Both Argentinian and foreign sport enthusiasts are cheered up by their audience, who share their own thrills all through the day.
Chapelco's tetrathlon takes place late in August or early in September every year in San Martín de los Andes
and it is enjoyed as a celebration nobody wants to miss. The city looks forward to it, gets ready to welcome the athletes and experiences it on every bend as the participants pass by.
This sport challenge features Chapelco
Mountain Range in the background, its snowy trails, its native forests and the mirror surface of Lake Lácar. Four disciplines are developed, namely: ski, mountain biking, kayaking and running. The circuits are changed every year according to the conditions of the snow, the roads and the surface of the lake.
Witnessing the moment the participants set out at the top of the mountain means sharing their nerves. The competitors train for months for that very moment. The first stretch is covered on skis. They test their strength, as the trails are difficult and many times they need to carry their skis uphill.
First Park Closed
The almost four hundred participants leave their skis at the base of the mountain once the first discipline is over. They change clothes and start running along hard trails covered with snow and mud. To one side, the people encourage them enthusiastically with their applause.
This stage ends on the city waterfront, where the next step is taken: kayaking on Lake Lácar. The lake conditions are not always favorable. Many times, the participants must struggle on their small water-crafts against the wind and avoid falling into the cold waters.
Just like at the beginning of the race, a compact squad is formed, as the competition proceeds, the sportsmen and women gain distance between one another, thus starting to define their position on the result chart once the test is over.
At the next closed park, visitors take their bikes, adapt their apparel to this stretch and keep challenging their own bodies for the best. Now tiredness is their worst enemy. They need to be mentally strong to keep on.
It Is Competition that Matters
As the competitors face the last stage around the streets, the arch of triumph awaits at the end of the circuit. The effort to cross it after the intense trial, the thrill they feel to have achieved their aim and the joy to see their beloved ones is translated into tears. Hugs and rest follow. Different reasons move these people to reach the finish line. Some of them want to finish first, others are just happy to finish the test and others wish to measure their own capacity.
The “Tetra” has already surpassed its twenty-five issues and the enthusiasm has not faded, even though it is generally held during the harsh Patagonian winter. More and more people come to San Martín de los Andes to see this event year after year, which is a hint of its sport and tourist significance. It is and will continue to be the city's race and a challenge for sport lovers.