Mountain Biking

Interview: Pedro Burns on his Home Advantage and Training Through Self Isolation –

Pedro Burns

Pedro Burns has been a notable rider on the EWS circuit for the past few years but with back to back Andes Pacifico wins he is a name to watch out for once the EWS gets back underway. We caught up with the young Chilean racer to talk about his start in mountain biking, his latest edit and winning the Andes Pacifico.

How was your training going into this season?

My offseason was good and I was training really hard but right now we are in standby. We have no races and I am just quarantining so I am spending a lot of time at home and I am trying to train and keep in shape. I’m currently doing all my training here at home, I have some exercises and I also have a static bike.

You had a good season last year, has it been disappointed not being able to start this season so far?

Yes, last season was good and I was really looking forward to this season. The first two rounds were here in South America, and the second round was in Chile so I was really looking forward to them. We have Florian Nicolai on the team now and he is one of the best in the world so I was really excited about sharing a season with a top-five rider. I’m kind of frustrated but I’m trying to keep the mind focused and just be ready for when everything goes back to normal. I’m going to be ready but I really want to be racing right now.

How did start riding bikes?

When I was really young I wanted to race on dirt bikes and my father told me I had to ride bikes first. I started riding bikes and just fell in love with mountain bikes. I haven’t stopped yet and I want to keep riding the rest of my life. Mountain biking in Chile and in South America is growing really fast, it’s getting really popular so I think that there are more chances. Racing for Trek Factory Racing, doing all the EWS races, it’s a dream come true and I want to keep going.

How does it feel to be one of the top riders from South America?

I’m proud to be South American and be racing in the big leagues, the riders here are all really good. Mountain biking is growing and the riders are going faster and faster, it’s really good. They are all pushing in the same direction and it’s good for everyone.

Do you think the EWS and other events bringing World-class level events to South America will help bring on the next generation of riders?

Yeah of course, definitely. When I go and race the EWS, I learn more than in every other race. It’s amazing to be able to race against the best of the world and be there and see how they do their thing.

You recently produced your Red Bull ‘Sound of Speed’ video, how was the process of filming that?

Yeah, that was a big project for us. I’m very happy with the video and the experience, and the feedback that people are giving to me. We spent a week filming the video in three different spots. It was good, good fun. Rob, he was a really nice guy, he was relaxed and open to listen to different ideas and it was really good to work with the team.

What was the idea behind showcasing the different terrain in Chile?

Because Chile is really long but narrow at the same time, you can find a lot of different types of riding like wet, dry, forest, desert, pretty easily, we wanted to show a little bit of that different terrain.

The first location is really high up in the mountains, I think at over 3,000 meters. Then we change to Valparaíso which is the main port in Chile, it’s a very iconic place with all of the graffiti and murals, there is a lot of culture. Then finally we went to the third location to do something in the forests.

The past two years you have won the Andes Pacifico, does it feel great to win an event on home soil?

It feels really good because the Andes Pacifico is a big race and there are always some good riders coming. When Jesse Melamed won the race he stayed for a month here in my home so when he won and I got second I said ‘okay I really want to win Andes’, and that was one of my goals. It feels really good to have won it and also because I was the first Chilean to have won the race. It was amazing to win and to win here in Chile against some good riders that made it even better. It was definitely a really special moment in my career. Then this year I won again, so two in a row, I am really really happy I hope to keep at the top of the Andes.

A lot of people struggle with the infamous ‘anti-grip’ and the challenging Chilean terrain, do you think you have an advantage being used to these riding conditions?

Yeah, I feel like my biggest advantage is the terrain. When I am training I go really high in the mountains and I like to do a big ride with some hiking. So, I feel like I am more used to that kind of riding and looking to try and look further ahead down the trail. So I think that is my biggest advantage over the rest of the field.

So the two opening EWS rounds have been moved to end of the yea,r is that going to make much of a difference for your season?

I think it’s going to be good, at the beginning I was really disappointed, we were really close to the races and when they moved the race to the end of the year for me this was kind of ‘ah come on, we have to wait a lot’. But right now I’m feeling good, I feel like I have more time to get ready, be stronger. It’s going to be really good because the round in Chile is going to be the last round of the season, so that’s a special thing and I think it’s going to be good. I like to believe that things happen for a reason.

How are you staying motivated with your training not knowing when the season is going to start?

That’s the hardest part for me, trying to keep focused and keep training because we don’t know when we are going to be racing so that’s the big question. But I know that some point we will be back and I want to be ready, so I want to get better results than last year and of course, we always want to do better. So I want to push hard and train hard to be able to do my best. So, that’s my motivation and it’s not just about this season it’s about the future as well. I want to keep training and get stronger for the future.

What have you had to change with your training?

My training has had to change a lot. In a normal week, I am able to go to the mountains to ride the bike, I can go do some downhill runs, I am able to go to the BMX track and I can go to the gym and train with my coach. Right now everything is very different as it’s all from home and I have to do it by myself.

I am still doing physical training here in my garden with the equipment I have so it’s not too bad. There’s no excuse not to train, so any way you can do it, you do it.

How are you coping with being stuck at home?

I’m actually not too bad as I don’t live in the city centre, I live in a house in the outside of the city and I have a garden, which is good. I have some space here so I can go outside and breathe some air. But we are here in the house with my family, I live with my two parents and my brother. So we are all here trying to do the self-isolation thing. The virus is spreading really fast here it’s quite sketchy.

What are your plans for the future once we are back to racing?

Yeah, so my plan is to get back to racing and back to the action. Meet up with the team again, travel around the world racing bikes. Basically what I have been doing for the past few years. I really am missing that and I am looking forward to going back to it. I am missing my second family.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to say thank you to all of the sponsors and thank you to Red Bull for letting me do the amazing video project. Also, a big positive message to everyone to stay at home and stay healthy.