Friday, October 23, 2009

Killer Mountain Challenge Winner 2009

Hello all! Warm greetings to you from the sunny and windy South Caribbean Sea! Hope everyone is well, not working too hard, and not stressing too much about the fact that there are only some 20 shopping days left before Christmas....!
This blog, as the title suggests, is about our 2009 Killer Mountain Challenge (mountain biking) Winner, but before I get to that, I just want to say......

There seems to be a great deal of uncertainty out there these days. For example: for folks living in Calgary with -24 degree temps - will my car start this morning with these frigid temperatures?

For folks living in cold and snowy Norway - do these snowmobile boots match my snowsuit for the commute to work this morning?

And for the rest of the world: will Tiger Woods' wife really leave him? And if so, for how much? Will this affect Tiger's golf game?

Amidst all of this uncertainty, one thing, however is very clear. The winds here in El Yaque have NOT stopped blowing all year. We are having a phenomenal wind season this year!

The viento has been howling throughout September and October, meaning that we will have a super windy season! So, leave all your worries behind, jump on a plane and come on down to windy El Yaque for the best windsurf/kitesurf vacation of your life!

For you Europeans, Condor offers a direct flight from Frankfurt to the island, and at times offers major seat sales. (Please monitor the Condor website to take advantage of the seat sales.) There are direct charter flights from Paris to the island for the Christmas season, as well as flights from the UK to Grenada and Trinidad - just a puddle-jumper flight away from our island. And of course, thanks to El Grand Papa Chavez, all of you Russians now have direct flights from Moscow to Caracas.

Ok - on to the biking.

Well, actually, before I get to that, a little about our season so far. Our season here at Casa Nora began alot earlier this year, and we have had some lovely lovely guests stay with us. For example: Peter and Antra, both from Jelgava, Latvia.

Antra is the chief accountant for an agricultural firm, and Peter, originally from Holland, is an organ tuner.

What a lovely couple! These two were the busiest guests that we've ever had here. These two were on the go every day, what with the hiking,

.....the early morning, guided kayak tours offered by Vela Windsurf Resorts,

....the touring of the island....

.....and yes, the contemplation of gas prices here.....

(No, the pump is not broken. Gas really does only cost peanuts . We pay US $2.00 to fill up our pick-up truck....and that includes a tip to the attendant! Love it!

One evening Antra and Peter offered to cook dinner for all of us - a traditional Dutch meal, with beef stewed in mulled red wine, and marinated pears. Just lovely!

The after dinner discussion was quite intellectual - about the Catholic Church no less.......

All of which makes this final picture, a little difficult to explain.

Aw well, we all have a little devil inside of us, eh?

Okey dokey - biking. But before I announce last season's Killer Mountain Challenge Winner, I just want to comment on the State of the Union, here in El Yaque. Our surf village is undergoing some kind of a real estate and construction boom! World economic crisis be damned! In the last 2 months, 4 properties adjacent to Casa Nora have been sold, with 2 already under construction. Prior to that, another 2 properties were snapped up, with one currently under construction. Un-be-lievable! Seems to me that lots of folks want to own their personal piece of paradise! Can't says I blame them.... :0) One such lucky person is our friend, Nils.

Here he is signing his title documents at the Land Registry Office.

Yes, here in South America (or at least in Venezuela) all official documents require one's thumbprint. Odd? For sure. Effective? Who's to say?

For super happy Nils, and to welcome him to the neighbourhood, we hosted a well......a 'Welcome to the Neighbourhood Party', with champagne and 4 different types of home-made

Kathy, Lii and I prepared the pies......

.....while guests like Tommy (proprietor of Vela Windsurf Resorts) and Hector (owner of Mormaii surf shop) and.....

.....newlywed Pele and his family......

....and Diego (manager of La Chiva Loca), Artis - in the awesome flowered shirt (owner of the new beach restaurant "La Chiva Loca").....

.....and old friends Emile and Stefan.....

...all enjoyed the champagne and pizza.

Meanwhile, Wim - owner of his own kite school and awesome kite instructor, as usual, is hangin' with the beautiful ladies - Lii and Maryluz.....!

Congratulations Nils! We're looking forward to having you as a neighbour!

