Race #8 – Arctic Ice Ultra – End of a Journey (Part 2)

Stage 2 & 3 – Exhaustion

Hypothermia and frostbites became a serious concern for many competitors after Stage 1, Paul included. He had suffered frostbite like conditions over his nose and face so the medical staff was monitoring him closely overnight to make sure things don’t get any worst. To be honest, he was a little scared because the right side of his nose, on top of being swollen, had lost all feelings along with his right cheeks. Of course he wanted to complete the 8 Deserts Challenge, but he wasn’t about to do it at any cost.  Losing his nose over a challenge, however great, was not worth it.

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Race #7: Oman Desert Marathon – The Pursuit of Immortality 

After Trans-Pecos Ultra, getting to the host town of Muscat for our next race was top priority.  With the Oman Desert Marathon being only 5 days away and our World Record Breaking Race, nothing could be left to chance!  We began our journey by flying from El Paso to Phoenix; then from Phoenix to New York; then from New York to Baku; then from Baku to Dubai; and finally from Dubai to Muscat.  Again, cheap flights played a major role in our 50+hr flying odyssey.  Come to think of it, we even lost a day of rest due to the time difference! (I guess this happens when you fly across 13 time zones)

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Race #6: Trans-Pecos – The Duel In Texas

With only fourteen days between races, Paul and I wanted to maximize our recovery by traveling to our race host town in El Paso, Texas (USA) as soon as we could. Not too surprisingly, getting cheap flights and minimizing flight times do not work hand in hand. Our itinerary involves breaking the trip into two legs. A three-night stay in Santiago, follow by another 40 hours flight to El Paso with a few layovers. All that adds up to having only seven real rest days before Trans-Pecos. Without us realizing, our attempt to compete in 4 self-supported desert races in 6 weeks (4in6) is starting to take its toll. Continue reading “Race #6: Trans-Pecos – The Duel In Texas”

Race #5: Atacama Crossing – Triumph in Atacama

Of all the races in the 8 Deserts Challenge, Atacama Crossing is the one race that Eric and I dreaded the most.  There are two reasons for that:  terrain and lack of rest.  I had first read about this race almost one year ago while researching for our World Record Attempt.  It was talked about as the most technical and challenging race of the 4Deserts Series.   When a race promises sand dunes, river crossings, gravel fields, salt flats, and everything else, you know it is going to be tough.  More importantly, with this being our first back-to-back race amounting to less than 7 days rest, our conditioning and recovery prowess will be put to the test. Continue reading “Race #5: Atacama Crossing – Triumph in Atacama”

Race #4: Ultra BOLIVIA – The Race Above The Clouds

So much has happened since my last blog back in August. We flew across three continents and lost our sense of time. Night became day and day became night. All Paul and I could think about was food, shower, sleep, more food, and not miss any flights. We have achieved what we thought was pure insanity: competing in 4 desert races in 6 weeks (#4in6) to break the Guinness World Record for “The Most Desert Races Ran In One Year“.  But that’s not the end. This project was about testing our limits and what better way to do it than to experience every terrain Mother Earth has to offer.  The last race of the 8 Deserts Challenge will be held in the Lapland, Sweden in the Arctic Circle. What started off as a physical challenge for a great cause turn into something much much more. It changed me in ways I didn’t envision.

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The Road to Gobi

Having conquered the Sahara and Namib Desert in the span of 4 weeks, Paul and I travelled to Brisbane and Sunshine Coast Australia to seek refuge, recuperate from our ordeal, lick our wounds and upgrade our gear to better prepare for our next race in the infamous Gobi Desert.

The Gobi Desert presents itself some interesting challenges. Based on previous year’s race reports from fellow competitors, I expect drastic climate changes (0-40C) ranging from snow, hail, and sandstorms!

The Gobi Desert, which covers large parts of northwestern China, is known as the Windiest Desert in the world.  Historically, it is most notable for being the location of many important cities along the famous Silk Road.

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