Apr 3, 2008
RACE REPORT BAJA TRAVERSIA 2008
Meeting the Team
I arrived at the LA airport to be greeted by Alex, Daniel and Catherine. The four of us drove through the night to San Diego to quickly slip into bed. In the morning I was greeted by Daniels amazing family. The day was spent shopping for food, the 99 cent store (kinda like our dollar store in CAN), Trader Joe’s (awesome organic food store with lots of yummy things…), bike shops and bakeries. We managed to squeeze in a little mountain bike ride and a short little run down the canyon that happens to lie in Daniels backyard…we were blessed with a huge German dinner prepared by Daniel’s father. All in all a fabulous day 1 with my new friends….
Jason and Dieke arrived throughout the night(morning more like it)….Saturday morning I woke up fairly early and was itching to move so I decided to head down that beautiful canyon for a little morning run….awesome! By the time I returned to the house Jason was up and I finally got to meet my third team member…it was definitely beginning to get more exciting!
Randy and Getting There
Randy was our driver and truck provider for the race…He was an interesting man to meet. In short, he likes to drive trucks and drink beer….a little different than our ways but there is nothing wrong with that….different strokes for different folks.
We arrived to the beach, got to try out some paddle boarding, had a taco party by the beach with all the racers and managed to find some camp in the desert….a good bonding day for team yogaslackers.
Sunday, we woke up to sunshine and sand…typical elements found in the area….made a sweet breakfast of oatmeal and java juice coffee…and headed off to the pre race meeting…unfortunately for Karen and Paul the winds picked up and having the meeting outside on the beach turned a little wonky as sand was flying everywhere and one had to really lean in to hear their voices…but despite the wind all went well and we were off in search of some Mexican goodness….(food)…We managed to score a place to sort gear and sleep thanks to Dave Marshall and Chloe…They hosted at least 4 teams. I scored a good little spot on their roof top patio under the stars….brilliant…
Monday Race Start 11:30am
We started the race at 1130am so the tide had time to come in (it can be out for kms and so its much nicer not having to run for kms with a paddleboard…thanks K and P).
The order for the paddleboard section was youngest to oldest. Daniel went first and Jason and I ran along the beach. It was a leap frog type of effect along the beach for about 5km. Daniel kicked some major butt pulling out in front right from the start. We couldn’t believe our eyes nor could anyone else..ha. They were like who is out there in front? The yogawhos? I love it. I was second and just went hard, it was fun..but it started to really hurt half way through…paddleboarding is tough stuff….my chin got a good little beating. Jason was last up and managed to keep our lead. We were off on our first run through the desert in FIRST! Woohoo….what a high!
We got overtaken by Dart Nuun NW fairly early in the run..eventually they got out of sight and we just kept moving as fast as we could through the sand and heat….Jason eventually made a sweet navigational decision that without our knowing put us back into the lead. The heat was bad and so for the last 10km we opted for a 4min run 1 min walk and it worked out well…FIRST again into the auto rally section.
Auto Rally Race
Warren, our driver was rippin it up…we were going fast through the desert loving life and still beaming from our first place status…..until…dududu……our car broke…team Dart Nuun NW went by us and two nice folks with a van picked us up in behind them…. our first transition point was a learning experience for us and our support crew….they were doing great. Jason had to fix a huge tow blister I obtained already….it hurt a lot but I think the pain would have been way worse had I left it be…
We once again fell behind Daart Nuun NW and eventually Dart and Extreme Sports caught us. The three teams worked together in a train like form and caught up to Dart NW. We were a train of the top four teams moving quickly through the canyon. It was definitely a rush to be up there with the top teams…..I loved every moment of it even when it was tough….eventually Jason got out front and took a little wrong turn to the wall of this canyon and by the time I turned around noone was behind us anymore…oopsy…we were back on our own.
We were doing well until we reached what we thought should have been the ropes only to figure out we were one canyon over. So we decided to head up and over this ridge and back down to the correct canyon. In doing this we stumbled onto a cliff where Jason showed us how to rappel down without using any tools….I won’t lie I was nervous…real nervous…but we all made it down safely and headed up the correct canyon.
No sooner we ran into the guys that were supposed to set up the ropes. It was kind of neat to be too fast for the ropes…so we managed without them. This section of the canyon turned out to be quite long especially finding the check point after the canyon section….it ended with another long dirt road…it was tough to keep the mind alert and the body moving…..but once again we pulled out our 4min run 1 min walk routine and we made it to the bikes in 3rd.
Bike 1 (failed brakes)
This bike section proved disastrous for many many teams. While on the single track section we ran into both Dart teams going the wrong way. They were lost. Our first big oopsy was when we decided that if Dart was lost we would be too and opted to try out what we thought would be a more straight forward route..to make a long sad story short…5 hours later we were back at checkpoint 11 right where we say Dart but this time tired and in the dark. We managed to find our way but the sleep monster were getting us so we parked ourselves on the road, made a fire and took a nap (the 3 of us spooning together for heat under a space blanket..this is one way to get to know people quickly)…we awoke to a motorcycle coming towards…at first we were nervous as we thought it was the police coming to arrest us for making a fire but no sooner we realized it was a race volunteer coming out to look for teams as it seemed like most teams were lost…we were told we were still in 3rd place. I’ve never seen three freezing exhausted people jump on their bikes so fast in the middle of the night and give her down some steep terrain….i quickly noticed my front brake losing its power…we stopped at a pit stop and after Daniel checked my brake he noticed my brake fluid had leaked and the tubing had been punctured. By the end of the bike I had zero front brakes. Those of you who know me know that downhill mountain biking scares me in normal circumstances…I managed to bike down some crazy downhill, with no front brake, in the dark for a very long time….woohoo….i know I am a machine…hahaha….
