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Racing with the Parasite, Irish AR at the HUAIRASINCHI Explorer 2014 Adventure Racing World Championship Ecuador.

Posted by on 4 December, 2014
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I think it was last March when Avril mentioned that she and fellow team mate would like to race at the World Championships in Ecuador. I was enroute to Banf on a snowboarding weekend which I thought would be a good opportunity to ask permission, while Eoghan had just come back Startifrom GodZone. Having broken his leg, I felt he would be easily persuaded and that it would be a good time to ask him.  Before the Costa Rica mud had time to disappear, it seemed we had a team and would need to get a plan together. A lot was dependent on Eoghan’s recovery, but he is a strong lad and we knew secretly he would make it.  We planned to be in Ecuador early in the week of the race start. The purpose was to spend a day in Quito, a day hiking at 4698 meters (race height) and then get ready to go over the madness that is pre-race checks etc… Pete arrived Thursday, to meet two team mates he had met  only once before. We did manage to get him up to around 4,400 meters in a rushed effort to get him somewhat acclimatised and straight into the thick of Mandatory gear checks. This meant he didn’t have the time that we had to acclimatize. Eoghan on the other hand, had plenty of time to hydrate and em, eat!! Jeez the man can eat, lucky we were in a hotel across from a food court. The pre-race gondola ride and hike was a good lesson in altitude. We stopped every 50 meters, a stop which was very necessary as our Irish lungs contracted considerably – We climbed up Rucu; an incredible view at 4698 meters in about two hours and probably made it back down in around 45 minutes. 

Start lineIt wasn’t long before Eoghan was hydrated, we had repacked a few times and we were on the 4:30am bus ride to the start line. The start line was in the middle of nowhere, with a large start gantry out in the Antisana reserve, which was at around 4,000 meters altitude, high in the Andes. We posed for a few photos for Rob from sleepmonsters, final whistle stop, and before we knew it, we were running off into the clear sky with the snow capped Volcano Antisana on our right.

We were already running uphill. Not a great idea. As we ran onwards we slowed as we could see that it probably wasn’t the best start for Pete. We shuffled along but as we climbed towards the pass of 4400 the altitude, it was starting to have a big impact on Pete’s breathing. Pete had been hurting in the thin air from the start – we towed and shuffled a ‘not too often’ silent Pete, who put the head down and worked as we moved over the pass and down toward the lake. He was suffering but he knew he would soon be on lower ground and fair play to him, red faced, he ploughed on through.

As we moved on, the paths became smaller and smaller.  With teams everywhere, you could see people taking different routes. Eoghan was great at picking out paths and routes through the dry but technical climbs and descents. Having climbed along the ridge of the high mountain pass, we eventually came to a lake and took a slow narrow path around the lake. Often we were on high climbs and eventually came down into the first transition. First Hike

Stage 2; Mountain Bike (67 km)

This was a welcome stage to have after the high mountain pass from Jamanco to El Chaco. A chance for Pete to shake the altitude sickness. While it was hard to leave the people in the hot spa in the transition, the downhill was most welcome. It would have been great to have the Garmin as we picked up some speed, descending almost 1800 meters passing huge waterfalls, double waterfalls and over-taking the odd truck and bus on the descent. Considering the slog that we had before, we were now flying. After a few hours of descending we came to a road where we could see it had been raining heavily.  We were happy that we had missed it, but then we crossed the bridge and had a nice 3-4km hike-a-bike in sludgy mud along the amazon basin for our sins – flash backs of the hike a bike in Costa Rica came to mind but it wasn’t as mush of a slop fest as that. We completed the section in 5 hours eventhough we had expected 7 hours.  Spirits were high as darkness was firmly upon us.

TrekStage 3; Trek (44 km)

The trek from the transition started along a fire road along what is called the Oyacachi Trail. The fire road went on for a few kilometres as we gained upon one or two teams. This eventually took us to a river where we met a few teams. I can safely say that this is really where our race began!! The trail starts in El Chaco at 1500m and follows the Oyacachi River all the way to Oyacachi which is at 3200m. This trail is only one of three natural trails in Ecuador that link the Western and Eastern Sides of the Andes. It was used by indigenous people to travel from the highlands to access the Amazon area. The trail was narrow and technical in places with many old hanging bridges that were missing parts, as well as landslides blocking the path.

