Blog Archives January, 2010

Extreme Kellie San Diego – Day 2 – The Ride of a Lifetime

The alarm clock on the bedside table of my hotel reads 5:45 am. For those who have ever had one to many drinks, sometimes the most difficult conflict is that which rages between your body craving more sleep and your brain knowing it has somewhere to be. At 5:45 my brain was telling me that a film crew had to be in Mexico in 4 hours and I was the one responsible for getting them there. My body, however was begging to go back to sleep.

Cue Vitalyte to the rescue. After downing a couple bottles of Vitalyte, a cup of coffee and a croissant from the hotel bakery, I was ready to begin our trek south of the border. The scheduled departure time was 8:00am and about 8:15 I realized that I wasn’t the only one struggling with the decision to get out of bed and begin the day. After 20 minutes or so, the whole entourage arrives and we begin our trek to Ensenadas, Mexico. But first, people need caffeine and grease.

This is the part of the blog that I recommend you pay attention to as it contains some very valuable lessons about driving to Mexico.

Lesson #1 – Not all McDonald’s are created equally. 2 miles from the Mexican border we pulled into a McDonalds for a much needed coffee and food break. Needless to say my egg McMuffin had the consistency of a racquetball and my coffee could melt steel. Not the best thing for a sour stomach. Luckily I had more Vitalyte.

Lesson #2 – It occured to me as I was crossing the border that I never informed my rental car company of my destination, so in an attempt to be proactive, I called the rental car company as I was crossing the border. There response was simple: You can’t take that car to Mexico. Oh well. Better to beg forgiveness then ask permission I recall someone once saying.

Lesson #3 The 900 plus signs you see in the last 5 miles before you reach the border that say “Get Your Mexican Insurance Here” actually have a purpose. Apparently if an American vehicle gets in a wreck in Mexico, standard insurance doesn’t cover the accident. Without the Mexican insurance, the driver gets a one way ticket to jail. So here I am driving in an uninsured rental vehicle in a country where the vehicle wasn’t suppose to be in the first place. Sometimes things just get interesting. (By the way, I upgraded to a car with  built in GPS so I wouldn’t get lost in Mexico. This, of course stops working about 400 yards past the border.) Oh well.

So now we are running late, we have no insurance, are in a car that isn’t suppose to be in Mexico and the GPS isn’t working. All of this on the heels of one of one of the deadliest border shootouts in recent memory. Border patrol, which apparently is usually fairly tame, now consisted of M-16′s, tanks with really big guns mounted to the tops and a lot of soldiers. Not a good day to be hungover.

Luckily the directions to our destination were on my laptop and only 2 hours late, we finally arrive at the Horsepower Ranch to begin our Baja tour with Wide Open Baja.

There have been few moments in my life where I have been truly excited and surprised and this was one of them. After driving through some rougher areas of Ensenadas (more because I was lost) I was beginning to think that this was a bad idea. But then we found our exit, thanks to James who led us off the main road to one of the most beautiful ranches I have ever seen. Tucked back in the mountains and hills of Mexico is Horsepower Ranch, the hub of Wide Open Baja. And parked in front of the ranch were 4 of the coolest machines ever made. This is the reason we are here. Extreme Kellie runs the Baja.

Now this is where you the reader would do well to tune into the live broadcast (or watch online) of the show, for I lack the words to describe the collection of cars they had out for us or how the next 30 minutes went. I will do my best and say that within those short 30 minutes, we were introduced to the amazing staff at the ranch, given a introductory walk through of the cars, fitted with helmets and led off to begin the adventure.

“I can’t believe they are letting us drive these things,” was the collective spoken idea said amongst us we took off. With little or no training, James put us behind the wheel of these machines and led us out on the off road adventure of a lifetime.

With Kellie and Noah in the lead car behind James, and Brian and me following, we set out to conquer terrain that was, needless to say, quite intimidating. At first I think we are all a little skiddish but once you get behind the wheel of one of these cars, understand what they can do, we were all having the time of our lives. Hitting jumps at 80 miles an hour, taking 90 degree turns almost as fast, watching the beautiful hills of Mexico blaze by as these cars handled the most aggressive terrain like it was simply a long stretch of highway is an experience I’ll never forget. After a couple hours of driving and shooting, James takes us to a beautiful meadow where the crew at Wide Open prepared the mos amazing meal.

After fueling up, taking some pictures for future blogging, we were ready to get at again.

