DART Montrail Wins the Baja Travesia Expedition Adventure Race!

I am just back from Baja, Mexico where my team, DART Montrail competed in the Baja Travesia Expedition Adventure Race. This was my first expedition adventure race. Before the race I never wanted to mention or talk about that fact. Not sure why, maybe for fear that it would make people not take me seriously, or uncover me as a fraud who had no chance of winning such an event.

Since I wrote a comprehensive race report for MountainZone.com on this race I’ll spare you all the details… but I’ll give you the basics. The race traversed the peninsula of Baja California – traveling more than 370km from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Mountains at 10,000 ft and back to the Sea of Cortez. My teammates for this race were Cyril Jay-Rayon and Jen Segger. We also had a second DART team racing as DART Gregory – Glenn Rogers, Ryan VanGorder and Jen VanGorder. This race was one of the most adventurous and challenging events I’ve ever done and we finished in 69 hours on less than 15 minutes sleep! Second place finished more than 9 hours after us. However we had no idea and my hallucinations had me thinking we were being chased down to the finish. DART Gregory finished a respectable 4th place after 3 camp fires – pretty impressive.

Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren of Team Sole where the race directors and they put on an amazing race. It’s hard to say this race was harder than other races, but I finished this race so messed up that I would have to say – this felt like the hardest event I’ve ever done. There were times when we were putting up our own makeshift rappelling ropes in the dark, in a 10 foot wide, 6,000 foot high canyon that I could not believe we were on course.. no one on my team believed it either. We are an experienced team and we were freaking out, so an average team had no chance, and from what I saw no average team finished this race.

Highlights:

  • The dolphins swimming beside our boat on the first 50km (31 miles) kayak section.
  • The two DART teams riding the first bike section and the following trekking section together – it was just a blast to be out there with 5 other teammates pushing hard.
  • Finally getting out of Devils Canyon, which took 6 hours of down climbing and rappelling super steep terrain and loose rocks.
  • Arriving at CP15 and having them tell us we were in first place having passed Nike ACG Europe.
  • The 26+ mile run to the Sea of Cortez, I was holding my compass bearing the whole time and having the team running fast enough that we knew no one could catch us at this pace – no one.
  • Finally getting out of the boat at the finish, then having them confirm that we were first.
  • Going to sleep, getting up, going back to the finish line and realizing that no one else had finished yet and wouldn’t for another 9 hours.
  • Cyril’s navigation throughout the race.

Lowlights:

  • Being absolutely embarrassed by team Silly Rabbits (Salomon) Rick Barraff, Harold Zundel and Emily Durksen on the first paddle section – they hammered on everyone
  • Sitting in a cactus on the first bike section, oh the pain. Thanks Glenn for pulling the needles out of my ass. He didn’t want to do it but I reminded him he has kids and to pretend I’m one of them!
  • Thinking at one point in Devils Canyon that we were going to have to bivy for the night and wait for a helicopter to come get us.
  • Hallucinating in the 104 degree heat of the desert after coming out of the 18 hour canyoneering section, I was absolutely crazy at that point on less than 15 minutes of sleep.
  • The Mexican Policia jumping out of his truck with a machine gun and coming at me.
  • After running a quarter mile to the last CP on the kayak section the rest of the paddle was pure hell for me. My asthma was out of control, I couldn’t breath, but I couldn’t slow down because we could see lights of another team chasing us down.. (or so we thought).

I have to thank my teammates Jen Segger and Cyril Jay-Rayon for being amazing athletes and teammates.

Sleepmonsters race report and picture gallery.