Adam Woolliscroft

Adventures, Races, Kit and Life

Atacama Crossing 2013 – Day 2 – Valleys, ridges and salt flats

Day 2 –  A totally awesome day! With a not so subtle reintroduction to the mental torture element of the race !!

Overview – yesterday’s “unremarkable” scenery metamorphasised (yep a big word) into a complete visual delight ! Overall it was fantastic privilege to physically race through the incredible canyons, ridges and planes, of course snapping photos all the way…

In hot pursuit of the lead pack as they canter out of the green valley

In hot pursuit of the lead pack as they canter out of the green valley

The 1st 10k followed a flowing, chocolate milkshake river that meandered through a beautiful luscious green, steep sided sandstone canyon. The more delicate race leaders seemed a touch less confident running through the calf high waters, and the adventure racer / rugby oaf  in me took control and I bounded off at pace, leaving them in my ( river ) wake…..A nice little rush and first to be filmed charging down the wet canyon !! Obviously not sustainable but worth it….

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Some of the views as we climbed out of the Valley

Some of the views as we climbed out of the Valley

Let there be no illusions, I was soon hunted down and caught, infact by the start for stage 2, as we began a long but visually dramatic climb out of the valley, up to a 8km ridge, which enabled totally phenomenal views of the green canyon below, as well as a taster of some of the more unusual moon-like, vast jagged rocky landscape. It was beautiful and compensated for the long climb.

Looking back down on the luscious green valley we just raced through

Looking back down on the luscious green valley we just raced through

The stage climaxed with a steep and fast (almost scarily so) sprint down a 600m sand dune, to the slot canyons in the valley below. Its one of the famous areas and tourists on horse back cheered us into the next 10k……

….which was absolutely horrible? Long and flat, plodding through an exposed desert plane, in increasing levels of heat, peaking at about 44 degrees. The loose sand absorbed and drained the energy levels, making it a hellish slog. I was reminded of just how mentally difficult it is to keep the body moving at a shuffle. It was absolute torture! I lost a couple of places and needed to get the carefully rationed ipod going to help me keep moving. Oxygen was at 86% and I really struggled to get a decent lungful of air as I plodded on…

The last 10k, started with my introduction to salt flats, more torturous nastiness! The white salt reflects the sun into your face and the crispy salty surface “gives” with each stride once more robbing your energy, and sharply crunching as you go. Not nice! I think my mind blocked most from my memory…. It was a relief to get onto a road for the last 4k, and comparatively “cruise” into the finish.

A reminder how hot it is out there !

A reminder how hot it is out there !

Relaxed in the shade having battled through Day 2 extreme temperatures

Relaxed in the shade having battled through Day 2 extreme temperatures

20 mins later, watered, recovery protein downed, sitting in the shade, chatting to the other fast finishers, all seemed back to normal again……although tomorrow is supposed to be the hardest “short day”. Hopefully the oxygen levels will be a little higher.

A really hard, but awesome day! 

33% of the race nailed already. Wow! Finished 7th today and admittedly very content with that.

The beautiful views of camp 2, with the Flamingo lake in the foreground and Volcano in the background

The beautiful views of camp 2, with the Flamingo lake in the foreground and Volcano in the background

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2013 by in Main Menu and tagged , , , , , .
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