Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Help from unexpected places

     We are very excited to announce that a couple of generous companies have graciously elected to help support our upcoming trip.  The great thing is that with both companies we use their products on a regular basis with our adventures.  It is an honor to represent two great product lines. Both companies products work equally well whether you are running, biking, hiking, or kayaking.
     Ultraspire is a company that makes hydration packs, belts, and handheld water bottles.  Kathleen has been one of their Elite Immortal athletes for a couple of years.  She tends to use either the Spry or Surge backpack on long runs and I use the Kinetic vest.  I love my Kinetic and it was what I ran Cascade Crest 100 in.  31 hours of running and no chaffing with the perfect amount of carrying capacity for a supported run.  We also have an assortment of their handheld water bottles around the house.  For the trip they have given Kathleen one of their Fastpacks which has more carrying capacity since we will be out for multiple days on some of the runs we have planned.  I will be using an Ultraspire Fastpack also.  For more information on their products go to www.utraspire.net.
     Gu Energy Labs is a producer of nutritional products to help power you on your adventures and in recovery afterwards.  They make energy gels, chews, electrolyte solutions, and a recovery brew.  On long efforts we try to eat every 30 to 45 minutes so the GU gels and chews provide a quick easily digestible energy source that comes in a small easily carried package.  I use these a lot so if you are what you eat I probably have at least one foot that is made of GU.  There are a variety of flavors (some with caffeine) that we enjoy though sometimes Kathleen and I might arm wrestle over the Mint Chocolate ones since those tend to be the favorite.  Kathleen also tends to use their Roctane gels when she races. Gu Energy Labs will be a main source of our training fuel over the course of this adventure. Their website is http://guenergy.com.
     Not only do these two companies produce top-notch products, but the people behind these businesses have been extraordinarily encouraging, kind, and supportive of our plans.  A HUGE thanks goes out to them.

     Lastly, many of you know that Kathleen entered in a contest with First Endurance.  The contest had already been going on for a couple of weeks so she was behind from the start but still managed to get to third place with everyones help.  Thank you if you voted.  First Endurance awarded a runner-up prize to the contestant with the most compelling story.  Our upcoming trip caught their attention so Kathleen was awarded a years supply of Optygen HP.  It is a supplement that is designed to improve endurance and performance.  Stay tuned and Kathleen can let us know how it works in a few months.    

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Plan (for now)

     So a lot of people have been curious about what our plans for this little escapade are going to be.  There have been some of you that have also been interested in meeting us in certain places so we wanted to send out a rough timeline about what we are thinking.  That said, no plan ever survives intact once implementation begins.  Part of the beauty of our trip is that it is free form.  With the exception of the initial plane ticket and our wedding in November we are not locked into anything.  If we meet people on the way, hear of someplace cool to go that we weren't aware of, or decide we really like someplace and want to stay there awhile, then we can do that. The plan of course also relies on us staying safe, healthy, and not going broke. 
     With that caveat, the current plan is as follows.  My last day of work is 17 February.  That gives us 10 days to pack up the house into storage and load my truck with a lot of gear and two kayaks.  Kathleen will finish up work in Seattle while I will set off on a 700 mile solo sea kayak trip down the length of the Baja Peninsula in the Sea of Cortez from San Felipe to La Paz.  I have been dreaming of this trip for over 20 years and can't believe that it is finally coming to fruition.  I plan to take 7 weeks to do this which works out to 16.7 miles a day with one rest/weather day per week.  I can carry 10 days of water so have to get to resupply points/towns in that amount of time.  Much of this paddle is very remote along roadless desert.  The pictures I have seen are jaw dropping beautiful.  Many photos and video will be shot along the way. Being separated from Kathleen for 2 months is the only drawback to this part of the plan.
     At the end of the paddle I will reunite with Kathleen, my truck, and the other kayak.  There are some bays on the west side of Baja where the whales come to mate.  I am excited to show this to Kathleen and be able to do some day paddles in this area.  Eventually our road trip will lead us back to the states ending up at my Mom's house in Durango, CO.  We will spend a week there saying good bye to family before spending the last week of May on the Front Range with friends.
      Then begins World Tour in earnest.  We will fly from Denver to London on 31 May with a week long layover in Iceland.  Serious trail running will now ensue.  The rest of June will be spent in Ireland visiting Kathleen's relatives and running the drumlins and eskers that make up the landscape.  This month will be the training for our upcoming Alp-capades.  From the British Isles it will be a hop over to Oslo.  There an old high school exchange student that I haven't seen in over 25 years has offered to put us up and show us around her corner of Norway.  Then it is down to Germany to see more relatives and by this time the snow should have melted from the Alps.  Much of July and August will be spent doing long trail runs through the Dolomites, Alps, and Pyrenees Mountain Ranges including the Tour de Mt Blanc over 4 days.  For September we are planning on going to Turkey and trekking the Lycian Way.  This is a 300 mile trek along the southern coast and we are considering this our "warm up" trek.
     October will signal that it is time to switch continents.  We plan to take the Trans-Siberian express using the Trans-Mongolian route as the way to travel to Beijing and then Southeast Asia where we will spend the winter.  We have a 4 month window to see this section of the world.  Our wedding will be on 29 November on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand.  The rest of the time will be spent exploring.  Myanmar and Vietnam are high on my list but Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos are also on the list.  We hope to find some volunteer work during this time.  Veterinarians Without Borders is doing some excellent work in Laos and I hope to find something similar in Vietnam. 
     Once the snows start melting in March it will be time to move on to Nepal.  Besides going on world tour Kathleen has always dreamed about doing an epic long hike like the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail.  I introduced her to something called the Great Himalaya Trail and now we want to attempt the Nepal section of this.  This trail basically traverses Nepal.  It is an almost 1000 mile hike involving multiple 20,000 feet high passes.  It has only been done a handful of times.  The hazards and obstacles are numerous including high altitude, navigation, crevasse hazard, technical climbing and rappels, finding food, river/stream crossings, rockfall, and the remnants of the Maoist revolution.  It makes Kathleen (and me) giddy just thinking about attempting it.  This will likely take us about 4 months if we succeed.  Ideally this is how we will end up in northern India.
     At this point the plan becomes fuzzier as it is getting to be too far into the future.  The rough idea is to spend some time in India before moving on to East Africa.  I am not sure if we will have the time or money but in a perfect world we would attempt to make on overland journey down the length of East Africa from Ethiopia to South Africa.  This would be getting us into the winter of 2014/2015 which is summer in the southern hemisphere.  We want to spend time in Patagonia doing some trekking and Kathleen has expressed interest in climbing Aconcagua (which I summited in 2001).  If we are going to southern Patagonia then I have to go to Tierra del Fuego just so I can say I have been there. 
     The plan is to go to New Zealand last.  We are both afraid that when we go there, we may never leave.  It has always seemed like a paradise of climbing, trail running, trekking, sea kayaking, and skiing.  Kathleen has been but I have only dreamed of it and drooled over pictures. 
      If any of that sounds interesting where you might want to join us for a spell then feel free to contact us.  I can't promise that we won't smell really bad during periods (or a lot) of this trip but if you have a strong nose and a good spirit of adventure then come find us.