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Dec 20, 2023

Tito Nazar, the founder of Gravel de Fuego, discusses the growth of gravel cycling in Chile and the unique challenges and beauty of the Patagonia region. He shares his personal journey from mountaineering to ultra running to gravel cycling, and how he was inspired to create the Gravel de Fuego event. The event features a sprint loop of 252 km and a 1000k race, both showcasing the stunning landscapes of Patagonia. Tito emphasizes the importance of experiencing nature and the sense of adventure that comes with ultra cycling. The event takes place in April and participants can fly into Santiago before traveling to Punta Arenas.

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About The Guest(s): Tito Nazar is a gravel cyclist and race organizer from Chile. He grew up in Patagonia and has a deep connection with the region. Tito is the co-founder of Gravel de Fuego, a gravel race that takes place in the stunning landscapes of Patagonia.

Summary: Tito Nazar, a gravel cyclist and race organizer from Chile, joins the show to discuss the Gravel de Fuego race and the beauty of Patagonia. Tito shares his background in mountaineering and ultra running before discovering gravel cycling. He talks about the growth of the gravel community in Chile and the unique challenges of gravel riding in Patagonia. Tito then dives into the details of the Gravel de Fuego race, including the sprint loop and the 1000k event. He highlights the breathtaking scenery, the logistics of the race, and the opportunity for riders to connect with nature. Tito also discusses the importance of timing the race in April to avoid extreme winds and rains. The conversation concludes with Tito explaining the process of crossing the waterway and the unique experience of finishing the race.

Key Takeaways: - Gravel cycling is growing in popularity in Chile, particularly in Santiago. - Gravel de Fuego offers riders the opportunity to experience the stunning landscapes of Patagonia. - The sprint loop of the race showcases the iconic Torres del Paine mountains. - The 1000k event takes riders through diverse landscapes, including flat pampas and mountain ranges. - The race provides support and accommodations for riders, ensuring their safety and comfort.

Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

[00:00:28] Craig Dalton (host): This week on the podcast that got the great pleasure of welcoming Tito Nazar founder of gravel Delph Wigo out of Chile. To discuss the event, the growth of gravel in Chile and Patagonia. And the beauty of the region of Patagonia, he's going to share his personal journey from mountaineering to ultra running to gravel cycling and how he was inspired to create gravel the flag out. As an homage to his home region. Of Patagonia.

As someone who's had the great pleasure of visiting Patagonia on a hiking trip previously, I would double click on that and encourage you to run over to Instagram and follow the gravel dove Wagga site. To see just what we're talking about. As we have this conversation. Before we jump into this conversation.

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With that business behind us, let's jump right into my conversation with Tito.

[00:02:35] Craig Dalton (host): Tito, welcome to the show.

[00:02:38] Tito Nazar (guest): Hello.

[00:02:39] Craig Dalton (host): I'm super excited to have this conversation. It's been a while in the making.

[00:02:43] Tito Nazar (guest): Thank you so much for your patience. Um, it required a lot of work on my side, but you've been very kind to me, so thank you for having me.

[00:02:52] Craig Dalton (host): You had me at Patagonia. The moment you said that in your first email, I was like, I need to find out what Tito's all about. And the more I've learned over the years have left, left even more excited to have this conversation today.

[00:03:08] Tito Nazar (guest): Yeah, Patagonia, well, it's such a powerful word. Uh, probably you agree with this. Um, yeah, Patagonia is very far south, don't you think? Close to Antarctica, maybe?

[00:03:19] Craig Dalton (host): Indeed, I think it's the farthest South I've ever been and just putting it out there to those listening. I've been on a trekking trip in Patagonia, which covers the and jump in, correct me if I'm wrong, but the sort of southern area of Argentina and Chile is kind of the Patagonia region. And I had the pleasure of seeing some of the most beautiful mountains in the world on this track.

And also some of the longest bus rides I feel like I've ever taken across the region to get from one point to another.

[00:03:48] Tito Nazar (guest): And windy, maybe, no? Yeah.

[00:03:51] Craig Dalton (host): A hundred percent. I think the first day, the sort of the female guide, she was wearing a ski hat and it was, it was not a cold time of year. And she was just basically like, Hey, if you're going to be out in this ripping wind all day, it's just nice to have something covering your ears.

[00:04:06] Tito Nazar (guest): Patagonia, it's crazy. Um, I'm a very, I want to believe I'm a big fan of history, but also, yeah, I have a deep connection with the past and I think Patagonia is powerful because of our, of the aesthetics, the mountains, of course, but the history that surrounds, uh, the mountains is something that is hard to grasp and maybe to find.

