I arrived back to London last night from Chilean Patagonia. It has been another amazing 2 weeks taking on the true wilderness that the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race (WPER) sends you to. With a different team taking on the challenge this year, and no idea of the level of competition before we got there, we were a bit nervous about the race. However, we raced really strongly together, and came away as winners once again, making it 3 in a row for Mark and myself.
The race this year started in Torres Del Paine national park with a very windy mountain bike ride, followed by a kayak down the Lago Grey then onto the first trek. It was here that we started to impose a lead, running off to get a gap from the other teams. The first trek was much tougher than previous years, taking us almost 2 days to complete. The 2nd kayak was stunning though, along a beautiful fjord lined with amazing glaciers, it really was a special place. Kayaking through mini icebergs and with dolphins swimming nearby really sets this race apart from any others.
The long trek was long, meant to be 191km it looked very daunting, and after 77km and over 2 days of trekking we arrived at our 2nd food bag. With the heavy rain filling the rivers to bursting point, and the speed of the teams it was decided to cut the trek short and take us straight to the final bike, I think this was a great decision as I really don’t think anyone would have finished the race in time. Arriving at a wet and windy Gaucho station, we set up our bike for the final 188km, of mountain biking, this took us right across the plains of Patagonia, something not too different from the wide open grasslands of Africa.
Finishing the race in Pali Aike Volcanic Park was stunning too, the finish line was in the middle of an extinct volcanic crater, surrounded by many more all drenched in sunshine, what a great end to the race.
3 in a row is pretty special, and it has been amazing fun racing out in Patagonia. Will I return? who knows, but what I do know is that there are many more amazing places I’d like to travel to as well, but I would like to return to Patagonia one day, but maybe as a tourist!