ESSENTIAL EVENT INFORMATION 2024
Due to the scale and nature of Rat Race Events, changes to the event course, structure and timings sometimes need to be made right up until the date of the event. To ensure you have the latest information and are fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, please checkback on this EEI before travelling to the event.
This EEI was last updated on: 07/11/23
WELCOME TO SOUTH AMERICA.
WELCOME TO TRANS ANDEAN 2024.
Dear Coast 2 Coaster,
We hope that the excitement is building for what is going to be an incredible event in South America. What a way to start 2024…
Please find our Essential Event Information Document, containing what we hope is a comprehensive outlook towards your journey next year. If you have not done so already, do ensure that you are fully conversant with the website and then pour yourself a cuppa (or something a little stronger!) and read on…
Event Director, Rat Race Trans Andean C2C
SKIP TO SECTION
FILES AND DOWNLOADS:
Make sure you’ve read this document thoroughly well ahead of your departure date to ensure there are no last minute panics or surprises, if you have any questions after reading this please reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
GMT - 3 hours
Latin American Spanish
Chilean Peso (approx. 1000 = £1)*
Argentinian Peso (approx. 450 = £1)*
*Please note these are rough exchange rates, there are various market rates. The best exchange rate is currently with Western Union.
Meeting in Chile: We will meet at the Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport at 1pm on Sunday 14th January 2024 for event 1 OR at 1pm on Wednesday 31st January 2024 for event 2. The meeting point will be outside of the arrivals hall in the coach terminal, the exact location of the meeting will be communicated to you.
Event Participation Form MUST be submitted NO later 1st December 2023.
Medical declaration MUST be submitted NO later than 1st December 2023.
You MUST also complete the online Waiver before being allowed to participate.
The Q & A webinar will take place on at 1700 UK time on 8th November 2023 for both weeks.
Trackers: Please remember that GPS tracker service at ALL times is not a-given, you should particularly note this if sharing any live links with supporters. Please see the tracking section later in this document.
Kit: You will need to pass final kit check before being able to complete our physical registration process in Valparaiso. If your kit is not right the Event team will reserve the right to prevent you starting the Event. Don’t worry – there are several touchpoints before departure to ensure this does not occur. See the relevant section below on kit, and webinar date. If in any doubt on kit, please do get in touch with us at email@example.com and we can help!
Insurance: You need insurance. If you are bringing your own bike, please ensure it is insured against loss, theft and/ or damage. You will need a medical repatriation and evacuation policy that has a minimum of $500 000 trip cover on it. You will submit this to us pre-event and we will ensure we have the correct number to call your insurer if we need to evacuate you or provide serious medical attention. We also highly recommend a policy that covers you for curtailment and non-attendance.
Live events decision-making: When we are in South America, in all cases while on the trip, the Event Director’s decision is final. They are at all times acting in the combined interest of the safety of the individual and of the group, as their paramount concern.
Entry requirements: As a British passport holder you do not need a visa to enter Chile or Argentina. It is your responsibility to check the entry requirements from your country of origin and the passport you are travelling with.
Immigration paperwork: On arrival in Chile, you will be given a small piece or paper which looks like a receipt. Please keep this safe IF given one as it is important for your crossing to Argentina.
Please use the following as a checklist on what you will require for this trip.
(at least 6 months remaining and enough pages for all the required stamps - minimum 2). Please also bring a photocopy of your passport.
RETURN AIR TICKET
You should ensure you have purchased a return air ticket.
See insurance section or event FAQ.
Money for alcoholic beverages, snacks, and meals outside of itinerary and tips for the restaurant staff.
TRIP MEETING POINT & END POINT
We will meet you at Santiago International Airport (Merion Benitez Airport) at 1pm local time on the 14th Jan or 31st January. We will drop you back to Buenos Aires International Airport (J Newbury Airport) by Midday on the 25th Jan or 11th February. If you are planning on staying in South America, we will wave you goodbye at the hotel for onward adventures.
KIT LIST HIGHLIGHTS
We have prepared a handy at-a-glance checkbox kit list, which will be sent to you alongside this document.
The key items will be:
A bike bag/box
Good gloves and comfortable bike shoes
If in doubt, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our in-house kit hoarder Abbi can assist.
We will carry out a webinar, on 8th November 2023 at 1700 UK local time to outline the event, it will also focus on kit and equipment, introduce you to some of the staff that will accompany you on your journey and to provide guidance on the full event. Everyone will be sent a zoom link to join in with the chat. It will be recorded and those who cannot make it can watch it in their spare time.
VACCINATION AND TRAVEL MEDICINE GUIDANCE
For vaccinations, you should in all cases seek guidance from your local travel clinic, however we do have access to TrailMed they are available highly experienced in expedition medicine. Trail Med’s details can be found in the medical section later on in this document and you are welcome to discuss such matters with them, in confidence. See more in the medical section, below.
We will be cycling up and over the Andes as part of this epic journey, this brings with it cycling at altitude. This one day is a highlight of the trip, it is a tough bit of riding but will be high on everyone’s achievement list by the end. The distances, altitude profile and sleeping elevations have been planned in accordance with the Wilderness Medical Societies’ recommendations.
We have provided the Medex High Altitude handbook HERE for you to read and familiarise yourself with. This is to give you the power of knowledge and not to worry you about the altitude when cycling up and over the pass.