Uh, but of course I was born and raised there. So. I want to believe that I have a deep connection with my land. Uh, and that's why I'm very excited about this event because, um, of course, um, I want to show the world a different perspective, even, even to myself. Like I know my region climbing, ice skating, uh, skiing, but, uh, but graveling is a new thing in Chile and even more in Patagonia.

[00:04:57] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. We'll get into it in a minute because I know you described the sprint loop as being one of the most spectacular rides you've ever done. But before we get into the event itself, let's just talk a little bit about you and your background and how you came to the sport of gravel cycling.

[00:05:14] Tito Nazar (guest): Mm, Mm, I began doing mountaineering. Uh, there is this guy, Ulishtek, have you heard of him? Um, may he rest in peace. Uh, okay. You know, the Banff, uh, festival was in, it was still taking, it takes place in Chile. So of course, if you were a rock climber following Chris, Chris Sharma, you know, Adam Ondra now these days, uh, and eventually Ulishtek show up in one of those videos, climbing the North face of the Eiger.

So I was one of those fans and I've been. I was talking this with my girlfriend. I, I think I am very obsessed with going fast and light. I never liked trekking really, which I've been a trekking guide, but it was not my thing. I was always cutting grams and stuff, ounces, you would say. But what I'm trying to say is that, uh, I got into mountaineering, then I understood there was something called trail running and I became an auto runner, I guess around Leadville, 100.

I did it. I got the big buck, big buckle. I don't know how many hours you have to do it. I don't remember the hours. Um, it was the only time I trained in my life and ultra. Then I knew it took me too many years. I had like a very conventional education, private schools and Catholicism. And I had to become an engineer.

Nothing of that worked. And it took me many years to understand. I have like a deep passion for ultra stuff. We'll try whatever. So one person told me that if you had a bicycle, I could go super far over 200 Ks. That might be 160 miles. So maybe two months after I bought my first road bike, I hated it, but I just used it.

And have you heard of this, uh, concept crack called Brevet? Brevet? This

[00:07:07] Craig Dalton (host): Yes. Yeah. In fact, we just, I just had a friend on talking about Perry Russ Paris and explaining the Brevets and that whole culture.

[00:07:15] Tito Nazar (guest): You see? Okay. So I did the 200, the 300, the 400, the 600 Ks. And I ended up not liking it. It was too easy because it's just road bikes. I'm not saying it's wrong, but it was lacking to me of a real adventure because, you know, it's everything too under control. And I don't know how gravel cycling showed up and I got myself another bike.

And it was a gravel bike. And before it was something here in Chile, just before it became something, I was already graveling. And just exploring and, I've begun doing everything that you were supposed to do with a mountain bike. I was doing it with the gravel because it reminded me more of having like a steel frame when we were kids, probably.

So that's how it went. And then the community began to grow and

[00:08:05] Craig Dalton (host): And were you, were you living in, in Santiago at then at this point, I believe you grew up in Southern Chile, but you went to Santiago for college, right?

[00:08:13] Tito Nazar (guest): that's right. Uh, sadly, yes, college. And then I, I went back to home and yeah, but I, but I was running a lot. So I've been running a lot, a lot. And cycling, it was basically the same thing. And graveling became an explosion just before COVID in Chile, just before, maybe a year before, uh, graveling culture exploded.

So I took my bike to the South. Um, I am from Punta Arenas, very far in Patagonia. Very far South and I was just grappling, trying to understand what this was. And, uh, of course I had the, everybody's drama, uh, what tire with, uh, suspension or suspension bike packing, not by packing gravel racing. Um, how error should I be? Yeah, but, um, yeah, after, and after COVID, I came back to Santiago

[00:09:06] Craig Dalton (host): Maybe to help people understand a little bit about what graveling is like in Chile. Where did you, where did you arrive with your bicycle setup?

[00:09:16] Tito Nazar (guest): when,

[00:09:17] Craig Dalton (host): When, when, what type of bike did you end up? Did you buy an aero bike? Did you buy a bike packing bike? What seems to be the best for the type of terrain you were enjoying?

[00:09:27] Tito Nazar (guest): well, that's going to be a complicated discussion because, um, okay, I have to give a short perspective of how gravel behaves in this lovely country of mine. Uh, we don't have the, we talked about this, right, Craig, um, our gravel is not like this thing you get to see in unbound gravel or. Some of the races where you're like flowing and aero bars and everything is so nice and smooth.

We have a more aggressive gravel. It's more rugged, uh, with more bigger rocks. It is very safe, but it's just not so fast rolling. This concept is different. So usually our gravel bikes in the, in this country, we have. Wide tires, at least 38 millimeters, 38C at least. Everybody's now going over 40s and suspension may be, it might be a topic, but you know, it makes it more expensive.

Um, myself, I have an, uh, a racing, uh, frame because I'm obsessed with grams. I'm a weight weenie. I'm super weight weighting. My gravel bike must be 7. 3 kilos. That's like a pro tour bike, aero pro tour bike. It's the same weight as mine. So, but it's, but I have like a super amazing, can I say the brand or no?