As we approached an opening on the river you could see teams were having difficulty trying to find the path.  The trouble was that there was no path, just some odd clearings up the sides of the river bank. Eoghan searched up and down the river bank along with Brazilian team and eventually found a clearing, a path or a mudslide that took us through thick jungle along the banks of the river.  It was pure mud and it was mostly on hands and knees, scrambling up the river bank and then down the other side holding routes and trees or whatever you could grasp to keep you from sliding back down the banks. At one point along the trail, it became really slippery.  Down to the left, the trail dropped off the side of the cliff.  I grabbed a large tree jutting out from the right to help me pass.  No sooner had I grabbed it, when it flew out from its perch, roots and all, at a speed that nearly took me and my poles over the cliff. Luckily it missed, but it scared the absolute shite out of me and probably Avril who was behind me. We ploughed on through the mud. There were a few occasions when we met dead ends along the ‘trail’, which saw us and about six to eight other teams have to reverse and back track back out.  As it started to bucket down, evenutally we moved away from the pack with Eoghan making the wise decision to go west up the river. We dipped in and out of the river and up again on to the banks. With the heavy rain the Oyacachi river flow got fast very, very quickly.   We made progress, however with the mud getting heavier and heavier with the rainfall, we had to clamber up the trail. Without solid roots or trees to hold onto, it was impossible to climb up the mudslides. These seemed to go on forever.   We then moved to clambering over boulders along the river as it seemed like the path of least reistance. As the river got higher, soon the boulders were no longer an option, with fast flowing water at waste height we needed to get back along the banks. The last boulder clamber was definitely one Avril was enjoying – it just wasn’t a place she wanted to go for fear of slipping off into the fast moving river.  With the pouring rain making rocks more slippery she conquered her fears and over she went. We exited the jungle temporarily after having to cross one of the tributaries which led into the main river.  As we lowered ourselves down by rope off the trail on the river bed, we came across a lone log which balanced from the bank onto a large boulder.  As we approached, we saw another team crossing.  One teammember was standing on the boulder holding an overhead rope as tightly as he could.  His other teammembers tip toed across the shaky log holding the taut rope overhead.  Teamwork at its best.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany teams had now started to follow us back into what can only be described as a giant mud slide.  After another few very slow kilometres we eventually came out onto a fire road.  We followed this road down into the transition. The last 20km in the mud slide totally distracted us from the fact that we were supposed to have kept the river on our left. We followed the path happy to be out of the mud oblivious to the fact that we had a penalty. As we climbed back up to around 3000 meters, we were cold and wet. We were looking forward to getting to the warmth of TA3.  This was one of our slower sections.  We took 21 hours to complete it (20 hours was the estimated slow time), but we had banked enough time on the first cycle, so we were in good spirits as we headed into TA3 for our first sleep after over 30 hours of racing. The transition was at a local school, where classrooms were available for a sleep.  There was also a nice lady serving up some warm chicken soup. This was very much appreciated, apart from the big chicken skull swimming in the middle. Eoghan seemed to have some  problem with his foot after the trek, he went to the doctor who told him his right, 2nd smallest toe was possibly fractured. Thankfully though, the medic strapped it up and told him his function shouldn’t be affected, just sore. After 2 hours sleep we got up and were on the bikes. We were told in transition to take our time on the bike.  As we were to climb up to 4100 meters, we decdied to wrap up in all our cold gear. We were told that one of the US teams, Team Bones had been out and had to turn around before the pass.  Due to possible hypothermia, they had headed back down and pulled out of the race. Rather than send a shiver down our spine, instead we became curious about the challenge and road out into the night.

 

 

Stage 4; Mountain Bike (144 km)

Thankfully the rain had abated a little for the mountain bike leg up and over the Andes, from Oyacachi to San José de Minas. The ride began withLast Cycle a pretty steep first 10km where we ascended 900-metres. Pete handled this altitude of 4000 meters better this time. Around 5km up the climb, a jeep stopped ahead of us where 4 people popped out offering us coke, coffee and cake. How nice was that coffee and cake on the cold mountain!  We continued up the mountain, Eoghan giving us a countdown to the pass. We didn’t really get to experience the hardship that Team Bones did and it wasn’t long before we were descending at speed down the other side. As we hit the CP a fog fell upon the mountain. This didn’t hamper Eoghan’s navigation, but made visibility using head torches very difficult. As we descended off the mountain we had our first experience of our first of 5 million stray dogs in Ecuador. They were loud, annoying and let’s just say Avril was very allergic J.  Perhaps Dog is not woman’s best friend.  If only we had picked up an ‘Arthur’.

