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Training Log Archive: Work4justice

In the 7 days ending Apr 3:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Orienteering3 38:30:00
  Mountain Bike7 27:01:54 22.32 35.92 415
  Total8 65:31:54 22.32 35.92 415

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Wednesday Apr 3 #

Mountain Bike 3:00:00 [3]

Orienteering 21:00:00 [3]

Stage 4: TREK
After quite of bit of time, we headed on the trek, and I had the map. Right away trails didn’t match, and found a squirrelly way into the creek canyon for the first 2 waterfalls. At that point, we went around to get to #34, and I got a little stubborn trying to get to 36, really wanted that trail, but dumped the idea and just went south to the big road and found the attack point from there. All the way to 39, it was very smooth sailing navigation wise.
It was a very hot and humid day. JD had started to struggle with some chafing, but worsened as we continued with the trek. It also didn’t help that he had thrown away his trekking shoes after the swim trek and didn’t have back shoes, so he had to trek in his MTB shoes and took off his shorts—which made the many barbed wire fence hops a little treacherous. As the sun started to set, we were to skip a series of CPs after 39. So we headed off to skip those. As we got closer to the road that we needed to turn to restart, there was conversation about just moving on to the bike. We stopped at a tienda (of course) and chatted about it. Sidebar---I found in many situations at night only men of the town would be out, so I had to be off to the side and not cause any attention. In this situation, I told them JD was my husband because they kept wanting to talk to me and buy me things. Oh boy.
So we continued to the TA. As we approached we heard the music “Born in the U.S.A.”…Lol…we all dies laughing. Then it followed with Mariachi music. There was pasta in the TA waiting for us, and everyone wanted to hear how our race was going. I think we sat for about an hour just sharing all that had happened and what we encountered. I was to learn later, that JD got a warning for public nudity from a referee!!!!
We decided to prep for the bike and then sleep a couple of hours. We headed off around 3a.

Tuesday Apr 2 #

Mountain Bike 4:00:00 [3]

Orienteering 8:00:00 [3]

Stage 2: Swim Trek Swim
Landed in TA2 with Columbia Vidaraid passing us on their way out, I believe. Once we rolled in, I went to the race staff to share about JD’s condition so there wouldn’t be any surprises. He seemed a lot better, but I didn’t want to take chances. Because this kind of stage was new for me, I said I would do the land, but not the swim. So we headed off, got 13 and made our way to the swim. When prepping for the race, I consulted on the swim gear. What I deduced as best (pull float, small inflatable board and paddles) the guys wanted full floats and paddles. In hindsight, I don’t know if “bucking the trend” would have been good, but nonetheless it was what it was. I was really nervous about this section.
Once we got to the shore, JD realized he lost his float somewhere along the way. While we were inflating, he took a look around, but it was gone. So two of them doubled up while two of us had our own. We got to 14 and I suggested we try the land route to 15 after a bit of a swim in this crazy way. We landed for this little trek and after getting going for a bit, JD was attacked by red wasps, he thinks he got 8 bites. They just wanted out of there and to not continue for 15. So, we started to proceed back across the water. JD and I each got on a float and the guys got onto the 3rd with a little too much enthusiasm and it got punctured. Down to 2. I started to feel pretty low at this point. I had some tenacious tape and duct tape to try to repair, and a pair of socks I had in a dry bag to dry the spot for repair. As it turned out, we had to have 2 on each float. As we proceeded across the water, the wind really picked up, and kept us from proceeding at all. Gustavo (the RD) came out on a jet ski to see how we were doing, and gave a tow to shore. We went on to 16 and by this point we realized that we were so far behind that we might as well skip this stage as well and get back on bikes-Gustavo agreed.

