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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Stage 5: The Long March
01-Aug-2015 04:25:10 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

All week we were looking at the Long March as not being that difficult of a day.  It was 38 miles (much shorter than most long marches) and a lot of downhill (7,000 feet-ish downhill).  Once we looked a little closer, we realized there was quite a bit of climbing before we hit the downhill (3,000+ feet of climbing). 

Ake, Paul and I took off from the get-go, as we were all relatively close together.  I knew I pretty much had no shot at moving up, as Ake and Paul are ridiculously fast on downhills (I honestly do not know how it is possible to move that quickly). 

At about checkpoint 1, Ake took off (I didn’t see him the rest of the day).  Paul and I were back and forth on the day until we hit the downhill section (about checkpoint 3).  As soon as we hit the downhill, he was off.  I thought I was running as fast as possible, but was still losing ground like crazy on the very rocky path.  

At this point, we crossed over the mountains and started hitting the tropical climate.  The views were incredible, as we were dropping through the rainforest about 2,500 feet per 5 mile stretch.  The focus was to run as quickly as possible without taking a major crash.  I pretty much ran this whole stretch by myself, and really just enjoyed the crazy views along the way.

I did manage to catch back up to Paul at checkpoint 6 (about 5 miles to go in the day).  I tried pushing it a bit to the finish, and Paul followed right along every step.  The last stretch was pretty relaxing, as there was no time left for movement in the standings.  I crossed the finish line, and was handed… a banana.  I just started dying laughing, as it was probably the only food I would not eat at that point.  We were done early enough that we got to head down to the river and clean off. Today we are just hanging out at our tropical camp, trying to not think about all the food we crave.

I get to relax on our short day, as I’m in 3rd with solid gaps to 2nd and 4th.  The course was incredible (especially the last 3 days).  It’s crazy to think how different the scenery has been, and we’ve gotten everywhere on foot.  I’m really happy with how this race turned out, as I really struggled on the early days. With all the climbing, I spent much more time on my feet than expected.  I burned through my food like crazy, and was shocked how wiped out I was throughout the days.  But yeah, thrilled to pull through and still be in one piece. 

We now have 24 hours until we get to eat normal food! I’ll check in tomorrow with a final wrap up.




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Posted: 02-Aug-2015 06:58:24 PM

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Posted: 01-Aug-2015 06:36:37 PM

Excellent job Ralphie! Another amazing adventure to add to your list! We look forward to celebrating your return with chipotle, carvel cakes, steak and anything else you request!

Tom McNamara

Posted: 01-Aug-2015 12:44:13 PM

Great race Ralpie! Love reading your blog and amazed to hear about the terrain you are running on. See you back home soon. Uncle Tom and Aunt Denise

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