Race Report: Yolande Speedy – Expedition Africa 2018 Namaqualand

Expedition Africa 2018 Namaqualand West coast #findyourself

What an adventure, what a challenge mentally and physically, what a journey of self-discovery!!! There’s no question that Heidi and Stephan know how to put on a top-notch adventure race and their passion and love for the sport, it’s participants and the South African countryside is almost tangible throughout the event. Take a look at the race footage and you’re sure to be drawn towards the beauty that is Namaqua West Coast, what a privilege to race across such unspoiled land.

I have to say it’s the toughest event I’ve ever taken part in, not from an intensity factor but for the mental and physical challenge.
We raced for 140 hours and very few of the kilometres we covered were free, most offered some form of challenge be it paddling upstream against a strong headwind, carrying a fluid kayak(not the lightest piece of equipment) over challenging terrain, portaging bikes through thick mud, along flooded farm roads and up a 2km mountain pass, hitting a super long climb on the bikes at the end of a 178km pedal, bashing through thorny thickets, relentless reeds, dense bush, over boulders along a super long canyon trek and then through fynbos(bush of the devil), 2000 m of climbing up and over rocky escarpment.
All this lead to an unforgettable adventure with treasured moments the kind that I’ll remember forever!

Sadly our team due to injury was whittled down to 2 so it was Alec and I that set out together on the first beach run leg which made all the more challenge for us. We were not the most prepared team on the navigation front and spent many hours trekking in the wrong direction guess we decided 560km was not long enough …
We kept in good spirits to the end though and gave it our all. We didn’t complete the full route missing the abseil cut off and having to take a few shortened legs due to time constraints. Crossing the finish line was still quite emotional and watching other teams in the final moments of the events made me realize just what a unique and special event Expedition Africa is!

Would I do it again… I have to say I need time to think on that but as we all know give it time and only the good memories remain. Got to love the positivity of human nature!!

Big thanks to everyone that made my participation possible; Alec,  KeyHealth Nevarest Team, KeyHealth Medical Scheme, Toyota SA, GT Radial South Africa, First Ascent, ASG South Africa, Epic Sports Cycles – Centurion, to my trusty climbing machine #Cannondale FSI who’s lightweight was a godsend on the portage and to my Hoka One One’s for their cushioning and comfort over the longest distances I have ever crossed!

Big thanks to all my family and friends for all their support!!! Apologies for the stressful dot watching, I’m sure some of our route deviations caused some anxious moments!!

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