[00:10:39] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, sure.

[00:10:40] Tito Nazar (guest): I have René Hersey, René Herse. I've tested all the tires in the world and yeah, those are like by far the best. Um, there are two, you say supple, I think, absorption. My God, they're magical. So you can use, well, that, that's just my personal experiment. But, um, going back to the concept, um, I use a gravel racing bike, uh, not aero.

But to ultralight, but people prefer to have more chunky tires, um, maybe heavier, but they focus, of course, more on, on comfort because that is the priority in a country such as this.

[00:11:15] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. When you, when you talk about sort of gravel beginning to take off kind of just before COVID and, and then the years afterwards, were you finding other gravel cyclists? Were they starting to crop up? Did you find a way to bring that community together?

[00:11:32] Tito Nazar (guest): Well, in Patagonia itself, no, that is the honest, the honest truth. We were like three guys and it is growing. I will not lie, but it's, it's slow because in places such as Patagonia, where the weather, whether it's very unpredictable, mountain biking makes more and people were doing mountain biking on gravel.

You know, so now it's a matter of, you know, the, the concept has to penetrate, um, over the, the community. Santiago is faster. Everything goes faster because, you know, Santiago is a capital of, I don't know anymore, 10 million people. So that means there's just too much going on. Events, of course, just everything takes place here and then it spreads, uh, all over the country.

So I think something fascinating is not really connected to this podcast, but Chile is one of the most. Connected people to cell phones in the world, like whatever you do, if you show it on Instagram, people will know you can, maybe you will be on TV, nobody will see you, but on Instagram. So I guess we are more connected through, through social media.

So I can tell you how much is growing maybe in Santiago and slower in the rest of the country, but it is growing, but the rates are different. The closer you are to the capital, of course, it's faster.

[00:12:51] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah. And then at some point you got the bright idea to put on your first event and that was closer to Santiago, right?

[00:12:59] Tito Nazar (guest): very close, like two hours and a half, and it, it was not done in Santiago because we don't really have real gravel in Santiago. So we thought, okay, where's the closest place for real gravel? And it's like, yeah, it's in a place called Navidad. The, we are separated in regions, and those region regions are separated in municipalities.

I don't know if that the word.

[00:13:20] Craig Dalton (host): Yep. Sure.

[00:13:21] Tito Nazar (guest): the municipality of NIDA is where we take place because. We thought it was one of the best gravels we have found in the entire country, really. But it was not myself. It was, um, two friends of mine, um, that, uh, Juan and Luis, he was just here and we are partners and friends.

Um, and we invented this crazy race called Gravel Coast. That was our first event almost four years ago.

[00:13:48] Craig Dalton (host): And what, what's the Gravel Coast event like?

[00:13:53] Tito Nazar (guest): Well, we call it, we invented it somehow inspired in unbound in what's happening in the North Amer in North America. We feel very connected, especially my friend Luon. Uh, Luis, uh, Luchon likes, he knows all the athletes of your country, what's happening there, what's happening with the bikes. He likes the technology and everything.

So, and I also feel very connected with many events over there because of Lifetime company. You know, it's, you know, they, they, they have some understanding about marketing, so it hits all the way down here. So we, we try to make an, let's say an adaptation. Of what you are, what these people are building over there and maybe adapted to our reality because we don't have this once again, even though it's a great gravel quality, it's not like a super fast rolling concept.

It is more, it is a, it is a real challenge to finish a gravel coast race. Don't get me wrong. Anything can do it. I mean, many people, but you have to, you have to be prepared. I mean, our 200 miles are just insane. You know, there's too much climbing. So that means you're going to be on the saddle a bunch of hours. You're going to be proud of finishing gravel coast. That's why we say

[00:15:07] Craig Dalton (host): and is it, is it a 200 mile event? The Gravel Coast?

[00:15:11] Tito Nazar (guest): we have last year, we had 70 Ks, a hundred, I forgot my members so weak, but 120 Ks, a two 40 Ks and a three 20 Ks, which is a, which is a 200 miles now for the final event that is taking next year, that is 2024. It's in October. That is our spring. Um, it's going to be. Um, 50 miles, a hundred miles and 200 miles.

[00:15:37] Craig Dalton (host): Gotcha. Gotcha. Now let's talk about the event you're going to be kicking off in 2024. What inspired you? Yeah, the big one. What, what inspired you to take the mantle and create this event yourself? What inspired you of where you're placing it? I have so many questions about Gravel Del Fuego.

