Thursday, April 23, 2009

Coast to Coast in 'Rica

Team member Daniel reporting...

Jason, Chelsey and I just finished the Coast to Coast Race in Costa Rica, against National Car Rental. No, there isn't a new pro team on the world stage, we just had to get the support vehicle back by 3PM! Unfortunately, the official C2C race was cancelled, but we were lucky enough to get to do the unofficial version. Mike, of Coast to Coast Adventures, hooked us up with Carr and a Car (the former to drive the latter), a full set of beautiful (if a bit outdated) maps, and a hell of a course. It's pretty cool to know you'll win a race, as long as you finish!
He told us to take a photo at each of the checkpoints and to enjoy ourselves. Check, and... check. Initially, a Swedish team of three was going to go with us, but two of them decided to take a holiday instead! So Ingrid, a Finnish racing machine, came along. We had fun comparing notes and trading stories, and we learned a lot from racing with someone new. Jason and I have been racing for a while together, and bringing Chelsey up to speed was a blast.

From Coast to Coast Costa Rica
The race took 69:55, including about 8 hours of sleep. On the treks, we climbed thousands of feet, and traversed some amazing country. In an attempt to cut off some ups-and-downs, we met a local farmer lady living up in the hills, who graciously allowed us to continue our (long-cut) re-route through some of her roads. It's very difficult to describe adventure racing to people who understand English, it's impossible to explain with a language barrier... I still wonder if she has any idea what we were doing out there.

We descended the Pacuare River in our packrafts, with a new twist, the SRS "Hammer" Wing-blade paddles. By the end of it, we all had fallen in love with them, they are truly outstanding paddles that handled Class-IV whitewater with impressive power. They also made our lives much easier getting to the finish, a 5 hour paddle from a beautiful camp at the end of the whitewater (and 3 hours paddle from the place where Carr could pick us up). The final approach to the Caribbean was a bizarre and scary mix of darkness (none of us had full batteries for our headlamps), crocodiles, flying fish, a fierce wind, lightning in the distance, and a few dazed folks having a weary beach party...

We're certainly looking forward to our #1 bibs in the 2010 race, the '09 "limited edition" was truly outstanding.

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