Posted by: roymalone | June 11, 2007

Team Bones wins in Costa Rica !!

Race report as published on Sleepmonsters.com 3.17.07
By Jason Quinn

Team Bones (USA) racer Jason Quinn gives SleepMonsters an exclusive first-hand report of their race. Jason and team-mates Roy Malone, Chris Barry and Louisa Jenkins took first place in the competition, traveling 450 km from Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast and making it to the northern Caribbean coast in about 91 hours. The team donated $500 of their prize money to a one-room school that served as a PC for the race.

It could have been the start of a classic Western. High noon in the hot sun, a duel just beginning. But rather than a gunfight it was a wild race through the jungles and rivers and mountains of Costa Rica, that began on the deserted beach. It had to be noon, because the spit of land that we started on is under water when the tide is in, so for that day either noon or midnight… and like any good race director, Mike has a slightly masochistic bent and there is far more potential for physiologic carnage when you exert yourself during the hottest part of the day in the tropics.

When one of our teammates arrived without her bike and box of gear, we were worried that our race might not even begin. But the race organization only puts on races in their free time, and runs a wildly successful adventure tourism business with fleets of bikes and kayaks. So after a little wheeling and dealing, we had ourselves the gear we’d need to actually do the race. Granted it wasn’t the carbon fiber goodies we were used to, but the saying holds true in Costa Rica as well… beggars can’t be choosers.
After a night in San Jose, we were all spirited away to the coast for the start of the race and our real first night in the jungle. As we sat on the porch of our cabana and went over our gear for the 1043rd time, the jungle just came alive with sounds coming from everywhere. Like some bizarre new age symphony, untold creatures began their nightly ritual of looking for mates, or food. When something that looked like a grasshopper the size of a banana landed on Roy’s bike box, we all looked at each other and decided that no matter what, we were not going to lie down and sleep in the jungle… promises were made to be broken, right?

The next day we began the race like all expedition races, as if the race is only 3 hours, and were practically sprinting down the beach for the first 6 km run to our bikes. From there we had a relatively short (35-40 km) ride with some pretty wickedly steep hike a bike, and a few pretty hairy descents. Louisa’s borrowed bike did fairly well considering it was designed and built to withstand a serious beating from unskilled tourists. And after only one major rain-inspired crash, and one broken chain, we arrived at the first TA just as dark was setting in.

Having recieved all the maps before the race began, we knew a little about where we were going, but since we didn’t get any of the coordinates until we reached the TAs, we weren’t sure how big and bad the trek would be. Mike had mentioned in the captains meeting that the trek would be about 100 km, but even plotting all the points in that first TA only gave us a hint at what we were in for. After about 1 hour in the TA spent breaking down our bikes, eating and getting the maps ready, we headed out into the night in 1st place for what we hoped would be a 30-35 hour trek… I said hoped.The first 3 hours of the trek were pretty uneventful with a long slow climb away from civilization to a manned check point at a remote farm. Once there we had to follow some critical instructions to find the “trail” to get through the next 8-9 miles of jungle. The “trail” in question proved to be a slightly less dense swath of jungle that went straight down, then across, then straight up a mountain. It didn’t exactly feel like a trail, or like anyone had likely ever hiked on it. Rather, it felt like someone with an industrial jungle-strength weed whacker drank too much coffee and went running off through the jungle.

So after slipping, sliding, scrambling, and crawling all without trying to actually touch the ground lest we accidentally touch one of the giant spiders scurrying around our feet, we finally stumbled out into the village of Angeles (population 18). The owner of the local pulperia (aka mini-mart) opened up shop for us at 4am and cooked up some chicken-flavored hockey pucks which we scarfed down before heading up higher into the mountains.

After Angeles, we were tasked to find the trail to Mount Lira. According to our instructions it was near a pink house with an electric fence… right. It’s 4 in the morning, you’re in the middle of Costa Rica, you’re stuffed full of chicken pucks looking for a pink house. A little embarrased, I decided to ask our cook if he knew of a pink house. “Of course,” he said, and pointed up the road. So up we went… and up and up. Hours later when my teammates finally saw the pink house (I’m color blind and couldn’t pick out a pink house to save my soul… and yes, my girlfriend does have to dress me on occasion to keep me from embarassing myself publicly). Here the trail turned back into the jungle for hours of up and down on what could only be called an actual trail using a definition so broad even Webster would cringe.

