Adventures, Races, Kit and Life
The terrain was loosely described by the race officials as “crud” and that was pretty accurate! An ankle challenging concoction of salt flats, undergrowth, roots, rocks and of course energy sapping sand. But, the days running was fairly flat ( the 1st 30km anyway) and this made it fast. This was good as we managed to cover far more distance before 10.30am, when all of a sudden the wind vanishes and the temp sores to the menacing 40’s. Cue the vultures circling…
The last 10k was by far the toughest, the most physically varied and demanding, plodding onwards through the midday sun and therefore took the longest. Once more it was a real mental challenge to keep the body moving as fast as possible ( which does include walking in the extreme conditions … ) for as long as possible. Mentally its all about trying not to concede any places, to the ravenously hungry “hunters” hot on your heels, pursuing you, and content to draw you in over the balance of the race…. and at the same time hopefully slowly closing the distance on the juicy “targets”, bounding along in the distance…. Overtaking means an adrenaline boost and really is worth it …. It really is a case of pushing yourself to your mental limits.
The scenery on this last section was also the most beautiful, which was some consolation, although admittedly most of the time I was looking at the dirt 2m in front of me and solely focusing on keeping my legs moving onwards, step by step, plod by plod. We past impressive sand canyons, descended steeply into a couple, had to climb the steep sandy sides on all fours to drag ourselves out, which was torture on fatigued body, followed impressive rocky ridge running and even trotted down a pretty, green ( apparently “good for the Welshies”) valley, for a couple of km.
It was a battle to the finish but I came in 5th, circa 1 min behind 4th ( Zandy ) and 1 min ahead of 6th ( Andrea ( Italian chap )). I was very pleased with myself and also very relieved to have finished another stage and be able to relax.
I’ve got my first nasty blisters, already spliced and diced…
I weighed in at 82k today verses 86kg at the start. Technically a drop of 4kg in 3 days as I ravenously guzzled 2 litres of water straight after weigh-in to re-hydrate. I’m still 20kg heavier than the more delicate race leaders… 20kg more to carry uphill, more chance of overheating and I am also sure that means that I sink into the sand / salt flats more often or deeper !!! ( that’s what I keep telling myself anyway )
I also managed much better with the thin, high altitude air today, and am hoping that am body is adapting a little ( the red blood cell production line is running at full speed ), and we have descended a touch too.
Tomorrow’s course is supposed to be similar to today, and then it’s the big monster day, which I have to say I’m dreading!
He who dares wins
He who hesitates is lost