The international racing season kicked off this past weekend near Valdivia, Chile, capital of the southern Los Rios region. The tracks and race village were in Corral, a jungle outcrop on the Pacific shore. Once the most important steel mill city in South America and a prominent port for traffic between Atlantic and Pacific, it is now a tiny entry port to the Corral peninsula for the National Reserve of Valdivia and the Coastal Reserve of Valdiviana. While it is only a few kilometers from Valdivia, the roads there are twisting and unsealed, so the best way to reach the race was by the ferries that dot the waterways between the two sides.
Traveling halfway across the world for racing is always a dive into the unknown. Will your bikes or luggage arrive at the same time you do at the airport? Will the gear you shipped specifically for the race be there on time and not stop at customs for some obscure reason and for an unlimited amount of time? This makes for quite an adventure and even if it can be frustrating at times, you always need to keep a positive outlook as it is a lesson learned and your spanish will have dramatically improved by the end of the trip!
For this first race of the season, the organizers had a rally format setup for us. Riders had two days of practice with a set schedule to practice each day, followed by two days of racing. Here everything had to be done by pedaling, no shuttles were allowed. With around 50km and over 1500m of climbing each day, and temperatures above 30C, it was a tough four days.
Trails were on couple different faces of the hills above Corral. The south-facing trails had the ocean views with more sandy terrain, while the north facing trails were rockier, combining pedally sections with technical sections with boulders and treacherous ruts.
Everyone has their own routine comes practice and race days, our boys, Robin Wallner, Pedro Burns and Gary Forrest like to do a bit of stretching to loosen up any tight, hamstrings, back or quads.
Thanks a lot Chile for the great memories and the wild adventures, it wasrad. We are now off to Bariloche, Argentina in the Andes for the second round of the Enduro World Series.