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Clayton & Daniel

Clayton] I sent my first email to Javier in the middle of the pandemic, on November 24, 2020.  I hadn’t traveled since the start of the year and road biking had been my escape and only time outside.  I'd never been on a mountain biking trip and figured, screw it - fly 6,000+ miles to ride in Chile?  Why not?

 

Javier responded to my novel the same day with some ideas, but the only thing he said that mattered was “we love to ride.”  I was in.

 

[Danny] I first heard of the trip from my wife.  Clayton, who I met on my first day of work in 2009, had reached out to Lisa to try to talk her into sending me on the trip with him.  She thought the idea was great, and since we'd be with my family in Brazil for the Christmas vacation, it was an easy flight to get over to Santiago (not thinking much about the flight down to Punta Arenas).  So Lisa bought the tickets and some gear as early Christmas presents, and only then told me about it!  I was pumped.

 

[Clayton]  I would have been happy just to bike with Javier and his team, but knowing that Danny was crazy enough to join me at the last minute (and that his wife was awesome enough to encourage it) really got me excited.  We all agreed that we wanted a trip that focused on riding, friendship and epic scenery – something that didn’t feel like a guided tour, but like a weekend with old (and graying) friends.

 

[Danny]  Thing is, although we had flights, nothing was set in stone. Latin America (and especially Chile) was experiencing a rising wave of COVID cases, so itineraries were changing  daily.  As an example, we weren't only trying to figure out how to get into the country, but also how to move around once inside the country (even if that meant a little bit of bending the rules...).  And where to sleep.

 

At that point I didn't think the trip would end up happening, but we agreed to push it out until the pandemic calmed down and we could get the time blocked off on our schedules.  That's always the hardest part - finding time that works for everyone. 

 

[Clayton] We picked a date for the following November thinking SURELY we'd be good to travel by then.  But when things still weren't totally open by November, we aimed for New Years 2022 (by then a full year later).  That didn't work out either and we finally all agreed on February and hoped for the best.

 

[Danny] Of course, as soon as we had our fourth date scheduled for the trip, something came up with my work and I had to call Clayton to tell him that there's no way I could make it.  Clayton was (pissed and) afraid if he didn't go then he might never, so he said he was going solo.   

 

[Clayton] By that point, I basically said screw it.  I'm doing this trip one way or another.

 

[Danny]  As it turns out, things changed with work and two weeks before Clayton was set to fly out I told him I was back in.

 

[Clayton] i was happy but still wanted to kill that son of a.  

 

[Dannny]  On the flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas, you can see the untouched and unimaginable beauty that we're going to explore. Excited wouldn't even describe the feeling, as we're going mountain biking, so you could say we were stoked, pumped and itching to get the hell out there and shred some gnar! Javier and his assistant Mattias picked us up at the airport, and with the vibe and shared excitement from our hosts, we could immediately tell it was going to be a trip of a lifetime.  After dropping our bags at the hostel for the night and getting the bikes fitted at Javi's shop while drinking some local brews, we headed over to Javi's house for a welcome asado of local lamb. We got to meet the whole team, cook together,  geek out about our upcoming trip and tell some war stories about each of our past adventures. Since we were riding first thing the next morning, we reluctantly decided to call it a night at around 1:30am and more than a couple bottles of pisco (or piscola, as Javier's younger assistants prefer to drink it)/

 

[Clayton] The wind was effing nuts.  Like, hurricane nuts.  But that didn't keep us from riding.  The first day we started in [name the park] with a manageable climb through some lengua woodlands with a view out through the hills.  After chowing down some of Javier's homemade snacks we headed over to [name] to ride on some awesome trails dug out by Javi and other locals on the back of a ski mountain.   Later in the day we experienced some minor hail, which presented an awesome backdrop against the dark green forest.  We wrapped up with a summit and an incredible view looking out over the sound (followed by a ridiculous downhill).

 

Afterwards we grabbed beer and burgers in town and headed off for Puerto Natales.  Thankfully the sun stays out until like 11pm that time of year.  We finished the day watching the superbowl with locals at a bar near our family-run hotel.

 

[Danny] Clayton didn't mention how he wrapped himself around a tree during the Punta Arenas downhill, so I'll leave it at that...  In Puerto Natales, we woke bright and early (and slightly beat up) since we had to get down to the nearby 1-dock port and catch a small skiff across the bay from Natales to a set of mountains across the bay.  The 'ferry' dropped us back in time in a clearly century(ies)-old estancia that has been refreshed and offering some pretty cool outdoor activities (eBikes, horses, mtb rentals etc.). From there we set off into the virtually untouched patagonian landscape towards the beautiful mountains about a mile away.  The ride was a simple trail ride made even better by the endless scurrying of wild hares, condors flying above and the friendly locals working at the nearby gaucho cattle ranch. We soon got to the climbs...