Having vibrated along on around 5-10km of paved roads, we hit the railway lines around 6am.  From there, it was time to go to the first virtual CP. This meant we had to go to a place that was shown by a picture on the route book and then take a team photo.. We bounced off the railway lines a bit too early but found the CP  on the second attempt. It was strange being among the hustle and bustle of the morning traffic in a small town. We hit a café for a quick morning coffee in the cold only to be served eggs, bread and coffee in about 2 minutes… It was a good break as we needed to look at the maps to choose the best route going forward.   We had a choice of 3 options.  We decided to take the track via San Miguel.  The sun came out bright as we approached the track or what we thought was going to be a sludgy possible hike-a-bike to the end.  However, it ended up being a bone dry single track!   The Equatordryness and the slight descent gave us great speed and a huge smile as we flew along down the track.  This was definitely one of the high points of the race as we had felt we had made such a good decision and were really after pulling back a lot of time as we went. It’s not often that you find yourself yelping as you plough along on day 3 of the race with only 2 hours sleep, it shows how well we were feeling at this point. This section was to be 24 hours but now we were looking closer to 16:00 hours which would get us back in plenty of time for the 5:00pm cut-off. As we sped along, all the time we were saying there must be another difficult section at the end of this. Next up it was the Equator – a hot and stiff climb up a long long road section brought is to O°Latitude. We stopped for a photo and then ploughed along the sandy roads descending again. Next stop was the Tunguraha School. Here we met the French team, RA Vaucluse Aventures Lafuma.  They were relaxed and having a spot of tuna that they had purchased from inside the house of one of the locals.  We purchased a coke and during our converstaion, we asked how long they thougth was left.  They estimated roughly 20km (roughly 2 hours), and at 1:30pm we were looking good and decided to get some food in. Again we climbed on the bikes passing the odd site of a cow or a bull on the side of the road tied to a tree. We were moving well taking a short cut across the fields to save time. From there we had a long descent where I noticed my brakes were worn down to zero.  At one of the sharp switch backs I had to jump off the bike so as not to go over the edge. Eoghan laughed as he had done something similar in GodZone.  At that point we were out of water, so we stopped to get some in a shop and then proceeded up a hill then down another descent.  This is where Eoghan stopped – something had just come over him and he felt very weak. Initially I thought he had just bonked a bit and so stopped and let the others go on ahead. He became a bit incoherent and the guys were heading in the wrong direction from what I could tell. Eoghan said he wasn’t sure and couldn’t really read the map. Sending the guys on ahead, we put the bikes together and towed while at Schoolthe same time calling out features to make sure we were going the right direction. The clock was ticking and with an hour to make the cut off, Eoghan couldn’t work out (well subject to my interpretation ) if there was 5km or 10km left.  I shouted to the others to go on, and then I took Eoghans bag thinking I would ride uphill with boat bags….not an easy task.  As he was warbling behind, again we put the bikes together.  We walked and towed, waiting to see if we were going the right way.  We were now going very slowly and as the time was ticked away, of course it began to rain.  As we entred the town, we came across Team Peaklife UK who were also trying to make the cut off.  There was  was blind panic as it seemed the town and what was on the map had nothing in common. It was 5:00pm and we couldn’t see the TA4 .  People were shouting at us in Spanish where to go, but we hadn’t a clue.. We all spread out trying to find it.  Poor non-coherent Eoghan was being towed up the hills as we all put in maximum effort trying to locate the TA.  After a few minutes we located the hall up at the back of the town.  It was now 5:08pm as we burst into the transition.  Greeted by the race director and a group of journalists who had all been tracking us, to our delight, we were told the cutoff which we had tried so desperately to make, was no extended until 12am that night.  Our excitement was short lived as the next announcement was that we had two penalites!  One two hour penalty for missing the initial 5pm cut off and then also a four hour penalty, which as it turns out most teams got for crossing the river in the previous section.  I questioned the 2 hr penalty as it appeared that even if you were 3 hrs late past the initial 5pm cut off, you still got the same penalty as teams that missed it by minutes and seconds.  However, the team let it rest as we refocused on  getting some rest and getting Eoghan recovered, as we hoped to be heading off again at 9:00pm that night.

