OK, it's 1am and in a feeble attempt to put some closure on this race report here it is...
We hit the desert floor at 3am and thought we would go straight to the Check Point for some well overdue rest.
Unfortunately the staff at the CP were not expecting us for another 3+ hours and they had all gone to sleep for the night, of course forgetting to leave out any glow sticks or anything which would actually allow us to locate them.
They were in a larger natural divot off to the side of the trail and we trekked right on past them!
After an hour we were all too tired and frustrated to continue. We pulled out our bivvy sacks and grabbed a quick 45 min of sleep until the sun came up at 5am.
Once the sun hit us we realised that we had overshot the CP and started back the way we had come a few hours earlier. The CP staff were now up and awaiting our arrival and they spotted us before we spotted them. It was fun to hit the CP as the second place team because all the volley's had been waiting hours just to see another team. They even had some food stocked at the station and we devoured all that our bodies would handle.
From here it was onto our 100km desert Auto Rally. I am sorry to report that this was basically a desert auto drive and nowhere near as exciting as I had anticipated. It was nice to get off our feet, but for a few hours it did not even feel like we were racing. The driver had a truck with a fully enclosed bed...not just a truck bed, but an actual bed! Megan was asleep within seconds and Todd and I alternated the navigation seat in the front for a place in the back and some incredibly comfortable sleep. It was hard to believe we were towards the end of a 350km adventure race! Todd and I managed about a full hour, with Megan doubling up on us in that department.
After a few hours our driver dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. We had but a 10km trek to our final stage, an 18km paddle to the finish line...yeee haawww, almost home!
We ended up running most of the trek and hit the kayaks in high spirits, not only would we finish the Baja Travesia, my teammates' first expedition and only my second, but we would finish in daylight. Although we would not receive an official ranking we proved a lot to ourselves and to our peers. We came to compete and we did just that leaving it all on course...we were off in the kayaks.
It took us a full 3hr of paddling to cover the final 18km. Tides and currents significantly slowed our process and at times it felt like we were going in reverse.
As we approached the town of San Felipe we could not believe our eyes and ears. Hundreds of people had gathered on the beach to see us in! There was even a loud speaker announcing our every move. Everyone screamed at us when we came into view and we promptly screamed right back at them.
Time stood still as we paddled the final few strokes to the shore. We exploded from our kayaks ready for the accolades and congratulations to follow...but no one on the beach moved?
In our sleep deprived haze we had paddled right into a beach volleyball game! There were hundreds of people cheering for this event and having no idea where the hell we had just come from!
We swallowed our pride, re-launched our boats and continued the 400 meters down the beach to the finish line we could now clearly see in the distance. There were but a hand full of fellow racers, volley and friends to great us, but the feeling was no less sweet then it had been five minutes earlier.
WE HAD MADE IT! 350KM DOWN, A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE BEHIND US, ONE LEGENDARY CANYONING SECTION COMPLETED AND AN EXPERIENCE THAT NONE OF US WILL EVER FORGET!!!
Team Helly Hansen / MOMAR was officially ranked as the 12th place team, being the first unranked team to complete the course, however, all involved congratulated us on being the 2ND team to finish the race. It stung, just a little, to watch the cheque for 2,000 get presented to another team at the closing ceremonies, but hey, we ended up with our kayak back and that alone is worth more than the 2,000 price purse.
We really did feel that we had the best gear of any team in the race. Our Helly Hansen jackets amazed us as they held up to every single thorn, spike and cactus that the desert could throw at us. We all agreed that the Helly Hansen Mars Jacket is a must for any racer, runner, hiker or outdoor enthusiast.
Our Princeton Tec lights lit the way for us through the canyon and allowed us to catch the teams in front of us. The Apex, with it's 3 watt light is quite an amazing piece of gear.
My Rudy Project sunglasses and bike helmet kept me safe, sleek and looking good throughout the race!
By consuming Nuun Active Hydration tablets we stayed on top of our electrolyte consumption without even having to think twice about it.
Our KINeSYS sunscreen made sure that our white Canadian sun starved bodies did not spontaneously combust in the heat, and of course we owe a big thanks to Bryan Tasaka and the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Racing Series for his continued support and exposure for our team.
It's great to be home in one piece...but I know within a few days I'll already be dreaming of the next big race...Raid The North Extreme, starting on June 23rd and now officially being broadcast in prime time on Global Canada!! Keep your eyes out for us.