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                                KILIMANJARO, Tanzania, Africa.

                                          November 2003

 

The Twin Team, daughter Katrin, son Alexis, Preston, Wendy, Henry,  and Doctor Ann joint for the adventure.

 Angelika had not only planned to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro but she made sure it would be the most difficult route.

Our main guide had climbed the mountain 112 times but only 3 times the route Angelika forced us to take. No buts and no choices.

 

For two days we visited Kenya but soon we became anxious to see our colossal mountain with an altitude of 19,342 feet.

 

An antiquated bus tottered over lumpy roads, while we laughed nervously.

“Would we be able to reach the summit as a group?”

Everyone wondered, but no one articulated a word.

 

 We started at the Marangu Gate at 6,000 feet were 12 porters eagerly joined us. Each one carried 30 pounds, in spite of their meager clothing and skimpy shoes.

With eyes wide open we gazed at the dripping rain forest, while our arduous traveling and our daily problems slowly faded into the back ground.

Each porter carried the heavy load on their heads and they balanced their trim ebony bodies on a slippery, uneven footing.

 

Plant life taller than church towers and thick as fortresses enmeshed our bodies and souls into the dark green of nature’s best revelation. Beauty and magnificence, diversity and repetitiveness, darkness and light with all imaginable shades of green highlighted an unforgettable picture in our minds. The sounds of birds and monkeys hidden in thick foliage startled us.

Slowly but with a steady pace we kept climbing to 9,000 feet were we camped for the first night. A light drizzle stayed with us until we left the rain forest.

 

The second and third day steered us through different climates and vegetations. The noticeably thinner air challenged our breathing. By the fourth day we traversed a lunar landscape reaching 12,000 feet.

Freezing cold lured us into the fourth day when the beauty of the mountain no longer could entice us. At night we covered ourselves with everything that could give warmth. Ice covered our tents in the morning.

As we gathered in the dining tent we could see the blue lips on each others shivering faces.

 

At 12 a.m. we had our last warm tee and ascended to the summit via the Umbwae route. Step by step we scrambled up the steep rocky face. The hours seemed to stand still. A half moon hid behind black crevasses. Our water froze in the camel bags. The altitude required more liquid because of the oxygen depravation but we had no choice than enduring without. Darkness, blustery winds and arctic cold assailed our solitary ascend. Katrin’s hand and feet burnt with cold until she could not feel them any longer. Two steps, stop, breath, two steps, stop, breath became the pattern we followed blindly. After eight hours of intricacy our numbing bodies sensed relieve. A faded sunray reached the zenith above the crater of Kilimanjaro. Soon the day light would lift our burden. Hope emanated from our souls and ignited our lifeless motivation.

                                                                

White magnificent mountains of glaciers soon surrounded us, while the background busted with light and dark blues from a heaven only known on the zenith of Kilimanjaro. Down below silky clouds framed the far off valleys.

 

We embraced each other with proud hearts of champions, giving God the glory for his blessings.

 

Oxygen depravation and cold made us move on quickly in spite of the unique view over Kenya and Tanzania. In the crisp morning air we tracked back to the Marangu Gate, were the rain forest once more opened its warm and moist arms.

 

After a good night of deep slumber everyone was ready for the next adventure, a safari in Tanzania. The beauty of nature and its amazing animal life will for ever stay in our minds and the Kilimanjaro will have its special place in our souls.

 

Barbara Warren

 

                                    Sea to Sea

 

The Twin Team accomplished the first time ever traverse of the Sea to Sea Trail. Many have tried and some have done halve of it in the timeframe of one year.

 

The Sea to Sea Trail is a 140 mile long trail from the Salton Sea to the Ocean in Del Mar. The trail will be ready in 2006. We wanted to be the first ones ever to accomplish the distance in the shortest time possible. It took us three and a halve days of mountain biking, running and hiking. Orienteering skills with compass and maps were essential since most of the trail has not been developed and nothing has been flagged yet. Angelika had 20 maps with her and managed not to get lost too often but often enough.

 

After a tremendous fall from her mountain bike and injuring her knee which was 2 sizes bigger then normal Barbara had to drop out.

Angelika and Preston finished arriving at a sunset at the ocean in Del Mar.

 

Their support Toyota 4WLD vehicle drove over a 1000 miles to reach them in the most remote areas.

 

                     Twin Team Events and their Training


            An Account O
f The Race Across America
By Katrin Alvarez (Barbara's daughter), Twin Team crew chief
 

My crew of six stooped together in a medium sized motor home, and a small pace car, for 15 days. We could not experience much of the beauty of the mountains, the prairie or the tropical sceneries, and the chatting of people in modest villages at the back roads of America. Showers, as well as clean clothing were mostly denied, and food could not be fresh in the confinement of space and time.

Our fervent commitment to support The Twin Team in the Race Across America (RAAM) started the 17th of June in Portland, Oregon, and would not end until touching the tepid blue waters in Florida. Overall we drove 7000 miles in 18 days, setting out from San Diego to Oregon, crossing the country, and back to San Diego.

Angelika and Barbara cycled around the clock, in spite of bone-chilling cold, blistering heat, rain, hail, and the 10,450 feet thin air of the Colorado Mountains. Their white faces, stiff hands, their sleep deprived demeanor, and their wretched bodies every so often alarmed us, nevertheless we gave them our love and smiles at all times.

It certainly turned into a chore to feed them 8000 calories every 24 hours. How many times I gobbled on some chunk food feeling guilty for some extra calories but in this competition I joyfully stuffed my mother and aunt with the amount of high energy that perpetually is outlawed in my book of health.

Our two relentless athletes moved over 13 miles per hour, their legs spinning steadily minute per minute, night and day, climbing over 95,000 feet, while grinding away the expanse of 3000 miles.

The motor home displayed proudly the banners of their sponsor INTEGRIS. The eminent vitamin company rewarded their bodies with continuous strength and endurance. The twins are grateful for their loyal support.

Only 65 miles before the end of our adventure a car slashed into Angelika and sent her to the hospital. For moments we were all paralyzed but more so her son Alexis. After some hours the findings confirmed a separated shoulder, torn ligaments, broken rips, and a badly bruised knee. Once we heaved her from the emergency room, calmness entered our souls. At least she was with us. Her courageous mind kept paddling but her body forcefully rested motionless in the motor home. Meanwhile Barbara took off with double strength to reach the finish.

Two old time friends, Veronica and Roman crossed the Atlantic to be part of my crew. We were known as the youngest and most inexperienced squad to enter a RAAM event. But with our ambition ablaze, and our collective problem solving kills we overcame each and every adversity. Together we piloted our athletes through nine states in only 9 days and thirteen hours, that is a day earlier than expected. Wednesday, July the 20th, at 10 pm, grimy and exhausted but proud, we all stood shaky on the dazzled light up podium to celebrate our joint success.

Our adventure started with God’s blessings and ended by glorifying his name. It is his love that kept us going and our belief that kept us strong. There is no victory without a battle, and the battle was won.

Angelika and Barbara earned first place and received the RAAM reward for the most inspirational athletes of the year 2001.


_____________________________________________________


Mt. Whitney record event

Dear Doug,

Well, we hiked the mountaineer route twice up to  but the last time we descended the regular route because, as you said, it would have been to dangerous to hike back at night.

For your records:
we are 59 years old
we took 23 hours (you will laugh at our time but it is what it is. Also we got lost sometimes, of course).
We have signed the book on top with the date of August the 9th, 2002.
We have 4 witnesses:
Preston Drake
Katrin Alvarez
Henry Wilson
Alexis Castanena

You can compare our time with the time of someone else in our age group, now, or in the future.

Your advice and help were vital. We appreciate very much your expertise.

Thank you so very much.
Your Twin Team
Angelika and Barbara

_____________________________________________

Training events for the Twin Team athletes
1-20-99

Borrego Desert California, October 17th 1998, bush whacking adventure

The extreme event that brought the team close together happened in the Borrego Desert.

In the late afternoon they biked from an altitude of 5300 feet straight down into the desert to an altitude of 600 feet. They raced each other with speeds up to 45 miles downhill and the excitement was on.

