Saturday, March 29, 2008

MEXICO: Behind the Scenes at Baja Travesia

Team DART-nuun/NW Kayaks in the Baja Car, which took us from the desert run to the mouth of the first canyon, just below the 10'000 foot Picachu del Diablo.

We won, tying with our brother team DART-nuun (Cyril, Aaron and Jenn)!


We have literally thousands of photos to sort through and hundreds
of stories. 3 days after finishing, my limbs covered in bruises scabs. My legs are still severely swollen from edema. My mind is still at 50%. I still have dozens of cactus spines stuck under my skin, all over my body, from the deserts and canyons.

As Mr. Rinn said, "We stepped into the GNAR"... Baja is a big, bad piece of land. All I can say is I never hallucinated so badly in my life. We waited too long to sleep and were caught by our friends in the last 12 hours of the race. It was arrogant to think we could finish this race without ANY sleep. Cyril's team banked an hour early which allowed them to think more clearly. That would be the difference in the end.

My fueling was spot-on for this race. I used Vitargo S2 as my primary carbohydrate, always carrying two double-scoop bottles with me into every leg. That proved to be my 'security blanket', making me bonk-proof throughout the race. I never tired of the taste, which is subtle. In fact, I looked forward to downing a bottle whenever I could. As soon as I hit each transition, I had instructed my crew (Ryan Fleming) to have a double-scoop bottle ready for me. I would slam it and then pack up for the next leg. I know this is what kept my glyclogen topped off throughout the 70 hour race. For electrolytes I kept 3-4 tabs of nuun in my 100oz bladder as usual and added occasional Clif Bloks in the Margarita flavor. Those have 200mg of sodium per serving which helped up the sodium levels. nuun has been a life-saver in hot dry races like Baja Travesia. Dehydration in the desert sneaks up on you so you have to constantly take in electrolytes. nuun makes that simple.

We decided to split the 1st ($3,000) and 2nd ($2,000) prize money and free entry to the Adventure Racing World Championships at Eco Motion Brazil (worth $8,000). It was a win-win in the end, literally. The racers who do not go to Brazil will represent DART-nuun at the USA Adventure Racing Championship.

Standby for some funny stories, photos. Thanks for tuning in. Let me know what kind of photos or stories you want and I will post them, both my own and those of the other DART guys and gals.

I have an appointment with an urgent care MD friend to remove the rest of the spines out of my body and to clean up some of the nastier wounds on my legs and feet tomorrow. I'm bringing Starbucks and pastries into the office. Hope that helps!!!

Today's song is Dare by Gorillaz

Thursday, March 27, 2008

DART-nuun and DART-nuun NW Kayaks TIE for 1st Place at 2008 Baja Travesia

Check out this video of TEAM DART-nuun/NW Kayaks and Team DART-nuun crossing the finish line together in 1st place after traversing the Baja penninsula in 70 hours. We basked in the moment and all drank from the champagne bottle. You have to savor these moments!

Song of the day is Radiohead's House of Cards

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Running through the desert to the Baja cars

1. Running through the desert, constantly getting cactus needles in the feet, legs and toes.

1.5 Here is our brother team DART-nuun route-finding from atop a mountain on one of the desert treks

2. After the first run across the 100 degree desert, we jumped in baja cars which drove us about 45 minutes to the base of the mountains-the mouth of the Big Canyon under Picachu del Diablo

2.4 Here is our sister team DART-nuun in the baja cars

3. Here is a view later from one of the mountain bike sections. Thousands of feet above the valley, this is from the old observatory road. The 2nd darkest place in the hemisphere at night.

Today's song is Hang Me Out to Dry by Coldwar Kids

Sunday, March 23, 2008

START of the 2008 Baja Travesia San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez. 80 degrees outside. Light wind. Calm seas. We ran down the beach to the paddleboards for a hard 5k paddle to the start of the desert run...

