Monsoon madness

Posted on October 4, 2011

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My baggage finally arrived late last Thursday so Friday, pre-race day eve, could begin as planned with an eight hour bus journey to the race start. An early breakfast was followed by some serious eyeing up of which of the four of the buses looked least likely to end with a disastrous journey. How little we knew!

In a nutshell … the monsoon season arrived late this year which means the rains continue now. Three hours into our ride and all seemed to be running smoothly. The sun had risen as the Kathmandhu smog became a distant memory. We stopped for Nepal’s staple dhal bhaat (rice & lentils) at a roadside cafe then continued on our merry way. But then, not long after our arrival into Langtang, the excuse for a road we were on, ended. A landslide from all the rains had literally washed it away and our only choice was to walk for 10km or so and meet some other vehicles of death beyond the affected area.

We started the walk, not dressed for anything but a long bus ride and before long the heavens opened. Utterly drenched, escaping falling debris and removing leeches from our wet, blood-drawn bodies followed for a good couple of hours. Tempers began to frey as fraught frowns replaced relaxed smiles. Eventually, we managed to get on our luggage truck … literally a truck enclosed in giant tarpaulin to keep the contents dry. There were maybe 30 of us on it, locals and runners, old and young, crammed on top of each other with feet far from the ground like chickens in a coup. The rains hammered down the hillside as rocks bounded down and our truck drove along the cliffs edge. My initial adventurous spirit fast gone, I seriously feared for my life and ended up jumping off the back refusing to risk life and limb for a minute longer!

Long overdue, we finally arrived at our digs. Basic as basic gets but dry! I felt medals were deserved before the race had even begun but instead we had around six hours to sleep before an anticipated 10-15 hour run the next day.

All in all, a character-building day if ever there was one … but needless to say, spirits had risen once warm and dry and we all had a giggle about day 0 of our adventure! More to come ….

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