As we neared the top of Mount Lira I heard a loud crash in the bush to my right. We had seen some big spiders the night before, but if this was a spider, I was quitting the race. When I looked to the right I saw either the biggest all black house cat who just happened to be lost in the wilds of Costa Rica, or an actual Jaguar sitting in tree.I called for Chris to confirm the sighting, and protect me should the cat get any wild ideas, but at my shouting and flailing wildly, the Jaguar jumped out of the tree and ran away. Hours later after crossing some sketchy log bridges we entered the second night of our trek as we climbed up to the continental divide and the highest point of the race.

Two of the checkpoints in this section were going to be somewhat difficult. Mike, the race director had said that the coordinates might not be exact, but we should be able to follow the directions given to us and find them without too much difficulty. After spending 3 hours looking for the first one, we were caught by the second place team (Aditec). We told them they were happy to take their time and scour the 2 square km of 3000 meter peak that we’d been searching for the past 3 hours, but go figure, they decided to trust us as we bailed on the CP and began looking for a way out of the mountains and follow us. Well, no sooner had we moved on than we found the CP and began racing again for the 2nd CP on the mountain that would also be difficult… This CP was on the trail… if only we could keep from losing the trail. Four hours later we laid down to sleep until daylight when we figured the trail would be easier to find. Team Aditec joined us in a 4 hour frozen sleep at 10,000 feet in the jungle (note, we had vowed not to sleep in the jungle, but we really had no choice and despite my fear of spiders I crawled under my space blanket for some pseudo-sleep).

The next morning the trail was much clearer, though not so clear that Aditec wasn’t able to choose a way that got them to the next CP a full hour ahead of us. Once there we had an AMAZING home cooked meal and discussed some of the finer points of living off the land in Costa Rica. Having hit our high point, the rest of the trek was “all down hill” right? uhhh, no. We crossed the continental divide and entered Tapanti National Park, also the wettest area of Costa Rica.After hiking for about 6 hours in some amazingly wet, muddy jungle we caught and passed Team Aditec and got to a point where the trail kind of ended. Re-reading our race instructions, we saw that we were supposed to “find a trail that led down to the river” then travel along the river to a road that would finally lead us to the next CP. Well, the river couldn’t be too far away becuase we could hear it… or was that the sound of the rain?

After some failed attempts at bushwacking and following trails that ended in impenetrable forest or hillside so steep it made my vertigo return, we backtracked to the last point where we were sure the trail existed to find Aditec there contemplating their maps. Here we had a decision to make. It was pouring down rain, and we still hadn’t lost so much elevation to be where it was much warmer, so with darkness only 2 hours away, we knew that if we were forced to spend the night out there, we were going to need to build some shelter or risk a dangerous night. We decided to try one more direction looking for a way to the river, but also looking for a possible place to hole up for the night. Luckily, we found a passable way to the river and put on a serious hustle to the road. Feeling pretty good, we left Aditec behind and hit the road running.

At the next TA we devoured some food, built our bikes and began the last real stage that would punish our legs. Only about 40 km, the section had 2 pretty big climbs, but lots of flat in between that we figured we could make some good time. And we did, until something snagged my tire and tore the sidewall away from the beading. Sitting there with a tire completely destroyed, we thought our race might be over. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, or the high doses of caffeine, but we got wicked creative MacGuyver style and used nylon webbing/ duct tape/ GU wrappers/ patch kit/ and more duct tape to create a working solution in about an hour.An hour later after some pretty hard riding we got to the town of La Suiza and the next CP. The tire had been holding up really well, but we still had at least 3 more hours of riding and none of us were to excited about trying it on our arts and crafts project. So we began asking locals who were on their way to work at 5am if we could buy one of their bike tires. Most of them just started pedaling faster and taking a wide path around the smelling, strange-looking gringos. But one guy actually listened to our plight, and agreed to sell us his tire. Before we knew it we were on our way.

Cruising into the end of the bike ride, we had a quick transition for a short hike, ropes course in the trees, and 3 hour raft down the class III-IV Pacuare River. From there, we had a long… long… long kayak. A quick transition and setting up of our kayaks and we were off on a 100 km paddle. The first 30 km was down the Pacuare River with a few sand bars, but otherwise pretty uneventful. Then the way turned NW and followed a series of canals through the mangrove swamps along the coast. Without the river’s current to help us, the pace slowed considerably, and with night setting in, the sleep monsters came out in force. We sang, we yelled, we pinched ourselves, we smacked each other with our paddles, we ate and drank every last caffeineated item we had. But the things that had the most profound effect on keeping us awake were the frogs. Yes, giant albino man-eating frogs… well, they were probably man-eating. Paddling along, minding our own business at 1am and suddenly these giant white flailing shapes are leaping out out the water 5-6 feet in the air all around us. About the size of a 10 lb thanksgiving turkey, one would start a chain reaction and then 2, or 4 would just explode out of the water. While their flight paths may have looked random, too many were directed right at my head for me to believe it. For the next few hours we were so wide awake it hurt… no really, it hurt bad.Finally, after 17 hours in a sit-on-top kayak we reached Vista al Mar, just outside of Tortuguera and crossed the finish line. First place, first expedition race for half of the team, first-rate race. Overall a truly epic experience. Writing this I’ve realized how jam-packed this last few days has been with amazing experiences and people. Far too many to list them all here.

