MAKE A GENUINE COAST TO COAST JOURNEY ACROSS THE ENTIRE CONTINENT OF SOUTH AMERICA FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ATLANTIC.
Linking 2 fantastic cities and 2 fantastic countries – Valparaiso in Chile and Buenos Aires in Argentina. Our route climbs from sea level and traverses the high passes of the dramatic Andes mountain range, lifting you nearly 4km skyward before descending all the way down the other side…
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*price per month, depending on departure day, when you sign up in March. click here for more info on pricing
14 - 25 JAN / 2024
31 JAN - 11 FEB / 2024
19 - 30 JAN / 2025
1000 MILES (1600+ KM) ON BIKE
HOTEL, HOSTEL, REFUGE AND B&B
CHILE/ARGENTINA, SOUTH AMERICA
12 DAYS /
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
You should be a confident cyclist with experience of back to back days in the saddle.
ROUTE CROSSES THE ANDES MOUNTAIN RANGE, ASCENDING FROM SEA LEVEL TO 3832M METRES OVER 2 DAYS. 2 DAYS OF DOWNHILL INTO ARGENTINA, WITH STUNNING VIEWS OF ACONCAGUA, THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE AMERICAS, PLUS THE SOUTHERN AND WESTERN HEMISPHERES.
EXPERIENCE THE EXCITING ‘OVER THE TOP’ SECTION ON DIRT ROAD THAT CROSSES THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER BETWEEN CHILE AND ARGENTINA.
TRAVERSE THE WINE-GROWING REGIONS OF CHILE (CENTRAL VALLEY) AND ARGENTINA (MENDOZA REGION) WITH AMAZING FOOD AND WINE – PARTICULARLY STEAK AND MALBEC, WHICH THE REGION IS FAMOUS FOR.
EXPERIENCE THE VASTNESS OF THE ARGENTINIAN PAMPAS AND PERHAPS MEET SOME OF ITS FAMOUS GAUCHOS
11 nights accommodation (hotel, hostel, refuge, B&B)
All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew
Airport transfers, including bike transfers.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional road support vehicles, safety staff, medical, mechanical and welfare
Flexible transfer policy up to 12 weeks before your departure date.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
Professional local and UK safety staff, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
RAISE £5000 AND GET UP TO £2500 REFUNDED
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Our route starts in the UNESCO world heritage-listed Valparaiso and crosses the Andes mountain range, ascending from sea level to a lung-busting 3832m metres over 2 days. Participants can expect incredible mountain passes and a 2 day downhill into Argentina from Chile, with stunning views of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, plus the southern and western hemispheres.
The route also traverses one of the continent’s main wine-growing regions: Chile’s central valley and Argentina’s famous Mendoza region.
Experience the vastness of the Argentinian steppe and perhaps meet some of its famous gauchos. Enjoy amazing food and wine – particularly the steak and Malbec, for which the region is famous worldwide.
The Trans Andean will provide an extraordinary adventure for anyone that has ever dreamed of crossing a continent on their bike.
DAY ONE: ARRIVAL
The meeting point for this epic adventure to cross a whole continent by bike is Santiago International airport. From here we transfer by road to the coastal town of Valparaiso, around 90 mins away. We will aim to meet at the airport at 1600, allowing people the chance to fly in earlier that day, or to overnight the night before and then retrace their steps to the airport for the meeting at 1600.
DAY TWO: REGISTRATION, BRIEFINGS AND DOWNTIME
After the admin of registration, kit checks and bike checks plus a few briefings, we’ll have the rest of the day to explore the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage City of Valparaiso and enjoy a dinner together in town prior to tomorrow’s adventure.
DAY THREE: TRANS ANDEAN BEGINS!
Our starting point is the Plaza Sotomayor at the heart of the historic quarter, a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. The first 20km hugs the coast and give us a relatively flat start to this incredible journey. But when we turn away from the sea, it’s up and up and up, through the stunning wine growing region of the Central Valley, to end at a height of 1311m and overnight in a mountain hostel.
