A mix of all our India trips in 2017 as we create our first ever Expedition India adventure race. It was most probably the craziest thing to do but a great success!
Confessions from the Heart
For the Love of Adventure Racing, the outdoors and all things beautiful!
An adventure race is not, in simple terms; a race from a start line to a finish line, no, it's a journey. A journey that unites a group of four and sends them on an adventure, that provides the perfect platform for the discovery of new strengths and weaknesses, both physically and mentally.
Over the past five days, 52 teams have navigated their way through a wilderness like no other, forced to explore a terrain that is arid, desolate and in its own right absolutely exquisite. The Namaqua West Coast made for a brilliant yet truly challenging playground for 2018's Expedition Africa. Dry, dusty legs have ventured teams along a rugged coast line, up rocky mountains, through waterless canyons; an environment that has truly tested an adventure racing unit.
Aching muscles, tired limbs, blistered feet and a lack of sleep are amongst the physical torments that 560km's of non-stop racing can bring. No amount of training can prevent these 'battle wounds' from challenging one's mind into continuing. A mental stealth is required if you're going to take on the honour of adventure racing; your team mates depend on it.
Transition areas have welcomed broken yet elated teams over the past five days, providing a haven that will allow these teams to physically and mentally reboot; readying themselves for the following leg. Race director, Stephan Muller created quite a monster course, featuring large legs that have truly challenged every single team thus far.
The craziness however, is that every single athlete taking part in this gruelling adventure race, loves it. War cry's, sing-a-long songs and laughter are amongst the jovial sounds heard throughout the course. Unique memories are made and bonds of 'brother hood' are developed when taking on an adventure race with team mates that you have entrusted to collectively reach that finish line.
According to sources, members of Team Slummies (RSA) have been struggling with aching, blistered feet, testing their mental strength of plodding along. A misty and cold day four made for an incredibly challenging day for the team, however ended incredibly well when they came across a group of locals who invited the team to braai with them. Team Slummies apparently attacked today's 59km trekking leg with smiling faces and were ready for the final challenges they are required to face, in order to reach the finish tomorrow.
The leading team of this year's Expedition Africa; team Blizzard completed the course in 94h55m, 24 hours longer than the estimated finishing time. Miserable weather conditions added to this delay, when a lingering mist rolled in on day three.
"When our first teams begin crossing the finish line, there is a feeling of relief and pride in the teams achievements, but when the back teams start crossing the finish line a couple of days later, that is when the true admiration takes over, as those are the teams that have really pushed themselves further" shares race organiser, Heidi Muller.
An adventure racing 'heartbeat' will take over Expedition Africa's race village, as tired and broken athletes cheer on their fellow adventure racers and welcome them with open arms, as they complete this mighty 560km challenge. Continue to watch the dots via the live tracking site: www.expafrica.live as these teams make their way to finish in Vanrhynsdorp over the next two days.