[00:16:01] Tito Nazar (guest): Oh,

I really love my country. Uh, especially Patagonia. Um, it's hard to explain, but okay. I'm, I'm, I'm super lucky person because my father taught me how to fish, hunt, and some scuba diving. And Tierra del Fuego Island, it is a place that everybody wishes to see. But there is no development. There is no, there's not many, unless you're like a person who likes fly fishing and can pay on a helicopter, that is the only way maybe you can access to the island.

Now it's getting more popular, but 20 years ago, I mean, if you were not a gaucho, you know, these people that take care of their cattle over there, or if you were not like a fisherman or maybe crazy guy, you had no idea what, I mean, you, you knew what the island was, but. No way you will dare to dive into it.

I think that thing is still happening, but I am so lucky. I know the island because of my father. He took me fly fishing all the time with a truck. Don't get me wrong, not on a helicopter. And we will just, you know, get into river rivers and he will bring his boat and we will just try to catch some salmons and trouts.

And so I had that first approach. And I saw the island just like that, but then I ended up being working for a king penguin colony. I mean, not for the penguins themselves, but from the owner of the, of the park. And I began to understand that was tourism. This was like, this was the real future of the islands. And then I ended up working for some company of the government for a commercial. I can show it to you on YouTube. I look very pathetic. And believe it or not, I was the model. They call me and I was like, have you seen pictures of me? I'm not a model. They were like, no, but we need somebody adventurous, blah, blah, blah.

So I saw once again, the entire island. Without this tourism vision, time passed and it took me like three years to launch this race. I was not daring. I was wondering if I had the experience, but after all the events we've done these days, I mean, accumulated until today, it gave us the guts to, okay, now we know we have the capacity.

I have the understanding. I've been in races where people have been in trouble in Patagonia. So I saw what was wrong. So I was able to understand how I can provide some safety. to secure people to enjoy the experience and not to be, you know, traumatized. Um, so it's been a long process. I don't know if that response answers the question, but, um, it was maybe a lack, a matter of luck of having one vision and then to have a more modern vision of how tourism come dive into the island.

And show it to the world.

[00:18:48] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, I think it's a fairly common kind of expression from race organizers that they've just been somewhere where they want other people to see And a very small number of you out there in the world, take it upon yourself to map something, to organize something, to bring people together. So I'm always super excited.

And I was bemused by the distance of your sprint event. Your sprint is 252 kilometers, which is only a sprint in relative to the grand daddy event, which is how many kilometers for the full full event.

[00:19:27] Tito Nazar (guest): uh, actually I did the conversion. Um, the, the, the sprint is 150 miles. I know it's a sprint. It's an irony. It's an irony. And then that we have the big, uh, uh, route that is a thousand case that is, uh, roughly 654 miles, 600, 654 miles.

[00:19:48] Craig Dalton (host): Okay. So let's, let's talk about them quickly independently of one another and let's start off with the sprint event of roughly 150 miles. Can you just sort of walk us through what the vision was? And I believe you were telling me earlier, this was the loop that really was magical in your mind. If you were going to do any one thing, do it for one 24 hour period.

This is the loop you would want to share with the world. So let's talk about it.

[00:20:17] Tito Nazar (guest): Well, I have to, I have to confess. Um, I have to confess that everything was born from Tierra del Fuego. I, one of the obsessions I like to do is I like to do things that people have not done ever because it's more adventurous when something is done and you're trying to break the record, you have one warranty, which is.

You can make it because it is already done, but when something has never been done, there is more mystery. There's more uncertainty and I crossed the island from the north to the south in gravel racing non sleeping mode for the first time ever and back then I was already building the idea of making a race.

But I wasn't sure and then the upper section of the entire race, I speak of the 600 miles race. I've done it many times driving because I was a guide and also I was hunting with my father in some sections too, uh, birds. Um, when I say high hunting, whatever I killed, I ate it. So please don't be upset people.

Um, having said that, um, what was the question? Sorry.

[00:21:20] Craig Dalton (host): Well, I wanted to talk through both of the distances and sort of the vision and starting with the sprint loop. Like, what is, what would the riders be experiencing?

[00:21:30] Tito Nazar (guest): Yeah. Okay. My apologies. Uh, the short loop was kind of logical because it is. It enters the famous park, national park, uh, called Torres del Paine. Torres del Paine are these granite towers, um, that are super insane. These spikes elevate thousands of meters up the sky and they're breathtaking.

[00:21:52] Craig Dalton (host): quick, quick aside, I literally have a picture of the mountains you're describing in my kitchen.

[00:21:57] Tito Nazar (guest): You see, it proves something,

[00:21:58] Craig Dalton (host): it's amazing.

[00:22:00] Tito Nazar (guest): right? Um, so, um, sadly, because of a matter of logistics, we cannot make it shorter. Uh, we will have to bring people to, I don't know, closer to the mountains, but that would mean to move the people and their bikes, and that is just impossible. Chile is a very expensive country, so, sorry, that's the best we can do.

