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Raid Gallaecia Race Report (part 2)

This is the 2nd part of the race report from our race in Spain. The race is called Raid Gallaecia and is part of the World Series of Adventure Racing. The race is non stop, you compete in teams of 4 and the whole team sticks together at all time. The distance covered was about 500km with 27.000m height change, 14 stages of trekking, running, Mountainbike, canyoning, swimming and ropes. 32 teams started, 10 teams got to the finish line. USWE Adventure Team finished in 6th place.

Off for the long trekk

We got out from the TA (Transition Area) with a lot of gear. Mandatory equipment included wet suite, life west, bike helmet and climbing gear. This was going to be a looong trek. We set a reasonably good speed, but didn't rush. I wasn't sure about what speed we could manage with the heavy backpacks and the long leg (64km). Anyway... we started along some gravel roads and visited some of the hills with windmills. We got company with VK Bikes from Spain and we got into each others several times during this 15-20h long leg. After some hours of trekking on footpaths we got to the rope section which followed by a canyoning stage.

The rope abseil was down a small waterfall and we ended up in the stream. Wet suites on and we carried on along the canyon. And as it is in canyons, it takes time to cover distances... And we hesitated more then once... did we pass the checkpoint? Did we not see it? Should we turn around? 24h meals turned around at one occasion, but they were soon back on the way down the canyon again. Finally, we got to the CP. VK Bikes, the team from Finland, 24h Meals and USWE Adventure Team punched the CP about the same time and we started "the rest of the trekk".

We pushed on. The route was taking us in a loop around the landscape. The last part was set along the Atlantic coast line. We managed to get there before darkness and we enjoined some of the scenery before the head lights were on. But before that we did one of two swim passages. The weather was about to change. From medium warm, nice semi-dry to chilly and ultra-wet. We got to the first swim together with VK Bikes. We decided to get the wetsuits on and we swam without problems. But shifting gear takes time... On the other side we shifted again.

We got our selves into the goretex layer and then the whole sky opened. Thunder, lightning and excessive rain! We concluded to be lucky to swim before the weather change. But, now what about continuing along the coast line in these conditions?

The thunderstorm was making us reflect on the 2nd swim passage. Will it be safe to do? Anyway, we continued and moved on. When we got out on the cliffs along the coastline the thunderstorm was some hundred meters away... so it felt safe, until a lightning struck down and lit the whole area up. Helen jumped 2 meter up in the air and screamed! I was also jumping! That was a scary one! Bjarke didn't jump... He thought maybe his headlight was malfunctioning. Felix was shocked, but only to the fact that Helen could be scared... So... we concluded we should do what we already were doing. We continued.

We went trough a small coastal city around 11 pm. I was refilling my bottles on the city square and we spotted the Finish team... sitting at a restaurant, enjoying the last minutes of opening. We went on and soon got to the next swimming section. It was rather cold now and the change to wet suites seemed mandatory. We got the wet wet suites on and continued to the beach. The tide was low and the swim was short. We continued on a sand peninsula and struggled a bit to make the reality fit to the map (it just didn't). Now we went for the last checkpoint of the stage. West of lake... End of foot path.

We got to the lake. But no path... We found the foot path and got to the end of it, by the lake.... but no checkpoint. I was out of food for some hours and we shared the remaining food in the team. But, we were planning to have a big and nice refill of fuel on the next TA. The plan was also to have a break for sleep.

We found the checkpoint and got ourselves going to the TA. The spirit was high, but I started to feel an itch... something was not right. I started to fell sick. "What is going on ?! I have never ever problems with feeling sick when racing!"

On the way to the TA it got worse. Well at the TA we decided to take a 3 hours break. Time was around 0230 am on the 2nd night and it was time to sleep. My original plan was to eat and than sleep, but I had no chance in sticking to the plan. I was getting the wet clothes off and got lay down.

15 minutes of sleep

I hardly woke up before I was running to the nearest trash can and got my head down the garbage. This was my position for the next 15 minutes or so. The plan to drink and to eat was reversed. I was just sick (later on we found out that it was actually a stomach infection (some nasty virus) going around in the teams... origin from Värmland in Sweden according to the rumours.). Sometimes throwing up makes you feel better, but this was different. I was laying down on the floor feeling sorry for my self. I walked back and forth to the toilets and tried to refuel with water. Sleep was last priority, but I managed to get some minutes here and there.

Clock was ringing. The team started to prepare, but I felt like "no way" "Give me an hour and I will give it my best try".

I had some more water and we slept an hour more. Then we got up. I decided that I felt a bit better and we packed our gear for the next legs.

The stop at TA5 was more then 6 hours. Obviously not according to plans, but it would have been hard to leave earlier.

To be continued...

Thanks to our supporting families, wives, parents and kids. Without your support, we would not even get to the start line. A big thanks also to our sponsors. USWE for the best hydration packs and hydration solutions in the world. 2XU for clothing (this was our first multi day competition with true compression clothing and we are all impressed how good it worked). Merrell for shoes in water and on land (we started our cooperation just before the race and we used both Dexterity and Agility Peak on the race). Also a big thanks to Lupine for supporting us with lights, for Fjordnutrition for minerals and for Nordenmark Adventure for mapholders.