TRAINING AND PREPARATION FOR THE BIKING
Trans Andean coast to coast is a substantial undertaking. It has everything wanted from an endurance event; a huge adventure, big distances, long days in the saddle, big elevation gains, remote locations, hot temperatures, all in two of the most beautiful countries.
The key point to note is getting time in the saddle for back-to-back days. If you can do three days of 8+ hours back-to-back riding, you will be at the right fitness level. The fitter you are for a challenge like this the more you can enjoy each and every moment.
Do not shy away from getting off road and on gravel, having the confidence in the bank to go off road is needed if you want to tackle the mountain pass. You will need to be able to ride your bike after changing your road tyres to gravel tread on the off-road gravel track up and over the pass. We also recommend that you change your peddles to flats and wear trainers for this section. This gives you some more flexibility to hike-a-bike if needed and you won’t destroy the cleats on your road shoes. The task will be a big one, there is vehicle support throughout.
You need to be familiar with some basic mechanics. Being able to change your own inner tube and replace the tyre is a MUST. Our crew will be able to assist and help if and when needed, but it makes it much more efficient if you are able to whip the tyre off yourself.
When you travel with your bike in a bike box/bag please ensure you know how to put it back together again. It sounds obvious but this is not always the case, especially if you have had someone at home to help you put it in the bike box!
Peddles and a saddle are very individual choices, these two items can make your biking experience much more comfortable. Have a saddle that fits you well and you don’t mind sitting on for very long days.
STYLE OF TRAVEL
There will be 30 – 45 participants in each event. In general, we will provide lead and sweep vehicles (and other support vehicles and chaperone riders throughout the course) and we will establish pit stops along the route, roughly equidistant between one another and usually a minimum of 3 of these stops per day. We give you route files that depict the daily stages, to use on your navigational aids (more on that below). You can choose to go at your own pace, to ride with others, ride on your own, whatever you fancy. We will not stop you riding unless we deem it unsafe for you to continue due to accumulated fatigue, weather conditions and/or hours of daylight. As such, there is no formal cut-off time as the daily stages could be influenced by weather or other factors – it is very much down to the judgement of the event team on this basis. However, unless we think you’re going to run out of daylight to finish the stage, we will not cut you off. That is our pledge to you. For your part, just keep peddling!
it is worth us explaining a little about how we do things on these events, too. Firstly, it’s really important for us to say that first and foremost this is an adventure – that’s what we’re known for at Rat Race. So whilst the event may look a little like a multi-day sportive ride, of which there are some of you who may have taken part in such, rather this is very much an expeditionary undertaking. It is a swashbuckling traverse over the entirety of a continent. With that will come a hearty dose of adventure; simply being in South America dictates that this will be such.
The roads will not always be at European or North American standard, the accommodation as laid out below will be varied, the locations we pass through will be at times remote and rural, at times downright surreal. This is therefore not simply a multi-day sportive ride. The riding will be mega, but it is the destination and the objective – to cross South America (and of course the Andes Mountain range!) from West to East that is the stand-out feature of this event. If you embrace the expeditionary outlook, understand, and appreciate the fact that adventure is the stuff of uncertain outcomes and really commit to the sheer scale of the task-at-hand, we know that this will be a defining trip of your life – perhaps the defining trip. We know you will also love the small group format, you will love the vibe of our local and UK crew; plus the way we have set up the trip will mean that the rider camaraderie will be first-rate. We are all a team on this one – crew and riders alike - and are all embarked with one common purpose – to seek out adventure in the wilds of South America and attempt to cross a continent on our bikes.
By now, we would hope that your bike choice is settled and you've been getting plenty of miles in the legs and refining your fit to ensure you’re comfortable for multiple long days in the saddle. In simple terms, a gravel bike or a road bike are the choices for this adventure. The route is not blessed with glass smooth roads and a comfort focussed ‘do it all' set up is what you're looking for. A super rigid race bike is unlikely to remain your friend for the duration of the trip. We are often asked about size of gravel tyres for the off-road section, you need the widest width suitable for your own bike. If unsure it is worth going to your local bike shop to explain what you are doing and ask for assistance. They will be able to give you advice and make sure you have the correct clearance on your tyres.
Read Abbi's report from the Test Pilot Trip HERE for a more detailed of what they found on the route, the bike choices of participants and a simple pros and cons of those choices.
TRANSPORT & ACCOMODATION
ARRIVALS: 14th JANUARY / 31st JANUARY
You will arrive in Chile and RV at Santiago International Airport (Merion Benitez Airport) for 1300 local time. We will transfer you to our hotel which will be our home for the first two nights of the itinerary. This accommodation is North of Valparaiso city in the province of Valparaiso called Con Con.
If you prefer you can meet us directly at the hotel. A member of Rat Race staff will be there to meet you and get you checked in.
RETURN: 25th JANUARY / 11th FEBRUARY
After our last hearty breakfast together you will be dropped to Buenos Aires International airport (J Newbury Airport) for Midday. If you do not need a transfer, we will wave goodbye after breakfast.
Please note that if you are not on the Airport transfer bus at 10am on the day of departure you must organise your own transportation to your onwards destination. We advise that you pre-book this. Travelling with bike boxes is not as easy as just jumping into a local taxi.
