I have been pretty excited about something and tried to keep it under wraps until I knew for sure it was going to happen but it looks like my unpaid time off from work has been approved and our flights are being booked. I am a bit over the top excited at this point about going into the wild and racing for days in one of the most amazing places on this planet. Next month, I may get to take dream crushing to an international level as I get to join my hero Paul Romero to in the Tantauco Exploration Race on the Chiloe Island in Northern Patagonia.
I still have some healthy hesitation about jumping into a non-stop expedition adventure race but I could not be more ready to jump into the format for the Tantauco race. It is setup as a four day stage race of two person teams with multiple disciplines each day including kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, bushwhacking, duckies and navigation. Another multisport stage race on an island! I LOVE IT!
Although the place and the race is enough to get me excited and crush my dreams the real honor is getting to race with Paul. He has been a hero of mine for a long time and I have watched Super K and him race all over the world and then take on the tallest summits with Jordan. Uber achievers and balanced. Monique and I are always interested to hear the stories of their adventures when they get back home. . . but Paul is my hero for so many other reasons and those who know him know exactly what I am taking about. The spirit of play, teamwork and and wisdom that Karen and Paul share is so contagious it just brings out the best in everyone they come in contact with. Paul always brings out the best in me and will as we are racing in the lead I am sure of it.
“It is the second biggest island in South America, with only five islands, out of 40, without inhabitants. Its environment is practically virgin soil, most of which is part of the Chiloe National Park, which offers a natural and traditional scenery” I started doing some research about Chile and the Chiloe island as we are going through our gear and starting a packing list. I thought I would link up some of it here and give a few links to follow along live as we race if you are interested.
From looking at the weather and what we will be doing we will need everything from sunscreen to insulated booties to protect from the elements but most of all I will need to ensure I packed enough SIU pills. Sean was sure to let me know how effective these little secret sauce pills can be in moments of the gnar.
We will be racing through a private natural reserve within the Tantauco Park at the south end of the island. From the maps provided and what I have seen online it looks like navigation and the vertical gain is going to be tough. We already have a warning for the challenges we will face on our feet. “You have to move very carefully around the areas known as “quiebrapatas” or foot-breakers, which have sectors covered with lots of roots. Trekking will be one of the most demanding disciplines, covering distances from 120 to 150 kilometers providing competitors do not get loss, in which case distances could increase.” I really don’t want to sprain my ankles again but I know we will still have plenty of time in the water and I am sure the beautify of the environment and excitement of the race will pass faster than I want it to anyways. I am planning on taking in as much as I can and enjoying every moment.
Although it looks nice in the pictures, I am reminded of what Marlyn McDonald says about training locations. Something like “if it is all green and pretty it sucks for training”. The idea is that it gets a lot of rain and that makes for some tough training. . . but we are not going to be training there we are going to be RACING! Bring on the suffering!
“When Charles Darwin visited the island, he is noted for saying: “In winter the climate is detestable, and in summer it is only a little better…” but perhaps he had too bad luck. In Chiloé one third of the year is raining, one third cloudy and one third sunny, and these three states may happen in a single month, a single week or a single day. “
Let the adventure begin!