 

[Clayton]  not long after we left the ranch, flanked by a massive lake and a boat carcass, we started going straight up the mountain and were taught proper technique for hike-a-bike.  Danny couldn't stop whining, but I knew he was enjoying himself so I just let him have at it.  Meanwhile Diego, who can't weigh more than 50 kilos, was quietly bossing his way up the mountain.

 

The scenery was incredible and changed every few hundred feet.  At some point we reached a clearing and could see through the entire valley as we walked through what seemed like a graveyard of fallen trees.  At one point we all just decided to sit for a bit and take it in, mostly in silence (apart from Danny's whining).  

 

[Danny] Clayton acts like he didn't suffer at all -  ha! The summit overlooking the fjords at the base of the Torres del Paine national park was breathtaking.  We had to take it in and a condor joined us from up above. The next 1 hour of bombing down the mountain was epic. This time there were no wipeouts or whining, and we finished the day's ride with a waterside trail taking us back to the dock to catch the boat back across. That night we moved on to Torres del Paine national park, where we were blessed with Patagonian summer weather consisting of a cold squall right as we were setting up camp at the base of the towers.  Although it wasn't the best weather to set camp up in, this was easily remedied by a quick drive over to the nearby (by Patagonia standards) 5* hotel for a bottle of wine, a pizza and some damn good laughs. 

 

[Clayton]  I slept like a damn champ.  What a morning. I unzipped the tent and could see the famous torres staring right at me with a morning glow. The only thing more glorious was Javier still sleeping on the ground, outside his tent, snoring like a donkey.

 

[Danny] After waking the sleeping beast, and with a big day up and down the towers ahead, we prepped a nice campside breakfast of egg and bacon sandwiches, fruit, coffee and other fixings.  Whether at a restaurant or campsite we really ate well this trip, and our final breakfast wasn't an exception.

 

[Clayton].  Our ride was basically all uphill.  After about an hour of riding winding hills and over some gravelly parts, we went into a wooded area and again had to carry our bikes through the heaviest sections.  Once every mile or so there would be a clearing in the trees and we could see the ominous Torres del Paine in the background.   Javier ultimately picked a spot for us with a fantastic view of the towers and we settled in for snacks and some of photos (loooooooots of photos) before starting our final descent of the trip.  

 

[Danny] This was by far the craziest and best downhill day that I've had in my life.  After the arduous and mostly steep climb, we obviously got the best of it on the way down.  Straight down. I must've wiped out 3 times on the way down, as parts of the ride consisted of basically riding fast through the 1-2 ft. deep craters and rutted out ditch.  You had to be on rails not to hit the side and slide out or go OTB.  Fun times!

 

[Clayton].  After the downhill we biked a few miles on the W trail to see soem amazing, crystal colored lagoons and lots of hikers who wished they also had wheels.  Once back at camp mid-afternoon, and smelling like death, we grabbed some local beers and shared a few laughs about some of the best moments of the trip.  We talked about coming back, about bringing Javier and his crew to ride in the US, about our favorite Chilean beers and how much it sucked to be done with the riding.

 

Javier, Danny and Mattias dropped me off at the trailhead to the W Circuit, where I'l would spend the next 5 days.  As promised, I was delivered in one piece to my girlfriend with a lifetime's worth of war stories.  She asked me whether I still loved her more than Javier.  I told her -  truthfully - I wasn't sure.

 

[DANNY] Javi, Diego and I spent the last night in the same small hotel in Natales, ate some fresh (and exceptional) local seafood in town, and tried to sleep early (I'll let Javi explain the 'tried') since we were off to Punta Arenas airport in the morning since I was sadly flying out. I honestly can't wait to return, but would need to stay longer since there was so much more to do.  Javi, I miss you man, consider you a great friend and can't wait to see you again soon! Abrazos!

Almt Nieto Torres del Paine Mtb
Almt Nieto Torres del Paine Mtb
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Inge Ride Patagonia mtb trials
Inge Ride Patagonia mtb trials
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Dany Lago nordenskjold Mtb Patagonia
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 Carlos, Nikola & Felipe 

Un fin de semana inolvidable-

Aprovechando la costumbre de pedalear temprano, llegamos a Natales tipo 10 am, listos para cruzar a Bahía Esperanza y recorrer la estancia con unas vistas increíbles a los fiordos y glaciares del lugar. Javier nos hizo la pega fácil ese día con mucho cuento, incluyendo el armado de las bicis en el taller de su amigo, el desayuno/ almuerzo en un café y rincón patagónico, Cruzada de la bahía en lancha con bicicletas en el techo, unas andadas en pasarelas infinitas, y cierre en el last hope.

Imposible mejor, hasta que llegó el día siguiente y partimos a cletear dentro del parque. Sólo nos faltó el hacha para ir limpiando algunos sectores lo que incluso nos daba más ánimo para llegar al mirador del lago Toro. Nuevamente Javier, cómo Pedro por su casa, pero con respeto.., interactuando con los dueños de estancias.