And what you're going to see is that, I mean, from the mile 60, you get to see the towers right away. Uh, the videos are, are on the Instagram of the, uh, gravel del fuego. That is the name of the race. And yeah, I mean, as you are pedaling, correct. You're just looking at the towers from one angle. Then you get to see more of the three towers because there are three towers.

Uh, and then one of the towers hides. And then you just get to see two, but then you see this cold mountain called Almirante Nieto, which is full of glaciers. And yet you get to see the entire faces of the, of these, of these guys. I mean, I'm sorry, of the Almirante Nieto. You leave away Almirante Nieto, and then you see the horns, Los Cuernos, the horns of the Paine, which are these granite, once again, towers that on top, they have, uh, volcanic material.

Which is the black dots on top of them. And that is amazing. Like I just, today I just put some stories on the Instagram, how beautiful they are. And then you final finish, finish with the final peak, the highest one, which is called Paine Grande, Big Paine. Then it has a huge plateau of just glaciers. Um, I'm sorry, I get excited, but I don't know if that So that is the point of the sprint.

I know it's not a sprint, of course, but we made it. Available for all people because they have 20 hours to finish the race. That is a lot of hours. You can contemplate, you can stop, you can eat. And, but it's just, I don't know. Uh, I wish people, I guess I have to invite them to get into the website and see the pictures, like we went on April.

So people would see how the landscape is going to look for them. It's just amazing. I mean, contemplating mounting as you pedal, it cannot be any better. Don't you think

[00:24:01] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, no, I agree. And your enthusiasm is absolutely warranted. And again, I encourage everybody to follow gravel. If I go on Instagram and go to the website, you'll see the pictures, you'll see what we're talking about, and you'll see that even the most monotone individual can not help, but be effusive about how beautiful that region is.

When you think about that loop and you think about the writers, they have 20 hours, you know, inevitably there'll be some person, some people who are racing it. What do you think one can get around the loop in with 20 hours being the maximum? What do you think sort of the minimum winning race time might be?

[00:24:39] Tito Nazar (guest): that's a big one? Um, well, I already have my cartoon one possible winner. His name is, I'm going to say him because he saw the race. When I invented the race, he was the first guy who saw the circuit, the final circuit. Some other friends helped me, uh, I have to name him because he's a very. Great inspiration for ultra community.

His name is Canuto Razoris. We've done some crazy stuff together. Actually, we did the Everest thing, road cycling together. And next week, Andres Tagle, the, uh, maybe the best graveler we have in the country. He saw the circuit. I mean, next, next week he did the Everest thing. Since then we became friends and.

He saw the Gravel de Fuego concept and he was like, Tito, I'm so in, this is the best, the best race ever. Let's do it. He, he will not do the sprint. I think he will go for the thousand, but if somebody of that caliber will go, he can make the race in nothing. I don't know. I would have to do the math, but it would be 23Ks.

I can, let me do it real quick. But people that are very fast and it's legal to draft, so they can do it very quick. Um, they can do it under seven hours. If not less. Andres is detonated. We say in Spanish, Andres is detonated. It's, it's, he's reaching levels that are, he's going probably, I'm guessing he's going to unbound and he's going for something big.

Um, let's pray for

[00:26:03] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, interesting. We'll have to keep our eyes open for him. And then the, the um, The 1000k event, totally different, you know, ball game. You're, you're talking about six and a half days

[00:26:16] Tito Nazar (guest): Yes.

[00:26:17] Craig Dalton (host): To complete it on the, on the outside, talk a little bit about that experience. You mentioned earlier that it goes down into, um, Tierra del Fuego.

So you'll, you'll do the same loop as the sprint, but also head way down to the very, very Southern tip, right?

[00:26:33] Tito Nazar (guest): Yes. That's right. Allow me to say just a little thing because when people hear Patagonia, they hear, they think wind, wind, and then they think rain, rain. And this is very important, uh, Craig, uh, we did the racing on April with, that is autumn is fall. It's not summer. And the question is why don't you do it in summer?

I mean, it's warmer. The answer is yes, but yes, it's warmer, but the wind is way stronger in our spring and our summer way more. So that's why people think of wind because they come in the high season when, when they think it's better. But the thing is in fall, the amount of wind is way less, it's way less, like, I don't know, way slower.

I'm saying 80 percent of the max wind speed you get to have in summer, uh, you have only 20 percent that speed. In April, and the same happens with the rains when it rains. It rains a lot in summer, but if it does in April, it could be more like a shower. So eventually you just can keep pedaling, but it's, it is colder.

Of course it is colder, but it's not extreme cold. So it's what, and the, and finally is the landscape because Patagonia is great. But sadly, what people don't know, and I guess I don't know if it's sad or not, but what I'm trying to share is the most beautiful contrasts of colors you get to have them in, in April because it's fall.

