Posted by: Bruce Duncan | February 8, 2012

Ecuador Adventure Race

This coming Sunday I am flying off to Ecuador for the Huairasinchi Expedition Adventure Race. It is the first of the 2012 AR World Series races, and is run over 400km with the usual mix of running/trekking, kayaking and mountain biking, with some rope sections and other unknown elements thrown in.

I am racing with a Danish team, Skandia Adventure Team. It is through my good friend Thure Kjaer that I am racing with them, as he asked me back in 2011 if i’d like to join up and take on the race. As I mentioned in a previous post, the race is happening almost at the same time as the Patagonian Expedition Race, to which adidasTERREX is sending a team, but I wanted to try something new, race another fantastic race, (and give someone else a shot at winning in Patagonia 😉 )

The race will be tricky, it is short, so there is little room for any errors, and the fact that some sections go to over 5000m above sea level could be a major test. I have no idea how I will cope at that altitude, I think the previous highest I’d been to, doing any form of sport was about 2500-3000m asl.

There are a few top teams competing too, so the competition should be pretty hot, fingers crossed the weather is cold and wet, which would suit us better than the South Africans or French, but we are all tough in our team and will race hard.

Ant Emmet and Sally Ozanne during the Open5 at Warcop (photo J Kirby)

I have been training really well over the past few months. Kendal has been such a great base. There are so many like minded people around who are always up for getting out on the hill, on the bike, or for some kayaking. Over the winter a number of the outdoor freelancers are not working, meaning training partners are usually easy to find. I should thank Sally Ozanne for dragging me out many times when I have felt tired, or its too early, but I have really noticed the difference. The move back up here from London has just been brilliant.

Sal & I attempting the Kentmere Horseshoe in deep snow.

Last weekend, my last real bit of training consisted of a great run over Loughrigg Fell and Silver Howe. We had planned on going up Helvellyn, but with a forecast of strong winds on the summits and heavy snow we opted for a lower level run.

Arriving in Ambleside the snow began to fall, and it didn’t let up. The run was great, icy ground, heavy snow and some lovely low level views. Claire Maxted, editor of Trail Running Mag was with us too, she was keen to get out and make the most of her time in the Lakes before heading south to the flat lands of Peterborough!

One was to fuel up post training! (good work Claire)

Claire, Ant, Sal, Paul and Helen, oh and Marcy the Hound!

Post run we all headed to Bilbo’s cafe in Ambleside, anyone with knowledge of British Orienteering greats will know Bilbo, and his cafe is brilliant, a no nonsense type of place, inexpensive and comfy. Some of us had bigger plates of food than others!!

Getting back to Kendal was interesting though, the snow had continued to fall heavily, and many of the roads were rather slippery. It was a day to chortle at those in the fancy rear wheeled drive cars. We made it back, watched rugby, kept an eye out the window, and wondered if we would actually make it out to Warcop the next day to compete in the Open 5 event.

The Open 5 event is a 5hr run and bike event with navigation. We left early but got to the event with out incident, unfortunately not all were so lucky. It was a very cold morning, but slowly the sun came out and the temperature began to rise.

I’ve not done many of the Open 5 races, and didn’t realise till late on how much weight was given to the bike section. My choice to clear the run wasn’t the best of plans, but the run up over the top of the hill was magnificent.

Alex Pilkington in the distance, up above the clouds in deep snow at the Open 5

On the bike I didn’t choose a very good route, and as such finished outside the top 3, but I had had some great navigation practice, which was my main aim of the day. Results here.

Now its a case of packing all my kit for Ecuador, resting up and getting ready to take on the next big race. I’m really excited by it, and looking forward to getting out to a new country and to discover some amazing new places.

I am due to be away for a month too. I am in Ecuador for almost 2 weeks, then I get back and and doing some work for Sport Relief, then helping out at the next Open 5 event on the North Downs, before zooming north to help Wildfox Events launch their next big event, The Glencoe Marathon, which is sure to be fantastic, with a stunning, buttery tough route set and Wildfox’s mazing support work it will be a top day out come October.
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