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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Stage 3 Into the Red Tsingy
02-Sep-2014 01:09:44 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

You have to be careful what you wish for…this course and the race conditions are getting no easier and I’m deteriorating…but in good spirits. My feet and chafing are the key concerns and even after Sahara and Gobi I’m only starting to realise what these races are about and how tough they are when the body isn’t holding up well.

The day started after an appalling night’s sleep. The local villagers slaughtered a Zebu and tradition holds that they party until the animal is completely consumed. Well these guys were the loudest revellers and slowest eaters in Africa. Their disco beat pounded until dawn kept us all awake until 6.00am and I emerged bleery eyed and hostile to ready myself for today’s marathon length stage. I’d had recovered in somewhat reasonable order overnight…albeit completely lathered in thick lubricant and started out slowly.

The first stretch was a beautifully compact beach and had I been feeling better I’d have enjoyed running it. A few km later the racers pushed into the bush and recommenced the dusty slog through deep sand. The hours past slowly and the heat was really depleting. I left my mate Gav resting at CH1 and wandered through the next few hours alone and very focussed on getting the distance done. By early afternoon the sun was burning fiercely as I entered a long, hot and very exposed Tsingy canyon. Tsingy are very striking rock pinnacles carved by wind and time to form jagged stone forests at the base of the canyon wall. As soon as I was through the Tsingy the path traversed several spur lines and re-entrants thick with camel thorn. My arms and legs got pretty fragged but the sights and terrain was a welcome change from deep sand drifts.

By late afternoon I had the most technical and challenging stages done and it was down to a final 11km trudged through the dust. I must admit my head and feet were dragging as I crossed though more and more villages. I passed and got passed by a calamitous zebu cart and the animals were protesting loudly. They had jackknifed and gotten themselves twisted in a deep bog. The drivers were giving them quite a belting with sticks to get them moving…pretty sad but quite an insight into local conditions. When I forded a knee high river I knew I was within the final km of camp and it couldn’t have come soon enough. I wanted to pause for a dip but an apparent crocodile siting earlier in the arvo got me move through the frustratingly cool water.

When I finally crossed under the stage finish banner I was thrashed. I don’t have too many more adjectives I can conjure to describe the race, conditions or how I’m feeling; I do have a few choice expletives though.

Recovery was pretty slow tonight; get some calories in, do my best to get clean and rehydrate. The worst of it is some deep blisters under most toes and bruised heels and pads. The chaffing is getting a little worse so it’ll be the priority to sort that before bed. Tomorrow is another marathon but likely to kick off with my first ever visit to the first aid tent. I’ll let my feet dry out tonight and get the blistered tended to as best I can. We continue to lose racerd and I’m really bummed to have seen my mate Gav off in s race vehicle and off to hospital. Gav is en ex special forces lad, a top 20 runner but succumbed to a bout of fever and spent the afternoon vdry poorly indeed…I hope to see him back in Diego for a quiet beer.

That’s it for me…certainly tough out there and a I don’t usually (I think) whine in blogs I hope I haven’t caused my family concern; I’m trekking through northern Madagacasr and exactly where I want to be…Sure I want the pain to stop and the race to be behind me; but I want to get it done more than I want to quit. And that’s the key for me.

Tomorrow is another day, I’ll recover as well as I can overnight and set out slow and steady when the starter’s gun goes off.

My best to all and much love to my dear family…in health and happiness

S

12 COMMENTS

Jon Gannon

Posted: 04-Sep-2014 01:26:55 AM

Bollywood... keep at it mate! Get the tape and use it on everything!! Sounds like amazing scenery and hard days in the office! You know not finishing is not an option for you unless medically it just makes sense.. but you need sense for that ;-) Good luck big fella!

Paul Tyas

Posted: 04-Sep-2014 12:23:36 AM

What a tough nut! Hard day at the office I'm sure. The wheels may be falling off but the engine is still strong. Keep up the great effort Steve , can't wait to blow the froth off a couple when you get back and hear all about it. Remember after this solid push next time you have sand between your toes you will be in Hawaii with a umbrella drink in hand. Go Steve !!!

Gavin Parr

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 04:15:38 PM

Kobuis, if you're suffering some chafing, just tuck your jeanpants Into your gaiters and then you'll be pumping broo.

Agnes C

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 12:20:16 PM

Your stories are so always so amazing and just reading your blog is like joining you on this adventure, although I don't have the strength in enduring the way you did and still be able to enjoy everything along the way... Keep up the spirit and tell yourself this journey in paradise is worth all the suffering!! Keep moving!! Big hug!

Agnes C

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 12:20:11 PM

Your stories are so always so amazing and just reading your blog is like joining you on this adventure, although I don't have the strength in enduring the way you did and still be able to enjoy everything along the way... Keep up the spirit and tell yourself this journey in paradise is worth all the suffering!! Keep moving!! Big hug!

Leanne Brydon

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 08:00:50 AM

What do I say, you constantly amaze me, in a good way, I love your tenacity and your strength, I'm hoping the chaffing clears up before we go away! And crocodiles now...I really would have not gone well! xxxxxxxxx

Andrew Wellington

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 05:33:45 AM

Everyone's basically said it before me.....Stay at it mate.....One smashed foot after the other......Pelos!!!!

Trevor Huteau

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 04:41:24 AM

Well done so far mate. As others have said "if anyone can do it, you can", just don't kill yourself in the process. Hope the first aid helped. Trev

Andy Walker

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 04:26:26 AM

You're halfway through now. One foot after the other. You're an absolute legend. Stay with it. Andy

Tony Johnston

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 03:29:59 AM

Well done, another day under the belt . Rest up . You\'re doing a fantastic sounds like it is a challenge over there. Keep it going. Tony

Peter Hill

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 03:22:05 AM

Go Steve!!! Massive respect mate, I've been reading all the blog entries from people and I must say, this sounds so much tougher than the Gobi. The heat and conditions sound brutal but if anyone can push on through then you certainly can. Stay strong buddy Pete

Peter Hill

Posted: 03-Sep-2014 03:21:58 AM

Go Steve!!! Massive respect mate, I've been reading all the blog entries from people and I must say, this sounds so much tougher than the Gobi. The heat and conditions sound brutal but if anyone can push on through then you certainly can. Stay strong buddy Pete

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STEVEN BRYDON
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

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Why are you competing?
Madagascar is high on my bucket list and I love
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