Tierra Indomita - Vulcania

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Team Vidaraid Win the Vulcania Adventure Race in Chilean Patagonia

Press Release / 01.04.2024See All Event Posts Follow Event
Crossing the glacial crater of Volcan Quetrupillan
Crossing the glacial crater of Volcan Quetrupillan / © Luiz Fabiano

The recent Tierra Indomita Vulcania adventure race provided 15 teams from 8 countries the chance to race in the spectacular landscapes of Chilean Patagonia as part of the Adventure Racing World Series.

The expedition race was the second in the 2024 Series and only the second time the ARWS has visited Chile.  The first was the Tierra Viva race in 2015, so it was a long overdue return to Chile, and the Vulcania race used the same race HQ in Pucon.  The town is set in Chile’s northern Lake District and is surrounded by volcanoes, forests, fast flowing rivers and national parks.  It’s a perfect adventure racing venue, so it was an easy decision to return there.

Pucon is on the shores of Lake Villarrica and this was used for the opening stage of the 500km course, with teams kayaking 55km around the lake, visiting 6 checkpoints. The most dramatic of these was set on Isla Aillaquillen, a tiny island in the middle of the huge lake where teams had to climb up to a lighthouse to reach the checkpoint. The leaders in the early stages were Brou (Brazil), Vidaraid (Spain) and Uruguay Ultra Sports, but there were many challenges ahead still.

These included two big trekking stages, the first a 55km route on the slopes of Volcan Villarrica, considered Chile’s most active volcano, and the second an ascent to the summit of Volcan Quetrupillan.  This summit is snow capped and teams would cross the glacialial crater roped together for safety and experience panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and other volcanoes. 

For the leading teams the weather was good for the start of the 60km stage, but a storm was coming which would test the resolve and endurance of all of the teams.  Vidaraid had opened a strong lead and, although the wind was strong and very cold, they crossed the summit on the second night of the race, followed by Uruguay Ultra Sports, Team Expedition Canada and then the two Argentine teams Sportotal and Propanel Patagonia.

Team Black Mamba of Brazil also set off on the trek but, as the storm lashed the region with high winds, heavy rain and snowfall at higher altitudes, they turned back to the forest hut at the stage start.  As the remaining teams arrived here, they all took shelter together, sitting out the storm in safety.  Some of the leading teams took shelter at the next transition, which they passed during the trek, and Uruguay Ultra Sports and Vidaraid found shelter at checkpoints. No team was moving during the height of the fierce Patagonian storm.

Urtzi Iglesias, the captain of Vidaraid said, “It was a difficult situation and we set our minds not to stop unless a good shelter appeared. We were clear about what we should do and that made a difference.”  Adventure racing is about much more than endurance, and all of the teams who pushed through the storm also showed great mental resilience and team work.

The storm had also raised river levels for the second paddling stage to a dangerous level, so the course had to be adjusted and the race finished with teams riding back to Pucon, either from the transition area at the start of the volcano trek or after completing the stage.

Vidaraid maintained their strong lead and the team of Urtzi Iglesias, Jon Ander Arambalza, Benjamin Midena and Mirtha Realpe completed the course to take the win in 3 days 7 hours 53 minutes.  The victory secured Vidaraid a place at the next Adventure Racing World Championship at Huairasinchi in Ecuador at the end of the year.  The team placed second at the 2023 AR World Championship and Huairasinchi is a race they have won in the past.  Vidaraid do best in South America where they are World Series winners in Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador and now Chile!  They plan to race in ARWS races in Colombia and Panama later in the year during their build up to the World Championship.

Team Expedition Canada passed Uruguay Ultra Sports to take an impressive second place in their first major race.  The team is newly formed to promote the 2025 AR World Championship in Canada and said some of the terrain on the course reminded them of British Columbia.  Uruguay Ultra Sports took third place ahead of the two teams from Argentina, and there were 6 different nationalities in the top 7 team.

Last to cross the finish line was the Chilean youth team Izan Invictus, who celebrated on the finish line with Race Director Nelson Yanez.  The team are all aged 28 to 31, and after several years of training this was their first ARWS Qualifier and expedition race finish.  A delighted team captain, Javier Torres, said, “After many hours of racing, day and night fighting, holding on in body and mind, we managed to reach the goal and complete the race that we had dreamed about so much these past months.”

“It was a very intense course, but beautiful at the same time, with landscapes that left us speechless and extreme climates that led us through difficult times. But as we always say, the mind moves the team and this was no exception.”

All of the teams praised Yanez, his family and the organizing team who put heart and soul into their races and looking after the teams taking part.  Yanez said, “We want to express our gratitude to all the teams that were part of this exciting adventure. Their passion, determination and team spirit made Tierra Indomita Vulcania an unforgettable event.”

“I also want to extend our gratitude to the tireless staff who were always on the lookout and worked hard to make this event possible and give a special thank you to our sponsors Merrell Chile and Belator Experience for their generous support.  Without you, none of this would be possible!”

He added, “We're excited for what the future holds and look forward to seeing you all at the next edition of Tierra Indomita Vulcania.”

The next edition has already been announced for March 2025 and full details will follow soon on https://tierraindomitaar.com

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