Itera 2014 – Report from the race 2

Changes of plans, taking things for a walk and gaining a reputation…

Day 2 was a very tough one! We thought the downstream paddle would be dispatched in plenty of time for a long trek. As we arrived at the river, we looked right towards the sea, only to see the water running left! We fought a tidal current going the other way and super strong head winds for hours, at times barely making forward progress. Combined with portages through a flooded field full of channels and holes and then sands across the channel (=taking our kayaks for a walk),  this left us pretty drained. Four words used by each of us to describe it were: emotional, ‘special’, memorable and irritating. You can try and match the quote to the person!

One of the highlights was ICE CREAM at Portmerion, Elizabeth; I hope you approve.

Because the paddle was shortened due to high seas, we had an extra bike. It was hilly and we had to push = taking our bikes for a walk. We arrived at the next transition pretty emotional. Time for a TAKEAWAY, junk food spread in front of us on the table as we stuffed our faces.

We now had no time or energy left for Cader Idris after all. Instead we set off on the shortest route possible, which was still very long = taking ourselves for a walk. Notable for Rosemary falling asleep whilst walking, necesitating a 30 minte roadside snooze. We also got caught in a quarry with many other teams, chasing non-existent footpaths for over an hour. The relief when we finally found the way out was palpable, but everyone was feeling jaded. Time for more proper tent sleep in transition.

The next day dawned … and it was wet and rainy. We went on a super bike ride despite the lashing wind, rain and associated chill. Nant Y Arian trail centre brought back memories for 3 of us, having variously raced there before. After the spectacular waterfalls it was time for more food. Not just chips like everyone else but a FULL MEAL. At 11pm we got to a very short foot stage that wasn’t worth us doing – we sat down in the cafe for HOT DRINKS AND SNACKS instead. People were beginning to see a pattern.

The next 6 hours or so are best forgotten, as we rode and rode and rode along endless roads without collecting any extra controls, into the next transition for more sleep. We’re preparing for a paddle and the remaining stages nursing various sore bits between us, but nothing too serious. Due to our early decisions to cut the course short we have plenty of time left for these. We’re also well rested (6.5 hours sleep in total so far; these things are all relative) so we hope to finish strongly. At this stage the sort of team work and mental tenacity that have seen us get this far will become even more important than our physical speed.

Thanks for all your messages of support! They make a difference.

Over and out. Time to find a few more cafes!

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