There will be 11 nights of accommodation all ranging in styles, sizes and standards; from very nice hotels to hostels and mountain lodges. We will endeavour where possible to be providing a twin room on a shared basis with another participant. However, at points there may be times when we are in more hostel style accommodation; this may mean multiple people in dormitory style rooms. The hotel outline can be found below, each one expanding on the style of sleeping arrangements.
Due to the nature of the adventure and the scarcity of population in some parts of South America, we are often riding through very small villages and towns. The size of our group might mean we are taking up every available room in these places; this may result in a spread and variety of accommodation in these small towns especially in the Argentinian Pampas.
As such, it should be noted that the event is not suitable for friends or family members to book matching accommodation along the route. The number of beds needed to do this simply do not exist on the ground and there just would not be enough space for all of us including supporters, at some of the overnight spots. However, supporters are incredibly welcome at the start and finish. Please see the start and finish hotel information if you would like to arrive earlier or stay on for longer with your clan and we will of course be delighted to liaise with your supporters on the ground in cheering you away from Valparaiso and/ or welcoming you into Buenos Aires.
There is not a laundry facility throughout the event. You will be able to rinse your own clothes but not get them laundered. Please pack the correct amount of cycling clothing to reflect that.
FOOD AND BEV
All meals will be provided whilst you are on our itinerary. Typically, this is breakfast, lunch and dinner at the start and finish hotels and breakfasts and dinner whist cycling. One thing Rat Race will never compromise on, is the quality of our morning coffee. Expect freshly roasted and ground bean coffee. Heaven in a cup!
For biking days, you will be supported by Rat Race Pit Stops, approximately every 30km whilst on the route; featuring water, small grab and go snacks and other treats, our pit stops are renowned for their greatness. One of the pit stops will act as a ‘lunch’, here you will be able to make a sarnie/wrap/enchilada and more savoury snacks.
You should look to augment these Pit Stops with your own snack supplies especially if you are very fussy. You should very definitely provide your own hydration, electrolyte, and sports nutrition supplies. This will be important throughout your adventure.
Breakfasts in South America can be low on nutrition. We ask the hotels and hostels to provide both carbs and a protein source for breakfast however, it is suggested to bring some porridge sachets or granola to supplement some of the breakfasts if you need more than toast and fruits.
At the end of the route we will have a BBQ on the beach whilst we cheer everyone across the finishline. We will then have a buffet style dinner in Buenos Aires, and some celebration drinks. Please note that our arrival into Buenos Aires on the final riding day can be very late.
ALCOHOLIC DRINKS AND ‘EXTRAS’
Where we provide meals as part of the general event service, we will not include alcoholic or soft drinks as standard and these must be provided by yourselves. See more on local payments, below. At some of the accommodation, there is a pay-bar where you can buy drinks and small snacks.
We will provide you with some beers at certain locations, to celebrate a job well-done. That is a Rat Race tradition! These will be at the discretion of the organisers, however. In general, you should expect to pay for alcoholic and soft drinks.
ABLUTIONS AND HYGIENE
There is a mixture of accommodation within the itinerary. It is therefore not 100% guaranteed each evening will have a shower facility. Mountain cabins generally don’t or are extremely basic, therefore, you should keep to a high level of personal hygiene by using wet wipes, washing with minimal water and always keeping hands clean. Check wounds, rashes, and blisters regularly for infection.
Pit stops will not contain toilets, so if you need to go out on the course, be prepared.
The firm advice is always to ensure you are ‘self-contained’ with toilet roll and with anti-bacterial handwash gel for the trail.
DAY ONE / ARRIVAL DAY
14th January / 31st January
We will RV at the airport and transfer to the coastal town of Concon, near Valparaiso.
Event One: Radisson Blu Acqua Hotel & Spa Concón. Av. Borgoño 23333, 2510000 Concón, Valparaíso, Chile
Event Two: Mantagua Village Hotel & Cabañas. Ruta Concon hacia Quintero - F-30-E, Concón, Quintero, Valparaíso, Chile
Room Type: Twin
DAY TWO / REGISTRATION, BRIEFING & BIKE BUILD
15th January / 1st February
Registration, briefings, bike building, practise bike route to test out your stead, technology and have the opportunity to visit the UNESCO World heritage site in Valparaiso in the afternoon if you wish.
Location: Con Con Resort Hotel
Room Type: Twin
DAY THREE / TRANS ANDEAN BEGINS!
16th January / 2nd February
Start Point: Con Con (North of Valparaiso City)
End Point: Rio Blanco
Location: Rio Blanco Hostel
Room Type: Dormitory style very basic
DAY FOUR / OVER THE TOP WE GO!
17th January / 3rd February
Start Point: Rio Blanco
End Point: Los Penitentes
Up and over the highest point on the trip - 3832m. We will cross the border to Argentina.
Location: Los Penitentes Hostel
Room Type: Dormitory style very basic
DAY FIVE / A LONG WAY DOWN!
18th January / 4th February
Start Point: Los Penitentes
End Point: Mendoza
Distance: 170.6km (downhill)
Location: Mendoza Hotel
Room Type: Twin
DAY SIX / ACROSS THE PAMPAS
19th January / 5th February
Start Point: Mendoza
End Point: Baldi
Location: 2 x Hotels in Baldi
Room Type: Twin
DAY SEVEN / MORE PAMPAS
20th January / 6th February
Start Point: Baldi
End Point: Achiras
Location: La Urumpta
Room Type: Double & Twin
DAY EIGHT / EVEN MORE PAMPAS!
