Inspired by long-distance bicycle races held around the world, such as the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia, the Gran Fondo Fin del Mundo held its fourth version immersed in the mountainous valleys of Chile’s Maule Region. Encouraging decentralization and giving a showcase to the central valleys’ scenery of impressive lakes and mountains, more than 300 competitors, including professionals and amateurs, took on the challenge of being able to finish this highly-demanding race.
In spite of the great physical effort necessary to finish the high altitude route of more than 100 km, many of the cyclists found their passion for the bicycle when they were already immersed in their careers. This is the case of Pedro Olea, who started riding 6 years ago, when he saw how his boss avoided the traffic he was going through every day in his car: "I saw him riding and that was what motivated me to buy my first bicycle." Since then it has become his mode of transport and his way of releasing day-to-day stress.
Like Pedro, there are many competitors who have developed a progressive love for the bicycle, a means of transportation that has given them a new way of relating to the landscapes that surround their routine and a way to test the limits of their physical condition. Another competitor, Gustavo Donoso, has been pedaling since he was 9 years old, and the bicycle has been a common factor during his life: everyone in his family has one and his group of closest friends accompany him every weekend on his excursions. "My first bike was a Mini Caloi, then I went to a Cross, with which I did extreme jumping with friends from the neighborhood and today I have a mountain bike that is good for everything," he says.
The competition which honors its name "End of the World", began in the town of Panimávida and had its finish line near the Pehuenche border crossing, a route full of magnificent natural scenery and difficult sections such as the Laguna del Maule. It was 131 km long where most of the race was climbing the Andes Mountains to almost reach the border between Chile and Argentina. A journey full of emotions and physical and mental effort for the competitors, "it was hard, tough, and fun. The cold was hard on me, but I enjoyed it a lot, especially the beautiful scenery," comments Cristopher Cancino, a participant in the race.
This is what the Gran Fondo Fin del Mundo provides to its participants in each version, with the help of corporate sponsorships, such as Enel, which promote sporting events and the reduction of the carbon footprint. It is an opportunity to compete in a healthy way and strengthen ties with the Chilean "bicycling" community, which increases the numbers in its ranks every day and the desire to conquer new routes on two wheels.