Stage 5: Trek 49km

As we woke up in the TA, Eoghan was still suffering badly with diarhoea. He went to see the medic who gave him some pills for what they diagnosed as being a gastric problem. They offered him an IV accompanied with a 4 hour penalty, but Eoghan was having none of it. We woke him at 9:00pm, the time we had hoped to depart, however at that point  he was in a slightly worse state.  Unable to retain any food in his stomach, we left him sleep again until 12:00pm. We were told that we would have until 5:00am to leave the transition or we would be short coursed. It looked to us that this was going to be the case for us. At 12:00pm he wasn’t getting any better. Having previous experience of short Tripping outcoursing too early, Avril was adamant that we would continue on the long course.  However at that point  it really depended if Eoghan was going to be able. At 3:30am we told Eoghan that we had to leave by 5:00am if we were to continue on the long course.  He tried eating some food again and then let us know that he was ready to try and continue. This gave us a big lift and gave us around 45 minutes to get the hell out of there. He was hoping the drugs would work. He visited the toilet and then we were off again. We left with another team from Ecuador and Belgium and headed back up the climb. After a few hours of trekking in the sun we split from the forest trails and decided to go off road across the mountains rather than travel around by road.  It was here that we first met the crazy Columbians while off searching for a path. As we crossed the fields it got pretty wet.  Eoghan was getting weaker but was doing a great job of holding it together. The maps were presented with the usual problems of roads and tracks not being there. At that point we headed south before thinking we had descended too far. As we came backup the path we met the Belgium team and one of the marshalls.  He pointed us in the right direction of the CP, which was on the peak of the mountain before we would start an 18km descent.

Hitting the CP, we started to descend along some narrow gully’s that were carved into the mountain.  These were used in the old days for OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsmuggling; the narrow passages with high walls were full of mud and were becoming filled with water as the torrential rain fell upon us. Amazing how within an hour, the mud that we tip toed through was now up to our knees. It really was surreal. Sometimes as we lay on the ground having been swept off our feet by a sudden gush of water, we would have the pleasure of the water flowing down our backs, soasking us through and through.  At one stage it was like a scene from Indiana jones, suddenly all you could hear was the sound of a lot of water. It came so quickly that it swept me totally off my feet, down the gully, only that I could wedge my sticks into the wall across the cavern, I am not sure how far I would have travelled. Woke me up that’s for sure. As the rain continued for around 6 hours the air did warm a little, as we got back to around 2000 meters.  The puddles of mud seemed to be endless, however after about 6 hours of descending in murky rivers we came out at CP 15. CP 15 to CP 16 was around 11km and was a relief after the long hours in the temple of doom. As we proceeded down the fire road it was dark and getting late. After around 7km we came across a small town and passed on through. The path went on to become a road with a grass verge down the centre.  Looking at the map it appeared to be the correct direction as we headed on down south. Each house seemed to have an average of 7 dogs to bark at us which made Avril pretty happy J.  we moved on past 3 houses where then the road/track seemed to take us into the Sugar cane field. We could hear the river we were headed to, and so we assumed it was probably the right track down to the village where we were headed. After about one km of descending we passed what can only be described as a moonshine laboratory. Someone was making alcohol from Sugar canes, we didn’t pay too much attention as we were focused on finding the tracks. We assumed that the moonshine people would need water from the river and that we should hit it soon. About 200 meters more descent and the track seemed to disappear.  Eoghan and I continued on through the Sugar cane looking for tracks that would take us to the river. I climbed down a steep descent as a last ditch effort to try and pickup a tree line that would take us to the river.  The descent then became too steep, we had been cliffed out. Eoghan had to lower down his trekking poles so that I could climb back up the hill side.  As he was dragging me back up the wee cliff we heard voices shouting in Spanish and dogs barking.  It was a steep climb back up and the look of ‘oh shit’ was on everyone’s now mud splattered faces.  We climbed back towards the voices so as to explain what we were doing.  Eoghan was first out shining his head torch into the faces of a 2 guys with machetes and what sounded like a pack of dogs. Like a scene out of Resevoir dogs, all we could see was flashing light through the vegetationg and all we could hear was the terror in  Eoghan’s voice as pleaded back “No Senior, Ma llamo es Eoghan, No hablo Espanol, Soy Irlandes! No senior!”.  This sentence seemed to be repeated a few times.   He explained “No Mr.  My name is Eoghan.  I don’t speak spanish.  I’m Irish No Mr.  The men were shouting in Spanish at a million miles an hour but more importantly there were no gunshots.  As we climbed out 1 by 1 of the bushes, Eoghan introduced us to the two men, Paoblo and his brother whose name I can’t recall. Eoghan showed them the map trying to explain where we were trying to get too. They turned off their torches and told us we were 40 minutes off course.  Pablo then explained that he would show us where we needed to go. Pablo and his brother were the land owners, and as we passed again by their house they pulled up a bench Descent after CP15and invited us to taste some of their moonshine. We were nervous to decline their hospitality, but thankfully they understood. Pablo proceeded back up the hill showing us the way, even offering to take Avril’s bag at one stage. We politely declined and after around 40 minutes of walking and broken Spanish we arrived at the junction. PHEW !!!!