21st January / 7th February
Start Point: Achiras
End Point: Alejo Ledesme
Location: 2 x Hotels.- Avendida Hotel & Arias Hotel
Room Type: Twins & Family Rooms
DAY NINE / EMPANADA CENTRAL
22nd January / 8th February
Start Point: Arias
End Point: Junin
Location: Copahue Hotel
Room Type: Twin
DAY TEN / GETTING CLOSE NOW...
23rd January / 9th February
Start Point: Junin
End Point: Losbos
Location: Losbos Rustic Lodge
Room Type: Dormitory & Bunk beds very basic
DAY ELEVEN / THE FINAL DAY
24th January / 10th February
Start Point: Losbos
End Point: Balandra Beach
The finish line on the coast is 1 hour South of Buenos Aires at La Balandra Beach
Location: Grand View hotel. Azcuénaga 45, C1029AAA CABA, Argentina
Room Type: Twin
DAY TWELVE / DEPARTURE DAY
25th January / 11th February
We will transfer you to the airport for midday local time or wave you goodbye for more adventures.
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1,716km
Please note all distances are approximate. Each GPX device and App may show a slightly different elevation profile. The route has now been completed 3 times; the route has been assessed after each ride. The route has adapted slightly from the Test Pilot in 2022 and after the 2023 events. This means it is getting better and better for you in 2024. We will be heading up to very high elevation and some temperamental weather conditions. There will be some tough and very very long days with a huge dose of adventure.
Our route will take a line from the West coast of Chile to the East coast of Argentina. It starts in the province of Valparaiso, North of the city itself in an area called Con Con. It finishes South of Buenos Aires in a beach resort called La Balandra. It is an absolute belter and has been specifically designed for this event.
A full test pilot and further recces has been completed of this route, plus 80 participants at the start of 2023 who took part in the inaugural Trans Andean events but that is not to say however that things don’t change and throughout this whole process, you must remain open to the possibility that our plan may change due to unforeseen factors, weather, evacuation activity, road closures, border closures, or otherwise. So, while Plan A is Plan A, it is not inconceivable that we may deploy Plan B, C or D if we deem it necessary for your safety.
We will NOT waymark the route.
You need to bring a GPS device that is suitable for biking and can be mounted on your handlebars for ease. You need to be well versed with the technology and are able to upload files and use it to navigate the route, be confident with the battery life and reliability of the device.
Please note that UK devices do not automatically have South American mapping, this may mean you would only be able to see a blank screen and trail to follow.
You could use your phone to navigate with a bar mount, if you are keen to practise using your phone to navigate, download a suitable App such as RidewithGPs or Komoot (there are loads of great Apps but we use these a lot) and practice uploading GPX files to the phone and following them in the App. It really is easy once you know how to get the files into the App on the phone. If you want assistance, please email email@example.com and we will be happy to talk through any of the tech side of things for those who are not comfortable with it.
On top of this, we will issue you with a tracker, providing a tracking function for us to keep tabs on where you are and for your supporters to track your progress (Note that this is a separate device – very light and small – and is explained in the tracking section).
YOUR OWN GPS DEVICES & ROUTE GPX FILES
As stated above, you will get to know your devices intimately on this event. Alongside the devices we will provide, we will also make available route GPX files for you to upload onto your own devices as you see fit. These files will be provided much closer to the commencement of the event, once we are satisfied, we have the final version to share. Experience has shown that we will never share the file until it is the final, final, final version. Or else we end up with version control issues that are hard to resolve.
At times whilst on the event the route may need to change for unforeseen circumstances. You will then be sent an updated GPX file to upload onto your devices; this means you need to be practiced in uploading the files to your own devices.
We have Garmin Edge devices with mounts and additional mount batteries available to hire. Hire needs to be booked in advance of the event. If you would like to hire a device it is first come, first served, please hire HERE.
LOOKING AFTER THE GPS KIT (AND YOUR TRACKER)
Once we hand you your tech devices, it is your responsibility to look after the devices until you return them to us at the finish line in exchange for your medal.
All devices will be given to you at registration and you will undergo a familiarisation session with them that day. You will also be issued with charging cable and other accessories and it will be your responsibility to keep the devices charged and functional during the event.
You must return all devices at the end of the event and until them, you keep them with you.
These devices are £450 each to replace, each. So please do look after them. Any lost devices will be subject to replacement charges.
Our provision will be made to you approximately every 30km. Each Pit Stop will feature a vehicle, staff, medical kit, emergency communication and of course, some food and drink. Expect the odd cameo local snack appearance, some baked goods from time to time, plenty of sweets and salty snacks and some fruit.
The meal plan above gives you breakfast and dinner each day, plus a ‘lunch’ provision at a suitable pit stop.
Please pack your own hearty supply of snacks and electrolytes that you enjoy. These can be stored in your day packs and topped up each night when you are reunited with your overnight bags.
COURSE BOOSTS & WITHDRAWALS
This event is not about cut-offs. But, having a ‘sweeping’ structure is an important part of our Event Management Plan and Risk Assessment processes. Cut off times are independent of any other factors that occur earlier in the course such as start time, injury, going the wrong way, time taken at Pit Stops, head winds; and whether it is your fault or not. We understand that if we ask to sweep you forward it can be tough to take but please remember this is not the crew member’s fault that breaks the news to you, should it happen to you. Please also remember that if this does happen to you, the Event team’s decision is final.
