"Holy shit. Just, holy shit. Driving a rickshaw in India, hell yes!!! What a day."
Team Brains Trust rather enjoyed their first day on the road. And they weren't the only ones. Despite strikes, petrol shortages, losing the traditional game of football against the locals on penalties and some pretty crap weather, the team updates on Day 1 confirm another storming launch took place today in Shillong, north east India.
Back over to Team Brains Trust for more:
"[There is] too much to talk about. Epic kick off from Shillong, absolute madness.
"Glen ignoring the detour sign and making his own road, truck spraying exhaust fumes all over us, overtaking downhill, ran over a baby cobra (says glen), epic pot holes, rain, feeling like royalty, a guy almost running us into an off ramp trying to get us to pull over, driving the wrong way up a one way street and chucking a u-bolt to make a quick getaway and many more.
79 teams gathered in the Meghalayan hill station tucked up in the far corner of India beyond Bangladesh on Wednesday. Over the last few days the biggest ever field of runners have worked out how to drive their 'shaws, pimped up their machines and partied hard. On Sunday morning the President of the Press Club of Shillong waved the flag and the chaos began.
"So after drinking from a shoe at midnight," wrote Team We Got the Runs on their blog, "we finally left Shillong in a convoy of the most luminous shaws you are ever likely to see, complete with police escort...for the locals protection."
"Since Shillong sits atop of a mountain, the only way out is down. The drive through the mountain was incredible. The weavy, pot hole ridden roads combined with the scenary made for one incredible drive. Farshid handled that tuk like a pro, whilst Alex didnt know how to get it moving. But progress was made none the less. A hundred km in, we are staying at a hotel in a town called Guwahati.
"Breakdown update: so far, our windshield wiper is as effective as a bikini in a snow storm. Oh yah, and some really thick white smoke started coming out of the exhaust by the end of the day. Hopefully thats just us not being able to mix oil proportions properly."
"Its epic....EPIC!!! Chesire cat grin for hours with Indian kids running around waving at us! Drive by hi-fives...all the works!! More to come but this is only the beginning!"
Most of the teams made it as far as Guwuhati, including Team Mad Dogs who covered 85km in 6 hours and summed up their progress so far with a bullet point report covering the emotional and mechanical rollercoaster of adventurism:
"Noteworthy events today:
- Ben's nervous breakdown and subsequent tantrum.
- Jackson's ejection of a small child from our rickshaw. While moving.
- Everyone being a back seat driver.
- Our first breakdown. (Ran out of fuel)
- Pushing a rickshaw uphill.
- Pushing rickshaw backwards down a highway.
- The gentleman driving the wrong way up a divided highway."
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Fancy a fortnight of mayhem?
April 2014 - Cochin to Shillong
September 2014 - Shillong to Jaisalmer