For the next couple hours we all took turns driving, slowly but surely get more comfortable with these incredible vehicles. Eventually the sun began to set and the night air let us know it was time to head back. We pulled into the ranch and even before we were all fully out of the cars, one of the ranch guys was there with a beer. After a quick shower we were all once again treated to an amazing meal and after, we sat around with drinks in hand reliving the events of the day. From Kellie’s mud facial (you have to see the show to catch this, one of the funniest things I have ever seen) to the high flying jumps and everything in between, it was truly a day to be relived over drinks in front of a fire, and certainly a day that I will not soon forget.

From weekend warriors to the nitro charged metal heads, this a vacation I would recommend everyone take at least once in a lifetime. Go to www.wideopenbaja.com for more info, and thanks to the entire staff at Wide Open for putting this together and showing us an amazing time.

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Extreme Kellie: Vail Ski Bikes

Growing up in Colorado, I’ve always appreciated our winters, especially up at the ski resorts.  Vail Mountain has consistently been ranked number one in the country and its terrain is truly unmatched… possibly in the world!

I’m a skier, but I wanted to try something new this week for “Extreme Kellie”.  Instead of making a fool of myself on a snowboard, I decided to take Vail’s gondola all the way to the top to try ski biking… it’s the only way to be on Vail Mountain with lift access at night and at 10,300 feet, you won’t find a more fun activity to do with your friends!

We strapped on these little “mini skis” and we got a lesson from Alex Gentry, who was our guide for the night.  He explained that when you sit on a ski bike, all your weight is in the back and all the steering is done with your hips.  You can carve just like you do with any ski or board, you just have to learn how to make turns and stops before you get going too fast… I think that was my problem!

As soon as I sat on the bike itself, I knew it could be dangerous!  I pointed downhill and just went for it.  My group thought I was out of control, but I had the best time… going straight down.  Who needs to make turns, anyway?  :)

I have to admit, I was a little nervous, but I ended up REALLY enjoying it.  There’s nothing better than being on Vail Mountain, at night, with a just a head lamp and your closest friends for a good laugh!

The best part, my parents came with me!  My mom was worried I’d get hurt…

… and Harry’s even a Vail ski instructor and he knew we were in for a surprise!!! 

They both work on the mountain but they’ve never got to try ski biking, until now!

So, no matter what your age or experience on the slopes… give ski biking a try!  It’s a fast sport and truly an amazing activity at night.  You’ll get the slopes all to yourself!

There are four tours a night, exclusively at Adventure Ridge.

Watch our full story, Thursday night at 7pm on The Deuce!!!

Extreme Kellie from Ch 2 News
Source: www.2thedeuce.com

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Extreme Kellie: XM Snocross

I got to spend the weekend with some of the best snowmobilers in Colorado, only they didn’t take me on a scenic tour through the trees.  They took me off jumps and hills that felt like I was flying off mountains!  Yep, that’s ME!!!

Simply put… the racers at X-Treme Mountain Racing defy gravity!

You may have seen them in the X-games flying anywhere from 40 to 90 feet in the air.  The group travels around the state, competing on different tracks every week.

Snocross is a lot like motocross but it’s on the snow.  Before the races, they bring in snow and move it around… for this race in Eagle, they used about 88,000 feet of snow.  It’s amazing what they can do with just a little bit of the white stuff!

They just threw me on a sled and let me go… I wasn’t even sure I could make it over the first hurdle!

This sport definitely takes a lot of guts and strength!  A typical motorcycle only weighs a couple hundred pounds and a snowmobile weighs over 500 pounds!

I got out on the half mile long course and quickly found out, it looks a lot easier than it is.  I think my nerves got to me because I just couldn’t “let go” and really give it gas… I even rolled one of the snowmobiles and could’ve been hurt pretty bad.  Fortunately, they got me in all the safety gear, so I kept on going…

There’s no question this winter family likes to have a good time!  If you’re ever looking for something thrilling to do over the weekend, check out their website, their next race is this weekend in Afton, Wyoming.  You can bring a chair, grab a beverage and watch the excitement unfold.  It’s truly remarkable how much air these guys get!

Catch our full story (and my wipe out) Thursday night at 7pm here on The Deuce!!!

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A bit of an Introduction to one of our Weekend Warriors

Back to basics.

Wow, it’s been a month since I updated this properly. Why? Well things have been real slack here and yet as busy as hell at the same time. Unfortunately work and all the other things that ruin your social life are the things that have been busy, so the things worthy of a blog posting have been very rare indeed.

