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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 1...three bays
31-Aug-2014 02:46:06 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Hi all

Wow, what a rough day. Please see past all typos and spelling and do your best to decipher my message and intent.

I’ve just completed the 36km stage 1 and found it MUCH tougher than expected…but we’ll get to that.

I spent last night at an old French foreign legion base and all was pretty festive. And just a little pensive. The azure ocean was to our right and high wooded spur line bordered our front and left. On dusk the wind picked up and as it slowly became darker and cooler we all began to retire ahead of race start today.

Finally underway and the course could not have been more stunning. Up around the first head land and past a broad concrete rampart, replete with old iron cannon…an army posting to the north of Madagascar would have been nice! Not too far after we looped down onto the beach for sand, sand and more sand. The heat picked up but fortunately a nice sea breeze kept it tolerable. Across some sharp volcanic rocks and by some fishing villages and I was running quite well…a little too well as it turned out. 5km into the race my back pack snapped and I had to make some running repairs..i didn’t enjoy the knot in my back for the next 5 hours though. The race course continued to impress and I loved passing through primitive and very basic local fishing villages. The locals turned out to support and the kids were delightful. Timid and squealing as they trotted alongside in the hope of a high five.

The checkpoints past reasonably quickly and I was taking of plenty of water, electrolytes and nutrition...so far so good. Past some Zebu herds and locals on bicycles and women ferrying broad silver pots on the heads between the town well and their huts. Small children wandered past and had fashioned all manner of toys from sticks or the oceans detritus. By checkpoint 3 I was pretty spent and the 38C and 60% humidity was taking its toll. My feet ached and my hip started giving me hell…with 5km to go I stumbled on the challenge I hoped for…I was in all sorts of chaos. I was getting passed pretty easily by now and simply adopted the head down, bum up to trudged through the final hour or so.

When some local workers drummed me in dancing and carolling I couldn’t have been more delighted. I picked up a coconut and some water and rested. The coconut milk was heavenly and just what I needed to ignite my recovery. The ocean dip was quite unexpected and beyond refreshing. Though we’re paying the price now. Our tents have fine sand drifts going through them and sand has permeated everything…yes everything.

When I do a little stocktake I come up with..broken pack, sore feet, a VERY uncomfortable hip and a renewed level of focus. I think I’m about halfway in a field of 250. I took 6.5 hours to knock over the surprisingly challenging 36km…Ryan Sandes just broke seat in his 3h.08m speed session.

I’ve met a great swag of people and we’re all enjoying a relaxed and balmy beach camp. I’m smiles now and just trying to work some kinks out ahead of tomorrow’s 46km stage. With some chafing under my arms I squealed when I applied some deodorant…it got thrown out in a very swishy huff after that, I’m happy to be starting tomorrow blister free.

II’ll leave you all for now and send all my love to my wonderful wife and children.

In health and happiness

S

13 COMMENTS

paul graham

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 02:40:50 PM

Awesome stuff mate. Inspirational. love that you give a ground brief at the start of the post as well.

paul graham

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 02:40:44 PM

Awesome stuff mate. Inspirational. love that you give a ground brief at the start of the post as well.

Trevor Huteau

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 10:21:41 AM

Well done Steve. Sounds like you are just easing into your stride. Pity about the pack though. You could use some of tomorrows weather from here - 16 ° and showers.

Travis Saunders

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 09:22:37 AM

Inspirational work Steve. You are sounding more like Macgyver. Looking forward to finding out how you escaped from wild animals, scaled a 100foot high wall and saved a damsel in distress. Sounds like you need 100 mile an hour tape for your dodgy hip. Keep up the great work. ( 17 coming to Melbourne now should help for inspiration)

Matt Gilbey

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 08:20:27 AM

Once again, I get to live vicariously through the adventure of others. The vista painted today in your blog has left me with a stronger desire to emulate. I look forward to hearing more of the trip tomorrow. Stay strong and keep moving relentlessly forward. All the best....Matt

Jason Freney

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 05:43:33 AM

Go Steve, Loving your description of the country and your race so far. I like your commment I stumbled on the challenge I had hoped for.... WTF... You are one mad bugger. Keep strong mate. As usual bro - you are inspirational.

Andrew Wellington

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 05:25:37 AM

Good read mate! Stay strong, I know you'll get stronger as the event goes on! Pel

Paul Tyas

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 04:42:36 AM

In the words of yourself 'if it was easy everyone would do it' your as tough as they come. Keep pushing mate. Inspirational ! Keep up the good work. If the pack breaks adapt the local on head method of carrying it. Look forward to the next post. Stay strong!

Patricia Bowmer

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 04:04:52 AM

Terrific effort on the first day! It sounds like you found the challenge you were looking for, and I'm sure you'll eat it up, as ever. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you through your blog. Best wishes for a restful sleep and renewed energy in the morning!

Andy Walker

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 04:04:14 AM

Hang in there buddy. The first day is always a shock to the system. And you're one of the most stubborn mofos I've ever met.

Tony Johnston

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 03:29:40 AM

Awesome effort mate, hopefully things get sorted for you. You're an inspiration .

Jase Currey

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 03:26:31 AM

Mate a tough day at the office but as you know those days define you ! Will be looking forward to the updates !

Leanne Brydon

Posted: 01-Sep-2014 02:56:32 AM

The course sounds amazing, the photos are just fantastic. Obviously, from back home, it looks very exotic, I guess it's not that exotic with a broken pack and a busted hip! You're better than half way in the group, coming in at 108 of a starting group of 250, well into top 50%!! Always love reading your posts, all great back here, love you lots xxxx

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STEVEN BRYDON
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

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Melbourne, Australia

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Management Consultant

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Why are you competing?
Madagascar is high on my bucket list and I love
running RTP events...combining them was a no
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