We have landed, our bikes too after a little delay somewhere between Madrid and Quito. The last few days we have been getting to know each other better as a team, the good, the bad and the ugly! There has been little to no ugly though as I have come to realise that the Irish and the Danes have A LOT in common, the biggest being the same sense of humour. I havent laughed so hard in a long time.
The topics causing most laughter are:
1. Wearing Snot Green compression socks and compression shorts around Quito – much to the locals amusement. We attract more attention than the poncho dressed Mexican wannabe blowing a horn outside our favourite restaurant (Mexican – the guys like beans)
2. Banana Bam Bam – Lars favourite pink-coloured milkshake
3. Mortens affinty to beating up any bad guys that look sideways at us (Morten is the Danish equivalent of Navy Seal but is really more of a teddy bear than a seal) and carrying a pole with him everywhere he goes. He is the protector.
4. Alexs unwaning enthusiasm for…EVERYTHING and his reluctance to eat anything here for fear of getting sick (hence the Mexican restaurant visits)
Ecuador is so beautiful, yesterday we ran up to 3,400 mtres to the beginning of a national park near Papallacta (Thermal Springs outside Quito) and all along the way there were hummingbirds, a mix of plants from the Sierra and some from the Orient (more tropical)
Then we spent about 2 hours in a thermal bath that had 5 different pools of varying temperature. You know what they say about all work and no play!
The day before we walked down from 3,300 mtres after going up a gondola to the highlands around Quito. I even got interviewed by a TV crew who happened to be there. We have a lot of our gear already organized. The bikes, medical kits and now we are getting around making foodpacks and determining what type of food we can eat in transition.
The breakdown of the race has already been released:
As you can see we have 2 really long bike sections. One of 87km the other of 100km. However, dont be deceived, this is no Ironman. We are expecting the 100km bike ride to take anything up to 20 hours. There are a lot of big mountains around here and we have no clue what the terrain will be like. The other bike stage is 87km also very long. One of those stages will definitely be at night. We have a 40km trek during which we expect to summit on well known mountain here. Cotopaxi is currently snow capped so we doubt that it will be that. But we are certain that it will be a big one. We are all apprehensive about the long nights out on the mountains. It will be a new experience for 3 of us on the team (although Morten informed me yesterday that he once stayed awake for 6 days) Lars being the only one who has gone through more than 2 nights of sleep deprivation.
This evening we will meet our support crew and take them out for dinner so they prepare nice hot food for us in return, during the transition periods.
The teams to watch for in this race are Thule and Buff. We think they will battle it out up front and we will be somewhere in the second grouping all going well.