If you are advised to be swept forward to be stopped for the day, there will be no option to re-start from where you were stopped the next day. (The event only ever moves forwards). You may however re-start the next day from the official re-start location, subject to the discretion of the event team.
There are a number of reasons why you may be swept forward or withdrawn from the event. These could be medical, pace, kit, personal or other factors.
It is OK to retire and to be taken forward to the overnight accommodation. We’d rather you re-started the next day vs suffer meaninglessly and spoil it for yourself. We call this being ‘boosted.’
As far as the time available goes to avoid a ‘cut-off’, there is no ‘set’ cut off time each day. (ie. Time limit or published time). Instead, we require all participants to be at the finish location before nightfall. If this is looking unlikely you will be ‘swept’ forward. That is the cut-off.
Above all else, please remember, this event is not about cut-offs. It is about getting the most out of this magical environment. We will not cut you off and sweep you forward unless we really have to. And if we do, it is for your own safety.
’BEDDING DOWN INTO THE COURSE’
It is probable that when you set off on the Challenge on day 1, the first hours of the first day may be a bit hit n’ miss. Pace, temperature regulation, kit selection, footwear, or glove niggles. All to be expected. Embrace that ‘bedding down into it’ phase and listen to your body and to your kit. Take it very easy on the first couple of days as our altitude increases. Expect some unexpected phenomena (not UFOs, just unusual kit or bike issues that you may not have quite been expecting). Use this time to just get used to the environment, the gear and the temperature. Go with it and relax. By Pit Stop 1 or 2, you’ll have worked out enough to be comfortable…
At registration in Con Con you will be issued with your tracker, (in a zip lock bag inside a small dry bag). It is your responsibility to look after the device until you return it to us at the finish line in exchange for your medal. This device not only allows those at home to follow you on the route, but it also acts as a tracker for us too, meaning we can see where you are throughout the event.
Tracking will go live on the morning of the first day at 0700 local time.
The trackers rely on GSM signal to report, (which is generally very good across a lot of our route) but there is a delay on tracking. Sometimes, our team back at base will increase or decrease the reporting frequency, so those watching at home will sometimes not see your dot moving or see you moving very slowly. Or they may see you adrift from others in the group.
They are able to access the tracking at www.opentracking.com
If we have any issues or snagging with tracker units, our basecamp team can see this, and we will pull them back in and reset them for you.
The trackers have great battery life, but we will have to charge them up once/twice in the duration of your event. They will then be re-issued to you.
As we have stated, the reliability and operation of the tracking devices in this environment is likely to not be 100%, 100% of the time. As far as our safety system is concerned, we know that and we have considered that as part of our other overarching plans and risk assessment.
For those watching the tracking at home, it is important you explain that the trackers are not always going to give a fully accurate reflection of exact locations. What can happen, (if this is not communicated on the part of the participant to their supporters), is that where people see a tracker displaying erratic behaviour or not moving, this manifests in undue worry. Over a number of days, this worry can turn to panic and raising of unnecessary alarms, from the comfort of sofas on the internet-equipped watching world-at-large. We require you to ensure that, should you decide to share the tracking link, you are unequivocal in this explanation to your supporters. We cannot afford for an international incident to be commenced as someone sitting at home in front of their desktop has decided to contact the Emergency Services as they cannot see your dot moving. It really is a deadly serious point we are making here and we thank you in advance for making this clear to your supporters at home.
EVENT REGISTRATION & ADMINISTRATION
EVENT REGISTRATION AND PRE-EVENT ADMIN
Formal Registration for the event is completed in 3 phases:
1.) Online enrolment, payment – COMPLETE
2.) Submission of Event Participation Form, Medical Declaration (by 1st December) and Online Waiver all pre-event.
3.) Physical registration at Con Con on 15/1/24 or 1/2/24. You will complete a final physical kit check with our event team, do a short final paperwork exercise including checking your insurance company contact details, present some ID and do a medial interview. You will also receive your adventure bib and bike numbers, GPS devices (if hired), trackers and other items. There will of course be some briefings and introductions to the full team.
By entering this event you agreed that you have entered in your own name (not nickname) and will bring photographic ID to event Registration in Con Con to prove your identity. Clearly, having got on an aircraft in a seat booked in your own name, this should not be too difficult! It is however a requirement for us to know categorically know who at the event, hence the final physical ID check.
EVENT REGISTRATION PACK
In Con Con, there will be one event pack issued per person. Your Event Pack will contain:
Personalised Race Bib & Bike Board
You should try and wear the race bib over all clothing so that it is always visible. You should attach the bike board to your bike.
Numbered Bag Tags
For your overnight and transition bag. These must be attached to your bag before handing them over to our crew to transport each day.
Event T-shirt & Rat Rag
If you do not select your t-shirt size via the pre-event form in advance, you will automatically be allocated a Large.
We will issue the tracking device and demonstrate its use.
VALPARAISO KIT CHECK AND BIKE SET-UP
We will have undertaken the kit webinar in advance of you travelling to South America. However, we will reserve the right to inspect some or all of your kit at the registration day.
As a minimum, we will be checking:
Saddle bag or equivalent to carry the mandatory items
A First Aid Kit containing the minimum mandatory items
Suitable footwear for biking
Suitable water carrying methods (2litre minimum) – bottles and/ or water bladders
You may be asked to show any other items from the mandatory kit list. Clearly at this point it is not that easy to purchase more kit, there are some bike and sports shops in Valparaiso.
