Mike & Mary diary: Staying on in Chile

When our planned flight back to Boston departed from Santiago, Mary and I were checking our tire pressure, filling water bottles and getting ready to go out on another epic mountain bike exploration mission here in Pichilemu. Not sure how it happened but once again we took advantage of really not living anywhere and decided to just stay where we were. In this case to live and dedicate our winter training out of this dusty little coastal town in Chile.

This place just kind of lured us in as we were based here competing in some late season mountain bike races during the quiet time from November through December. At that time, we enjoyed a flowery desert spring, quiet beachfront living and out of the way styles of town. Now in late January-February, it is mid summer for the Southern hemisphere and a hectic carnival feel has taken over–although we still find ourselves loving much of what we have discovered. We are definitely influenced by the long lines at the grocery and the increased traffic on the single tar road linking town to the real world–but it seems a small price to pay for how sweet it is here.

The vast rolling hills where we train remain mostly unchanged, big open dusty and completely remote. The kind of place that's so quiet you could/can rail through a blind left hand corner in the inside lane rather than touch the brakes, though you know you really shouldn't!! Also the kind of place where you can look up to spot the peak of the massive climb from your vantage point at the very bottom, and you just have to take a look at what you are getting into, though you know you really shouldn't.

Mary and I are certainly among the first mountain bikers to ride many of the trails that we have been frequenting. With a good bit of trail work and countless hours of exploration we have linked miles and miles of quality forest service terrain that has seemingly laid dormant, maintained only by cows, horses and the few farmers that scratch a living out of the dusty soil. Once you learn and commit to the proper duck and roll under the rusted barbed wire and don't mind a few extra repetitions of lifting the bike over a few gates, this place gives up some remarkable rides.

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