Today's song is Punkrocker by Teddy Bears featuring Iggy Pop

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

::::Baja Travesia LIVE COVERAGE::::

Follow me LIVE as I race with team DART-nuun/NW Kayaks across the Sea of Cortez, San Felipe desert, 9,000' sierras, canyons and the finish line in Ensenada on the Pacific Ocean in the BAJA TRAVESIA. This year the race is stepping up the coverage and it should be exciting to watch.

As for me, all I can do is race with passion. I hope all of the blood, sweat, and consistent 20+ hour training weeks over the last few months will have me ready to race at my best. Our team is strong and capable of winning if we take care of each other and eliminate mistakes. At this point we just have to get the gear and food sorted and get our heads wrapped around this epic traverse of the Baja penninsula. I spent the entire day packing and re-packing, grocery shopping for race food, going over my bike and gear...and yapping with my teammates, who arrived today at Sylvie Maracci & Cyril Jay Rayon's house in Santa Monica.

The 2 DART-nuun teams will meet in San Diego and caravan down to San Felipe on Saturday morning with our support crews. Our team members have driven down from Squamish, British Columbia, Seattle, Gig Harbor, WA, Mountain View, CA, Santa Monica, and of course yours truly in Orange County.

Hopefully this time I am not hit by a truck again like the 2006 Baja Xtreme (which we managed to still win anyway).

I am bringing 4 cans of GenR8 Vitargo S2 with me to use as my primary race carbohydrate. Vitargo has fueled my training since last summer and I trust it, plain and simple. At the Baja Travesia, you cannot afford to bonk. Bonking is a non-issue when I use Vitargo.

We are lucky enough to have adventure racer Ryan Fleming crew for us. Ryan raced with Team DART-nuun at the 2004 Primal Quest in Washington, taking 11th. He knows what he's doing and will get us out of the transitions as fast as possible.


SOLE Baja Travesia is a 400-kilometer adventure race traversing Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Teams of three will paddleboard, kayak, bike, trek, canyoneer and travel on the infamous Baja Desert cars as they race nonstop from San Felipe to Ensenada. This year's event includes an all women's division with prizes and cash for the top women's teams, a first in the sport of expedition adventure racing. Support crews will assist teams with gear changes and refueling at designated points along the course. The fastest teams are expected to finish in just over three days.

The 2008 SOLE Baja Travesia is North America's only Adventure Racing World Series Qualifier where the winning team receives a coveted spot to compete in the 2008 World Championships of Adventure Racing in Brazil.

Follow this year's event as teams from eight different countries challenge two-time champion Team DART-nuun. Watch for exciting live on-course coverage, videos, stories, and photos of your favorite teams. Race starts on March 24, 2008.


Saturday 3/22Registration, Gear Check, Skills Check
Sunday 3/23Pre-Race Meeting, Pre-Race Fiesta, Race Prologue
Monday 3/24Race START
Thursday 3/27First Finishers (Ensenada)
Saturday 3/29Course Closes, Post Race Fiesta (optional early departure)
Sunday 3/30Racers Depart (Recommend early departure to the border, expect delays)


$13,500 CASH Prize along with over $20,000 in prizes
Prize Money
1st: $3,000
2nd: $2,000
3rd: $1,000
4th: $900
5th: $800
6th: $700
7th: $600
8th: $500
9th: $300
10th: $200
Total: $10,000

Prize Money Womens

1st: $2,000
2nd: $1,000
3rd: $500
Total: $3,500

* If 5 or more Women's teams start the race, prize money will be given to 3rd place. If fewer than 5 women's teams enter the race prize money will be given to 1st place


Live Tracking of SOLE Baja Travesia Teams

March 8th, 2008

Thanks to huge efforts by SOLE together with and Sleepmonsters, Baja Travesia will have LIVE tracking a real time leaderboard and videos and photos from the course. Make sure your friends, family and fans check our site during the race to watch your progress and feel your pain. The collaborative effort between SOLE, TrackMe360 and Sleepmonsters will keep you entertained as you seamlessly flip between websites to find the information you want to see. Watch as our totally new features make you feel like you are on a team of your own.