Trek (Daniel’s Birthday)
We nailed this trek. Although we still had some excitement. Daniel wasn’t feeling too great and started drinking lots and lots of water. It was pretty funny actually as he was just grabbing Jason’s water bottle from his pack and gulping water..not sure if Jason noticed or not but he sure did notice when his water bottle was empty….again to keep this brief..Jason and I were feeling strong and we wanted to run…Daniel did not…for his birthday…we forced him to run…haha…I know we are evil….we all managed to run out of water in the desert..not a great scene…but someone from up above gave Daniel a birthday present…a half filled 3L bottle of water left on the desert floor…it was odd…yes..a hallucination…we thought but it was real…we iodized it and managed to drink it to its last drop.
Bike 2 (missed check point)
We arrived at our bike transition to find out my bike could not be fixed…Jason without hesitation told them to switch the pedals from his bike to mine and that he was to ride my broken bike and I his bike…this is a great example of TEAM work and going with the flow. We took off on the bike and it got dark pretty quick. On this bike leg I thought we were all going to die. No joke, it was crazy…..Actually I feel like if we had done this downhill section in the light I would have been twice as slow but in the dark you can only see whats right in front of you and that was nerve racking enough…but Jason was the man, rippin it up with only half a back brake…..awesome stuff…after a long downhill, a long push through thick thick sand we managed to arrive at checkpoint 17. Only to not find it. We were all exhausted so again we huddled together in the freezing cold and lay down for an hours nap….we awoke freezing (I have never been soooo cold) looked for the checkpoint couldn’t find it so headed out. I should mention here that Jason did spot check it on our spot device…After about 12km we all stopped…and decided we should turn around and look for the checkpoint again…the last thing we wanted was to make it to the end to only find out we are DQ’d for missing the checkpoint…we eventually found it buried in the ground..hung it up and took off again.. another 4 hours LOST….oopsy.
Trek (stopped by Mexican Land owners)
The last trekking section was through these beautiful canyons…they were beautiful to look at but treacherous to trek through….we had to cactus wack, run through rivers, boulder hop, run through poison oak (which I found out I am immune too…sorry Jason and Daniel…hehe). I also acquired some serious chafing in some super sensitive areas….lots of bleeding and pain…I can’t write much about it as it brings up some painful memories…we finally made it to what we thought would be a dirt road only to get stopped by a man and his father who owned this private land we were about to cross. They stopped and talk to us for over 20 minutes and repeatedly told us we were not allowed to cross their property. We somehow coerced them into letting us run through to the check point and let the race directors know all the details…must have been the boys charming personalities…so we ran indeed all the way to the transition…
Bike 3 (getting passed)
We were on our last legs…what we thought to be only a bike and kayak left….we were on our bikes….me with severe pain in not so fun parts..jason on my broken bike and me on Jason’s funky shifting bike….life was grand until team extreme sports sped past us….we couldn’t hold on…but managed to catch them at the beach only to be finding ourselves running along the beach for 5-7km in bike shoes with all our paddling gear….chasing down our competition…..I was having a hard time keeping the other teams pace so I slowed it down knowing that with my style of running I am able to keep a good pace as long as its my pace…and wouldn’t you know it..it kind of worked….the other team was slowing down and were keeping a solid pace and eventually nearly caught them.
Team extreme left on the kayaks about a minute before us. It was dark and the waves were huge…we struggled for a bit but managed to get through the break with Jason’s counting mantra….once past the break and around the corner we waited for Daniel to catch up from behind so he could draft up behind us. Meanwhile team Extreme’s double was way out in front leaving their single kayak behind. Once at the end of the kayak the extreme sports double jumped out of their boats, raced to the finish line and collapsed meanwhile their single kayaker was still in the water. The three of us crossed the finish line together giving us 3rd place as we were the first team of 3 across the line ahead of Extreme Sports. It was an exciting, adrenaline rushing, lesson learning finish to a fabulous race. Thanks everyone for your support, encouragement and help. Thanks Paul and Karen for putting on a fantastic course that managed to tests all our skills in a variety of ways.
We managed to score the last hotel room in the place but it was no regular room. It was the master suite complete with loft and Jacuzzi….what a night….it was nice to put the feet up and sleep in a big comfy bed!
Friday chilling and awards
Friday we woke up fairly early so we could cheer in Kayak Lake Mead. Do some acro yoga and eat deliciouis coconut and ice cream. Before dinner we played for awhile in the grass and I got to learn some neat acro yoga moves from Jason and Dieke. The awards were at night. It was such a blast to be on the podium….We drove back to San Diego that night and arrived at about 4am….to bed we went….
Saturday/Sunday/Monday San Diego Acroyoga and Slackline yoga workshop
Saturday and Sunday I got the awesome opportunity to participate in one of Jason’s acroyoga slackline yoga workshops. The workshop was fantastic…inspiring and tough…it was great to meet all the beautiful people and learn some basic acro yoga moves… it was also super cool to figure out the slackline and do some yoga on it. The learning curve is faster than one would think….and its damn addictive. I also got to meet Sam and Paul the other two yogaslackers….awesome guys. The workshop was filmed by discovery channel as they are going to do a piece on the yogaslackers..as they should…
Daniel’s parents once again did not hold anything back in the hosting department. They provided us with beds, showers and lots and lots of delicious food. THANKS!
It was definitely hard to leave my new adventure family. Its amazing what a week and half together can do….when racing you reach a deeper level of friendship and relationship….its absolutely beautiful…I can relate it well to summer camp. It’s a short period of intense living with others which makes it so difficult to part ways at the end. I have learnt a lot and will take it all with me back to Vancouver.
Yogaslackers, I am proud.
Boys….you won me from the beginning….I felt the powerful positive energy and knew it was gonna be a fun adventure….
Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!