Mountain biking

After 10 days in the Chilean wilderness, 40-year-old Brit Nick Gracie, racing alongside team-mates from New Zealand and Spain, made it through the spectacularly scenic 375-mile course to win in record time.

“I went to Chilean Patagonia determined to bring home the carved wooden medal they present to the winners each year, so we raced pretty hard,” said Gracie, who also won the race last year.

“I knew we had one of the best teams – if not the best – to have ever raced in this event, and we proved that to be the case. We went off hard, but we paced ourselves enough to keep plenty in the tank when the going got tough late in the race.”

The 10th anniversary race involved 19 international teams – and only 10 of those were still in the competition by the time Gracie’s team reached the finish line at a 200m-high glacier.

To get there, they had all kayaked across the Strait of Magellan, trekked through the Wildlife Conservation Society's Karukinka Natural Park, mountain biked down most of Chilean Tierra del Fuego and trekked for two days through the mighty mountains of the Cordillera Darwin.

It was a challenging course and amongst those forced to quit – some because of missed cut-offs and others simply from sheer exhaustion – was a team that included two cavers from Wales, who pushed through into the mountains but simply ran out of time.

Race founder and director Stjepan Pavicic said: “This year the competitors have really demonstrated the true meaning of the Olympic spirit associated with this race.

“It was a spectacular course that tested the competitors to their limits but we have seen some strong teams this time and Nick and his team-mates did sensationally well.

“We were blessed with some great weather out in the spectacular Chilean wilderness this year but that did not make it any less challenging.”

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