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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Stage 5 – The Long March through the lands of the Kichwa
01-Aug-2015 03:34:56 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]


So yesterday was the long march – 63 (ish) km with a huge amount of elevation loss. It was all on gravel roads except for a small amount of tarmac. I would have liked some single trail as my feet were a bit sore, but all good.

We started at 10 because of the hard day 4… Was quite warm during the day and quite a slog through the first three checkpoints  because we still had hills and altitude. Came in comfortably before the first three checkpoint cut off times so all was well. Walked with Kate all day – good company, though we definitely lost the plot a bit at times haha.

After checkpoint three we started heading down into the cloud forest – this was close to sunset so took some time to get some good pictures! After that it was all downhill! I was enjoying it for the most part – checkpoint 5 was the overnight checkpoint and by that point my right Achilles had started to hurt (took neurofen for it) then the tendon behind my left knee (right side) associated with my hamstring started to hurt. That was new. Got that strapped at checkpoint 5, had a hot chocolate, and moved on. Apparently that was related to the downhills.

Between checkpoints 5 and 6 (9something km) we lost over 900m altitude I think. I can’t remember the number, but it was a very steep switchback going down the entire way. Took neurofen for stabby tendon pain behind my knee and kept slogging on. There had been rain so was water on the road – Kate and I didn’t care to get our feet wet so made a  bridge with a random piece of wood conveniently placed to make a step. Got to the last checkpoint, checkpoint 6, and they gave me Tylenol to combine with the neurofen to dull the tendon pain. Achilles was fine again by that point, go figure.

The last section was 8.6km on sharp gravel and my feet were killing me, but made it to camp a bit after 2am! Even managed to run up the hill across the finish line! There were 6 people after us (including Ken from my tent) so I stayed up to welcome them in.

We have a nice grassy campsite today for the rest day and it is so different being so much lower altitude. It’s a lot warmer, more humid, the vegetation is a lot more tropical and there are more birds etc. The low clouds are hanging around, but sometimes the sun comes out and it is super hot. There’re chickens running around and a rooster who was apparently going tent to tent crowing this morning (he may become lunch or dinner if he isn`t careful!). Just sitting around being social and eating today! The last stage tomorrow is 11km and there are rumours of staggered start – if there is one I expect I’ll be starting early so I’ll try go get through with my camera and hope I’m quick enough to get to the finish in a reasonable time haha.

All of my tent has made it, all the kiwis have made it, my two brasiliero amigos have made it, Ake is still in the leadership position after flying through yesterday (almost literally! “long” day haha), and I have to say I’ve enjoyed myself! Looking forward to being clean and some different food though! Oh, and bonus – STILL no IT Band problems!!! (theory that the roads here aren’t cambered may help is an interesting point, incidentally.)

Thanks again for the comments – they’ve been great to read. Rick – we’ve missed you at the back! Nicole, I’m planning the massage in about a fortnight when my muscles can handle it! They’ve definitely been abused…

Can’t wait to show you all pictures of this, it’s been a fantastic race. The volunteers and staff have been amazing and the scenery and locals likewise!

Ok, time to go eat more and relax.
Final blog post from Quito after stage 6!


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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015

Auckland, New Zealand


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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 competitor


I'm a geologist currently based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, researching deep marine environments using micropaleontology (foraminifera!).

Auckland, New Zealand


Why are you competing?
To challenge myself.

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