Saturday, March 27, 2010

Killer Mountain Challenge 2010 - Part One

Hello All! Hope everyone is enjoying a nice spring.

This post is titled 'Killer Mountain Challenge 2010 - Part One'. The Killer Mountain Challenge part of the title is self explanatory, but the part that says 'Part One', implies that there will be several parts to the particular story. As with the challenge itself, this story seems to be growing of its own accord, and has become multi-faceted. Thus, I had to chop it up into parts. There is alot of info to write, so let's get going with Part One.

Big Al and I were sitting on the terrace one evening in late February, reviewing our guest calendar for March. I noticed that during the last two weeks of March, Casa Nora was full with hard-core athletes, all of whom are major mountain bikers, with names like Super Dave, Radical Radu, Wild Man, and Superman. Hhmmm.....I said to Al. We should do something fun for these guys. Al said, Yeah - we should get them all out to the Killer Mountain to see if anyone can beat Superman. After we caught our breaths from laughing so hard, Al said, 'As if anyone can beat Superman.' 'Yeah', I said, 'But let's put something together, ok?' 'Okey dokey', said Big Al.

The next day I was booked to have a beach massage with possibly the world's best massage therapist, Yomana. During our usual pre-massage chat, I mentioned that Al and I were thinking of organizing a little bike challenge. 'Yeah?', she said. 'When?' 'I don't exactly know, but sometime at the end of March, I said. 'Cool', she said. 'I'd like to offer post-race massages to the racers.' 'Really?', I said. 'Really!', she said. And so, the Killer Mountain Challenge 2010, had its first sponsor.


Thanks Yomana!
On my way home after the massage, I ran into my friend, Tom de Brendt, professional sports photographer, team rider for Fanatic and North Sails. Tom posts an on-line newspaper that runs stories about El Yaque. I mentioned to him that Al and I were organizing a little bike race, and he offered to help advertise it on his site.

Sponsor number 2! In a few days , please check out for more info about El Yaque.

During our discussion Tom asks me for the Killer Mountain Challenge logo, rules and regulations...... Yikes! I don't have anything prepared, I say. He says, no problemo. Email it to me when you have it. Right.

Now, I am racing home to start planning this event, when I run into my neighbour, Stefan. As he is a regular member of Big Al's biking group, I tell him about the challenge. And he offers his big blue truck as transportation for judges, racers and spectators on race day. Thanks, Stefan and Magic Margarita Tours! Sponsor number 3!

When I finally get home, Al asks about my massage. Well, I say, Yomanahasofferedtosponsorfreemassagesfortheracers,Tomwilladvertisetheevent online,Stefanhasofferedtransportation,holycrapolaIambusy,needalogo,rulesandregulations, andneedtopickadate. And my massage was awesome!

I immediately pick a date, and email my buddy, my webmaster, and all 'round go-to-digital-guy, Antonio Franco for a logo. Two hours later, he produces this:

Thanks Tony! You rock, dude! Please check out Tony's work at Sponsor number 4.

While I am busy at my computer, Al is busy on his, sending out personal invitations to our previous Killer Mountain Challenge Champions, spreading the word to the riders in our village, and writing the rules and regulations. While I was working with Antonio, I quickly posted the date of the challenge on Facebook. Immediately, I received an email from Kathy from the Vela windsurf centre, offering to sponsor prizes like Vela caps, sunglass cases and DaKine wallets. Thanks Vela! Sponsor number 5.

While I am working the logo and the sponsor logos etc, I notice a flurry of activity from Al's corner of the room. What's up, I ask? He says to me that Diego (the manager of the newest restaurant on the beach called La Chiva Loca), has offered to sponsor the post-race evening meal - pizza and beer, while we watch a slide show of the challenge. Muchas gracias, Diego and La Chiva Loca! Sponsor number 6.

It was nearing the end of the day, and we were out of beer for our weekly Casa Nora Happy Hour. I jumped into the truck and raced off to our local bodegon, owned by a pal of mine, William, also a biker. What the heck! I mention the event to him, and he offers to sponsor us with snacks, lots of water and ice.



Muchas gracias, William! Sponsor number 7.
As Al and I and our house guests make ourselves comfy on the terrace for the traditional viewing of the sunset, Al starts describing our day. And he recruits our guests, Dave and Sarah (from England) to be our judging committee. Sarah and Dave spent 2 months with us here, and we miss them..... :0( And so the discussions began - how to properly judge this event. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave and Sarah for all of your work, and for donating your time!

Sometime during those discussions, Big Al reminds me to add Casa Nora as a sponsor......duh.....! So, sponsor number 8. We hosted the event, and gave out the newest and hottest windsurf movie called "Four Dimensions, An Andre Paskowski Production" to all of the racers. Thanks Casa Nora! You are welcome Killer Mountain Challenge 2010!!!

And so, at the end of Day One of planning this event, we were offered 8 sponsorships, a judging committee, several volunteers, and were receiving emails from around the world from our previous Killer Mountain Challenge participants, most notably from the defending World Champion, John Kalhovde, otherwise known as Superman, who posted the following on his Facebook site:

...with the following profile status:

To all of the competitors of the Killer Mountain Challenge 2010: Get used to this's the only angle you will get of me!!!

