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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

A Pig of a Day
30-Jul-2015 04:20:06 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Ouch – that hurt – only 42km ish, but one enormous climb. Worth it for the holy shit moment when I crested the rise and saw the volcano crater with a blue lake within. You will have to wait for the photos. Over 10 and ½ hours – and we still have the long day tomorrow. I am typing this blog from within a local church – perhaps I ought to send a message to the big man. As I was heading back into camp I turned to see that I was being followed by a large black pig (this isn’t a joke) – reckon I should have got him into camp so that we could all have bacon butties. You may all have figured it out , but I am finding this race tough – more time on the feet and always another mountain in from of you – anyway – just one more long day and we are nearly there. Many thanks all for the cricket update – that certainly cheered me up. And of course a very happy 21st Wedding Anniversary to Shazz for Thursday – now that really is a great feat of endurance (from Sharon of course!), my current shaggy llama tails are too rude for the blog – they will be available on subscription basis. Love to all – I am now off to fix my feet – plenty of toenails are about to meet their end. Toodlepip d

Stage 3.1
29-Jul-2015 03:23:18 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

My lack of form from yesterday has continued to today. Wasn’t really in it for the first half – but bizarrely got my mojo back in the 2nd half – still  a long day though. Perhaps it was altitude. Scenery today spectacular – and locals are suitably bemused by the runners in spandex. Early on I saw an oil barrel roll down a hillside and miss two runners by 5 metres – an accident surely? Although they were French – so who knows….

The other interesting incident was as I crested a rise and heard a haunting vocal . I then saw 4 llamas being sheared and at the same time doing close harmony singing . “wow – is that a Barbershop Quartet?” I said. The local replied – “no, but they are singing Alpacapella”

This evening I am going to take a led from the 1970/80s advert and have a “condor moment”. This phrase was also used by the army to represent a needed pause to consider before battle. Given the 3000 m of climb tomorrow a condor moment to reflect is needed. The condor also being the big bird of the andes. It all links together – honest,

Anyway – I need to sign off and prepare for battle,

Good luck for England in the Ashes.
Love to S&W

Stage 3
29-Jul-2015 03:15:30 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Day1 done and a long day it was with 48km to crack off. Think I came in 70th at about 8 hours. We started in the shadow of cotapaxi volcano – think mount fuji, perfectly formed, snow on the flanks, puff of smoke from the top. The early stages were up a track in the shadow of the volcano – as the smoke and sulphurous fumes rolled down the mountainside I heard a braying animal and a local came running towards me –“ quicka runa the mountain it is about a to explode-a” –“but how do you know?” – “it is a my animal-a he always makes a that sound when the mountaina  gets firey” “wow that’s clever – but how does he know?” “eets because a he is a Fire aLlama”. “wow he must be valuable?” ‘Oh yesa – he is always being stolen-a by the villagers from down the hill-a – but now he is protected –a so they cannot a get him” “why?” ‘Its-a my other animal – he goes wewahwewahweewah when the villagers-a come – because a he is-a Burglar  A-llama.

All fun in the tent – with the perfect mix of English and Italian – what could go wrong? Love to Shazz n Will – hope Cornwall is sunny. Look forward to any incoming support and abuse.

And so to tomorrow – when we are going to do it all again.

Stage 2
28-Jul-2015 06:30:23 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Ouch – that hurt – it was supposed to be only 42km – but it felt like 42 in a vertical direction. That was the longest time I have been out there on a non long day. Thanks William – for pointing out that 42 is the answer to life the universe and everything – as well as my bib number and the length of a marathon- the question is has my sense of humour remained after 9 ½ hrs of hell. Well an interesting thing did happen on the major climb of the day. I saw a Llama bashing his head down against a fluffy bird with big eyes. As a local was passing I asked him “why is that llama attacking the bird? I thought they only ate grasses?” – “Ah thata is an easy-a mistake to make – the beast is smaller and more woolly than a llama – that is an Owl-Pecker”

Not sure I can summon the energy to describe the high and lows of the day – perhaps read other folks blogs for that – up, up and up.  Beautiful views – if only I had the energy to describe them. Tomorrow is another day – on on. Love d

Llamas with Hats
25-Jul-2015 05:02:25 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

OK. I can squeeze in one more blog before we head out to the course.  When I checked into the race hotel on Friday the receptionist said I was sharing a room with Hannah Patrick  - whey hey, that was a lucky roll of the dice. I was very excited until Patrick Hannah was confirmed (and even he didn’t end up in my room)


That said it is always good to meet up with old friends and new competitors, it helps make the event real. Thoughts with Werner from South Africa  - whose luggage has gone missing somewhere between San Paulo and Lima – what a nightmare. We are all chipping in items of kit, but it is not ideal to build up from scratch, in Quito, in 24 hours. Unless you want to race in a panama hat* and poncho. I have donated some Coca Teabags – trust me,  - that will help him.


(*Panama hats originate from Ecuador, but were shipped out via Panama - hence the name. You should in fact call them Ecuadorian Toquilla).


Talking of hats – William.. – I will be careful to avoid Llamas with Hats, and if other folks are wondering why, then I suggest you google it or view:




“I was hungry for hands – give me a break”.


There should be plenty of hands out there if I get a bit peckish – it is the Andes after all.


I just want to get going now, to hit the hills and get into the event. Having just checked the course notes once again it is clear that this is going to be slow – with the altitude, the climbs and the extra kit. Day 4 looks particularly brutal with 3000m of elevation gain (that’s like going over Ben Nevis – twice) packed into a marathon distance. It is therefore likely that both my blogs and fuse will get shorter. I apologize in advance.


Until I am in the mountains – toodlepip.


PS I am number 42.


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Back in UK after many years in HK

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