However, we can assist in the event of major kit catastrophe. If you do not have the appropriate kit with you when you register, you will not be allowed to participate. Hence, we are bringing an element of this exercise forward and will have already provided to you the webinar to aid you in your preparations.
We have also broken down the kit list into a handy check-box list of items that you need (mandatory) and items that are not mandatory but recommended.
The full mandatory kit list can be viewed in the accompanying check-box list If in any doubt, please check well in advance on kit. We have devised the mandatory kit list for your protection and safety, and we will not be able to make any exceptions on required items.
AVOIDING KIT CATASTROPHE IN TRANSIT
It is not impossible that your gear may not arrive with you into Chile. In general, the longer you are in South America, the easier this is to solve. Once you start travelling away from major airports, getting re-united with lost bags becomes harder. However, it is not impossible and if you do lose bags or if bikes do not arrive, it does not necessarily spell certain doom. There are sports and bike shops in Valparaiso. However, to avoid the chances of total catastrophe, we would recommend that you do travel with some event clothing in your hand luggage: A set of biking clothes, something to wear top and bottom, a hat, some gloves, and some footwear would be minimum recommended.
Experience tells us that if you arrive wearing or physically carrying some of what you need, the likelihood of getting you on the start-line increases dramatically, vs those who entire event kit is in their hold baggage, making its way around a carousel in the wrong airport far, far away.
The full mandatory kit list can be found HERE.
Some of the kit listed is to help you have a safe experience and have the best chance of finishing. Some of this kit is to ensure that if you are unable to continue without our assistance then we can be confident of you having the level of equipment required to keep you as comfortable as possible whilst you wait for that assistance. Some of it is simply to keep you from perishing. It is a serious list and we know everyone knows this, but we ask that you please do work with us on this. Please do not skimp on kit. Spare sets of kit will be worn.
PERSONAL MED KIT
Our minimum spec for mandatory medical kit (to be always carried) is as follows:
1 x crepe roll bandage
Gauze or similar absorbent dressing
Small set of scissors
Pain Killers (paracetamol)
Antiseptic (spray or cream)
Zinc oxide tape
Our minimum spec for mandatory spare bike kit is outlined below.
6 x inner tubes suitable for the size of your tyre (carry 2 with you at all times when riding)
Change of tyres - for the off-road section on day 2
1 x puncture repair kit (If running a tubeless set up, have a slime spare and repair kit)
Peddle spanner or correct sized hex/allen key
Chain link remover
Chain links x 2 – ensure they are for your specific chain
1 x gear cable - ensure they are for your specific bike
1 x brake cable - ensure they are for your specific bike
2 x spare spokes – ensure they are for your specific wheels
Rear Hanger suitable for your own bike
Small bottle of oil
An old rag and toothbrush for bike cleaning
Please make sure that the inner tubes and tyres fit your bike! You may need different sized inner tubes for your wider gravel tyres.
MECHANIC BIKE SHOP
The events have an experienced bike mechanic for the duration, he is there to help solve problems and try to fix the unfixable. He will have some spare parts plus inner tubes and gas cannisters. If this equipment is needed it will be noted and charged to you after the event.
CO2 Gas Cannisters: please note that some airlines allow the transportation of two CO2 gas cannisters but not all. Please check your own airlines regulations before flying.
There are 3 bags you need for this event:
Overnight bag – this is a duffel bag (approx. 90liters) that houses the majority of your kit and equipment. It will be transferred each evening to the hotel. You will not have access to it in the day. Please bring a duffel and NOT a hard suitcase.
Transition bag (15-20litres Max) – a small bag that will be taken to the ‘lunch’ pitstop. It can have spare socks, suncream, snacks and other bits of kit you may need to change into in the middle of the day.
Bike Bag/Box – This will house your bike until it is built in Valparaiso. It will then get transported to Buenos Aires to meet us at the end of the event at the hotel. You will not see it during the event.
MEDICAL OPERATION & PARTICIPANT SAFETY
Our team is there for you in case you have an incident with which you require assistance. The team will shadow the progress of the challenge each day in vehicles; before establishing a med centre each afternoon at the our accommodation. Whilst the medics are there for ‘what ifs,’ they are also a great source of preventative advice; so please do use them to ask questions and check best practice, particularly in suspected foot, knee injuries or issues such as blisters/chaffing.
At this stage we are inviting you to have a medical screening process, which can be completed via the link HERE. Please complete this as soon as possible – and certainly please, no later than 1st December 2023. If you do have any condition that you feel we should know about, however small you feel it may be, please do share this with our Medics. Experience has shown that early pre-screening can assist both us and you greatly in enabling the care you need pre and during the trip. If you do not share information on conditions which are likely to affect your participation or decide to share them very late in the process, we are all under pressure and we will always reserve the right to cancel your participation if we feel there is a medical issue that may affect yours, or others’ safety. So please, do share anything and everything you feel our team should know about, at the earliest opportunity.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION:
We are very fortunate to have an excellent Medical Director providing oversight, planning and screening on all of our international trips, who in turn engages seriously professional and qualified staff to join you on the trip. Rat Race also conforms and has been audited to the rigorous BS8848 standard of expedition management. This means our approach to all things safety and medical is extremely thorough and it is designed throughout with your best interest at heart.
