Patagonian Pleasure and Pain At Raid Del Viento
The challenge of racing in Patagonia drew 28 international teams to the first edition of Raid Del Viento in Argentina, and what a challenge it was! From those who started only 11 teams managed to race to the finish line of the 300km course, and along the way they experienced all the variety and grandeur that Neuquen Province had to offer.
The teams’ Andean adventure began in the town of Chos Malal and they were soon climbing high into the snows of the ‘Cordilera Del Viento’, paddling across windswept lakes and cycling through wide open desert landscapes.
Lars Bukkehave of the Merrell team said, “During the paddle on a very cool mountain lake we experienced all 4 seasons; sun, big winds, hail and back to sunshine, all within 30 minutes. Then out on a big bike leg during sunset and all through the night it was wet, cold and with hard navigation, but with some great fun technical downhills. Patagonia showed its teeth early. What a wild place to race!”
During the early stages of the race, which also included a rope ascent and a snowshoe section, the most experienced international teams in the race moved to the front for a close contest. The Merrell team, who won another AR World Series Demonstration earlier this year in Colorado, were swapping places with world #2 ranked team, Adventure Medical Kits (USA) and the experienced Spanish team Meridiano Raid Bimbache.
The speed of the competition, during which teams racing non-stop through two nights, and the difficulty of the terrain took a toll however and both Merrell and Meridiano Raid Bimbache had team members withdraw with injury before the final stage.
Adventure Medical Kits took the win, their first of the year, in a time of 45 hours 45 minutes, finishing with a lead of more than 4 hours ahead of Team Sportotal of Argentina, and with team Zona 3 of Uruguay completing the podium.
For AMK team captain Mari Chandler it was a successful finish to a busy year of expedition racing. “It took 5 different races, in 5 different countries, with 5 different teams this year, but I finally finished out my season on the top spot of the podium with Team Adventure Medical Kits in Argentina. ”She said. “Patagonia is an amazing place to race and was another great adventure.”
That was the consensus among all the teams, who left Raid Del Viento with a new respect for Patagonia and a strong desire to return. The teams thanked race organisers Dani Pincu and Miriam Vicente for putting on a ‘big race with a big welcome’, and the pair are looking forward to welcoming both returning and new teams back to Argentina for the second Raid Del Viento next year.