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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

So good we added 600m…
27-Jul-2015 06:15:47 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Dom and I had a great first day – naturally setting ourselves up for abject failure from this point forward…

At checkpoint one (13.5km in) we were surprised to find ourselves in 54h and 55th place, of the 137 competitors.

This, despite a night that wouldn’t have been out place in a Mister Bean movie. My brand-new, never-been-out-of-the-wrapper Therm-o-rest superleggera mattress came with gratis invisible puncture, so infinitesimally small, that it cannot be located and, therefore fixed. This resulted in my having to manually and loudly inflate it every two hours, much to the amusement of Dom and the annoyance of the other four tent inhabitants. The temperature dropped to about 5 degrees and my state-of-the-art, hand-made sleeping bag (a gift from the lovely Molly) kept me just warm enough, despite being made from little more than fresh air, it’s that light.

One of the Italian trio, probably disturbed by my inflation activity, took the opportunity to go to the loo, in the inky darkness and, upon his return, lightened and relieved, misjudged his step into the tent, caught his Gucci flip-flop in the threshold and managed to launch himself bodily across and on top of Dom. My immediate reaction was to exclaim ‘taa-daa!’, which cracked Dom up and he christened the unfortunate citizen of Rome, ‘The Flying Manzini’, much to our joint, puerile amusement.

As per any tent-based evening with members of the same sex, there was much coughing, restless attempts to get comfortable followed by discreet expulsions of air, which grew louder as the deliverers became emboldened by lack of protest from the audience.

In the end, I got about 45 minutes sleep and woke feeling shattered and the least prepared I could have wished for, ahead of today’s 48km stage. Breakfast was held in the low cloud shrouding Cotopaxi and its sister volcanoes. The gun went at 7:30 and off we went. 400 metres of early elevation strung us out and nervous pees further divided the serious runners from the tourists like us.

We hit checkpoint one in just over two hours, hydrating, snacking and salt-tabletting as we went. By checkpoint two we had caught some more of our fellow idiots, sorry, adventurers and were feeling good. The profile of the course had turned into a gently descending gravel, tarmac, grass track, punctuated with a few stream crossings, the obligatory belligerent farm dogs and, at one point, a run along a disused rail line.

At the final checkpoint, three, with 13.5k to go, we were flying and already planning our tickertape victory parade, when, failing to observe the course markers, we took a wrong turn and went 300-400m down the road, only to look back and see all the people we’d smoked, happily turning off and overtaking us. Feeling like a pair of clowns, we sheepishly did an about-face and chased them down, as I got a bit of a red-mist about the mistake.

Dom, reasonably, pointed out that there are still 215km to go and five days in which to sort it out, so we settled for a sensibly last five kilometres and a respectable 41st and 42nd place finish in the beautiful sunshine and into the grounds of an old monastery which wll serve as our campground tonight.

Now time to deal with the blisters, the dirt and the aches before food and, hopefully, a better nght’s sleep.

Watch this space, tomorrow promises to be far more brutal.


Fred and Ginger xx




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Posted: 27-Jul-2015 08:03:20 AM

Great blog Budgie... really get a good idea of the day. I have posted some of the photos on facebook and tagged you both and said you were in a monastery tonight.. one of your mates Edwin Wheeler commented " Budgie..monastery..2 words one would not expect to hear in the same sentence"..very good! Anyway, keep smiling and only another 200kms ish to go...

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Advisor on real estate acquisition, disposal and
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