DAY FOUR: OVER THE TOP
Don’t be fooled by the distance as this is a really challenging day: But it will be truly worth all the effort. The night before we’ll spend some time changing tyres as this is the day that heads off the tarmac to reach the statue of Christ the Redeemer of the Andes at 3832m: A symbol of peace between Chile and Argentina for over 100 years. It’s uphill today from the first pedal stroke, with a stunning section of classic mountain pass hairpins to negotiate before we reach the border. Once we’ve passed through the border control (which could take some time) we leave the main road and join the old gravel road up to the statue.
The road is maintained but still not suitable for slick road tyres, so a touring or gravel-treaded tyre is required for puncture protection and grip on this section. It’s a 10km descent from the statue back to the tarmac before an easy 20km downhill to the hotel with views to Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. Whilst the gravel does add the extra step of the tyre change, it adds a totally unique flavour to this adventure and will be well worth the views from the summit of incredibly high mountain pass.
DAY FIVE: A VERY, VERY, VERY LONG DOWNHILL
Back on to the road tyres, Day 3 is all about the reward…! The efforts of the previous days are met with 164km of total downhill, heading eventually for the lively city of Mendoza. This vibrant city is famed for great wine and great restaurants and is the hub of the main Argentinian Malbec-producing region.
DAY SIX-TO-TEN: ACROSS THE PAMPAS
Having left the mountains behind, we now cross the vast Argentine Pampas famed for its agriculture and notably for its beef cattle – great news for the steak lovers amongst you as the steaks in these parts are sensational – and huge. An ever-changing field-scape that accompanies the (generally) downhill journey may also bring you face to face with the gauchos of the region; and plenty of hearty food and drink to re-energise in the evenings and at our well-stocked pit stops as we fuel you across the continent. The challenge of the distance remains, with some big days in the saddle. But the ‘supportive’ nature of the route profile allows you to get those kilometres done, as you make your way gradually eastwards, towards the bright lights of Buenos Aires.
DAY ELEVEN: JOURNEY’S END, BUENOS AIRES
The final day. The culmination of a week’s worth of riding brings us to one of South America’s most cherished cities – Buenos Aires: A bustling, multi-cultural colossus of 15 million people. Our route keeps us to the north of the main hubbub of the city as we aim for the obligatory dip of a wheel in the Atlantic Ocean; and a chilled beer. That’s it! You’ve crossed a continent using the power of your legs. Chapeau indeed. Time now for a proper celebration with steaks and Malbec, most likely. If the legs will take it, possibly a spot of Flamenco, too!
DAY TWELVE: DEPARTURE
After our final breakfast together, we will whisk you and your kit/ bike from the hotel to Buenos Aires International airport for onward journeys. Or choose to stay around in this exciting city and see more of the sights.
Our accommodation is split between a selection of HIGH-QUALITY HOTELS, mountain HOSTEL and REFUGES and some simple roadside HOTELS in regional towns and villages as we make our way coast to coast.
Where we use hotels, refuges, mountain hostels and similar accommodation, all accommodation is always offered on a double or twin room basis; or sometimes up to 4 people sharing a small dorm-style room with 4 single beds. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participant/s of the same sex in a twin room or dorm in the refuges. If you have preferences for who you share with, you are able to specify that prior to departure.
All of our accommodation is of a good standard – sometimes well-appointed hotels and sometimes of a more basic specification – depending on where we are along the route and reflecting the mountain or rustic nature of some of the stages. It will always be practical for the journey-at-hand and will provide a really good place to rest-up at day’s end. The accommodation has all been tried and tested by us on our recce trips.
Brekky will vary with our location day-to-day. When we are stating early (which comes part and parcel of such an epic journey!) then we may provide ‘grab n’ go’ materials – pastries, fruit, porridge pots, yoghurts and other simple items that you can either eat before the off, or take with you on the initial portion of the route that day. But we will also have some hearty sit-down affairs. Sometimes there will be cooked breakfast options and there will never be a shortage of good, hot coffee!
We will typically eat at the accommodation in which we are staying. Rat Race will always provide a hearty set menu with plenty of choice; you will pay for your own drinks.
