Across Andes 2021 // Araucania Andina
Ultracycling and self-sufficiency race through the Andean Araucania in which you must complete a total of 1017km with 15,000 meters of accumulated altitude difference in a total of 6 days through the beautiful landscapes of southern Chile and crossing from the Cordillera to the sea. The great difficulty of the race was the accumulated unevenness with steep gradients and the bad condition of the unpaved roads, since the gravel and the calamine made most of the participants suffer.
As any race of self-sufficiency, gravel and bikepacking had to organize the equipment for any kind of eventuality or according to the strategy and planning, my equipment was as follows:
Seatbag: Sleeping bag/cold jacket/cycling jacket/bib shorts/jersey/first layer/socks.
Framebag: Tool set/2 inner tubes/brake and gear shift/pliers/ first aid kit/emergency light/oil/water bottle 500ml/wallet.
Frontbag: Food (bars and gels)/arm and leg warmers/buff/long gloves.
Toptube: External battery/batteries/cables for charging lights, gps and cell phone.
The race started out being crazy, as we went straight to the mountains where the first two days were too difficult leaving several participants retired, injured or in pain, as much of the accumulated unevenness was focused on the first two stages leaving me with some physical discomfort, especially in the right knee. The support of my family, the Gravel Chile community and the Escuelita Ultra with their encouraging messages were fundamental to continue in the race, since seeing how complicated the race was and the constant pain in my knee made me want to retire every time I stopped to rest.
The first two stages went through the Araucanía Andina circuit, a route where volcanoes and lakes are found, giving us beautiful landscapes that made us forget any kind of discomfort.
After touring the Cordillera, the attraction of crossing to the sea by the “Route of the 7 Lakes” began, where one of the most beautiful stretches was pedaling along the shore of the beach on the way to Tolten, a perfect moment to recharge energy and continue the challenge with a small group of cyclists who were sharing the route. I managed to finish the challenge in a total of 5 days, 7 hours and 55 minutes in the company of my great friend Feña @Biciados_ a well known cyclist in Chile who was interested in the ultra distance and was motivated to do this challenge.
Photos and text by Cristobal Vera Pino