Student - November 13, 2009

Chattering teeth, soggy clothes and plenty of grit

Twenty hours of non-stop navigation, mountain biking, cross-country running and canoeing in harsh weather conditions. A women's and a men's team from the Wageningen Student Alps Club 'Ibex' participated in the adventure race 'Battle of the SACS' round Amersfoort.

Alpinists going through mud puddles
It is half past eleven on Friday night. The dark sky is raining cats and dogs. Crouched under a poncho, the four members of the Wageningen team 'Men in Tights' trace the newly acquired coordinates of the checkpoints d on the map. Popping a muesli bar into their mouths, they spring onto their mountain bikes. The light of their headlamps disappear in the moist distance.
The Wageningen women's team 'Klein und Gemein' ('small and mean') take advantage of the hour in the climbing hall to shelter from the rain as they carry out climbing feats. An exhausted, soaking wet and shivering 'Klein und Gemein' girl sits rolled up for warmth in a corner. After a bowl of warm soup, it is time to brave the cold rain again. No time to waste.
Mud
During the 10 kilometre long canoeing event, a capsized canoe mercilessly topples two racers into the water. Like wet dogs, they clamber out at the side. 'Oh well, we were already wet', mutters one to the other through chattering teeth as he wrings out his soggy clothes.
What follows is a difficult mountain biking course eleven kilometers long. By this time, the racers have already covered 100 kilometres of biking, 25 kilometres of running and 10 kilometres of canoeing. But the alpinists are not yet down and out. Charged with adrenaline, they whizz down steep muddy slopes and through puddles a half metre deep.
Sunset
During the 20-kilometre long kick scooter course, a knee injury caught up with one of the 'Men in Tights'. They are out of the race since they can only finish as a complete team. Downcasted and dumbfounded, they stare blankly at one another. A few minutes slip by as they chew on pieces of dried mango. Then the other three gritted their teeth and decide to take a last stand and go for the finish.
Meanwhile, the team members of 'Klein und Gemein' quiver from the cold as impatience mounts while waiting for one of them to repair her punctured back tyre for the third time. Despite this set-back, the four lasses make it to the finish, after forty sleepless hours, the last twenty being spent on non-stop sporting. The sun has set. They are third in the women's category.

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