The race begins when you leave the front door!

RacingThePlanet offers four diverse and spectacular races in different pockets of the globe. It is one of the greatest appeals of doing this series in that you are able to race in remote and hard to access locations. However, one ever-present challenge in racing around the world is the difficulties that can arise with transit. In the first race of this series, the Atacama Crossing, there was the devastating earthquake that shook Chile and consequently affected air travel. I was based in Santiago during the earthquake and I was amazed how competitors throughout the world moved heaven and earth- via plane, bus, taxi and foot, to get themselves to the start line. A month later in the roving RacingThePlanet event held in Australia, competitors were impacted by Iceland’s ash cloud. On top of natural disasters I have seen competitors battle with the annoyance of losing there carefully planned out gear in transit. First placed female in the Atacama Crossing (Jo) lost all of her luggage getting to Calama and borrowed or subsequently purchased the entirety of her gear in the few days before the race started. The same situation also occurred with good friend Norma Basstidas . I just received word from fellow Gobi and Antarctica competitor Lucy Tang that her luggage is stuck in BA.  I can only imagine the feeling in her stomach right now and my fingers are crossed it will arrive in time.

I am writing this blog as I am in the taxi to BA airport where I will hopefully board my flight to Ushuaia. Yesterday was a day of chaos as I flew with Qantas from Sydney to BA. I boarded the flight and did a cheeky glance of my facebook to realize that my Melbourne bestie, Jack Rayson-Grant, was on my flight. I poked my head up over my seat and discovered him sitting two rows behind me. Delight! I believe I posted on my facebook that my flight was now going to be ‘great’ as I would have his company.  One should never speak to soon because two hours into my flight we were told that the plane was returning to Sydney due to electrical failure.

I went from being relaxed to somewhat panicked as I realized I was unlikely to make my connecting flight. I then became concerned as four fire trucks followed the plane as we landed on the runway. The next six hours were an exercise in diplomacy and negotiation as I went to organize a new connecting flight. We re-boarded after a second delay 8 hours later. There was another guy on my flight headed to Ushuaia for an Antarctica cruise, so we buddied up and were taken to a hotel in Centro for the night.

I am only minutes away from the airport now and I am preparing myself for dilemmas with the amount of luggage I have, the cost for that luggage and whether that luggage will be at the other end. On top of that I realize I am in South America and my flight has a high likelihood of being delayed or cancelled.

Several hours has passed since I wrote the above content and I am now in the lobby of my hotel in Ushuaia. My luggage did not turn up at the airport when I arrived which was quite a horrid feeling. I was lucky to have Devrim with me and we waited for the next flight from BA to arrive-  and luckily my luggage turned up on that carousel. Just saw Sevan and Ricky so heading out for a big feed then early sleep.

 

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