Caballo Blanco Ultra 2017


Monday – The Drive 

It’s 10 to 6am now and I just woke up once again, 12 people is comfortable sitting in our “mini van” … I woke up once again because roof is making that noise like when is raining, but it isn’t…. 


We left Michael’s house exactly 4:13am , there is many stickers on our white bus, but I didn’t see them yet because it’s dark. It’s been dark in Phoenix since yesterday when I arrived, so I am not exactly sure where I am at this point, just shapes of the mountains on the horizon around reminds me Javelina 100 for whatever reason… 

Our bus, lets call it that way, is loaded with pretty good horsepower. Barefoot Ted is sitting in the middle, talking about something with Patrick Sweeney , I don’t know what about, the noise canceling bus is doing great job separating people’s conversations… 


There is Eric Johnson here and a long haired dude who broke a bunch of records running actually barefoot, I mean we all run barefoot, but this dude actually really runs barefoot and killing it … Andrew Snope is his name if you are wondering… 

Michelle Barton is here too, Irem Ted’d wife, and a bunch more people who I don’t know yet because it is dark and our trip to Copper Canyon just started… 
It’s 12:31 now Still “raining” in the bus. 

We crossed the US border, so we definitely are in Mexico somewhere, we had to stop the bus for a minute because the road was blocked with packages fallen off the truck, bags of dry chilie, so yeah, we definitely are in Mexico now! 

It is getting warmer too … 

and dudes started speaking Spanish …


Thursday – Creel 

Dinner last night was all right … 

We did some exploring of the area around, a short run to the Jesus statue on top of the hill, then around a bunch of interesting rock formations. 


We loaded the bus once again and finally seeing Barrancas Del Cobre! Yop, It’s hard to describe it, you gotta see it for yourself ! It’s definitely not like the Grand Canyon – what I was thinking. It’s magical! People’s faces lit up, that’s for sure! More driving into the canyons right after, seems like we were dropping deeper into the canyons, yet somehow we are at Mario’s place for tonight, still 2300m above the sea. 


Randomly, I meet Gustavo Lozano, a guy who designed the very first original Caballo Blanco course in 1995. Great looking guy with flawless English and great energy talking about how everything started here. Yet he is forgotten and never mentioned anywhere… 


Glad I was lucky enough to talk with this guy! Yeah, that’s about it for today… I mean hard to describe all of those moments, barefoot on Rarámuri ground, looking in Canyons with purple-redish sunset…and all… 


Wednesday – running with rarámuri…

We are splitting into two groups today. One running with Miguel ( he won the Caballo Blanco race couple times) another group is hiking around with his wife…


The run started easy, short uphill, bunch of rolling stuff on super cushy pine needles, then long drop into thevrocky forest hills, on a dusty road and boooom! We are standing on massive cliff edges with breathtaking views over the Barrancas. Yeah, you can see Urique deep down on the bottom… canyons 3x deeper than the Grand Canyon, so you have a perspective… 


This road would follow down to Urique obviously, but we turned left over the ridge, following a kinda dry river, with acbunch of nice cooling water pools… 

Suddenly we pop out in front of the Miguel’s house… 


More rocky, rolling hills from there and then Rarámuri village, where we meet up with Barefoot Ted and the rest of the hiking people… 

More running from there, back to Mario’s place… 

I ran without a shirt ( and that was stupid! ) 

Anyway, after that we had an amazing experience in a sweat lodge with a shaman… Quite an experience that’s for sure! 


Like he said afterwards, “Today was the perfect day ” 

Oh and I almost forgot, we lost Tom today, but he found himself just fine and being honest I am kinda jealous that wasn’t me who was lost! I am sure he had amazing experience on his own! 

 

Thursday – Urique 

I was up kinda antsy around 7:00am already, but we didn’t really rush anywhere… 

loaded the bus around 10am and left Mario’s behind…


I am sure Ted set some sort of world record that day because he rode his solowheel into the Urique – hah ! 

We were driving on the bus on a kinda sketchy road with massive drop offs! I was feeling fine, but slightly concerned about burning brakes I guess… 


Our bus broke halfway down, but thankfully at a pretty awesome place with amazing views over the canyons, so time spent for replacing the truck wasn’t that bad … 

Finally down, walking on the streets of Urique… Definitely feels kinda surreal… 

I need coffee and something to eat now… 


Friday – exploring 

Waking up, sharing dreams and getting some breakfast with people randomly showing up in Mama Tita’s restaurant… 

If you’re looking for someone, all you need is to run to Mama Titas….it’s a great hangout with lots smiles and hugs…


Snoope, Eric, Michelle & I went for a run later on. We didn’t know or care where exactly or how many miles… We finished with about a half-marathon and a short swim afterwards, ran out of water obviously… beautiful trails, running around Urique definitely has endless possibilities! Whatta place! 

Canyons are amazing … 


Saturday – Kids race 
Waking up around 5:00am because we didn’t want to miss the start, however a massive thunderstorm rolled in overnight, The morning was quiet which felt unusual. Understand later because the electricity was out in theventire town, so the race start was pushed back to around 9am . 