Sitting here on the beach in this little villa drinking a beer and elevating my swollen feet I’m already starting to wonder what marvels I’ll see next year. For anyone looking for a well run, affordable, serious expedition race, in an amazing locale, you’ve gotta check out this race.

Posted by: roymalone | April 23, 2006

Keen Ochoco

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It’s not often that a home run is hit at the first at bat, but Keen’s first attempt at a trail running shoe has accomplished this feat. We have been training and racing this year in their Ochoco trail shoe. The Micromesh and synthetic upper allows air to flow freely for a dry interior. Heel stabilizer keeps a firm hold on the foot for safe travel. EVA insole is anatomically contoured to naturally support your adventurous sole. Roomy toe box. No blisters, no black nails- even straight out of the box. They do run a little small, so I would order 1/2 size larger than normal.

Posted by: roymalone | April 16, 2006

Kokatat Rules

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Whether we are paddling in six foot ocean swells in Fiji, class IV whitewater in Brazil, or surviving 120 miles of the mighty Yukon, we always wear Kokatat. The fit, function, and performance of Kokatat products make it the perfect gear for all racing conditions.

Posted by: roymalone | January 4, 2006

Eco Motion 2005

The beautiful town of Gramado was the host of this year’s Eco Motion expedition race in Brazil. Team Subaru was in the top 10 for the first two days before a navigation error put us behind a storm savaged bike secton, ultimately dropping us at one point to 33rd place. A strong push the final two days moved us back up the field, ultimately finishing 16th out of 52 teams that started. Photo log is to the left.

Team:

Dan Rathbun
Walter Brumniach
Heather Christensen
Roy Malone

Crew:

Maria Burton
David Egbert

http://www.ecomotion.com.br/EcomotionPro/SerraGaucha2005/index.htm

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Posted by: roymalone | August 7, 2005

Our #1 Fans

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After talking with Mrs. Mote’s 3rd grade class about what can be accomplished through teamwork and the virtues of never giving up, they became our greatest fans. Even though they weren’t present, we felt the support of 23 eight-year olds (and their teacher, of course). Each time our enthusiasm waned, we remembered those who were supporting us from home.

Posted by: roymalone | June 11, 2005

The Bull

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The Bull- A South Africa Adventure

The Team-
Dan Barger
Roy Malone
Elina Mäki-Rautila
Antonio De La Rosa

http://www.adventurecentre.co.za

QUICK FACTS
Name: The Bull of Africa
Date: 25 June – 2 July 2005
What is it: Multi-day, multi-discipline, non-stop adventure race
Distance: 500km
Prize Money: R100 000 in total. R50 000 to first team Venue: Richtersveld, Northern Cape
Conditions: Semi-desert
Time for winning team: Estimated at 4.5 days
Disciplines: Trekking & trail running, canyoneering, rope ascent & descent, mountain biking, swimming, white water rafting, paddling and navigation
Teams: 25 x 4-person mixed-gender teams
Support: This race is unassisted. Teams will not have assistance from support crews
Participant Nationalities: South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Finland, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA
TV Coverage: Bull of Africa will be produced for television

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Balance Vector, New Zealand
Cross Sportswear, Sweden / Finland
Cyanosis Powerade, South Africa
DueSouth, South Africa
Energy, South Africa
FAAP Nokia Adventure, Brazil
Halti, Sweden
Jeep South Africa, South Africa
Lagoon Bay / Century 2000 / Saucony, South Africa
Martin & Scheepers / Pinegold, South Africa
Mazda Salomon, South Africa
Merrell/Wigwam Adventure, USA/New Zealand
Nike ACG Endure, UK / Finland
Olympus, South Africa
Osiguranje Zagreb, Croatia
Sandown Mitsubishi Red Ants, South Africa
Sofrana Unilines, New Caledonia (Fr)
Speleo Explorer Salomon, Poland/Russia/NZ
Sterling Hilfiger South Africa
Subaru USA, USA/Finland/Spain
Tension Structures, South Africa
The Matadors, South Africa
The North Face, UK
180° Adventures, South Africa/USA
8848, South Africa

Posted by: roymalone | June 5, 2005

Our New Ride Has Arrived!!!!

