Africa Selection Camp – Day 10
Blog written by Marius and Valerie
Today was the last day of the raid. Unfortunately, the last day of the raid means we’ve nearly reached the end of the selection camp.
This morning started early with Luke’s ‘friendly’ wake-up shouting. We packed up the tents and had only five minutes for breakfast before we started kayaking. After a muddy kayak trip through the eight-degree (Celsius) reservoir we were back on our bikes racing towards our second checkpoint for the day. It was a steep and brutal uphill followed by mountain biking across rocks, mud, snow, gravel, and pavement. Some of us struggled with the uphill on the bikes, but the team helped out by carrying backpacks, pushing bikes, and pushing through to every checkpoint together.
We were lucky with the weather; when we had to build a raft out of barrels, string and wood and cross the lake, we weren’t drenched in rain. Both teams had a few hardships along the way — getting a nail in a bike tire, a twisted knee, countless blisters — but the team stayed motivated and helped everyone finish in the end. Pushing each other up 900 vertical meters built real friendship. Whether we were singing or sharing our food, we kept each other going even when we really wanted to stop.
The last push up the mountain was easily the steepest ‘trail’ we’d ever crawled up. Although exhausted from the climb, the view of the mountains was worth every step. We found a creative way to get down the mountain by scooting on our bums — a funny sight for sure. The rain started and both groups were headed downhill back towards Château-d’Oex. It wasn’t an easy walk back, for example Ollie had a nice encounter with an electric fence where as the other group fought some noisy cows for the use of a fountain.
The PANGAEA Raid pushed all of us in different ways, and we were impressed with how well the teams kept spirit high and stayed together. While Team Bamba was in the lead on Monday, Team Panterra made up lost time and won the raid but still waited for the other young explorers to come in soon after.
We learned a lot about ourselves and teamwork, it was certainly an experience we won’t forget. We’d go as far as to say the raid was the best part of this selection camp. When we got back to Hotel de Ville, everyone was relieved to finally enjoy whatever it was they were craving (a hot shower, a cup of tea, taking off their shoes, et al.). As reward for finishing, we enjoyed very special dinner treat of raclette [a Swiss dish of melted cheese. Raclette is French, literally ‘small scraper,” referring to the practice of holding the cheese over the heat and scraping it onto a plate as it melts] made by Pipo (a native cheese maker). We also celebrated Michael Scholl’s birthday, talked with Petzl representative Erwan about the special edition Mike Horn headlamp sensor technology, but our greatest reward was to meet Mike Horn in person.
We finished the raid and the selection tired, but very happy and excited for the opportunities to come.
-Marius and Valerie