Top of the Andes

March 11 — 2019 | Chile

The Unofficial Start to the 2019 Bike Season


Captions by: Laura Battista
Photos by: Laura Battista & Gary Perkin



Summer came early for me this year,  and with some very cold arctic outflow winds back in Squamish, this was an appreciated change. I have friends that just raved about the Andes Pacifico Enduro race and now it was my turn to have the experience of a lifetime.


My favourite hikes are the ones followed by a steep descent on my bike. Here, we reached elevations of 3900m which made this air harder to breathe and completely changed my bike set up. Each morning I checked my tire and suspension pressure and again at the summit, the altitude increased them both drastically. It is going to be easy riding at home back at sea level!


Blind racing is always such a thrill, having to keep your eyes extra far ahead for around 7km of singletrack at a time and descending over 2500m daily made it an extra challenge. Each stage was unique and wildly fun.


After a few days finding my flow on the anti-grip, I took a small tumble. Not to worry, I was all bandaged up and ready to go for the next stage.  


The local Chilean ladies knew how to shred and have a fun time. It was so nice to hang out with them and it wasn’t hard to convince them to come visit me in Squamish in the next year or two.


It was a good day, one of the best, even been covered head to toe in dust.


Having a little help from the donkeys to get up to the start of Day 3 was welcome and got me stoked for the descent. 

Sunset cruise in the dirt was our close most days. We were out for the long haul and got to finish with the sun setting.


The racing was done and dusted so it was time to let the hair down and reflect on the week. There was more descending than I have ever packed into five days on the bike and so much a joy meeting all of the amazing, new like-minded friends. It’s just so cool to ride bikes and hear stories from people from over 15 countries.

*Laura Battista is a Juliana Ambassador located in Squamish, BC. She specializes in enduro racing and has a competitive 2019 schedule that is off to a strong start with a 2nd place podium finish at the Andes Pacifico.* 


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