So the, the trees are orange. So you have the glaciers that are already, and then you have the high mountains already with snow because it's freezing on top of them. But you get to have this contrast of these trees with green and the farther you go South is orange. And that's why. And finally, we did the circuit in a way where if there is wind.

It's going to be on your tail. That's why it

[00:28:19] Craig Dalton (host): I was going to,

[00:28:20] Tito Nazar (guest): to south.

[00:28:21] Craig Dalton (host): I was going to ask you that because the coast of California is the same way. It can have a ripping wind, but you know, nine days out of 10, it's always going to be from the North to the South.

[00:28:31] Tito Nazar (guest): Exactly the same here. I mean, I'm speaking from a point of view of mathematics, something, some, this is Patagonia. Everything is unpredictable. Sometimes, of course we can have great wind, but if it does, once again, it should be on your tail, not on your head, not in your head, which is awful. So. Yeah, that is very, very, very important to be mentioned because there is an explanation for choosing not summer, right?

[00:28:56] Craig Dalton (host): exactly. So this, this, um, 1000 K course also has a pretty significant amount of climbing. So you're obviously picking some of that up in the, in the first sprint loop, but then as you go South, are you going over large mountain peaks along the way?

[00:29:15] Tito Nazar (guest): No, it's very fascinating because when you go to Torres del Paine area, as we talked, you get to see the mountains, but then you go south and it's fascinating because. Eventually, when you go south, then you're going to go east following the extreme border of Argentina. Technically, many places you're going to look to your left, and that is going to be Argentina itself.

Like you, you can literally cross illegally to Argentina. Um, not that I have done it, uh, but, uh, it's fascinating. I promise you. that area is so flat. It's so flat. It's, I have pictures posted already. I've never seen something like that, not on gravel, like infinite flatness of a straight road for miles, for miles, I promise you, and then you go South once again, and then you are as soon as long as you're going more and more South, you're somehow approaching a mountain range, which is not famous is called Darwin mountain range that is just before the ocean that touches the Antarctica, the farther you go South, You get to climb, but, um, but it's very graveling, rolling, very decent pace, most of the circuit.

And when I say this, I'm saying of 70 percent of the circuit, the rest of it, especially at the end, very, very end, you get to have mountains for real. And they're beautiful, but it's the final challenge.

[00:30:38] Craig Dalton (host): That's right. How do you imagine cyclists approaching the thousand K in terms of where will they be sleeping? What does that end up looking like?

[00:30:48] Tito Nazar (guest): That's a good question. Um, what, what we did is in the website, we created something called. I don't know English, but it's like, uh, it's like, um, we call it the guide of the race and we put every single campaign, hostel, hotel where you can sleep. So you somehow you can make a schedule of where you can sleep, where you're going to go.

So, or maybe as you are writing, you can arrange a bed for you to be waiting, to be waiting for you. Um. I think I'm pretty sure it's something like not many races of this distance to have, and we're very proud of it because you can somehow be more safe because in other races, it's like from point A from point B follow the circuit.

Good luck. See you soon. And you have, you have to fix it for yourself to give more safety for the people we did so, so I can tell you, and actually we have 12 checkpoints. Many races of this distance, they have only, I don't know, two or three, by a miracle, five checkpoints. We have twelve. And most of them, they're hotels, hostels, so if you're tempted to, for a hot shower, you'll have it.

If you don't have money, or you don't want to spend money, many of them, they have, like, a place for you to put a, set a tent. I have friends that they're coming like this, that crazy, um, more sacrificed style. Um, but also if you're graveling and you want to crash it, um, you can program very well many places to stay, even though there's not many, much traffic, not many cars moving along the circuit, just ourselves.

Um, when I say ourselves, the, the organizers where we have eight vehicles for safety. Um, there are many places where you can be sleeping and you're not going to be so, so. Abandoned in the nothingness of the Patagonia,

[00:32:38] Craig Dalton (host): And will, will the same, uh, would you make the same comment about the ability to resupply with food and water?

[00:32:45] Tito Nazar (guest): um, for the two 50 case, they're very safe in the, actually there's the, um, the big loop also. I mean, the big circuits, because the force, the first four checkpoints, they will have water isotonic and some fruits. So that will make it for most of it. I mean, especially for the sprint, but the, for the rest of the guys, uh, I have arranged a few spots where.

Uh, where they can buy food, uh, and many places, as I said, they have, they have hostels, hotels and nice people that they want to be involved with the community and this event. I have seen them a few, a few times making sure that it will be open and many of them are just waiting these people like, and so, yeah, they will find food.

