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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Stage 3: Single Track Around the Cliffs
29-Jul-2015 04:20:47 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Last night I spent a bit of time figuring out how my backpack actually worked.  I did some reworking and now have it sitting where it belongs.  I also wrapped my back with elastic bandage, and ran with dirty socks on my shoulders under the straps.  Mission successful!

This morning we woke up to cold rain and wind.  Luckily this only lasted for the first hour, before the sun came out for the awesome views. Today started off on a road again, before we hit some really nice single track trails.  These trails were literally carved right into the side of the mountain, where you had a wall on one side and a cliff over the other.  I started running with Paul and Ake for the first half of the race before falling back from the (and Mark) on one of he climbs.  I was very thankful to have Ake there, as he is apparently a cow whisperer who stopped a charging cow from pushing me off the single track.  That makes it sound way more dramatic than it was, but I was being chased by a baby cow.

We continued with epic climbs and really steep descents during the middle of the course.  I got into checkpoint 3 in 4th place a little bit behind the others.  I saw some of my favourite volunteers at the checkpoint, who really got me moving again.  I ended up having a strong final section, sneaking past Paul and Mark.  I ended up finishing 2nd about a minute or so behind Ake.  I think this moves me back into 3rd.  The altitude is still insane up here (I thought I was going to pass out at the finish line).  Hopefully this breathing thing keeps getting better over the next 2 days.

Our camp tonight is pretty incredible, as we are in a field surrounded by steep mountains.  There’s a river long the camp, which was awesome to clean up in a bit.  The rain has come back, but hopefully only for a short bit. 

I wanted to say thank you for all of the entertaining emails this week.  I’m looking forward to getting back and catching up with everyone back home.

It’s time to go eat.  We’ve got an epic day of climbing tomorrow, so it’s time for some calories.  Until then!


mi ka

Posted: 23-Nov-2018 09:03:03 AM

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Michael Sanderson

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 03:06:41 AM

Ralph. The NYC contingent is wishing you all the best.

Kyle mccoy

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 01:36:02 AM

Amigo, I thought long and hard about telling you to "Not use that backpack!" But then I decided against it- clearly a wrong decision. I'm sorry. My gut instinct was right. You're downplaying it, but that backpack is a disaster. I'm sincerely sorry I wasn't more forceful. Alas, let's look ahead. Keep up the amazing work and keep re-rigging that stupid back harness on that waste of a backpack. You will get through this and you deserve to be leading! Keep your head up and heart in the right place. Stay strong. Kyle

Tom Byrnes

Posted: 30-Jul-2015 01:35:22 AM

Just got back from running two miles at crossfit...it was brutal. I'll be thinking of you while I crush this pizza, good luck tomorrow. Toodles!

Pierre Maitre

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 11:07:54 PM

Keep rocking Ralphie

Isis Breiter

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 10:40:10 PM

Go!! Ralph !!! You are fast !!! Bien hecho!! Sorry the Latin dogs are crazys jejeje!! Vamos con todo!!!

Kate Winstanley

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 08:59:29 PM

Ralphie you machine!! Good luck cuz and big love from Australia!!

Marisa Holman

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 08:33:27 PM

Yea Ralph! Just saw you are killing it on Stage 4! My goodness in the pic they posted of you on the webpage, your pack looks teensy tiny! You will have to share some tips on how you are managing with such a light load! Cheering for you and lots of luck on the Long March!

Sam Sharrock

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 06:52:32 PM

Keep up the good work buddy! I've had a look at the photos and I see what you mean, the stage looked incredible but seriously tough and draining on the legs and the lungs. Glad to hear you have fixed up the pack, just need to work on your luck with the animals now, they can obviously smell your fear...Good to see you back in the top 3, I'm sure you'll gradually sneak up on the other 2 guys on the next few stages. Still have the long stage and we know how you love those! Take care, and good luck!

Janine C

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 06:32:03 PM

Awesome Ralph. How are the charades going ? Is B winning in the rudeness stakes ? ;-)

Billy Quirk

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 06:15:36 PM

I kind of thought if high altitude got to you, you were just cooked--seems you're finding ways to power through in fine fashion! Also, no matter how many of these you do (and how much speed you gain), it seems excruciating pain and unexpected difficulty are unavoidable. Sign me up! No, don't.


Posted: 29-Jul-2015 05:58:41 PM

Sounds like one heck of an adventure so far man! Keep climbing to the top...literally...and just remember, Pain is temporary, Pride is forever! See you back at home base with the 1st place medal!

Linh Huynh

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 04:23:10 PM

You are a machine!!!!!!!!!!! I am so freaking proud of you and I can't wait to hear all about it at Leadville. Now, go out there and knock 'em dead Larry.

evy gonzales

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 02:01:23 PM

come on ralph! good job staying in top 3, I know its tough out there with the altitude. Hope you can pull into 2nd place after stage 4 today. you got this!!!

nancy dellaquila

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 01:31:22 PM

ralphie Great come back. I new you can do this. Now I hear you got cows lol... Yes, animals just love you. Keep up the good work. As you see we all love reading your blogs and sending you comments. We are all hear for you your tuff you got this one I feel it. Go Ralphie.

Carol Lincoln

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 01:24:36 PM

Cows, dogs - boy animals just love you!!!! Good finish! Can't wait to see you and hear all about it.....

Dewey Crowley

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 01:24:28 PM

Keep up the good work and good work going MacGyver on your backpack! You are well trained for this: from the mountains in Vermont to the dogs in Oxford, YOU GOT THIS!! Like Izzy said, run hard and stay stubburn!

Sarah Pemberton

Posted: 29-Jul-2015 01:23:42 PM

Ralph! Sounds like today was an incredible day for you - making good time, running with amazing views... it must be exhilarating being in top 3 (AGAIN!)! Seems like you're really in your element; I'm sure running in altitude will just get easier (though in reality, who are we to say what its like or what it'll be like, you're the one running it!). Maybe the camp was placed strategically by the river to make sure tent pig sty didn't get too smelly too quickly. Hope stage 4 goes similarly well, and I'm sure you'll find tons of inner strength to power through stage 5 just as you did in Gobi! You're incredible, and we're all cheering for you from afar!

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