Shimano athlete Teal Stetson-Lee gives us a look into her travels in South America for the start of the 2016 Enduro World Series.
These are her words.
I traveled down to South America on March 16th to race the first two Enduro World Series races in Corral, Chile and Bariloche, Argentina. It has been the first significant international race trip I have ever done solo, but the best part about the race world is you are never completely on your own.
I connected up with a Chilean mountain bike team in Santiago, Boost Enduro Team. I also visited my Chilean family and friends in Talca, Chile, from when I was an exchange student in 2005, and then continued to travel south to the incredible breath-taking trails, vistas and courses of Corral, Chile. I've connected up with other riders, teams and sponsors on the circuit and the comradery and support has been spectacular. The terrain was challenging and rugged and I survived some tough crashes and long days.
Round 1: Corral, Chile
Next to the sign at the border crossing the Argentinian/Chilean border in the beautiful Andes Mountains in the lake region.
The day I arrived in Chile I met up with the Scott store in Santiago and racers from the Boost Enduro Team took me for an awesome night ride in the hills above the city. The trails were amazing and the lights of the city were beautiful welcoming me to Chile.
The first day of the Enduro World Series race in Corral, Chile I arrived well-prepared with extra tires in hand to take the 20 minute ferry ride from Niebla to Corral. I had no idea what to expect, always better to bring more than needed.
My 2nd day in Chile my new Chilean brothers from the Boost Enduro Team took me for an incredible ride at the Santiago Bike Park. After a brutal climb to the top of the free-ride trails, I posed in celebration with the Chilean flag and my Scott Genius LT.
Racing in Corral, Chile the trails were rooty, dusty, slippery and fast. I loved every minute of the descending with spectators watching at the bottom of every stage.
The views from the courses were absolutely incredible. The rolling, technical trails dropped all the way down to the ocean coast.
My first day, competing in Corral, I managed to have one of the most epic crashes of my career. On some of the super steep, loose, dusty switchbacks I flipped over the bars and "tomahawked" down the switchbacks, swimming in the dust and packing my goggles with dirt. I was a little rattled after the crash and insanely dirty but unscathed.
I traveled down from Santiago with the Boost Enduro Team and they made me an honorary member with a customized jersey with my name. I am super lucky to have a local team to travel with and support me for my complicated trip. Fortunately, I also speak Spanish.
Though the ferry crossing to Corral added significant travel time and complications to the first race location, it was also served as a special opportunity to connect and bond and enjoy the magical place we were experiencing.On the ferry on my way over to Corral with the Boost Enduro Team.
Two of from dear friends from high school from Talca, Chile drove 7 hours down to stay in Valdivia, Chile and take the ferry to Corral and watch and support me in my two days of racing.
Round 2: Bariloche, Argentina
Corral, Chile was a great kick-off to the enduro race season and I'm lucky enough to get to do yet another Enduro World Series Race in Argentina. I crossed the border early this week and am happy to be back on the bike training and pre-viewing the next courses.
We are traveling in rental trucks packed with all of our equipment, bikes and luggage passing through the breath-taking mountains and lake region of Chile and Argentina.
All smiles for Teal after a day of practice in Bariloche.
Teal finished her two-week expedition to South America with a 16th place finish in Argentina.
The next couple of months of racing for Teal will include a stop at the Sea Otter Enduro event in Northern California, and then the 1st Scott Enduro Cup in Moab, Utah immediately followed by the first CA Enduro Series Race in Reno, Nevada on May 14th.
Teal returns to the Enduro World Circuit when the series returns to the United States for Round 5 in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado.