Thursday, June 16, 2011

San Carlos Mexico: A great place to escape and have a 12 hour bike race!

Once every now and then, a good friend asks you to come along to an adventure trip and a chance to also do a fun race with a good cause to support. This year, my long time friend, Carlos Willis from Mexico, invited me to go to San Carlos, Sonora Mexico and race a 12 hour event in support of a local organization that helps disabled children. Of course, a good cause and a chance to see a friend are always an excellent excuse to rearrange my agenda. And of course, knowing Carlos, there were many other fun activities he for sure would arrange. So I agreed to do the trip.

Press conference before the race

The Adventour bikeshop & Water Sports of San Carlos, owned and managed by Jesus Frias, was in charge of organizing the event, along with Manuel Espriu and Eric Fairfield. They were sponsored by the hotel , the local Tourism Office of Sonora, and many other local and State businesses always eager to support good causes. I arrived in Hermosillo, Sonora directly from LAX and Carlos and Jesus were there to pick me up. We then drove 1.5 hours to the magnificent beach town of San Carlos. San Carlos is a true “Diamond in rough” in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. There is a population of about 3,000, most of them retirees from the US and Canada, and a good size group of adventurous souls that truly make this place an Outdoor Activity Heaven. The biggest activity here is Sea Fishing, where you can find all kinds of trophies such as Swordfish, Sailfish, Marlin, and the very wild Dorado, or as we call it Mahi-Mahi. Fishing is so big here, that they have 3 live Marinas and many dry ones. I think there are more boats here than people! Who knows, but the next morning Eduardo Lemmenmeyer and Mauricio Monrreal, owner and manager of the Marina Terra Hotel where I stayed, put us early in the morning on Don Julio, a beautiful 41 foot Yacht captained by two experienced seamen. This Yacht had all the amenities one could need, including all the professional fishing gear and snacks necessary to make my fishing experience one to always remember.  Of course it is always good to get a good relaxing day of fishing in before a hard race!

Me, Captain Jack, and Jesus and his big ass Mahi

The big catch
me and Jesus

Carlos, Jesus and I were there to have a wonderful 5 hours fishing trip that ended with 5 beautiful Dorados, one of them being a 28 lb monster that fed 10 of us later that night. We also got to see many dolphins, Sailfish and sea turtles. Later when we arrived at the San Carlos Marina, the fish were cleaned and turned to the hotel´s restaurant to be cooked for supper and the rest were vacuumed packed. Nice package for any outsider with fishing in mind. The fish were cooked in five or six different ways and it was delicious. It was great to have the race organizers there at supper, especially after the cool margaritas that cheered the group.

Race day came along and I took it easy during the morning and after lunch I assembled my 26” wheel Cannondale Flash and all the gear ready for this especial 12 hour race, where my Nite-Rider lights, that were fully charged, made me confident about my performance. This race has been around for 7 years and has always started at 5 PM, ending at 5 AM the next morning. So close to 10 hours were at night, so having reliable lighting equipment is crucial. Of course, what better than my Nite-Rider lights to do the job. And well they did!!

The race had about 140 participants mostly from the Northern States of Mexico and some real good riders from Arizona and New Mexico. It started with a 200 yard dash and off we went on a 6 mile course filled with tricky sand traps, sharp turns and loose gravel. Overall the course was fast and fun. I felt good since the beginning and was able to do 29 laps in 11 hours. Got first place, and I was satisfied with my performance. But I was more satisfied with all the people cheering throughout the night and all over the course. I was also surprised that many riders came to me after the race for autographs and to take pictures with me. There were even some that had pictures of them and me, from a visit I did to Hermosillo several years back, to have them signed. What a good feeling!!

San Carlos 12 hour Endurance Mountain Bike Race from Vince Radice on Vimeo.

Oops, I've got to figure out how to get the Vimeo video on here.  Check out the link - but just one correction - the narrator misunderstood me...I said I am NOT retiring any time soon!  I'll keep racing as long as my body and brains can handle it!  Since the brain department is low on cells, I might be doing this forever!

I'd like to thank Carlos Willis and Jesus Frias and all the people involved in having me there at this well organized event. It is always fun to go to places where people greet you with sincerity and enthusiasm, you get to see old friends, fish big game, enjoy the stay, and win the race!! But there was something missing….. My biggest group of fans: Terri, Joshua and Rose. But I will return here someday soon, with them!!

Carlos at sunset after the big race.  What a great weekend!
Thank you for everything everyone!  I had a blast.


1 comment:

lgsosar said...

Hi Tinker!

This is Luis Gabriel Sosa from Juárez.
So you didn´t take Rose with you?

Man are you gonna be in trouble as soon as she reads your review!

Please say hi to all your gang at home.

Best Regards.

Luis Gabriel Sosa
Juárez, México