Mountain Bike 12:00:00 [3]

Stage 3: MTB (the big one!)
Back on the bikes! While slow going, we carried forward—tricky turns, gate hopping, cattle clearing, Jorge even got smacked in the face by a night hawk. It was our plan to sleep a smidge after this, so staying focused and getting through it was key. We stopped twice, once at a small roadside tienda and a little gas station. I think there was only beer at the gas station. We continued with the ride until the TA, and as we got close, JD was pretty convinced it was in a gated and locked area, I had remembered a community football field. He wanted us to go into the locked gated area, which we did. Turns out it was someone’s private ranch, and we were so lucky that we didn’t have trouble I think! I had told him from the contours on the map it looked like the TA was a couple of k up the road, so we headed that way, and got into the TA. It had been my vote to swap out, start trekking and sleep somewhere, but the guys voted otherwise and we stayed. I slept a little, woke up and went to the others to get them going. I couldn’t find Jorge! Turns out someone loaned him a mattress so he was behind a table. Gah! Let’s go guys!

Monday Apr 1 #

Note

ARWS Paraguay

Mountain Bike 6:00:00 [3]

Stage 2-MTB
This was pretty straightforward and we had the distances which helped. We were probably about 5k into the ride and JD needed to stop, and he ultimately puked. I was worried on stage 1, but I got even more worried. I shared with the team that once we got into TA 2, I was going to tell race management what was going on. I gave JD pepto and some tums and I had a small coke. Once he came around we started to roll again.
One thing about the trails and roads on the map that took a bit to figure out was that the solid black lines were either a red clay road or two track, not at all a paved or easily traversed road. The less distinct options looked like motorcycle trails or game/cattle trails. As we moved through this stage, on many occasions we had to say “cattle up!” and really cause a rucus to get them to move out of the way. There were a couple bulls that were not happy with us, but we moved along. There were many gates to cross as well. Some opened and some we had to climb over with our bikes. That was exhausting for sure! There was one turn that we just couldn’t figure out. It was actually normal to be biking through some cattle ranches. But at one it seemed we were at a stop. The rancher came out, and we tried to talk to him but it turned out he only speaks Guarani, the native language and Paraguay’s official language. And he wanted to take us to his neighbor’s who spoke Spanish so they could help. Jorge didn’t see how we could say no, so off we went following him through some crazy terrain. We got to the neighbors, and after they gave us water and learned what we were doing, show us how to get on the way we planned. That was helpful! Took quite a while, but helpful! They were very curious about the Americans.
7 AM

Orienteering 9:30:00 [3]

Expedicion Guarani, April 2019
In short, the way it came up, and how the race went was pretty crazy, but wouldn’t trade it for the world. The report will talk about the race, but also some of the cultural nuances I encountered in this race. The greatest things for me was the challenge, interacting with the locals, and the beauty of the countryside. The biggest challenges was having to speak and translate Spanish/English all the time---even when tired, the many challenges we encountered and being soaking wet and cold during the ginormous paddle.
Pre race:
About 2 months before the race, JD texted me “Congratulations, you are going to Paraguay.” Truth, I did reach out and mentioned that I noticed he looks for teammates from time to time and I did start to think about wanting to try international expedition racing, so I had reached out. I did say maybe not Paraguay but something in the future.
When I got the message I thought about it for about a day. Then decided to go for it. I don’t know if it’s turning 49, or the thought that 2020 might not hold a lot for racing for me, or the thought of such a significant cultural growth experience lured me in, but I was crazy enough to jump in. The two other teammates are from Mexico, Jorge and Uli. They had some experience with XPD racing. We had communication through WhatsApp and a phone call pre race about gear and race communications, but I didn’t meet them until I arrived in Paraguay.
JD wasn’t set to arrive until after us, so we headed off to the store. That bike ride was insane! Uli was out front, and would whistle and hold up his hand to control traffic. I never rode like that in my life! I did everything to keep up so cars wouldn’t separate us. Wow. That was nuts. But exhilarating at the same time. During this ride, we realized something was up with my back brake. After taking a look at it, headed off to the trek store for a repair. They asked if I wanted XTR replacement (which is what I have) or a more basic replacement, and I said XTR. They made a few phone calls, and after some wow and laughter, they told me the price (cheaper than US!) and said it would take a few days. So shimano it was. This situation was one of many, many that really opened my eyes again and again.
Once the team was together it was go time on coordinating gear and getting things together. However, JD was feeling a bit under the weather. Jorge passed something to JD to use for his cold, and he proceeded to use it as a nasal inhaler. After some howling, he learned it was for his mouth. Oh my goodness, this and the brakes turned into a long list of “what could happen next” things to come.
The pre race activities proceeded without incident. I did have the first of what turned into quite a few instances of chatting with the Columbia VidaRaid team. Very nice people for sure! At the welcome dinner, I sat next to a young woman name Majo (pronounced Mayo). I was starting to get my bearings with speaking Spanish, which was a good thing! In many countries English isn’t hard to find, but the hotel didn’t have bilingual staff, and a lot of the verbal race information and communication was in Spanish. Jorge was as bilingual as I am, and certainly some things got lost in translation.
Anyway, back to Majo, she shared that she is 28 and probably the youngest female racer in the in Expedition category. I joked back that I was probably the oldest. She asked how old I am, and when she heard, she was totally and completely shocked. As the race went on and post race, I had about 10-15 people want to guess how old I am or wanted to know. The average age they guessed was 40. I have to admit, with steady health care and access to just about anything I need, I can imagine I look younger than my age.
But, I was getting weary of pre race. I wanted to get this started. Off to be at 7p for a 2:30a alarm.

