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Georgia Race, Day 3

Matt Cavanaugh

If you were wondering, “ma-do-lo-ba” is how you say “thank you” in Georgian. That’s what I’m feeling right now. A whole lot of ma-do-lo-ba.

After I hit “send” on last night’s update, the wind pushed a cloud aside just enough for the sun to peek through. That was officially the first time we’d seen sun out on the race course.

You wouldn’t know it from this morning’s start. When we got up, it was windier, rainier, rougher conditions than we’d seen in the first two stages. It honestly felt like, “can’t we catch a break?”

I started the day wearing a giant rain poncho over all my gear. And then, somehow, as the first mile ticked by, the clouds cleared and a blue sky emerged and it was honestly heaven. 

I ran with Jeff Pelletier, of Vancouver, for nearly the entire day. He broke ahead a bit from the finish line, but I finished in 3rd again, and this time in under 4 hours. I haven’t looked at where I am in relation to my nearest competitor, but I’m pretty sure I’m up by an hour or so at this point. So now’s the time to stay healthy, no wrong turns, no missteps. 

The course today was beautiful. A large, long climb from about 4,500 feet up to 7,500 feet and back down a bit to 6,000 feet (where we’ll stay the night). We passed by a lot of cows, goats, sheep, and, of course, dogs. Lots of dogs. Sometimes it feels like you can’t walk 50 feet without bumping into mud, a cowpie, or a wild dog. (And sometimes you hit the trifecta—a muddy wild dog, standing on a cowpie.)

Camp life is both more human and more gross than normal day-to-day life. Nobody has a cellphone, or at least no service, so everybody spends the afternoons talking, when the weather permits. I’ve met a venture capitalist from Tokyo, along with several others in financial services from around the world, a Mexican restaurateur who owns and runs a place in Barcelona. And so many expats—a Canadian in Singapore, a Scot in Dubai, a Welshman in Japan, and a Zambian in Norway. 

We’re all eating everything we can to stay upright. My own daily intake on these stages is about 2,800 calories, 350 mg of caffeine (in the morning and on-the-run), and 6,500 mg of sodium (about triple the normal daily recommended amount). 

All that food going in means it’s got to come out. So yep, whereas in Namibia we used porta-johns, this time it’s field-latrines. Imagine you were in a drone hovering above our latrines. You’d see a boxy E-shaped contraption from up above. The user enters from the open part of the “E,” turns left, and then left again. The user now looks down to see an 18-inch-by-18-inch hole square hole dug 3 feet deep. There are cedar planks on either side, to provide traction for the job to be done. I’ll leave it at that, except to say there’s a rope you stretch across the entrance to signify use. 

That’s all for now.