Over 700 kids showed up for the race, different age groups, different distances, but they all run like for their lives! All in from start to finish! Amazing to watch kids smiling blasting by, holding sandals in their hands cause they lost one or both in the process… 


Kudos to Mas Korima guys and all another sponsors 100 mile club , Barefoot Ted and much, much more for supporting this race and giving away tons of prizes for all those kids, Rarámuris are super shy, but you could see how happy kids are holding their prizes! 


Hard to describe, you gotta be there… 

Later on, I hooked up with a bunch of people and wandered around… We went to see the Rarámuris campsites, many families travel over one hundred miles over steep canyons into Urique for this race with absolutely no possessions! 


Amazing people they are! I feel connected, somehow even without the ability to talk…

Yeah, beautiful simple people with legs made of steel! 

Brown shiny steel… 


I got my race bib after dark, more food and early sleep…. 
Sunday – Race day 


Honestly, I didn’t train much for this race and my last really long run was Tahoe 200, almost 6 months ago, most of my time training was on snow doing skimo and some specific treadmill running, but nothing significant to be ready for this one… I wasn’t worried about the distance because that’s already somehow unblocked in my head. I know I can grind it out and that was really the only upside I had…haha! Go and get it done! 

 700 people on the starting line for the 50 miler was definitely something new to me. That is lots of people! Funny thing, you are looking around and you don’t see Salomon packs, compression socks , no Nike shoes promising sub two hours marathon,and all that craziness of the modern world, no placebo effect, haha just “average village” people smiling ready to run in homemade sandals… there was a bunch of indians in jeans and bunch of handsome looking guys with a lot of pride dressed up in super elegant outfits. Snow white running skirts colorful flowing butterfly looking blouses and their strong brown legs of steel were shining under the street lights of Urique. 

START ! I am running easy around 5 min pace, people passing me by, older ladies in long dresses, guys in jeans blasting by me like nobody’s business…They are running a 5k race pace obviously, I was thinking… 


hmm maybe after 21km in, I passed the last older lady after a big climb where she was buying some food & coca-cola from a random placed “aid station”. My nutrition was based on one Xact Nutrition Fruit3 bar per hour combined with Mas Korima Pinole bites and absolutely zero electrolytes. I am sure I drank more water than any other ultras I ever ran. I felt like my nutrition plan was spot on. I am not going to write about the race course here, I assume you’re kinda familiar with the concept… 


Anyway, I was running more or less on muscle memory. My legs felt solid up to 60km distance. I was killing it on the climbs and running downhills. After the first massive climb I ran into Patrick Sweeney, we were sharing some faster miles on the downhills but unfortunately shortly after that his race was over due to a calf injury. The last 20k around noon, when the sun made canyons feel like your being cooked alive in a microwave, was kind of a struggle..something like ice cold water was something you could only dream about. I stopped for 15 minutes and swam in the cold river next to the trail, that felt amazing, and I went on to grind another 20k of the rolling blazing hot, dusty road… 

Lots of short conversations with Tarahumaras on the way made the last stretch much more enjoyable… I ran into Snoop, Michelle and Eric a couple times, they were looking great, bunch of high fives and C’ya later! 


Tarahumaras, they don’t know or care about barefoot running, they just run! Running for money and food… cutting the course almost everywhere if possible. Some guys I passed 5-6 times, but they never ran around me lol , don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! Honestly, I don’t care – we all have different reasons why we run and why we were there, that was in my mind and I was just smiling… 


I finished in 9:37h , Barefoot Ted was there super excited, he hooked me up with a cold drink finally! With the drink in my hands I sit down on the curb of Urique road without paying too much attention. Shortly after I notice its Manuel Luna sitting to my left, right next to me. This Manuel Luna the legend who made the very first sandals for Barefoot Ted 10 years ago. These tiny little random moments created the race itself. These are the moments what you will never forget in your life. I hung out at the finishline on the curb with Barefoot Ted and Irem. Shortly after that was Michelle crossing the finish line looking super strong and next to finish after Michelle to finish was Eric. Once he finished he drank a big bottle of beer Ted gave him in 3 seconds.


Usual feelings of happiness overlapping with feelings of sadness because once again something you’re dreaming about is suddenly over… 


It’s an eye opening race! You should do it ! 

Everyone, if possible should go there and run it ! It may change your perspective on running and on life as well… 


Monday – ride home 
Waking up early, great coffee and 20h drive back home… 

Lots of stories shared, bunch of beers drank, crossing military checkpoints, Mexico-US border and “shortly” after, back in Phoenix.


Tuesday – home 

We took a bunch of photos for Luna Sandals & WAA Ultra sponsors,with Natalie, had some lunch and slowly started disappearing in the airport, everyone flying back home to where we came from.


It’s midnight, I am in Calgary and here the trip ends…
I wanna say that I am super thankful to everyone who was a part of this amazing trip! For all the stories we created together, so many names to be mentioned, so many more stories to be told, so many important details I skipped over… 

Thank you Barefoot Ted, Luna Sandals, Mas Korima…Thank you all… Kuira bá





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