But of course, the thousand K's have to be a little more careful. You know, the type of nutrition they require is different. The amount of calories, uh, but it's all mostly settled. Yeah,

[00:33:42] Craig Dalton (host): Gotcha. And it looks like at some point you have to cross a waterway. Is there a ferry that the riders will be taking?

[00:33:48] Tito Nazar (guest): that's right. Um, yeah, I'm very excited about it because that requires logistics from the point of view of the, the, the athletes, right? Um, I've done the math and, um, and most of the winners. Uh, they shall not have to wait for the ferry to, I mean, here's the thing. The ferry works from, I don't remember, I think from eight in the morning until 23 PM.

Uh, 23 hours that, so that's a huge gap, but that doesn't guarantee everybody will cross. So first of all, just before the ferry, 2016 miles before the ferry, maybe there is a town that I already have talked many, uh, have had many meetings with them. They're going to supply us, uh, like a gymnasium where they have beds and everything for emergency.

If people want to stay, if people want to pay for more comfort, that's no problem. Um, But I would say like the 40 maybe more, maybe 55 percent 40 percent of the strongest of the racers will make it without waiting for the ferry, because this ferry is crossing from the continent to the island. Um, every 30 minutes, maybe an hour at the most it's a 20 minute minutes cross.

And it's beautiful because you're crossing what is called the Magellanic Strait. Before the Panama channel, the only way you can make it to the other side, right. I think it was discovered in

[00:35:06] Craig Dalton (host): That was the farthest I ever made it. I made it to the side of the Straits of Magellan on the northern side to look at the strait, but I didn't make it across.

[00:35:15] Tito Nazar (guest): You see? Yeah. So I'm not lying. You see? Um, so yeah, I think there is like a deep symbolism in it because it's also brings adventure. It brings more, more of a challenge, but also. Maybe once again, maybe you want to take it slow. I have, we have people from Spain and they want to take it slow. They want to take the six days and a half and they want to sleep just before the ferry, because they just want to see everything on daylight.

So everything has been done like thinking of that, like gravel races, but they don't want to wait for the ferry. Would they just want to get to the other side as fast as possible? I think we are going to manage that slower. People can make it to the other side without waiting. Yes. Some others. We'll be forced to be waiting.

Of course. I mean, there is a schedule, but, um, I think it's, I want to believe it's well, very well

[00:36:03] Craig Dalton (host): it was the perfect, you mentioned the, those final mountains. I think they were, they were the Magellan mountains. Are they on Tierra del Fuego?

[00:36:13] Tito Nazar (guest): Yeah, no, but they are the Darwin mountain range. We are, as you are getting close by. Yeah, that's all right. Um, so many names. It's like, there's no way I know all the mountains in your country. And no worries. Um, the Darwin mountain range, as I said, yes. You're getting so close to them that that's why you have this, um, this, we call them peaks.

Um, and it's funny because in between, before every climb, there is a lagoon on, not a lagoon, um, how do you say, a lake on the other side. And they're very famous for fly fishing. Actually, my father. Walked to the first lake. It took him three days to get there because there was no road before you had to go, no GPS, like it's crazy.

I have pictures of my father climbing those mountains that now you can do go on a bicycle in a super safe way. Um, but yeah, it's beautiful. I mean, the last 300 case. I mean, everything has its beauty, right? Because, um, Torres del Paine National Park, it's mind blowing. There are no words. You have to see it until you see it.

And then you see, and then you understand. And it's going to be in your heart forever. Then you deal with the Pampa, which is the steep, you say in English, with this total flatness that drives you crazy. But it's like super graveling, fast rolling. Uh, there is a video where I'm pedaling, I don't know, 20 something miles per hour.

On aero mode, like flying over the course, and then you have some sections of the Pampa and the final 200 miles are just too impressive. It's too beautiful because then you get to dive yourself into the, into the forest. And there are some sections where it's just, you're in caves covering this beautiful, um, I don't know.

It's hard to say it in English. Um. Because I do believe this, I do feel this race is, I don't know for me, but here's the point, Greg, uh, if you do a race for one point for point a point B, it can be an experience, right? But I want to believe that ultra cycling, any ultra thing we do. There is an opportunity to know yourself and one of the best ways to know yourself is to be dive, like super dived into the nature, like in immersed, you know what I'm saying? There is a moment in life where you feel you're aware that you are you, but also you are somehow aware this is going to be too romantic, but you can be aware of the leaves. You can be aware of the dirt. You can be aware of the, of the water and somehow you really feel part of everything. I want to believe this race can give you that, especially in the beginning and at the bottom.

[00:38:54] Craig Dalton (host): I, I love it, Tito. That was perfect. And I totally agree with you. There's something that that's sort of transcendent when you're on the bike for multiple days in a row, whether. It's as simple as bicycle touring or as adventurous as an event like this, you just become closer to nature than you ever could on a, on a day by day long bike ride.

