Atacama Crossing Blogs 2022
View All Posts 2022 From : Keith Gayhart
28 August 2022 12:07 pm (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi
I’ve had a curious time preparing for Atacama Crossing. For complicated reasons, I haven’t been driving since May, making it difficult to reach my favorite trails and obliging me to improvise alternative routes.
For my long, Saturday hikes, I leave my home in West Los Angeles at 4:15 a.m., hop on the Metro and ride to Santa Monica. From there, I stroll along the Pacific Coast for five or six miles until I can access one or another trailhead. Then, I can toddle along for 20 miles or so before arriving at some obscure cul de sac where my angelic wife picks me up.
It’s unorthodox, but I imagine many of my mates scattered across the globe have similar routines. Lucky is she who has immediate access to bucolic landscapes, but many others must content themselves with whatever is accessible even if it happens to be an urban jungle. In all cases, race preparation involves many solitary, hours-long jaunts while hauling a pack stuffed with the equivalent to the 40 or so items on the mandatory equipment list and attracting curious stares from passersby who haven’t a clue what you are up to.
During the week, I am sometimes picked up by generous friends and able to train in the mountains. Other times, I do an out and back from home. My go-to course takes me due north into Beverly Hills where I make my way up winding, tree-lined streets and past tony residences to Mulholland Drive. It’s a 1,400 foot climb at a 14 percent grade. So, no slot canyons, sand dunes or salt flats for me, instead it’s “swimmin’ pools…movie stars.”
I look forward to seeing my RTP friends in San Pedro de Atacama. I’ll be good to go.