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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Stage 2: Climbing, climbing, climbing
28-Jul-2015 07:03:26 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Today was a pretty rough day.  I don’t think I’ve been this beat up after two days since my very first stage race. 
 

I actually had a pretty good sleep last night.  It was much warmer than the previous night, and it wasn’t all that windy.  My back was still really sore from my new pack, as it has very few pressure points that are carrying all of the weight.  If anyone reads this blog who is considering running an ultra, rule #1 is always test your gear.  I had to get this one in a hurry, and I’m paying for being so dumb (I will be returning to my other pack for the next race).  Kyle (3rd at Gobi) tried to warn me about the pack, but sadly it was too late to switch.

We started by going back through the small town we ran through the previous day.  The dogs were extra angry today, and Ake and I had some close calls with some of them.  Things were going fine until we hit checkpoint 1.  We had to pull out our blinking red lights because of fog at the top of the mountain, which I had packed at the very bottom of my bag.  So I had to empty everything out of my bag on the side of the trail, find the light, and then pack everything back up.

This is where we started the climb from under 10,000 feet to about 13,500 feet.  This stretch was brutal, and my pack was really starting to bother me.  There were stretches were I actually strapped the backpack to the front of me like people do with babies (yes, I got lots of looks).  Those were probably the lowest moments for me.

After checkpoint 3 (around 18 miles), we finally started heading back downhill.  I did get lost for a quick bit after checkpoint 3, but luckily Mark was only a few minutes behind and had gotten directions from the people at the checkpoint (they were watching me wander aimlessly at the top of the hill). Mark and I were actually about a few hundred meters apart the entire time back and forth, but we never actually went together as we never had ‘overlapping challenging moments.’  In other words, we were both struggling at different moments.

We then hit some very technical single track that ran down the mountain.  This was by far the best part of the day for me, as you had to be so focused on footing, you ended up distracted from the pain.  Some of the stretches were so steep, that I was actually moving slower downhill than when I had climbed the massive hill.

The day ended with another 1,000+ foot climb up to camp. I was so happy to be finished, as the day was so, so long (as in 5 hours 40+ minutes long). I ended up 4th today, a ways back from spots 1 and 2, which probably drops me to 5th overall. Camp is much colder than last night, as we are up at about 12,000 feet and not sheltered from the wind.  I’m trying to recover as much as possible, but these next few days will be a battle.  I will be doing some Frankenstein work on my pack to try to get it to sit higher on my back.  Hopefully that helps.

Emily Woodland (she isn’t  writing a blog) wanted me to mention that Vlad (the blind runner she was guiding) had to pull out today, but is doing well.  Vlad wanted her to keep going on, so she finished up the stage and will be starting up tomorrow despite her busted ankle.  Lucy RB (on the course team) told her it would be an epically scenic day, so we are counting on that tomorrow.

Time to try and get warm!

7 COMMENTS

Izzy McKinnon

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 02:43:57 AM

Yeah Ralphie! You are doing great!!! We are all loving tracking your progress and anxiously awaiting what you have up your sleeve for the long day! Craziest person I know who is at his best when running 50+ miles. Insane. Stay stubburn, run fast! Xoxo

Jessica Francis

Posted: 28-Jul-2015 07:18:22 PM

Hi Ralphie Have fun in Ecuador. Enjoy your warm potato soup....I'm wicked jealous! See ya when you get back.

Dan McKinnon

Posted: 28-Jul-2015 05:40:17 PM

Great work buddy... keep at it.

virginie goethals

Posted: 28-Jul-2015 03:43:07 PM

amazing Ralph !! Keep it up, we all know that you get stronger with every day passing , and that you make people eat your dust in the long stage.... this is all your warm up !!! hugs to you, Belinda, Emily, Marc and all the ones I forget !

Thomas Winstanley

Posted: 28-Jul-2015 02:51:03 PM

Fantastic work, Ralph. Keep pushing! Between the next races, come do some high altitude training in Laramie! God speed!

nancy dellaquila

Posted: 28-Jul-2015 01:26:33 PM

Oh, I forgot to tell you I'm putting in for at least 6 massage's for you with Steve Carey lol... For your back sounds like you'll need it.

nancy dellaquila

Posted: 28-Jul-2015 01:17:46 PM

Hi Sweetie Let me start out by saying everyone is so very proud of you know matter what place you take. What you do in these races are unbelieveable and amazing. Sorry to here about you pack hopefully you will fix it so it will be better for you. Those little dogs must love you those little yippers. lol... Glad you got a good night sleep anyway Good Luck for tomorrow I know it will be better just be safe and have a nice time take in the beauty in the areas. Warm huggs . everyone says hello and good luck. talk soon. Your doing GREAT....

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