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RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015 Blogs

Holy Toledo - I crossed the line
02-Aug-2015 10:45:56 AM [(GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito]

The final short stage was a delightful doddle!  I was in the slow group that started 30 mins earlier to help bunch us up at the finish line.  It was largely along jungly road, through little villages and along little farms. Very humid and hot but oxygen rich for the first time in days.  I was really looking forward to being passed by the gorgeous Sarah and Magda (1 and 2 women) to cheer them on.  Sure enough they passed each with their husband and smiled and cheered.  I had the best tent mate ever in Betty from Vancouver and she caught up with me maybe a mile out of the village where we ended. We had wanted to come in together and did!  The villagers clapped us along the Main Street but the best ever thing was that Phillip had made it to the finish line to meet me. I cried with I am not quite sure - relief, joy? When I hugged him.  The local band was playing in the square.  There was beer and all sorts of real ie not freeze dried food.

wow what an unforgettable adventure.  Now back in Quito with Phillip in a lovely old style hotel in the old town. Clean for the first time in a week.  Combed hair for the first time in a week.  Wine, fruit, cheese,,,food abounds.  Ankle hurts a bit and I can see I have a nasty bruise on my arm where I did a slide stop into a checkpoint earlier in the week.  Otherwise just tired.

still no sign of Julian Assange ...

Day 5 – The Long March
01-Aug-2015 03:44:04 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Started at 10am and I finished at 2am.  Man what a day.  Think the highlight was the sunset going into the Cloud Forest.    Extraordinary.  We then walked down down down through the cloud into a surreal, dark, silent forest.  It was amazing.  Notwithstanding this beauty it was a long walk through the night.  At every checkpoint,the staff were unrelentingly upbeat but it did not stop me from wondering for the 900th time why am I doing this?  But I was very very happy to see the RTP banners and hear those drums at camp.

Today is now the official rest day.  Tomorrow is a happy 10kms to the finish. 

Day 4
01-Aug-2015 03:38:22 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Day 4 lived up expectations as, well, challenging.  Most anticipated this to be the hardest day.   But I made it  - I can now say I crossed the Andes. It was breathtakingly beautiful, top of the world stuff.  Wind nearly blew you away.    There were many moments when I wondered what on earth I was doing struggling to breathe up mountains lugging a heavy pack.  But at one rather difficult moment about 5 hours in, I was thinking how special this group was when a young Korean man panted up beside me and said ‘the medical team gave me this bottle of coke and i wanted to share it with you’.  To understand this you need to understand that this stage, a bottle of coke is worth its weight in gold.    I got to the last stage around the crater and barely made it down the hill to camp.   Two of kept ourselves going the last couple of miles. When I struggled back to the camp that night my lovely tent mate had secured me a space next to her in the best spot in school hall we were sleeping in that night and blew up my air mattress for me.  it is an exceptional spirit of everyone helping each other in every way. 

Looked for Julian Assange but did not see him.  Must still be in the Embassy....

 

Almost there
01-Aug-2015 01:45:17 AM [(GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito]

Cate finished stage 5 in 16 hours and 31 minutes. 

The last stage will only take and hour or so and she will finish at about 7 AM on Saturday morning.

I am leaving Quito at 1 AM to take a 6 hour bus ride over the Andes to meet her. 

 

 

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CATE MARTIN
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CATE MARTIN
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