Oh. My.

Day Two of planning included more discussions with our judging committee, finding volunteer judges, sorting out logistics, spreading the word in the village, and enjoying the trash talking flying across the internet. Without a word of a lie, this event came together in a few days. But only because of the generosity, sponteneity, enthusiasm and sense of adventure of all of our sponsors and volunteers. And for that, Al and I offer all of you guys our profound thanks!

Here are our volunteers:

Please meet Lii, from Riga, Latvia. Lii helped to paint our Killer Mountain Challenge banner. But, most importantly she also took photos of the event. Paldies, Lii!

My friend and neighbour, Nancy, also came over to help Lii paint the banner. And her lovely boyfriend, Alessandro Ferrari, kitesurf instructor extraordinaire, and Margarita Island's distributor of Sea Specks sunglasses, sponsored us with a pair of awesome sunglasses. Many many many thanks to both Ale and Nancy. Sponsor number 9.

Here are the girls working on the banner.....

... as Wildman (aka Herb Loeman) looks on and offers support .....

... before assuming his duties as Race Commentator. Thanks Wildman! You did an awesome job!

While Al inspects the banner......

... Kathy, Yomana and I make the racing bibs.....

... display the trophies.....

....and start prepping the refreshment table.

Kathy, aside from helping with the race prep, and aside from being our Vela sponsor, also had the most important job of being the judge halfway up Killer Mountain One.

On the left, Imants (el carpintero) Zakis from Latvia was a judge, and Lii on the right helped paint the banner, and took photos of the event. Thanks guys!

Colette, aside from being the wife of Deigo (major contender for the Killer Mountain Challenge) was also a judge mid-way up Killer Mountain One. Thanks, Colette!

Lucy, a guest of Nancy's posada called the Windmill, also helped us out. Thanks, Lucy!

On the left, Lucy's boyfriend, Mike was stationed at the summit of Killer Mountain Three, on the right, masseuse extraordinaire and judge, Yomana, and in the middle, our judges, Sarah (the Missus) and Dave (the Guv'nor) Reynolds. Gracias!


Ok - so, you may ask, what exactly is the Killer Mountain Challenge? And why all of the hoopla, chicanery and highjinx?

It is a little difficult to explain in words, but I will give it a go.

Despite living in the desert here in El Yaque, not far off in the distance there is a beautiful .... rise in elevation. Some call it a mountain (I being from Canada and having skied the Rocky Mountains, am reluctant to call it a mountain....), others call it a hill. I guess it depends on one's perspective. However, that is neither here nor there.

The initial rise in elevation is perhaps some 350-400 meters long, and has a 35 degree of incline. This is Killer Mountain #1.

I know, it sounds ridiculous. However, full on Hawaii Iron Men have tried to summit this, ... and failed. Big, muscular Germans, the size of tanks have tried, ... and failed. Folks training for triathlons have tried, ... and failed.

Until Superman, from Norway. This dude, scampered up Killer Mountain #1 like some kind of a gazelle! And he didn't stop there. He then discovered and added 5 additional summits - which Big Al then dubbed, 'The Six Summits of Superman'. Al then rolled all six summits into our "Killer Mountain Challenge 2010".

The object of this challenge is to a) actually make it up Killer Mountain #1, b) and then see how many of the other summits one can climb.


This is not a timed event. Take all of the time you need.

If you put your foot down, at any time during the challenge, your ride is over.

Each challenger has three tries, all of which must begin at the bottom of Killer Mountain #1.

The challenge must be completed using regular sneakers, and regular pedals. No clips, no baskets, no cages...or whatever those things are called.

Before all of you riders out there send me emails about the insanity of this, I know, I know. Using clips you can generate 30 - 50% more power, etc etc etc. The reason for this rule is that Superman, the guy who set the bar for this challenge, made it up Killer Mountain #1, #2, #3 and mid-way up #4, using our crappy bikes, with regular sneakers and pedals.

And so, there it is. That is the challenge.


The challengers marshall at Casa Nora at 5:30 am......

..... and listen to Sarah and Dave, our judging committee, as they explain the rules...

... while Lii enjoys her handiwork....

... and the registration of the challengers begins....

Hector, from El Yaque, brought his wife and infant son to the challenge.

Dave, The Guv'nor, coordinating the rotation of Group Three.

Super Dave, from Calgary, but soon to be resident of El Yaque, signing in.

Anne and John from Norway, reading the rules.

My Al, signing in, and lookin' good!

El Yaque local, "DNA Diego" (thus named as he has left more of his DNA on that mountain than anyone) signing in.

Above photo - Stefan, our neighbour signs in, while in the below photo, Super Dave, and Bad-ass Bidu (from Switzerland) discuss strategy....

..... while the Defending World Champion, John 'Superman' signs in.

And with that, the Killer Mountain Challenge 2010, El Yaque, has begun.

The next blog: Part Two: The Challenge itself.

And after that: Part Three: The Contender......woo....scary, eh Superman?!?!?!