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Our new Team Outback arrived, and it is one sweet ride!! Almost hate to get it dirty….. Almost.

Dan promised that he would let the rest of the team drive it- someday.

Posted by: roymalone | June 5, 2005

24 Hours of Adrenaline

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Dan Barger and Roy Malone competed in the 24 Hours of Adrenalin mountain bike race in Idyllwild, California. Dan took second place with 17 laps completed and Roy took fourth, finishing 16 laps. Both qualified for the Word Championships in British Columbia in September.

http://www.twenty4sports.com

Posted by: roymalone | April 7, 2005

2005 Schedule- Second Race

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Appalachian Extreme Adventure Race
A World Championship AR Qualifier

When: 20 – 24 May 2005, hosted by Sunday River Ski Resort
           20 May   9am – 4pm*    Team Registration and Skills Check
           20 May            5pm*     Race Brief and Distribution of Maps
           21 May        7:30am*    Start, Race Day 
           22 May                        Race Day
           23 May                        Race Day, first teams expected to finish mid-day
           24 May            2pm*     Race Cutoff 
           24 May            3pm*     Closing Party, and Prize Giving

Where: Race is in Western Maine/Northern NH/VT, USA
            Pre- and Post-Race Festivities in Bethel, Maine at
            Sunday River Ski Resort’s Snow Cap Inn

What:  3 – 4 days of non-stop navigating, flatwater & whitewater canoeing, mountain biking, trekking, rope section

Team: Dan Barger
Roy Malone
John Moss
Rebecca Hodgetts

http://www.racingahead.com

Posted by: roymalone | April 7, 2005

Team Subaru Takes 2nd Place at the SMAR

After an unsuccessful attempt at arriving at the Expedition Hidalgo event in Mexico due to flight problems with Elina’s airline tickets from Spain, Roy and I quickly turned our pent up energy to the next available long race. The Smokey Mountain Adventure Race (SMAR) April 1-4 in North Carolina, fit the bill. I queried the interest of Crash formerly known as Kim Morse from Southern California to round out our three person co-ed team. With a little encouragement we had a top notch support crew assembled with Maria Burton, Trish Malone and Crash’s brother Ryan.

While a weather system gathered strength on Thursday and Friday we readied our gear for the Friday, 10:00pm start. Turns out a 3 ½ hour Canoe leg would greet all 57 teams with wind, rain and several flipped boats which kept race management busy. At 1:37am Team Subaru exited the water in 5th tied with three other teams and scrambled to a chilly transition and on to a 60 mile bike. As we knocked off teams over a 2 hour period we finally latched onto the back of the 1st place team which contained Patrick Harper formerly of a footwear sponsored team. Patrick coming back after injury in late 2004 was now racing for Adventure Sports Magazine NE. The two teams see-sawed back and forth for hours as we gained elevation and snow depth. After a few mysterious flats we descended several thousand feet to the transition area TA #2 to a hiking leg. But the story doesn’t stop there, the bike section was much more funny than can be described. I will attempt to paint the picture. The newly named Kim Morse known now as Crash must have explanation. Crash wanted very bad to descend quickly to the TA in an effort to warm the numb fingers brought on by freezing temperatures and wet gloves. However, descending down the dirt road at 15-20 mph tends to bring ones hands to a frigid temperature and impede the ability to apply the needed pressure to the brake levers. Crash, having no other choice, decided to drag her feet slowing only slightly and finally resorted to scrubbing off some speed by bouncing along the uphill side of the embankment. After several “Crashes” she joined Roy and I near the bottom of the hill. Having a few hundred feet to go Roy implemented a reverse tow and we descended safely to the bottom and on to the TA.

Through the descending challenges Patrick and his team gained a 10 minute lead upon entering the TA and departed with that same margin. By this time 51 teams had either pulled out, been rescued or were lost in the North Carolina hills. 6 teams ultimately left the TA on the run. After three CP’s with substantial navigation involved and several hours we arrived at CP 17 and 6” of snow driven by 50-60 mph winds. It was at this point we were notified that the entire race would end here. We were 10 minutes behind Hooked on the Outdoors (1st). As it turns out, only two teams made it to CP #17 and 23 hrs and 50 minutes of what we thought would be a 32-35 hour winning time.

Adventure racing, you just never know what your gonna get.

In Adventure
Dan Barger

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