What a difference a day can make especially when the night before includes a change in hemispheres at this time of year still close to the
Mary and I hit the street running in Santiago and made a return to our preferred "winter" training grounds on Chile's central Pacific coast.
Things seemed lush and green here with "El Nino" allowing more rain than the dry season's typical none. The months away from these wild lands
had our anticipations running high for a change to summer and the long warm days that lend themselves so well to our favorite outdoor activities.
Now on our eighth annual visit to Chile we have a pretty solid routine worked out as well as good idea of what to expect when traveling here in
general. Likely it's more difficult to operate our team and to make sure to get the training, rest and structure that we need as professional athletes
when on the road living out of our bags, but it's an opportunity to maintain a lifestyle that keeps us motivated and excited about what we do every day.
Thanks once again to some great friends within the cycling community and beyond that are a huge part of what allows us to carry on successfully in this style.
We made sure to pack light for the sake of flexibility and also due to the fact that we are again traveling within the snug confines of a small
sedan and without any solid base to store equipment or pile up any excesses except with our afore mentioned friends.
Packing light is a relative term however since we came south with a heavy race schedule including two stage races and Cross Country and
Enduro events on most every weekend in between. The event schedule is a testament to the fact that Chile is absolutely blowing up with off road racing!!
The combination of direct access to incredible terrain and the passion for cycling here is shaping this country into a must see destination for the MTB adventurer or competitor.
A return to the ANDES.
Mary and I just finished up one of the most impressive examples of organized mountain biking adventure put on anywhere in the world! The
eight running of the Trans Andes Challenge was a superb test of metal, with a rural back country flavor all it's own with scenery, staff and
organization, second to none.
Mountain bike stage racing is a fantastic challenge and although there is a degree of choice to make what you want of the adventure, a week of
epic days strung together riding off road in such a radical area is likely to leave a deep physical impression!
The TAC is the type of event that caters to people who are not shy of demanding miles in the saddle and who look forward to the pain &
pleasure mix of time spent riding in extreme conditions. For a couple of seasoned pros who happen to be a couple like Mary and I, mixed team
stage racing is probably the most fun and challenging style of all our racing disciplines. It feels incredible to utilize the intimate knowledge that we
have to strategize on the bikes for the common goal of going faster. Little doubt that going for an adventure like this with your life partner is either going
to be really building or Not!
We are very proud to have completed and won seven of the eight editions of this event and are grateful that it has given us so many chances to
work together, help one another and even become stronger in our commitment to one another. We are already looking forward to next year
as this special event seems to improve with each edition!
In the days after the Trans Andes Mary and I found ourselves with a feeling of elation to have successfully completed something so massive
as well as to have spent such a week with an international crowd of interesting, like minded people. This was however coupled with the familiar dreadful guttered feeling of
deep physical debt that must beinevitable after putting everything you have into any such experience.
Mary and I choose to compete in stage races self supported and with that comes a tremendous output of energy in addition to the riding. A lot goes into the process of ensuring that the
bikes are dialed, the bodies are fueled and we are able to handle the extensive logistics that go into making the week go as smoothly as possible. Special Thanks to our
great partners and the equipment we rely on which once again proved to meet the demands of the rugged riding!
For sure we were in need of a break and Thankfully as in all of Chile, the beach was just a short drive away! We found a rustic cabin to rent on a farm right on the ocean where the pace of life is slow. here we
are sharing the yard with sheep and chickens and enjoying getting to know some of the locals.
The people here live an enviable life almost completely self supported, growing, gathering, fishing and farming. Luckily for us a little hospitality/tourism also goes on in the "busy season". So nice to get
some perspective feel the tranquil vibe here and see that there are some people who know how to live and thrive without wifi.
We cherished the past days that were all about exploring the area, surfing, seafood, home grown vegetables & meats, red wine, yoga, andrelaxing! It's been a great place to catch up and recharged after a
demanding and unforgettable week in the Andes.
Mike and Mary
Team KENDA - Intense