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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Damage to my key toes...
08-Aug-2015 04:31:06 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Damage to my key toes... ...... (see what I did there?) There have been plenty of 'there's no 'quit' in Quito' quips, so I thought I'd look for something else to call mine. I think theirs are better. But, never mind. Here's the last installment of my bloggy-wogg, to paraphrase that insufferable arse Brand - but let's not get started on him, shall we - although thinking about him gives me very visual and olfactory flashbacks to the worst of the long-drop lavatories and their contents. I have to say, I thought Wednesday's offerings appeared to be the most explosive and least viscous and I wonder if any of the doctors or med students have ever considered doing a study on the effects of high-intensity, long-term exercise, overlaid upon a diet of freeze-dried nuclear nibs, which have been marinated in what appears to be a cocktail of four-fifths of the Periodic Table and then served up in an orange aluminium bag? I would imagine it'd make engrossing reading. Or, it'd be total sh*t. However, as is my won't, I digress, so I shall return to the matter which was at hand (and foot) after Wednesday's extended efforts which were characterised by Dom's determination to take dictatorial control of his rebellious lower limbs and hammer them into submission over the last half of the 60 kilometre 'long day' downhill.

Though we were in camp two hours after dark, at eight-thirty and ten-and-a-half hours after we started out, some of our fellow endurers didn't arrive until the early hours of the morning. Poor sods. Fortunately, Friday was the designated rest day, giving some, including me, the chance to recuperate and dress wounds, manage injuries and the like. The hiatus allowed for plenty of reassessment of food requirements for the next twenty-four hours and the discarding of excess equipment in advance of the eleven-kilometre 'sprint' finish in prospect. A mixture of relief at getting a break from the intensity of effort and impatience to get the pain over with was palpable in camp with many hobbling and crabbing across it in a comedic rehash of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video. Some of us meandered down to the nearby river which was a trek in itself, but so worthwhile, to lie in fast-flowing, cool, refreshing water, especially as none iof the rumoured leeches made an appearance.

Having eaten what was needed, distributed or discarded the balance, napped, nattered and networked, most opted for an early night to stem the boredom of a long day of nothing to do and to prepare for the mad dash to the finish. Dom and I decided that, by looking at the cumulative times on course of the closest competitors around us, we could do little to improve out positions and would have to lag numbers 9 & 55 by about 30 minutes to lose places in the overall standings. Therefore, we decided on a strategy of seeking them out before the start and tracking them to ensure that they didn't get away and spoil out party. We quickly outpaced the lady in 55, but number 9 was on a tear so we kept him in sight for a few miles and then let him go so we could enjoy the scenery.

The course was a beautiful mixture of rugged track through bamboo and banana palms, single grass tracks, bamboo bridges over sparkling rock-strewn rivers and, knowing it was such a relatively short run made it a real pleasure. As we crossed a bouncy, steel suspension bridge into the last tiny town we were elated to have completed the hardest physical challenge either of us have ever endured. Crossing the finish line to the cheers and whistles of our fellow runners was emotional and, once medals had been garnered, beers and bananas devoured, it was our turn to return the favour to those following behind. To finish the event at all was excellent. To finish in the forties and in the top third was unbelievable and I am very proud of our achievement. Huge thanks to the organisers, our tent mates David Grosse for his great humour and attitude, the mad South Africans and many other of the runners and most of all Dom for the whole thing. It's been joy and pain, as someone once sang and so, so worth it. Thanks for reading. Budgie 


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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 competitor


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Got caught up in someone else's mid-life crisis!

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