I planned a 40mile run for my 40th birthday back in Dec, but it was so freakin cold that day that I turned it into a 40k. God Bless the metric system ;-). Then 3 days later I went out for a nice gentle 7mile shake down run and pulled my calf, officially my first EVER running injury. I wasn’t happy about it, or the way it appeared. If I’m going to injure myself I want it to be a full pelt hammering to the finish line of a race in a head to head, not while jogging steadily along the Tarka Trail. I’ve also had a diagnosis on my ‘crunchy’ chest that appeared shortly after Ironman Florida, it appears that I’ve damaged my Xiphoid process, hmmmmm maybe 5hrs in the Tri Bars squashes it a bit.

Christmas and New Year came and went without any hassles or any training due to the calf pull. They were both great of course but everybody has them so I doubt very much you’d want to read about mine.

A couple of weeks ago I got asked to write something by way of a blog post for Bideford People and/or Barnstaple People . I’m guessing that the best way to start this would be to introduce myself and as it’s the start of a new year and hopefully the start of a successful Ironman Hawaii adventure. For those of you who know me you’d be better skipping the next bit ;-).

So here goes. I’m Iain, I’m a lorry driver and I live near Barnstaple in North Devon which is in the South West of the UK. Coping with my sometimes lacklustre sometimes manic lifestyle is the long long long suffering girlfriend Shelly and our 3 year old lunatic but loveable Springer Spaniel Rosie. I’ve been pootling along in Triathlon for 15 years or so and was running on and off for a few years before that. I can swim pretty well, I can run pretty well but my biking is a bit of a let down by comparison. Biking is my weakest discipline hence it’s the discipline I like the least need to train at the most but actually (of course) train at the least.

Ironman is the daddy of Triathlon and takes a full day to complete. Comprising of a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike ride and a 26.2mile run. To make the distances a bit easier to understand imagine popping down to Barnstaple Leisure Centre and swimming 154 lengths. After the swim you might hop on your bike and ride to Clovelly and back, just three times should cover it. Once back at the Leisure Centre for the 3rd time you could leave your bike, slip on your trainers, jump on the Tarka Trail and run to Instow and back, twice. The Elite athletes (who do this sport for a living) will complete this little lot in in 8-9hrs and those towards the back of the field will take twice that amount of time.

In 2009 I raced Ironman Florida and after many messed up attempts I finally managed to put in a decent performance, finishing the event in 9h39m. This was not only a personal best time by over an hour but finishing 8th out of the 400 in my Age Group qualified me for the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

Doing these races doesn’t come cheap, the day after qualifying I had to hand over a full £360 just to enter the Hawaii race. My family as always have been a huge help though and with the amazing support of my Tri Club North Devon Tri helping out too (read about it here) I’m determined that come October 9th this year I will let no one down.

After a couple of minor niggles over the holiday period the big build for Kona starts now and I’m happy to have you along. The more the merrier. Please leave me comments/ideas/thoughts too so that I know you’re there.

If you’re a local (or not so local) business and you can think of a way we can mutually benefit each other then let me know. I’d love to be able to afford this adventure without becoming a drain on my family and friends, so if you can help and I can put a few hours in/get you some good publicity etc on the back of my training and my race then please get in touch :-)

Thanks for reading, here’s to a hugely successful 2010.

This Weekend Warrior Report is contributed by Iain
http://devoniain.blogspot.com/
Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/devoniain
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Extreme Kellie: Flying an Airplane

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten the opportunity to get off the ground… testing my fear of heights and getting into machines I never thought I’d have the guts to fly.  With the new year, I thought what a better way to kick off 2010′s “Extreme Kellie” series with flying an airplane!

I learned on a simulator at Tailwind Aviation at Centennial Airport.  They paired me up with flight instructor Bruce Vogel who has 27,000 hours of flying under his belt… I knew I was in good hands!  His crew gave me all the confidence that I could do this!!!

Once they got me familiar with the process, they put me in this. A twin engine Beachcraft… a great starter plane for a starter like me!

When Bruce said I’d be the pilot, he wasn’t kidding!  As difficult as I thought it would be, nothing could prepare me for getting in the pilots seat.  Not only did I learn what all the gears do, but I learned how to talk to air traffic control, drive down a runway, take off, fly AND land… all on my own!  Bruce literally gave me full control.  What was he thinking?!?!

Once I got over my fears (and I could finally feel my legs again after we got off the ground) I couldn’t stop smiling.  The views were spectacular!  The Rocky Mountains looks amazing with a fresh coating of snow…

Downtown Denver looked crystal clear… you just can’t get a better view than this!

I went through a national company called “Let’s Go Flying” who works with flight schools all across the country and their goal is to get you up in the air in no time!  I found out that anyone can fly an airplane… all you need is a little time, some patience and a great flight instructor.

Catch our full story Thursday night at 7pm on The Deuce… you won’t believe how scared I looked (and my photographer Noah thought he was going to die!!!)

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