Race Report | Patacancha Enduro in Cusco
Last weekend, the first enduro race in Cusco took place. Located near the Andes, the terrain promised great trails and exciting racing. Here’s the official race report:
Cusco, it’s more than Machu Picchu; it’s a privileged place to ride mountain bikes. The valleys here have sides that drop almost 1000m and then there’s the extensive Inca road network that has existed for 700 years – we’re talking about a wilderness bike park in the middle of the Andes.
Last Saturday, 29 August, the very first enduro race in Cusco took place, staged near the Ollantaytambo town. Significantly, this race was also the third enduro ever held in Peru. Starting at 4,400 metres above sea level, the Patacancha Enduro MTB is reputed to be one of the highest enduro races in the word. The track descended 30km until it reached an altitude of 2,800m.
Spread over five stages, each stage offered hugely different terrain, from vast plateaus with flowing trails to narrow, densely vegetated sections with rock gardens. Cusco is known for its long singletracks, and the enduro incorporated these into the race. On the day, Alejandro Paz clocked the fastest time over the five stages, bagging victory with 41 minutes 22 seconds.
Not just physically demanding due to the high altitudes, all of the stages challenged riders with their technical descents and sections that demanded some serious pedaling.
Before embarking on stage 4, riders enjoyed the sustenance on offer from the villagers of Huilloc, tucking to typical local produce such as mote, potatoes, quinoa soup and delicious torrejas (crispy snacks similar to an omelette). As veritable experts on the local trails, the residents from Huilloc and Patacancha were involved from the get-go, planning the route and setting out the signs.
The final stage was always set to be the highlight of the day, and expectations were high. A singletrack full of rock gardens, the stages heads from the Pumamarca Ruins to the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful routes around Cusco. The route is 4km, all set above Inca terraces with an amazing view of the Sacred Valley.
After the last stage all the riders gathered together at the Ollantaytambo main square where the fastest riders were awarded their prizes. 1st Alejandro Paz / Santa Cruz – Fox Head (41m 22s), 2nd Eduardo Stein / Inkas Adventures MTB Tours (42m 41s), 3rd Robert Pacheco / Quechua Bikes (44m 40s), 4th Diego Del Rio / Santa Cruz – Intu (46m 43s) and 5th Ario Ferri / Natura Vive (46m 52s).
As the first enduro in Cusco, it is very important to thank the villages of Huilloc and Patacancha for their support. The following companies and institutions also deserve a special thanks: Specialized Peru, Municipalidad de Ollantaytambo, HyS Talleres, Dicar Auto Sport, Paloma Imbis, Amazonas Explorer, Transandes, Munaycha, Natura Vive, Cusco2Ride, TV Mundo y Agua Phura. With their support, the future for more enduros in Cusco looks promising.
Words: Patacancha Enduro PR Pictures: Vadim Zignaigo
Vadim Zignaigo – Fotógrafo: www.facebook.com/vadzig