Alrighty! On to the main event - the Killer Mountain Challenge 2009 Winner is...

Ai caramba - before I forget, I should really mention a phenomenal new event that has occurred in the windsurfing world. Anyone that is remotely interested in windsurfing needs to know about this. There is a new windsurfing movie out called "Four Dimensions". (An Andre Paskowski Production.)

This movie is to the windsurfing community what Warren Miller's movies are to the skiing/extreme sports community. This movie is phenomenal! I am not really going to tell you what is in the movie,

Marcilio Browne of Brazil

......suffice it to say that the four riders featured in the movie are awesome,

Victor Fernandez Lopez

the footage is breath-taking,

Victor Fernandez Lopez

the production value is slick,

Gollito Estredo - Current World Champion in Freestyle

and the sound track is groovy.

Of particular interest to those of us from El Yaque, is Jose `Gollito`Estredo, as the current World Champion in Freestyle is a native of this beach.

This guy is so good, that watching him sail takes my breath away. He is so much better than the rest of the field, that when the others do a trick with 2 hands, he does it one-handed. When the rest try it one handed, Gollito does it completely defying the laws of gravity...

If you travel here for no other reason than to watch Gollito train, I guarantee you that your trip will have been worth it.

And Gollito's segment in the movie is awesome!

Congratulations to all 4 riders, and a special congrats to Andre, the guy with the idea for this movie!

To get a copy of this movie, in time for Christmas, please go to and ENJOY! For those of you coming to visit us here, I still have a few copies left for sale.

Without any further ado, The 'Killer Mountain Challenge Winner' for 2009 is........ from the USA - an emergency medicine resident at the UMass Medical Centre.... Jose Dundee!

Felicitaciones Jose!

For those not in the know, my husband, Big Al, offers guided mountain bike tours throughout the local countryside. He has developed three different tours, all of which offer spectacular vistas, single-track trails, riding through salt-flats or salinas, coastal riding etc. One such tour is called the "Killer Mountain Challenge". It is quite odd really, as the mountain isn't really a mountain at all - it is a 300 meter trail/old road, which at times is washed out by rain. The 'incline' is no more than 35 degrees, which I would say hardly qualifies it as a mountain. However, the length combined with the tricky terrain make technical ability necessary. Many many many have tried to summit......

....these Canadians have tried.... have these Swiss..... has this Latvian...

.....but to no avail.

Only 4 in the world, over 5 years of running this challenge, have summitted. We've had some unbelievable athletes attempt the Mountain, from German ski instructors, to French Iron-Men, to folks who train for triathlons. We've even had a few super heroes attempt the Killer Mountain Challenge. Which is why, with his single attempt summit, Jose has joined an exclusive club, indeed!

Here is Super Dave after one such attempt.

He appears possibly ......well.....deflated.....but by no means defeated. Super Dave will be back twice this year to launch another summit attempt.

Also returning this year, the man to beat himself, John from Norway! Or as we call him 'Superman'.

John not only summited the Killer Mountain, he went on to ascend 3 more mountain tops in an effort to be the first to successfully climb the "Six Summits of Superman".

At the moment, Big Al is training with a large group of hopefuls - Diego - a local cutie patootie with whom Al is having a bromance, Davis - a restauranteur from Riga whose new restaurant, La Chiva Loca is opening in a few days, Stefan - a local posada owner and dear friend, and Ralfins - a free spirit/kite punk with super hero potential, from Riga, and of course, Big Al - transplated Canuck y mi amour. I have high hopes that perhaps Davis and/or Ralfins will summit this year!

So there it is - the challenge has been set, the gauntlet has been thrown, the line has been drawn in the sand. All of you mountain bike dudes like you Pedro from Canada, and you Ricardo (that's right Ricardo Hallman - I'm callin' you out dude! Get your kiting, surfing, skiing, biking, photgraphing, smilin' self out here!), and you Freddie from Switzerland, and you Arvil (my brother from Toronto), and you Thomas from Germany (and bring Roman, if you can), and you Markus from Swissyland, and you guys Christophe, Patrick and Frederic from France, and you Ice-cream Dave - your date with destiny has been set for the end of March, early April. Let's for once and for all determine who will be the "King of the Killer Mountain Challenge for 2010".