Ok – nerves kicking in.
Last night it really hit home when I hosted a charity screening of the film The Hangover (available on DVD and blu-ray 7th December !) hosted at the wonderfully splendid Warner Brothers screening room (thanks my wife Sarah for getting hold of the film print and persuding the powers that be to generously provide the venue for the evening, and to Caitlin for all your help on the evening).
A wonderful evening attended by clients (thanks all for coming) friends( thanks friends and my personal trainer Neil McCutcheon for not showing up, see you next Tuesday ?), and of course my support crew including campaign manager Henry Majed, Dietician Dave Stevens, Medical Support Crew Liz Colton and friends, and Simon Fisher for his words of wisdom).
People were asking why I am doing this race. Why indeed???. I have no idea. Especially as Ive now got a week to go and when I was having my medical looked into last week I had to have ECG testing, BP scans (had to wear a 24 hour Blood Pressure monitor which kept on going off in meetings) and blood tests.
The ECG scan itself spotted a slight blip, or as they say “showed voltage criteria for hypotrophy’. Which in itself is apparently quite normal for endurance atheletes like me….
The doctor phoned whilst I was in Tuscany last week to say Ive now been given the all clear ! hoorah !
So last nights event raised over £800 for the British Red Cross – thanks to my employers, The Bezier Group for committing to the tickets ( just awaiting the cash now please….and also for those kind souls who paid hard earned cash for tickets).
Just been reading the course update…here s a summary:
Distance, the total course distance this year is 222km.
Due to all the heavy rain during the rainy season water levels have not subsided as much as normal so many parts of the course will be very wet and water crossings will be deeper than normal.
The first stage is still the shortest and really probably the toughest, as it has the most concentrated elevation. You really have to take it very easy this first day, if you don’t, you will never recover enough to complete the course.
Throughout the stage you are either going up or down, there is very little flat. The climbs and descents are very steep, you will need to use your hands on many of the climbs and also grab onto trees on the way down on the fast descents to steady yourself.
The second stage still has some climbs and descents but a lot more flat parts of the course and also three main areas of swamp crossings. Those of you wishing to increase your speed will be able to do so on this stage, but always be on the lookout for roots of trees and other natural obstacles in your path.
It is impossible to avoid going into the swamps, and you are likely to get lots of ticks. To remove them, you can either pull them out with tweezers if you do it early enough or smear some Vaseline onto the tick as it will then come up to the surface to breathe and you can pull it out then. They go for moist damp areas such as under arms, behind knees, top of legs, behind the ears…well basically anywhere….
Stage 3 is fast and brutal. A mixture of everything- plenty of flatter parts where you can increase your speed, some insane (!!!!!!) elevation, some water parts to it and it goes into one of the villages so you get a chance to see some local life. This is a very long stage, its nearly 38km. don’t hang around at the checkpoints for too long, you need to keep a steady pace to get out of the jungle before dark.
The 4th stage is mainly flat and a good stage to recharge your batteries before the long stage. There is only one climb, towards the end of it.
You do start it will a 250m water crossing………
5th stage is a combination of everything.You begin ith a water crossing of around 220m. There are plenty of fast parts to make up time and also the steepest climbs and steepest descents in the entire course. There are a huge amount of natural obstacles on the fastest parts, you will be frequently climbing over fallen trees. Always check what is on the other side before you put your foot down or grab onto a fallen trees trunk- this is a favourite place for snakes to doze. !!!
It is possible to make it out of the jungle before dark, but if you don’t you will have to stay at CP4 during the dark zone- this area of the jugnel has a huge population of jaguar and we cannot have competitors wandering round here in the dark. The jungle campsite is well protected. There is a campfire, guides with guns (I want one !!) and full medical support.
Once you pass this CP, the next CP is out of the jungle onto paths and trails through several little villages. it is mainly flat ( though there is a steep climb after CP6) and a few more hills between CP7 and 8. Some of it takes you down onto the waters edge along the shores of the Tapajos. If you do this in daytime there is very little shade, make sure you have something to cover your head.
The last few kms of this seem endless. The total distance for the long stage this year is 89.39km. There is one part still with a huge amount of water along the shoreline, so we will make a decision the week before the race whether to amend this and bring you onto the road if it is still deep as it would not be prudent for those of you doing it in the dark.
The final stage is along the stunning beaches of the Tapajos river and through several little villages. It is over 30km so still a long stage,with little shade. But there are several creek crossings to cool you down.
My hunting knife has turned up which makes me a little happier, just cant fit everything into my rucksack at the moment !
Hope that made interesting reading, I am losing sleep over it !!
I will endeavour to send more updates leading up to and from the jungle if my email update works from the Jungle – technology permitting.