Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Atacama Crossing - Stage 2

39km
8th place
04:17:43

The leaders starting stage 2 (Source: 4Deserts)

I had a tough day. I started following the top three and went through CP1 in 4th. I was feeling good, but I think that I went out too hard. The first part of the day was climbing from the river flowing through a canyon to the ridge line along the river. The ridge line is visible from San Pedro and really a spectacular place to run. However, it meant that we had to work very hard in the first part of the day as CP1 was the highest point of the day.

Beautiful below the ridge we ran along (Source: Joel Meredith)

Valley of the Dead overlooking San Pedro (Source: Eric Rohnacher)

After running along the ridge we descended towards the road leading to San Pedro. It was a fantastic and fast descent down a beautiful sand dune. I have never run down dunes like that before and really enjoyed how fast and soft it felt. Fortunately we didn't have to climb back up it again! During the sandy section leading into CP2 Bart caught up to me and I ran with him for a short while.


Running in 5th after descending a massive dune (Source: 4Deserts)

Amazing salt structures (Source: Eric Rohnacher)

The next part of the day was one of the longest sections and from a scenery perspective less exciting and amazing than what had already come. We crossed the road and followed another dry river bed while making a circuit close to the town of San Pedro. Unfortunately during this section I struggled and lost Bart and then another place. It didn't get any better either. After a dry sandy section we ran into the first real salt flat section. I didn't like it at all. Every footstep was like plunging your foot into mud and trying to pull it out against the sucking and squelching salt. I lost another few spots along here.

Salt flats leading to Laguna Cejar (Source: Yasuhiro Yomota)

The final part of the day was a short road section to Laguna Cejar. I was just happy to get this stage over and done with and only later took the time to admire the stunning lagoon next to our camp. I came in 8th on the stage, but not too far behind the few people who overtook me late in the day.

Laguna Cejar, the end of Stage 2 (Source: Yasuhiro Yomota)

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