Trans Andes 2017 was an amazing trip and a very special time for me, I met new friends, had many laughs and checked off a huge bucket list event. Despite being one of the older riders I really found my place in helping out the young riders with advice and strategy.
The trip started off with 2 2 day assembly of riders, support and film crew coming from, Canada, Columbia, Latvia and a local. Once everyone had landed in Santiago Chile the long journey to Huilo Huilo reserve in central Chile began. Fires in Chile mad Santiago hot and very low visibility but our stay further south wasn’t affected by the massive fires.
After arriving in Huilo Huilo we started to get ready with a day and ahalf before the race we assembled bikes, had a Nativo clothing on bike photo shoot and had some time to get to know each other in our 500 square foot cabin. 6 guys 5 bikes and bike boxes all managed to fit like a delicate game of tetris.
At this time I fell sick to a stomach bug and spent most travel time sleeping and trying to get better. After 3 days of drugs from the local race doctor I was ok to start the race but not yet in top form.
Day 1 was a huge day with lots of climbing and the most km’s and heat we cgot all week, not feeling very well my partner and I got ourselves to the finish in not bad form. The three other riders on the team had a great start to the event and were in the top 25 riders to cross the line on the day with my partner and I just cracking the top 60 riders.
Day 2 was another huge day of climbing but I was feeling much better and so we moved as quickly as we could up the gruelling steep climbs of the local volcano before enjoying the most impressive single track of my life. Over 18 km’s of hero dirt on a descent used in the Trans Andes Enduro race the week prior. Finishing in the top 50 was a step forward for us on the day and we were optomistic for the rest of the week.
Day 3 started off great but wasn’t the day my partner Charles was looking to have. He suffered major heat and dehydration related problems that stuck with him from aid station 1 to the finish. Day 3 ended up being a bust and averu long day in the saddle for both of us while he played survival.
Day 4 things only got worse for Charles on day 4 and after a few hours of riding he made the call to stop his stage which meant I was to ride the remainder of the stage alone. It ended up being a solid call on his park because the stage eneded up being 10km’s longer then expected and the heat of the day was crazy hot with temperatures hitting 36 degrees by 1pm. I rode in alone and waited for his return to base camp.
Day 5 was a day I mentally needed to have I prepared as I would normally but off the start grabbed a spot close to the front of the race. I moved up methodically throughout the stage passing riders I had not seen on previous stages. The long 20+km climb was the main stay of the day and as I pushed my body and mind to the top I felt amazing. Crossing the line in 3hrs 11 minutes I had entered the top 20 and felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Looking at my power data afterwards my average power was 292 watts for the duration of the stage I clearly just had a great day on the bike.
Despite the roller coaster ride the Trans Andes was for us as a team we had lots of fun learned a bunch about each other and had our own small victories.
I had a blast with the entire crew Luis, Vadim (Camera), Guillermo (Support) Charles (my partner) Benoit, JP and Ricardo.
I can’t wait till the team is back together again to ride bikes and have more fun.