Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Three days to RAW Namibia

There are only three days to go until the start of RAW Africa Namibia, a 5-day semi-self sufficient, staged ultra foot race. The race covers a total of 208km in and around Sossusvlei, an area in the southern part of the Namib desert.

There has been a bit of speculation around this event, considering the April 2008 debacle in the Cape. Organisation is certainly much improved and I'm confident that this event will go well.

Although I've heard of Sossusvlei countless times, I didn't know exactly where it was located. i found a map online - see right. I found it through Google Images so I'm not sure where it originated.

What I am looking forward to are seeing the famous red sands of the Namib and the big dunes, like Dune 45, a star dune that stands 170m tall. We'll be camping there during the race.

The five stage distances are as follows: 39km, 42km, 46km, 55km and 26km.

I call this race semi-self sufficient because we bring all our gear, clothing and food for the duration of the race, but we have the fortune of having our food ration packs and sleeping bags transported by the event. This makes a big difference, especially early on. If we had to carry our food for all the days from the start, we'd have at almost 4kg (or more) in just food on Day 1. With this format we get access to our rations for the day that morning, one day at a time.

I've just finished packing my food and clothing; I'll publish my food lists before I leave. I'm still thinking about a few items. The rule, which is standard for staged ultras, is that we have at least 2000kcal/day.

As far as my training has gone; I've had a rough three weeks with lots of work and event planning committments. I really have not done close to as much mileage as I would have liked to. So I'll be going into this race, like others, that little bit undertrained and injury free, which is probably better than going into it overtrained.

The last thing I still need to do is to finalise my gaiters and stitch them on to my trail shoes: it's my new anti-sand system design.

I found a fabulous satellite map (Microsoft virtual Earth) on this website - just check out those dunes!

More before I leave; and if I have cell reception there I'll try to post photos of the dunes.
Sand dune picture from Sossusvlei entry on Wikipedia. Thanks Wiki...

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