As we arrived to the next transition TA5 (a church) in a very small village. We were told that we now had to serve a 4hr penalty. Water off a ducks back, compared what we had just been through. A 20 hour penalty would have meant nothing to 4 people who had just been close to being grossly misunderstood. We had planned a 3 hour sleep anyway so an extra an hour to peel off the mud was welcome. Pete was asleep in about 5 seconds and the time from consumption of food to delivery was getting shorter and shorter for Eoghan.  It was clear whatever tablets he was taking weren’t helping.  We were hoping the sleep would do him some good.

 

Stage 6; Mountain Bike (159 km)

Getting the bikes sorted took a bit of time. I badly needed some new brakes, and Avril’s bike had a flat. Thankfully the smile of Peadar Ó’Spagnoli was now firmly with us !! Eoghan circled a wee bit and man he was pale, he was very pale… We left the transition at 6:00am.  As the sun rose, we climbed out of the village.  Eoghan stopped and said things just weren’t right and we need to take his gear.  I bulged it into my bag.  It would have been grand apart from the 300g all day breakfast; obviously one of Captain Cartons wonder meals.  Eoghan was doing a lot of teeth grinding as OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhe moved along on the bike.  You could see his energy was very low as we continued.  This was an incredible bike section surrounded by some really beautiful jungle. We moved on through the next 2 controls.  Eoghan was continuing to make stops, this time his run to the jacks had blood. This was a bad sign, I remembered from Costa Rica, the instructions were should this occur contact the race organisers. Once we got to the next control, Eoghan informed them of his condition. They told us there was a hospital in the next town that he needed to visit.  The offer was there to take Eoghan to the hospital from this point, however, Eoghan chose to cycle on, thus avoiding us being short coursed at this point. We cycled on, and as we approached the town, Ryan one of the race organizers was there waiting for us outside the medical centre.  The Argentina team were also there, lying on the road while the medics were attending to their team mate.  He had lost the ability to the pee, well he hadn’t done so in 2 days. He was on a drip, and they told us they were out of the race. Avril being closer to Medic type of stuff went with Eoghan and kept us informed of what was happening. It wasn’t long before we learned that Eoghan had a parasite infection. They put him on a drip for 30 minutes and gave him some brown pills to take every 2 hours.

Having only stopped for approx. 2 hours and after Avril had had made a few extra FB friends, we were on the way. Eoghan sounded a little better but relieved that he now knew what it was. We were happy not to have to serve a 4 hour penalty.  .We rolled out of the town as night started to Pit Stopfall.  Eoghan’s energy was still shot, but as we thought he would soon be back.  We put him on tow… We had to climb out of that town and up to the another high point, the last highest poing of the race.. At the top, where we hit the control, things still weren’t right, another powernap was needed. 10 minutes was taken in the dark and cold night.  The organizers were concerned and uttered to me that even though the next control was supposed to be virtual (CP 21) that they would have someone there to meet us. They were concerned about our wounded soldier. What happened next was just nuts. I tried to put Eoghan back on tow, but he was happier to go slow in control of his own bike as the tow was too close and it was all downhill from here. Eoghan was like a man that had drank 20 pints. On the descent he was pulling the front brakes where there was no requirement to slow down, his point of reference had disappeared. As we descended, he got off his bike and there was no moving him on. We thought 30 minutes at the side of the road would help and after checking him after 30 minutes, we decided to leave it the full hour.   After the hour we moved on again as the torrential rain restarted.  Itt poured very hard and made visibility impossible.  We tried to stop and shelter, but it was hopeless, everywhere we searched in the dark was filled with puddles and we knew going forward we weren’t going to see any more civilisation for a while. We made the choice to return to the previous town for safety reasons. We felt at least there we could get some shelter, and the way things were going this and a sleep were very necessary. It took us along time to get back as navigation was tougher in the pouring rain and as we had to go back up to the high point which was at 3600 meters.  It was slow.

