A new day dawns on the HUAIRASINCHI Ecuador but the past 24 hours has seen the field tormented and some crushed by the difficult rainy and muddy conditions – not to mention the climbs and the altitude effects. As always a bit of sunshine builds the spirits but darkness can often eat away at teams strength and ability to continue.
Such was the adversity of the past 24 hours several of the big contenders have had to withdraw. Never by choice.
Home team favourites Movistar Ecuador (which also includes Britain Nick Gracie a most experienced elite racer) have withdrawn along with San Juan Aventura 1 an early frontrunner. Capitalising on the conditions have been Terra Aventura – Finalin who pushed ahead with confidence and gusto. Then however, it was time for many of the front teams to take a brief respite from the race to the line with the “inconvenience” of self enforced sleep. This would allow some “normalisation” of the front group to those who want to win and those who had already pushed too hard.
A video report by Afuera Ecuador tells this story by the leading team Terra Aventura – Finalin.
“Doing very well, tired but having a great time. Taking care of each other and enjoying the race. Victoria has been taking care of all of us. We’ve had some altitude problems and some aches and pains but hanging in there and having fun! Looking forward to the next 2 days.”
Currently 2 teams want victory badly enough to give it everything early on, the young Ecuadorians Terra Aventura – Finalin and the French team of Agde Raid Aventure who are now only minutes apart. They are both at around the halfway point of a 150klm ride which has a trek leg of 22klm at the 79klm mark. On the face of it this seems like a good run home. But of course it isn’t. Altitude over 3000m and hills – lots of hills – morale busting steep ones. These two teams though don’t have it their own way with 4 other teams within striking distance. A need for sleep, a nav error or a mechanical could be a heartbreaker. The remainder of the field including Skyrunners – Xpedition, Saferbo Seti Colombia, and Quest Adventure Team are continuing to press along the route. Doing what is best – at their own pace and building character.
How have they got to this point. By taking on a series of short legs of MTB, Trek, MTB and paddle all under 30 klms in distance. Of course the Trek of 28klm with 2200m of elevation gain and loss reaching an altitude of 4000m is going to hurt you. And it has. Over 10 teams have retired. For what and how we aren’t yet sure but we do know it wasn’t because it was easy. How this plays out is anyone’s guess but it will be a cliff-hanger not to be missed.
Stick yourself to this page to see how it plays out. I know which team I’m backing. Click Here For Live Site