OK Kids, today's song is Goodnight Goodnight by Hot Hot Heat

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

3 Days in Santa Fe & Camp Freddy in LA

Just got back from work meetings in Santa Fe. It was my first time visiting New Mexico and I must say I did not anticipate the difference altitude makes when running your "easy pace". What a rude awakening it was to attempt running*at*all* at an altitude of 7,000'. You gasp for air, but no dice. No-can-do! Sorry! So I ran slowly and enjoyed the scenery and history of the town. So I JFT'd and after about 30 minutes of I found flow and forgot about time, pace, or oxygen.

Santa Fe is a cool little town and such a departure for someone like me, a jaded denizen of the littoral and hinterland.


The Camp Freddy show at Knitting Factory for The TEEN PROJECT was unbelievable. Maybe 150-200 people in an intimate setting. I am definitely going to check them out in May at the Roxy.

from the website:


Brett Scallions:

Pretty Vacant, Rain,

Billy Morrison:

Suffragette City,

Corey Parks:

Bad Reputation,

Terri Nunn:

The Metro, Man In The Box,

Mark McGrath:

Cat Scratch Fever, Jailbreak, Round And Round (with Warren De Martini),


God Save The Queen,

Billy Morrison:

I Wanna Be Your Dog.

Camp Freddy played a show at the Los Angeles Knitting Factory in Hollywood, in aid of 'Give Me Shelter' - a charity that helps find housing for people after the Foster Care System. We had a great night, and a bunch of friends joined us to help us rock. Brett Scallions, Mark McGrath, Warren De Martini, Stephen Perkins, Billy Duffy, Corey Parks, Terri Nunn and Lemmy all got onstage during the night and jammed with us.

Linda Perrys band also played and they did a fantastic set of all Led Zeppelin songs.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Camp Freddy this Friday at Knitting Factory in Hollywood

Today's Song is Fire Woman by The Cult

Going to the Knitting Factory in Hollywood Friday night to see Camp Freddy. Since I'm tapering down in my training, I finally get to have a life for a week or two before my race in Baja.

The concert will benefit The Teen Project , which is a non-profit corporation committed to providing housing and a college education to the 25,000 homeless foster youth in California.


"Give Me Shelter” features 3 amazing performances by world-renowned musicians: The Section Quartet, followed by a rock and roll set by Linda Perry and then an all-star line up from Camp Freddy, including Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Billy Morrison (The Cult), Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction, Alanis Morrissette) and special guests.

**The Teen Project is the love child of Lauri Burns. A product of the system, she lived in 24 different homes in the first five years after leaving the system. Now a successful business woman and foster mom, Lauri is unwavering in her mission to ensure that foster teens have all the opportunities that normal teens have. The Teen Project’s mission is to provide our homeless foster youth with shelter and a life sustaining education.

This is a CHARITY EVENT benefiting THE TEEN PROJECT. All ticket costs are tax-deductible.

Camp Freddy playing Ziggy Stardust:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Next stop: BAJA TRAVESIA March 22-29

Today's song is Blue by A Perfect Circle. Apparently this song is about Maynard's ex girlfriend...he was unaware that she was a junkie and completely oblivious to all the telltale signs. From their 2nd album, The 13th Step.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Here is Renee's story of addiction, depression, cutting, and recovery. It has now been 2 years Renee transitioned into rehab and recovery. Over the last 2 years this story has resonated with people around the world who have been impacted by depression, addiction, cutting, or suicide.

Click on the link below or read the original story if you are interested. Do you know someone in your life who resembles Renee? Addiction and depression are treatable. Love is the answer!

by Jamie Tworkowski

Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won't see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she'd say if her story had an audience. She smiles. "Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars."

I would rather write her a song, because songs don't wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn't slept in 36 hours and she won't for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she'll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn't ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of "friends" offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write "FUCK UP" large across her left forearm.