Stage 1-TREK
We got on the bus at 3:30 and got to the start at 6a. We were given 20 maps. I realized we had not at all discussed how we would use this time. Incidentally, I had my map wheel with us, but realized it was faster to use the ruler or just the plain old squares for distances. JD still wasn’t feeling great, so I started to proceed with bike distances with the time we had. As the navigator, he started looking at the first nav map. We got our first warning from a referee, the map wheel! GAH! I had no idea. He noticed we had not used it, but said it needs to disappear. So, we got it into our overnight luggage.
At 7:30, we were finally off! CP 1 and 2 went along fine, and as we started on to CP 3, JD started to feel really bad. He had turned his ankle on one of the (many many) fence hops and was just getting way over heated. He took a tow from Jorge and eventually, I realized we were sort of wandering, and that JD didn’t have a map and Jorge and Uli did. I asked them where we were and they didn’t know. Uh oh. So, I stopped us to consult getting us on line. I determined that there was a potentially significant trail that we needed to get to, and once there, could reasonably find our way. With the slower pace, JD started to come around a bit. We made our way to 3, and then started our way to 4, but got off line again with JD’s feverish state. I asked if I could give it a try. He said yes, and the guys looked a little concerned. I went with the easiest possible handrails and figured if there was water in the creek JD could cool down some. We proceeded well, and got through 5, 6, and 7 without incident. JD started to recover again, and when I was on the line for 8, he wanted to pull off. Jorge and Uli have raced with JD before, and I sensed that they trusted him more than me, which makes sense. So we went off the line and found ourselves in a crazy situation again. Fortunately, we made our way back and then on to 9 and 10 and to the TA in second to last. En route, the guys stopped for a quick beer.

Saturday Mar 30 #

9 AM

Mountain Bike 23:52 [3] 3.57 mi (6:42 / mi) +72m 6:18 / mi

Friday Mar 29 #

12 PM

Mountain Bike 20:36 [3] 2.74 mi (7:31 / mi) +78m 6:54 / mi

We decided to go to the store...and en route realized that my brake got broken in transit. :(. We went on to the store, dropped off our purchases. Jorge and Uli found a trek store and we went there as they were able to replace it right away. Phew! The adventure before the adventure! The guys are great. Abby offered an edit that I gratefully accepted ;)

Mountain Bike 8:11 [3] 1.72 mi (4:46 / mi) +11m 4:41 / mi

2 PM

Mountain Bike 36:21 [3] 6.9 mi (5:16 / mi) +144m 4:57 / mi

5 PM

Mountain Bike 32:54 [3] 7.4 mi (4:27 / mi) +110m 4:15 / mi

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