When we got back to the town, through the barking dogs we came across a shelter in the centre of the town.  We decided to sleep there until sunrise. Sunrise came and so did the organizers. They had been waiting at CP21 and we hadn’t come, so they drove back past CP 20 to find us. Last BikeThe tracker had worked, and they were surprised to be met with smiling faces. Eoghan was back !!!!! But the news from the organisers wasn’t great. They said we  needed to get moving as they were closing up the course behind us. We said we were ok, and we headed at good speed to the next control. We had got to the control ahead of the organisers which somehow surprised them. We pulled in to get some water at CP21. Here the organizers informed us that we would need to move along with them so that we could make the time for the logistics truck to leave the kayak transition. It was clear we now weren’t going to make the kayak cut-off and we would be moved to the last kayak stage. We asked could we finish the bike section as we had one more control CP22 with the ropes and then to the transition. It was out of the control of the volunteers I guess, and so with much hesitation we packed up. This left a bad taste with me, as finishing a day early after all we had just been through wasn’t reasonable at all by the organisers.  We were moved along to the kayak transition where we met a few other teams in a similar situation.

 

Stage 10; Sea Kayak (59 km)

We were asked to be ready at 5:30am to start the final Kayak. Unfortunately though, our kit still hadn’t arrived. At 5:00am our bike boxes still hadn’t shown up and then we learned that they were gone to the finish line…. along with our maps. The organisers had 2 sets of maps between 3 teams. We volunteered to go with our friends the Columbian team and that we would share the map. Ricky, the Columbian team captain had absolutely no problem with this. We headed off together against the tide. As the sun came up our heads went down and we did well to stay with the Columbian team. One of their pairs in particular were very strong, but we all stopped and regrouped together for food or a jump in the sea for some light relief. The Columbians had no fear of the water. After 3 hours of moving in the heat on the sea, tiredness was grabbing hold as the heads started to drop. A couple of caffeine tablets seemed to bring us right back up as Pete and Avril talked their way through the final 6 hours…. until at least we approached a sandbank on our way up the final river. We saw the French team take a right hand turn off the main channel so we (Team SETI and us) went in pursuit.  Into the mangroves we went! It wasn’t long before we hit a dead end. We unlike the other team, made the decision to reverse out of there (Costa Rica Dejavu).   Ricky spoke to a local who directed us to another channe which would take us back beyond Kayakthe sand bank that we had encountered earlier. As we went along this channel, we could see a number of teams walking their boats over the sandbank surrounded by spectators and media. CP 33, Tigua, was only 1 km away where we would gladly deposit our kayaks.. We were delighted to be rid of the toy boats and to be finished the last kayak section. After 7 days of racing there wasn’t much of a sprint finish in us.   We walked the last fkm with our Columbian friends and another 3 person team from Ecuador, all sharing and laughing about our experiences of the days before. After what seemed a short walk 4KM, we approached the town Mompiche. The Columbians had many friends and family to greet them, so we let them go ahead to the finish line. On their own, they would have easily hit the finish of the kayak ahead of us. There was a nice crowd on the streets as we approached the finish line. We got a great cheer and were welcomed by the course organiser and a number of photographers. It was very surreal to be finishing in such surroundings having been beaten up by the mud, rain, jungle and parasites over the previous 7 days.

One of the main draws of adventure racing is the incredible experience you get in racing in new places, often getting to see parts of the world many people in their own countries don’t get to experience and then of course the challenge of the race. We were lucky to have stayed out on the course to experience the best parts that the course had to offer. The experience of the gruesome treks in the Amazon which were complemented by some cracking biking in the Andes the whole time  surrounded by fantastic scenery was a major contributor to why the tram continued to push trough even though things got very tough and sometimes very dangerous right to the end. We had an awesome journey to make it to the finish line. Well done to Team Seagate on their fantastic victory and to Team Addidas coming in sixth given the mechanicals they had on the course.  Thanks also to the organisers on what was really an incredible course and fantastic support and organization along the way. We would like to thank everyone for their heaps of txts, messages and FB comments, something that was really great to come back to. Thank you to our sponsor Helly Hansen for great gear that kept us bone dry in the very wet weather, to Trek for the bars, super natural food, to Leki for the poles that survived the muddiest Jungle treks we will ever get to experience…. Lastly, to incredible team mates, jesus lads!! Some experience!!!!! Thanks You!!

See you all in Ballyhoura !!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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