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RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 Blogs

Day 1…….done
31-Aug-2014 02:05:23 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

A beautiful course and “theoretically” not that hard. Practically and actually, I’m in pain! The course started up hill from our camp and gently meandered through a number of small villages. Through beeches and, most challenging, across old lava fields. The later was really slow going, the potential of serious injury was high and therefore full attention was needed. I’m convinced that the course designer has some special evil superpower. He managed to make the whole first 22 miles feel like we were only going uphill with the wind full blast in our faces.

The weather was hot, around 40 degrees centigrade, with not a cloud in the sky. The course had absolutely no shade making the temperature feel it was substantially worse. Virtually every competitor felt the impact, draining our energy and making the second half feel like the road the Hyades!

Arriving at the camp was a mixture of good and bad…..

The good:

Firstly it is set on a beautiful deserted beach that gave us an opportunity to was away they day’s sweat and dirt (and replace it with sea salt). There is a nice cool breeze coming in from the sea making it comfortable and no flies. Double win!

Secondly, there were fresh coconuts they opened for us. A but of rum would have made it perfect.

The bad:

Another dried meal…yuck! The most I’ve managed to consume out of one packet so far is 4 spoon full. Horrible disgusting stuff.

Luba did a fantastic job finishing not only finishing the race but I also think she took a picture of every living thing on her trip. I’m a little afraid we will have to hire the Met to show all her photos. She did make friends with all the local kids, but to be fair I’m not sure they understood a words she says….but she does have an infectious laugh I’m sure they enjoyed. I also think she may the official Racing the Planet ambassador of hugs.

We're here!
30-Aug-2014 03:31:32 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

After 31 hours of travel, 5 airports, 4 planes and delays at every point we finally made it to Madagascar. Better still, so did did our luggage, and everything inside it. We are ready to go. At least we have all the equipment! The first impression of the island is that it is similar to so many I have been on before. Definite signs of poverty but the people appear to be happy. I really look forward to getting out and seeing the real island during the race. The RTP never fall in making the course both challenging and beautiful. In 2 hours we will be having the first course briefing. After that our check-in starts and our equipment will be verified and weighed. I'm hoping my bag is below 9 kg fully loaded. I know my food is 3.5kg, or 500gm per day. By me keep checking and rechecking my numbers I know I'm getting nervous.
Pre-Race
30-Aug-2014 02:05:01 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

OK. We are at the first camp. It is beautiful! We are next to the ocean in an old abandoned navy fort (thanks to the French). The locals put on a Madagascan traditional dance with music where the locals shake their butts in, what looked like, the local version of twerking. Luba tried to join in adding enthusiasm into what she lacked in natural talent (aka butt size).

We have met all of our tent mates now. All new to me but Luba knew one lady from Iceland. Three Brits, three Americans and us, all appear to be really nice, except for me of course. Tonight will be the real test…who snores the loudest. Guess who my money is on! The organizers did say that we would be fine sleeping outside, the weather is nice just a little windy. I think I’ll stay in the tent tonight.

Talking of the weather, the sky is totally clear of clouds giving a spectacular view of the jewel encrusted heavens. It is a little weird being in the southern hemisphere and all the constellations being upside down. This confusion only increased after a conversations with some Italians who suggested they are “completely different stars”. Right!

Tomorrow the race really starts. We have a course briefing scheduled for 7:00 with the start at 8:00. I believe the rating of the first day is moderate so I’m not expecting anything too shocking. The organizer’s did mention, numerous times, that there are , many water crossings. Wait for the update tomorrow….

George, if I can’t get you a lemur I get you a lemon.

Sinking in
26-Aug-2014 02:21:48 AM [(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Sitting at work completing my coverage plan for while I'm away. It really is now sinking in that I'm doing this! Am I ready.....NO Will I ever be ready.......NO I was reading the other day that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is my 4th Racing the Planet event, I guess that I am insane.
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NIGEL VAUGHAN
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014

Hometown
Edgewater, NJ

Profession
Project Manager

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NIGEL VAUGHAN
RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 competitor

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Hometown
Edgewater, NJ

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Project Manager

Why are you competing?
The people, the place and the race

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