Your medical screening details will be sent direct to our medical team and under medical confidentiality rules, this will only be shared with our medics and no-one else. If they decide this is info that is in the best interests of everyone for us as organisers to be privy to, they will seek and gain your consent before doing so. It is therefore important you complete the link to the medical survey only which can be found HERE; do not send Rat Race medical information direct. If you have any queries at all on the medical side of things in relation to this event, you can email our medical team, directly and confidentially on Trail Med and they will assist.
TRAVEL MEDICINE ADVICE
As well as being a practising NHS Emergency Care Doctor and Expedition Medicine Specialist, Dr Musto is also a qualified travel medicine practitioner. Please view the Travel Medicine Advice PDF HERE.
INSURANCE FOR YOU AND YOUR EQUIPMENT
We have asked that you have in place Travel Insurance cover and specified Evacuation cover to last for a minimum period of the event duration for the days you are with us on the published itinerary. Evacuation and medical expenses cover should total no less than $500 000. A copy of this cover/covers (if separate policies) is required to be received by us by 1st December 2023. The details for submission can be seen at the bottom of this EEI in the ‘checklist’ section.
We recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance. Within the 12-week departure window, we cannot provide any transfers and in all cases, we cannot entertain requests for refunds. We respectfully remind all participants that unforeseen circumstances preventing attendance is what travel insurance is designed for and is the reason for this as a strong recommendation on such undertakings.
You can submit copies of your insurance via the online form. Alongside this, we ask that medical screening is completed, plus an online waiver. Please see the actions list at the bottom of this document for details.
If you are bringing your own bike, we ask that you have a policy in place to cover it for damage, loss, or theft. It is up to you what level you cover it for (and of course several overarching policies will provide coverage for loss or damage of sports equipment) but we would advise that you place cover for the replacement value of the bike if you can do so.
Some suggested providers are as follows:
For UK and Channel Island residents Rat Race’s own insurer brokers have a brand-new product: https://www.mannbroadbent.co.uk/sports-travel-insurance/.
Note: This is Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product; however, Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent wholeheartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers, in the event that you raise such a claim via one of these policies.
Note: We have no relationship with any of these providers but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges.
Note: For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals.
POOR WEATHER CONTINGENCY
South America and the Andes especially are known for its varied weather conditions. Please be prepared for the varying weather conditions and temperatures ranging from hot to cold on the mountain pass. The terrain and altitudes along the route will also have an effect of the temperature.
It is summer in South America when we are cycling across the continent. The temperatures can reach 350C at the peak of the day. We will advise of the temperature on a day-to-day basis, we will adapt pit stop locations and add in water stops where needed. Consider the clothes you are wearing, how you are going to carry enough water and take on the correct amount of salt and electrolytes to stay hydrated, keep your pace steady in the heat and prevent sunburn.
South America is also known to be windy. Sometimes this is in your favour, at other points this can be a relentless headwind.
The event will proceed in many conditions, but if it is deemed unsafe to continue due to weather conditions, the event will be halted at the current accommodation location. If required, we will await more favourable conditions to re-commence. This may result in some stages being cut short in order to achieve daily mileages within the time available.
In all cases, the decision of the Event team is final in these matters. We will monitor weather throughout and rest assured that any decision we do make in this regard is only ever made with the safety of event participants at its core.
You have already been made aware that this is a serious undertaking in very remote terrain. We have vehicles in support. Whilst helicopter evacuation is possible for the most serious of matters, it is not always a-given that a helicopter can fly (night, weather, wind, lack of landing spot or winch capability). You need to be fully aware therefore that an evacuation from the event is an extremely serious undertaking, you may be hours away from a suitable hospital facility. In the event that such an undertaking is deemed to be required, it may be that YOU become part of the safety system. We will reserve the right at all times to call upon members of the Event, alongside crew, to assist in any evacuation activity whatsoever required in order to remedy the situation as quickly and decisively as possible. This may involve diverting off the route, assisting with casualty-bearing and load-carrying, or other duties.
You should also know that, in the event that a helicopter cannot access a casualty’s location, the evacuation time at certain parts of the course could be considerable. It is important that we state unequivocally that we cannot remove all risk from such an undertaking nor would we state such. You are entering an area where the remoteness of the undertaking and the slowness of possible evacuation could result in Death.
Mitigation of such scenarios is our number one priority. Your ability to reduce the risk posed by trauma is key: Taking your time, particularly on bikes, descending rough ground in a carefully controlled manner is all part of this mitigation against injury. You must take your time, undertake each event phase very much with a clear understanding of the environment you are in and come to the table with a team mentality on this one. That way, we will stay safe and we will mitigate and reduce the risks outlined above.
GENERAL SAFETY AROUND VEHICLES
This event takes place on open roads. The traffic can be very heavy you will be cycling on dual carriageways for considerable periods of time, these dual carriage ways have hard shoulders but it must be understood that the surrounding traffic could be lorries and wagons to cars and motorbikes. At other points along the route traffic can be extremely light. Vigilance must be taken at all times. Ride responsibly and appropriately to the road conditions. You will be advised daily about the following days road conditions and the best formations to ride.
We want to show that this event has exemplary control of littering. Please help us achieve that. Pack your litter into your pack, pockets, or nearby bin bag (trash sack) at a vehicle. No exceptions. South America is a pristine wilderness environment, and our absolute commitment is to keep it that way.
