Just a quick update before the team departs to Ecuador this weekend!
The bags are packed, our gear lists are checked and we are all in good health and ready to touch down in Quito (2800mtrs) and take part in Huairasinchi – one of 12 races in the Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS). The event is a non-stop expedition adventure race spanning 300km involving kayaking, trekking, mountain biking and rope-work over some of Ecuador`s most beautiful terrain. Our expectations for the race are to complete it as a team in the most fluid and positive manner and ultimately enjoy the experience!
On a personal level
This is always my favourite time before racing. The pressure to train has gone, after all, there is little I can do over the next week that will impact my performance positively! However there is a lot that could impede it, like fatigue, illness, injury. Therefore it is always advisable to rest, eat well and take care of ourselves – things we dont normally do very well given the pressures of work and personal life combined with the demands of training.
I have found January and February are the usual slumps of the year. It has been tough but this year I made it through, last year I didnt survive and I had all but given up sports in February and March. Abu Dhabi was well behind me, and the Ironman seemed like an eternity away, with no holidays planned I quickly grew tired of dragging myself out in the dark woods to run at night and instead I enjoyed 2 months of a very active social life! This year I suspect I will take a break again after Ecuador until the third week of March to allow myself to rest physically and mentally. Work has been more demanding than ever and now more than ever, I am aware of my limitations and the importance of setting realistic expectations for my sports and professional career and personal life!
The Team – Adventureracers.dk
Experienced adventure racers Lars Bukkehave (Denmark) and Fiola Foley (Ireland) are the two core members of the team which developed from a friendship forged between their respective Irish and Danish teams at the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge in 2009. Morten Kvistcarl (Denmark) is an accomplished ultra runner and adventure athlete and Alex Dimitriou (France) Olympic C1 Canoeist, was introduced to the team by Fiola after meeting at the Jura Raid in 2010. The team will be supported by Jaime Icaza and Rene Ponto.
It is our first time racing in this combination and we anticipate the biggest challenge will probably be coping with fatigue and lack of sleep on the 2nd and 3rd day of racing.
Stay Updated on our progress
Official Race Leaderboard and live race tracking – http://www.huairasinchi.com.ec/equipos.html
Photos of the race in progress: http://www.huairasinchi.com.ec/galeria.html
Alex came to visit from Neuchatel yesterday so that we could train together over the weekend. The weather was spectacular and we decided to do a brick bike and run session.
I wasn`t feeling the freshest due to my first CrossFit Zurich session the night before involving lots of squats and I knew pretty quickly that it was going to be an interesting mountain bike ride as Alex began to jump sideways on his bike UP steps explaining that he had done years of Trial Biking when he was younger. I was also on my race mountain bike which I hadnt ridden since October and it felt very giddy in comparison to the heavier Specialized I have been riding since then. Nevertheless Alex pointed out I should reduce my tyre pressure as it was way too high and after that everything seemed a lot easier as I had more traction on the evil wet roots that were lying everywhere. Unfortunately it didnt provide extra traction on the slippery ice that was also hiding everywhere but luckily there were no wipeouts.
After 3 hours of a hilly bike ride we took off running. The first kilometre was a little tough and I began to wonder if my training over the last few months was having any benefit at all but after 30 minutes I found my legs and was really just getting into it when the hour was over. I will probably continue to do some more bricks over the next 2 weeks to get used to the difficult transition between bike and run. But at the end of the day, for Ecuador, its going to all feel very painful and slow after the first day so I am not that concerned about how I feel now while making these transitions, its quite out of context.
We also used the opportunity to try out our new Osprey backpacks. Both of us went with the Talon 22 and we were very happy. Alexandre was especially impressed with the new drawstring elasticated cord on the outside of the pack to carry a helmet – GENIUS! All of my favourite features of the Talon 11 also exist.
I already use the Talon 11 all the time for going to work, trail running and mountain biking and I wanted to see how the 22 would fare whilst running as in the past, with larger sized backpacks I find that they swing around a lot on my back and end up chafing.
I didnt pack the Talon 22 full yesterday (it had about 3-4kg) but it was easy to reduce with the elasticated cords so that its contents didnt bounce around inside it and it fit really snug around my waist. With all of the possibilities to customize its size, the fact that it is double the volume capacity of what Im used to had little effect and I felt really good while running with it.
YouTube Video introducing the Talon 22