Cerramos el finde con una subida al cerro Benitez, donde nos encontramos con 4 cóndores planeando desde la cima. Para que decir el almuerzo de despedida y lo buen anfitrión que fue Javier esos tres días. Ultra recomendable

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 Sebastião 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean dignissim diam a fringilla tristique. Etiam vel eleifend mi. Nunc quis elit ut metus efficitur facilisis in a lacus. Vivamus nisi dolor, pretium eu condimentum ac, tincidunt nec mauris. Maecenas tristique erat sit amet lacus scelerisque pretium. Maecenas elementum porta leo, eget suscipit quam molestie et. Mauris quis eros libero. Aliquam a turpis arcu. In in vestibulum orci. Vivamus commodo sapien sit amet tempus feugiat. Aenean ac ipsum accumsan, commodo augue eget, bibendum elit. Phasellus non eros sem. In imperdiet vitae orci ac pretium. Mauris mollis nibh vitae ipsum hendrerit, nec vehicula massa viverra.

Ut tempus efficitur sagittis. Etiam in quam sit amet neque interdum dignissim eu fringilla dolor. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Duis id neque nunc. Duis lobortis erat nec odio tincidunt scelerisque. Suspendisse a hendrerit mi, at convallis sapien. Aenean id gravida velit, nec consectetur leo. Maecenas consequat, dui at elementum interdum, nibh ante sodales justo, quis tristique turpis turpis id quam. Pellentesque maximus lacus in ex accumsan, nec consequat urna consequat. Fusce lacinia magna quis eros semper vulputate. Aenean accumsan tellus ut felis consectetur pharetra.

Vestibulum volutpat ornare massa, in condimentum lorem bibendum in. Vivamus eget est congue, lacinia ligula quis, cursus quam. Nunc efficitur porta sapien, ac egestas augue luctus sed. Vestibulum tristique ipsum sed cursus malesuada. Quisque ac imperdiet lectus. Vivamus euismod lorem ut turpis dapibus, nec scelerisque mi ultrices. Mauris id tellus ex. Nulla eu ipsum efficitur, rutrum lacus id, cursus lacus. Nunc auctor est tempor, egestas ipsum quis, blandit erat. Vivamus vestibulum mi volutpat nisl feugiat, quis scelerisque neque porta. Vivamus vel ligula volutpat, consectetur massa sed, posuere est. Integer sagittis bibendum dui, non accumsan turpis sollicitudin vel. Vivamus eget nisi ex. Cras diam eros, pellentesque sit amet congue facilisis, vulputate iaculis ex.

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 Nicole & Max 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aenean dignissim diam a fringilla tristique. Etiam vel eleifend mi. Nunc quis elit ut metus efficitur facilisis in a lacus. Vivamus nisi dolor, pretium eu condimentum ac, tincidunt nec mauris. Maecenas tristique erat sit amet lacus scelerisque pretium. Maecenas elementum porta leo, eget suscipit quam molestie et. Mauris quis eros libero. Aliquam a turpis arcu. In in vestibulum orci. Vivamus commodo sapien sit amet tempus feugiat. Aenean ac ipsum accumsan, commodo augue eget, bibendum elit. Phasellus non eros sem. In imperdiet vitae orci ac pretium. Mauris mollis nibh vitae ipsum hendrerit, nec vehicula massa viverra.

Ut tempus efficitur sagittis. Etiam in quam sit amet neque interdum dignissim eu fringilla dolor. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Duis id neque nunc. Duis lobortis erat nec odio tincidunt scelerisque. Suspendisse a hendrerit mi, at convallis sapien. Aenean id gravida velit, nec consectetur leo. Maecenas consequat, dui at elementum interdum, nibh ante sodales justo, quis tristique turpis turpis id quam. Pellentesque maximus lacus in ex accumsan, nec consequat urna consequat. Fusce lacinia magna quis eros semper vulputate. Aenean accumsan tellus ut felis consectetur pharetra.

Vestibulum volutpat ornare massa, in condimentum lorem bibendum in. Vivamus eget est congue, lacinia ligula quis, cursus quam. Nunc efficitur porta sapien, ac egestas augue luctus sed. Vestibulum tristique ipsum sed cursus malesuada. Quisque ac imperdiet lectus. Vivamus euismod lorem ut turpis dapibus, nec scelerisque mi ultrices. Mauris id tellus ex. Nulla eu ipsum efficitur, rutrum lacus id, cursus lacus. Nunc auctor est tempor, egestas ipsum quis, blandit erat. Vivamus vestibulum mi volutpat nisl feugiat, quis scelerisque neque porta. Vivamus vel ligula volutpat, consectetur massa sed, posuere est. Integer sagittis bibendum dui, non accumsan turpis sollicitudin vel. Vivamus eget nisi ex. Cras diam eros, pellentesque sit amet congue facilisis, vulputate iaculis ex.

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