During the challenge you will have access to our famously well-stocked Pit Stops multiple times throughout the journey: A minimum of 3 times per day when you are on the route. On all stages, these will typically be set-up from our mobile support team at set spots on the route.
Pit stops will typically have a minimum of the following available:
Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Sports Food Bars – oat-type bars for maximum energy.
Salty snacks – such as chips and peanuts.
Savoury treats – We will feature some fresh local foods and other goodies at selected pit stops, around lunchtime.
A fruit option – such as oranges, bananas, melon and watermelon.
Sweets – including local speciality sweet treats.
Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have – if you use gels and other such products – you should plan to bring these with you. If you have any special dietary requirements, then please also plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional, catering to as broad a mix of needs and diets as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.
Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather, injury or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
We are mindful that people will inevitably have varying distances to travel to get to South America. Our plan is to meet at Santiago International Airport at 1600 local time. This will allow folk time to fly in earlier that day, or you may choose to arrive the day before and stay locally, allowing you plenty of time in the morning to make the RV later on that day back at the airport.
We have designed this challenge so that you may travel at your own pace. See below for our notes on route-finding and guidance. There will also be some cut-offs, but in the true Rat Race tradition these will be generous and we will always look to help you to achieve your goals in finishing this challenge, vs having to pull out. Of course, we will give you some early starts to allow the very best possible window for route completion, particularly on the longer days (and the hily ones!). But, if you need us and if you need to abandon the route for whatever reason, we are there for you and can pick you up with our support vehicles. The absolute key is that you enjoy this amazing journey across South America; at your own pace and within your own limits.
We want you to concentrate on the views and the hard work of putting one wheel in front of the other. So we don’t want you to be staring at maps or navigational aids any more than you have to. There is no formal waymarking (i.e. signs) used on this event and for a large part in the mountains and out in the Pampas, there are not really many junctions either! The road will be well defined and is paved throughout, except that exciting part right at the roof of the Andes. Instead of waymarking, we will be providing and then be asking you to download a route file that you will be able to download onto your smartphone or GPS device. You will follow this ‘line’ when on the bikes and can use this as a back-up at all times. You may use your own device or rent one from us. The route will show the stage start and finish locations of course, plus also show you pit stop locations, so you know exactly how far you are from support along the course.
We will then augment this with some marshalled junctions or key turning points on some of the stages, to ensure there is no doubt on route choice in any locations that we think it could be tricky.
At all times, the GPS device can be used to back yourself up on route-finding as and where required, as it will have the full route loaded onto it. If you choose to rent a GPS device from us, we will provide high-tech Garmin Edge navaids, designed specifically for cycling and mounted to the handlebars with a special cradle, for optimum visibility when you are on the move.
Don’t worry – you won’t get lost. But if you do – support is never far away.
We will use a mixture of safety staff in vehicles and we will also concentrate support services at our pit stops. If it does get too much, if you get injured, get too cold, need sustenance, motivational support or otherwise, we will be able to assist and out team will never be far away out on the route. You are in good hands.
It is always good practice to be self-contained when out on long rides, so when you leave pit stops, we will expect you to leave with some snacks on board, a full water bottle and tools and spares on board just in case….just like any other regular ride.
ou will be transferred from Santiago airport to Valparaiso, which is a stunning seaside town with bags of cultural heritage and is the hub from which our adventure unfolds. It’s a 90 minute drive from Santiago airport. All transfers throughout the challenge are fully inclusive within the format and we will transport you, your gear and your bike if you bring one with you. At the end of the challenge, we will return you and your gear + bike to Buenos Aires International airport, aiming to arrive back at the airport at around midday on this final day, after a hearty breakfast. You should therefore look to book onward travel in the afternoon of this day and not in the morning, if you can do so. Alternatively stay around and see more of the city.
Click ‘Buy your event voucher now’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! You are welcome to arrange your own accommodation if you wish but this will not result in a reduction in the event fee from us, you will also then be responsible for ensuring you are at our meeting points at the arranged time and we will not be able to transport you to and from your own accommodation, you will need to be able to do this independently.