[00:39:15] Tito Nazar (guest): I meant to that,

[00:39:16] Craig Dalton (host): Yes. So Tito, at the very end of this race, you're quite far away from where you started. What happens at the end?

[00:39:26] Tito Nazar (guest): uh, well, I have to extract people. Here's the thing. Um, remember we spoke about the wind and everything we could make the race somehow to make you for you to return by yourself, pedaling from the South to the North. But as we talked before, the wind comes from the North from the Northwest. So that means probably the wind is going to be in your head.

And even though it's, um, slower, less powerful compared to the summer, uh, we are taking everybody by ourselves. You get to the finish line. There is a sign that says end of the road. It's very perfect. And we're going to set up tents. And every time we gather four people, we get them on a, on a vehicle, on a pickup truck, and we have to drive them.

We have to extract them from the islands to the main city, which is called Portvenir, where my mother was born. Um, and yeah, and, uh, that's how then they can take another ferry. This is another ferry because there are two access, uh, through the island. A small ferry that is in the race, but then there is a longer one, which is like an hour and a half on this ferry to where you get to the capital of the region that is Punta Arenas.

Um, so, so, but it's a long road. I mean, we have to drive them like, I don't know, from this, from the finish to the city, Porvenir. Oof, almost four hours. And before that, we fall, we drop them to the, in the city. We give them as a gift, the, uh, the, I don't know the gift, I guess. I'm sorry. We give them the access to see the penguin.

Remember I told you we work in, I work in the King penguin. Protected area. Okay. Um, we already talked to the owners, um, to the people over there and the money of the entrance for the pink king penguin is goes directly into the protection of these king penguins and, and participants can see them directly as a gift

[00:41:15] Craig Dalton (host): That's, that's so much fun. Tell it, tell us again when, when is the event happening? What's the event date?

[00:41:23] Tito Nazar (guest): April 13th, all the way to the 20th. A bunch of days.

[00:41:29] Craig Dalton (host): And when the listeners of this podcast want to book their tickets and come to the event, how do you, how do you get there? Do you fly into Santiago and then fly south?

[00:41:39] Tito Nazar (guest): Yeah. If, for example, in your case, like anybody, everybody's case, um, situation, they have to fly to Santiago. Well said, uh, to the capital of the country, that's Santiago of Chile. And from Santiago of Chile, there are too many flights, uh, all the way. My recommendation would be to fly to Punta Arenas. Punta Arenas, which means, it means Sandy Point.

Um, Punta Arenas is P U Q, um, if you want to look for the airport and there are buses all the time going to Puerto Natales, where the race really starts. Um, it's for a small fee must be like, well, with the bike might be. 10, 000 Chilean pesos, which is, I don't know, 14. Um, but yeah, my recommendation would be to fly to Santiago, Santiago, Punta Arenas, Punta Arenas, a bus, which is three hours bus from Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales. It's crazy.

[00:42:30] Craig Dalton (host): like that's part of, it's part of the Patagonian experience spending some time on a bus.

[00:42:35] Tito Nazar (guest): If you want to see the beautiness and loneliness of everything. Yeah, that's how it is.

[00:42:40] Craig Dalton (host): Yeah, amazing, amazing. Tito, thank you so much for coming on and telling us about Gravel del Fuego. I hope the event is a big success. I know from experience the region is absolutely stunning, and it's amazing that you've taken the time to put this route together, and I can't wait for gravel cyclists all around the world to come and experience this region.

[00:43:02] Tito Nazar (guest): Thank you for your time, Craig. Um, I want to put this, uh, recorded you're welcome. Uh, if you want to come to the race, just, um, let's see if you are crazy. And when I have this crazy adventure with me and experience the Patagonia one more time on two wheels, um, it will be an honor. I do mean it. I mean, I listened to your podcast.

I mean, it will be an honor. So yeah, I want you

[00:43:28] Craig Dalton (host): would, I would love that and appreciate it, and I will a hundred percent get to Patagonia again in my lifetime. It's just, it's too special a place not to revisit in, in, in my lifetime. Once again,

[00:43:40] Tito Nazar (guest): Thank you. Thank you for your

[00:43:41] Craig Dalton (host): again, Tito.

That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. And in fact, at December 19th, that's going to be our last episode for the year and we'll pick it up again. In 2024. Huge. Thanks to all you listeners for supporting me this year. I wouldn't do it without your feedback and encouragement big, thanks to all the sponsors, including this week sponsor. Dynamic cyclists.

If you, as an individual are interested in supporting the show, one of the best things you can do for me is leave me a strong rating or review on your favorite podcast platform that really helps with discoverability or feel free to visit. Buy me a gravel ride. If you're able to support us financially. Until next time.

And until next year, here's to finding some dirt under your wheels.