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March 14, 2020

Category: Gaucho Derby

And just like that, we are at the end of the penultimate day of racing here in Patagonia. The riders are stopped tonight either at a rustic yet scenic puesto at VS8 or camped part way between VS8 and the finish line. Slow going on the trail between VS7 at La Maipu and the finish line put the brakes on the riders who thought they may finish today, but expecting the unexpected has become the touchstone of this race, with most choosing to see the glass half full. Clare (CK) sent in a message relatively early in the evening indicating her decision to stay at VS8, saying “Beautiful spot and will enjoy a final night in the wilderness!” Good choice. All riders will be finished tomorrow regardless of where they stayed last night. Why? Because tomorrow is Day 10 and the race is officially over and because we said so.

Photographer: Richard Dunwoody

It wasn’t all rubbernecked-sightseeing today, however, with CP parting ways with his horse on the downward side of VS8. With a bit of gaucho-ing, his riding mates caught the wily wayward steed, reuniting CP for the final push towards the finish. At the close of business, CP was keeping company with SD DD CM CK MG LY SH LV and ZH, all tucked into some trees 3km beyond VS8. Back at VS8, CW CD JY AA HB NM SS and CKI set up camp with vets Cozy and Georgie, Medic Andy, EMs Erik and Louise, Media Ivo and Anya, and a couple of keen gauchos along for the last leg of the Gaucho Derby.

Photographer: Richard Dunwoody

All eyes were on the Ledbury Ladies LR LD as they made a break for it late in the day, taking RS along for company. They made camp on the downslope towards El Chalten and the finish line;

Photographer: Richard Dunwoody

and unless things “gang agley” (go awry), they will be the first to ride across the finish line at Estancia La Quinta tomorrow. With the riders almost home, many of the hard-working crew who have pounded the roads (and been pounded by the roads) during the last 10 days have come off the field to help set up finish camp. The mood at finish camp tonight is one of happy weariness, with everyone keen to lock eyes on the riders as they emerge from down the trail.

Photographer: Richard Dunwoody

The leaderboard at the end of Day 9:

 

1st MG

2nd CD

3rd CKI

4th CKZ

5th CP

6th CW

7th jt LR LD

9th jt SD DD

11th ZH

12th HB

13th jt JY SS

15th SH

16th LY

Adventure: WS CM RS NM LV AA JT

Retired: RM