Atacama 2010
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1 down, 3 to go!!
16-Mar-2010 03:58:46 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010

We all managed to stumble or crawl the final 10km to the finish line in San Pedro, where we were given our medals, before heading back to our hotels for a much needed shower and very large drink.  The awards dinner on saturday night was good fun, and we all managed to eat and drink copious amounts!  A week eating dehydrated food and energy bars makes you fully appreciate normal food.

It was a much tougher race than the Sahara, and now that i'm safely back in the UK, i'm looking forward to a good couple of weeks off.  I'll have my knee scanned just to check that there is no damage before i put the trainers back on and start the Gobi training.

Thank you to everyone for all the message you sent while i was out there - huge morale boost.

Comments (3)

Stage 5 - 75km
13-Mar-2010 11:00:19 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
Thank god that is over!!!  Yesterday was pure hell.  The first couple of stages were across salt and mud flats, and then it was time for the sand.  Just over half way, we had to climb a monster about kicking us when we are down!!!  I had my knee re-strapped at the next checkpoint, took on some more painkillers and shuffled on.  The last stage was through the Valley de Luna which i imagine looks stunning in the daylight but in the dark, on my own, with just a headlamp and glowsticks marking the course, it wasn't much fun.  I have to admit that i had a couple of 'moments' out there!!
As i'm writing this (8am saturday) there are still a couple of people still out on the course.  We are starting the final stage of 10km at noon today, and then it will be time for a long bath and a very large drink!!
Thank you very much for all the messages you've sent over the week, they have really helped.
Comments (8)

Stage 4
11-Mar-2010 06:42:29 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
Today was brutal - there is no other word to describe it. The first 2 stages were rolling sanddunes, rocks and at one point, very steep descent into a valley of water and rushes.  Next were the saltflats...........unbelievable!  It was what i imagine hell looks like. 14km of salt falts (which is like walking on broken glass) and every so often, you'd sink to mid calf.  No shade or breeze and 40c heat - hideous!  The ipod was firmly in and i managed to just put my head down and finish.
Tomorrow is the long stage - 75km in one go which i imagine is going to push me to my pain boundaries again. 156 of us started this race on day 1 and only 125 of us are starting tomorrow.  Most of us seem to be hobbling around camp. Guttingly quite a few friends are out of the race including Diego and Stevie.
All my thoughts are with my fellow Chilean competitors who have family and friends caught up in todays earthquake near Santiago
Comments (2)

Stage 3
10-Mar-2010 05:43:14 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
Oh my goodness me, today was horrible.  45km over mud flats and never ending sanddunes. I managed quite a good pace for the first 2 stages and then the heat and lack of breeze kicked in!  Diago and i managed to hobble the remaining 2 stages after being very kindly lent a stick each by a lovely Aussie guy who wasn't using them.  We used them as a crutch and deceided that we'd do rather well in a 3 legged race as my left knee is strapped and his right knee is!
Thank you once again for all the emails and comments - sorry i can't reply to them.
Tomorrow is the infamous salt flats which in our course notes are described as 'extremely difficult'.......i feel sick at the thought of them!!
Comments (4)

Stage 2
09-Mar-2010 06:18:07 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
Talking to some of the leading runners last night, it turns out that everyone had a nightmare on stage 3 yesterday - we have since found out that it was 45c and it was 40c should be illegal for people to be in lycra carrying a 20lb rucksack in that heat!!
Today was bizarre.  The 1st stage was in the slot canyons where we spent most of the time in knee deep freezing water, which was rather refreshing.  The 2nd stage was horrendous - we had to climb up 1500m on a shingle track and then down a huge sanddune which would have been far more fun skiing down!  Guttingly i lost my footing on the climb up the shingle and twisted my knee - nothing some strapping and pain killers won't fix. Stage 3 and 4 seemed endless across sand and rock but i finally made it into camp, albeit very slowly.
Once again thank you very much for the emails and jokes - love them at the end of the day.  The hot bath and large V&T on saturday night, can't come fast enough!!!!
Comments (3)

Stage 1
08-Mar-2010 05:29:42 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
Oh my goodness, today was hard.  The combination of the terrain (rocks and shingle), temperature (35c) and the altitude (3500m) were properly energy zapping! Ironically, when we were all having breakfast around the fire at 6.30 this morning it was freezing and we were all rather worried about what to run in!!
The first two stages went well and i made quite good time.  Then stage 3 struck.  I have to confess that i struggled - it was uphill the whole way, with no shade or wind.  If it hadn't been for The Killers and U2 on the ipod, i'd probably still be there! I did the final stage with Diago (who is also going for the Grand Slam this year) who was really suffering with his knee - fingers crossed it isn't too bad.  I'm pleased to say that one of my tentmates (sean) is lying 3rd in the mens race and Erica 2nd in the ladies - finishing a couple of hours ahead of me!!
Thank you so much for all the emails - a huge morale boost at the end of the day,  please keep them coming.
Also, a huge thank you to Terry at 'Up and Running' for the sponsorship of my Inov-8 trainers - so far so good
Comments (1)

Here we go....!!
07-Mar-2010 06:39:32 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
Have now recovered from our epic road trip yesterday - what a day! There are some amazing stories of how everyone arrived here and only 9 people have pulled out which is pretty good. Today we had our kit and health checks before jumping in a fleet of buses for a 2 hour drive up to Camp 1.  We have been given the course notes for the full race and it is rather terrifying reading!!  Tomorrows first stage is graded difficult.......yikes!
There is a fantastic bunch of people out here - lots of faces from Sahara 08 as well as a good team of new ones.  The banter has already started which will help keep spirits up this week.
I apologise in advance to everyone as i will be rather slow - it is all about survival!!!  The nerves have started to kick in already but im sure that once we get going it will all be fine!
Off now for a lovely dehydrated shepherds pie for sups.....that large vodka and tonic on saturday at the end of the race cant come fast enough!!
Comments (3)

Finally arrived in San Pedro 60 hours after leavin
06-Mar-2010 05:57:30 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
After the final leg of the journey, a 12 hour road trip across the Andes from Salta in Northern Argentina, i've finally arrived in San Pedro. Seven of us (the 4 Red Hot Chile guys, along with Norma, her camera guy Mario, and myself( were picked up from our hotel in Salta at 7 this morning.  Incredible views, leathal hair pin bends, endless salt plains along with 2 flat tyres later, we managed to get all our bags through the customs without anything being confiscated.

There are a few rumours going around as to how they are going to fit the full 250km into 5 1/2 days........we will find out tomorrow!
Comments (4)

Travel issues
03-Mar-2010 10:19:18 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010

I was meant to be flying to Chile tonight via San Paulo but the flight has been cancelled and now i'm flying to Buenos Aires early tomorrow morning.  From there the plan is to catch a domestic flight up to Salta and hopefully then a taxi (or bus?!) across the border into Chile and onto San Pedro..........perfect pre race relaxation!! 

Safe flight to everyone else travelling out for the race and see you in San Pedro late on Friday night, fingers crossed.

Comments (1)

Here we go.....!
02-Mar-2010 02:53:59 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2010
After all the planning and packing, i fly to Chile tomorrow night.  After the awful earthquake at the weekend, the airports are slowing reopening but we have been warned of serious delays.  RTP have been brilliant in keeping us updated and have delayed the start of the race by a day.  This is good news for all of us trying to reach San Pedro in time, but bad news in that we will still be covering 250km but in a day less!!

Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated ( towards Macmillan Cancer Support - it will help with the motivation when the pain starts to kick in next week!

Comments (2)

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