The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.

She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I've known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she's beautiful. I think it's God reminding her.

I've never walked this road, but I decide that if we're going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes.

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando's finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott's) Travelling Mercies.

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I'm not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope.

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We're talking to God but I think as much, we're talking to her, telling her she's loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she's inspired.

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff.

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She's had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn't have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life.

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: "The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope."

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.

Today's song is a The Kelly Affair by Be Your Own Pet

Monday, March 3, 2008

Vision Quest Weekend

Post race, with my finisher's feather.

2008 Vision Quest: 7 hrs 8 minutes

"This is what you wanted?
...This is what you had in mind?
...Cause this is what you're getting."
Maynard James Keenan
"It's mind over matter: If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
Navy SEAL Charle Aeschlimann

What a glorious and thouroughly enjoyable beat-down. I took a beating but went down swinging!

Knowing that I had not pre-ridden the course, I had no lofty goals for Vision Quest. However I was anxious to know how my fitness and skills compared to the masters of this race. The same names who come back every year going under 6 hours. A look at past results indicated that a realistic goal would be the mid to high 6hr range. Team SHO-AIR's Super Mario Correa went 6:05 last year, knows the course, and I know he is faster than me right now (he raced in his 24hr co-ed national champion Stars & Stripes), so I figured 6:45 was my aggressive target time as a VQ rookie. I finished in 7:08, humbled by the single-sport mountain bikers like Mario who took me to school on the descents. Took me to the woodshed is more like it! It was an alarming reality check of my (lack of) technical riding skills. As a training ride for Baja Travesia, this was a perfect litmus test for my preparedness.

Solace: I was passed maybe twice the entire race on the climbs... but floundered badly compared to the top mountain bikers on the descents. It was clear that they knew the right lines, and were flying around the corners and over rock gardens where I was braking. I flatted with 12 miles to go, and had some issues getting my new tires off the rim. That cost me 12 minutes, believe it or not. I also finished with a flat, having ridden it in on the last mile. Murphy's Law is always in effect!
Interestingly I felt stronger at the end than the beginning (again), which indicates that my fitness is spot-on for Baja Travesia. I just need to work on my technical and descending skills, and will certainly convert to a Stan's N0 Tubes system this week. I was running nearly 50psi in my tires, where the pros and top finishers were all running around 25psi in tubeless or Stans setups. Lower pressure makes a material difference in cornering, traction, technical sections ie rock gardens, etc. I will not make that mistake again.

Overall, I was happy with my race. If you take the flat(s) away, that puts me around 6:55, which would have been close to my goal time. I am absolutely positive I can knock an hour off my time and look forward to coming back to this race next year.

Photos and Results are on the Warrior's Society page!


After Vision Quest I drove home, slept 3hrs(!), packed and headed up to Santa Monica to meet up with Cyril and Sylvie.

We woke up early-ish on Sunday and caravaned to Topanga Canyon to begin a long brick workout. We dropped my car (the Mystery Machine), then drove to Malibu Canyon to start our bike/run. We started and finished the bike at Cyril's car, then ran point-to-point to my car, joined by Andy Tubbs.

Mountain bike - 4hrs on the Backbone (6,000' of climbing)
Run - 2.5 hours up and over Saddle Peak - (3,000' of climbing).

We were actually pre-riding time trials for this summer's double top secret Scramble race. If you are doing the Scramble, be prepared for some very steep, nasty climbs.

During the run down from Saddle Peak I realized that I had climbed over 26,000 feet this week, running and riding combined. This week was a good deposit.

After the brick workout we joined Kathryn Tubbs at D'Amore's in Malibu for some fantastic pizza. No wine or beer at D'Amores, but it was a great way to cap off the weekend.
3 more weeks to BAJA! That means I have one more week to get fitter, then a 2 week taper to freshen and get sharp for the hellacious, hideous, & heartbreaking BAJA TRAVESIA.