Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day 4 of Atacama and the Winds are Winning

It seems that the winds will prove to be the winner of stage 4 in the Atacama Crossing race. The winds are so powerful that a few competitors have pulled out of the race. Race officials were thinking of shortening the course but

From the Racing the Planet race organizer came this note:
High winds now buffeting campsite. Tents barely holding on. Several competitors have pulled out of the race and except for frontrunners, the rest are still on course.
We've been following the Backcountry.com athlete Joe Holland over the race. After the third stage he was in 2nd place overall with a 10 minute gap between himself and 3rd place Francesco Galanzino of Italy who has been racing strong in all the stages.

Correspondence with the racers is limited but Joe managed to fire off an e-mail to us (at the cost of $10 per e-mail!) about stage 2. It explains why he dropped so much time to the stage winner and current leader Mark Tamminga of Canada.
Today's stage proved to be a formidable challenge. We started out running 5 miles in some of the most beautiful slot canyon I have seen. Except for the freezing water that required that I jump out of the water and literally scream as the feeling returned to my legs, it was amazing.

From the river we headed down a road for a few miles. As the competitive spirit kicked in, the lead group ended up missing a turn and running an extra 3 kilometers. After that I was so aggravated that I broke my cardinal rule and strayed from my game plan. I ran up the toughest part of the course as though we were in a 5K running race and paid for it during the last 10 K's of the day. Dropped 20 minutes in the last section. With some luck, tomorrow will be better.

From an organizational view, the staff and RTP continues to out perform all expectations and we are grateful.
We'll see how Joe and the others faired in the high winds of Stage 4. Check in at the Atacama Crossing 2006 site for daily results.

Photo credit - Racing the Planet

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