successful first day, getting comfortable with the anti-grip, I didn’t have any crashes. I feel like I know the consequences of the anti-grip now, so I always go a bit more careful on the first day than some of the first-timers. I had a lot of fun. Loose and I had this weird idea to ride the last stage together - I don’t think it was great for Loose as he was behind me in this huge cloud of dust - but it turned out to be our best result of the day for both of us and it was super fun. We were commentating and laughing the whole way down. Now its time to chill and get ready for another day."

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Gary Perkin

Sam Dale casually makes his way to the start of day one. 

Sam Dale

"Mega day thanks, the first time in Chile, first time doing anything like this, first proper ride on the Nomad and it was good. Really good. Hot, dry all of that, mega descents. Happy to get through it and let’s see what tomorrow brings."

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Gary Perkin

Josh Lewis prepares for the first day of the 2019 Andes Pacifico. 

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Gary Perkin

Loosedog navigating the anti-grip.

Josh Lewis

"Good day. I had one little spill, but I knew the first two stages from last year’s EWS so it was great to ride those again. And the last stage was insane - I followed Iago down. The first minute in I thought this is a bad decision because it was so dusty, but it turned out good. The dust settled a bit and we were just shouting at each other all the way down - it was mint. I was just trying to keep up every time there was some pedaling but flat pedals were definitely the ones for the end of the stage. I’ve apparently graduated in the anti-grip now - apparently Stage 3 is the graduation."

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Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Tomorrow’s 5 stages will make today's feel like a walk in the park … here’s to a good nights sleep before that!

Check back tomorrow for updates from Day Two. Until then, get stoked with more photos from the race!

 

 

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