In the event of a true emergency or serious incident you will be notified of protocols at the orientation on registration day. Most notably if you are with an injured party whilst on the route, stay with the casualty and await assistance. In the event of a non-emergency incident but for which action is requested from the organisers, then you should place a call (we will give you numbers) or if no phone reception, you should send a message forward to the next Pit Stop with another participant if possible and/or await an event crew member approaching via vehicle from behind. This might be medical, logistical or kit/ equipment breakdown as examples. We politely ask that you stop and help someone that is in difficulty – you will be the first person to find them – remember to take note of time, place (number of km, or minutes/ hours from last Pit Stop) and participant number/ name at the incident site. Remember we are all in it together and we are in effect one big team.
While these are allowed, we do not advise them whilst riding, if you do use them, please control their volume according to your environment. Use your judgment at all times when listening to music or audiobooks. Please also be aware that if you cannot hear general voice levels you might miss instructions or warnings from crew, other participants or approaching vehicles. We suggest that you run the leads behind you so that persons or vehicles approaching from behind might be able to see that you are wired for sound.
Ensure your Bib is attached to some of your clothing. We know you will be layering on and off a fair amount, so we will give you 2 bibs. We will also give you a bike number to attach to your steed.
OTHER ADMIN MATTERS
Some but not all towns and villages take credit and debit cards. Having some local currency is a good idea. When we are staying in hotels, you may charge incidentals to your room if the hotel has that facility. All room accounts should be settled prior to leaving the accommodation in each location. If hotel room bills remain unsettled Rat Race will reserve the right to charge your nominated card, plus a $20 admin charge per unpaid bill.
You will of course receive the highly coveted Trans Andean Coast2Coast medal on completion of the challenge when you arrive at the finish line, plus another 1 or 2 wee surprises.
A Facebook group has been set up to communicate to other participants and to ask each other advice. Please direct any administration questions to the appropriate emails below. Join the Facebook group HERE.
EVENT ETHOS: ‘RACING’ AND OUR FINISH TIMES SERVICE
Completing not competing. Rat Race’s ethos has always been about inspiring folk to undertake challenges in awesome outdoor locations. The Trans Andean Coast to Coast is just that, taken to an epic level. This is not a formal race environment and there are no winners and losers. We do not award prizes for the fastest folk. There will be no splits. Indeed, there will be no timings. Rat Race totally appreciate the incredible commitment of those taking on the challenges we lay down and each participant is as important as the next regardless of how fast you can cover the distance. This is akin far more to an expeditionary undertaking than anything else.
In delivering this unique challenge we prioritise factors such as safety, camaraderie, and environmental concerns. Respecting the wishes of local stakeholders with our route management and litter policies is vital in being able to bring folk together for this unique experience. Safety above all else is paramount, as you will fully appreciate. To reasonably balance all these factors, we emphasise that the event is not a formal race environment, rather it is a challenge in the great outdoors where great folk come together with a common purpose.
CONTACT DETAILS AND ACTIONS CHECK LIST
To facilitate the very best support for you whilst embarked on the event, we have prepared some contact information below that should assist you and loved ones both before departure and then throughout your Event experience in South America. Please find a series of phone numbers and email addresses and instructions on which is to be used; and for what.
Finally, we have included an action checklist so you may tick off the pre-event jobs arising from this Essential Event Information document.
1.) For ALL pre-event email correspondence prior to departure:
firstname.lastname@example.org - Challenge-based questions, kit, training, bikes, prep
email@example.com - Admin-based questions
firstname.lastname@example.org - Medical-based advice or discussion on medical conditions in confidence
2.) For specific arrivals and pre-trip issues to Chile in the immediate day’s pre-arrival – We will set up a WhatsApp group for each event. The link to the group will be provided on the 1-week to go email. This will contain the event director’s number and you will be able to contact them if in need of assistance in the days leading up to the event.
Please ensure you have WhatsApp downloaded onto your mobile phone. We advise that you also contact your telephone provider before you leave for South America to organise an add-on for cellular and network data. Or you could install an E-sim card using an app such as Airalo.
3.) Emergency correspondence from people who need to get in touch with you (i.e. from those who need to contact you) IN EMERGENCY ONLY while you are embarked on the event: email@example.com
The originator should quote ‘Emergency correspondence for (your name)’ in the email title and they must provide a phone number for return comms. This will be patched through to our crew’s mobile phones, (or satellite messaging platform if we are out of reception) from our office and a satellite phone will be made available for you to return the comms to the originator. We would aim to provide a suitable response period of within 24 hrs for this service to the originator.
Please, please, please do tell your family and supporters not to contact us about Tracker Emergencies!
COMMS AND DATE COVERAGE
You will have good phone reception throughout a lot of this course. Of course, it is not everywhere and one of the joys of such things, we think, is switching off from the world and dialling into the wilderness you are in.
Please ensure you have WhatsApp downloaded onto your mobile phone. We advise that you also contact your telephone provider before you leave for South America to organise an add-on for cellular and network data. Or you could install an E-sim card using an app such as Airalo.
The event will not be providing satellite data or phone services as standard unless for EMERGENCY USE via satellite phone.
That’s it. Pheeeww!
See you in Chile…
Event Director, and the full Trans Andean team