As the dim sunlight of the desert vanished behind black mountains the women geared up for a straight up bush whacking adventure through the night. The route is called “Agelika's dirittissima”, a name created by the expedition leader, an expert in searching out never before explored places.

Their goal was to reach the 6000-foot altitude mark after a 4-mile stretch that went straight up into the dark. The athletes were crawling over and under the arid, spiny desert brush, they climbed the rocks, crossed the water and reached after six endless hours the almost impossible goal. The darkness made every step a guessing game and the unknown terrain consolidated their focal point and concentration.

At the end of their journey, when they were totally exhausted, they looked for the car that would take them back to the place were they could sleep. Unfortunately the key for the car was never found. The bitter, cold high desert temperature was impossible to bear for long without proper cloth.

Sitting close to their campfire they all decided to run-walk 15 miles back to safety. After being completely drained and debilitated from 6 hours of bush wrecking, a decision had to be made no one wanted to be confronted with. But with no further word spoken the Women of the Expedition got up and marched into star filled night.

The real character strength and nobleness was magnified by that extra burden. Every woman was in harmony not only with each other’s pain and effort but they also were in tune with the surrounding uncertain nature.

A dim beam of sunlight broke through the morning sky when they arrived at the hut. After five hours of not having anything to drink or eat they devoured all what could be found in the hut until they succumbed to a well-earned timeless slumber.

 _________________________________________________

January 9/1999/ running 50 miles in the hills of Catalina Island

 Again the Twin Team WWE athletes teamed up. This time a very different adventure expected them.

It was a beautiful blue Californian sky when they took a boat to the island of Catalina. Laughter and excitement was mixed with some anxiety. Would they be able to do what they have trained for so hard?

Running 50 miles as fast as possible was their self-imposed assignment.

At 5am, in the cold misty morning, they rushed off into the hills of the island, were herds of buffalo’s starred into charcoal gray of the dawn. Four hours had past and the courageous women kept running embracing the beauty of their powerful bodies and unbreakable minds.

They could be seen on the crest of the bare hills overlooking the vastness of the dark silver ocean. Nothing could stop them because they were fueled with the strength of their spirit.  They were reaching beyond their own possible with one purpose in their mind: to reach their traced goal and receive the medal of triumph and victory.

After eight hours of saturated effort, one by one blazed exhilarated through the long awaited finish line.

Congratulations! Twin Team Women of the World Expedition, you have proven again that your spirit takes you beyond the limits of thoughts.
______
________________________

Athletes in training

 Adventure character building race for the Twin Team WWE athletic team
Date:    4/7/99 4:34:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time

 I am announcing the next race event for the Twin Team WWE team for the upcoming 15th of May weekend.

This is an adventure race, the disciplines are:

¨      Mountain bike

¨      Repelling

¨      Kayaking

¨      Hiking-running-crawling-sniffing dust

It will be held by the Lake Mead close to Las Vegas and we would be their first women team and definitely call attention for the media as the race director said. Equipment wise we are quite set, I think I have most of it. The mandatory stuff is in my hands also. We will have with us one reporter from the US and a writer, also our media person from Italy.

¨      Two crew people will be needed and if anyone wants to be part of an exciting adventure let me know as soon as you can.

¨      Sponsors are welcomed for products and or financial needs.

 The total duration of the race will be 30 hours continuously.

Amber we need your orienteering skills and hope that you can interrupt your difficult studies of the law for a long weekend.

 The WebPages for the race is: www.4.windsacventure.com

Our purpose for the participation is:

1. Challenge our team spirit
2 Our reporter wants to capture us in action
3 The writer has a chance to interview us in challenging situation

 I will continuously update you and answer the questions you have.

Until then
Train hard and enjoy life

Your Twin Team WWE director Angelika

_______________________________________________

"Loosing my lower right arm and leg."
This makes us think.


A friend of mine sends me these words:
I was abducted by the Khmer Rouge to be interrogated and executed (by the grace of God it was possible to dissuade them).

Four years ago I was blown up walking in a cleared minefield .  In no way do I consider myself to be a victim, because I chose to be there, but people who live in mine fields and  war affected areas have no choice. It is not the critic who counts nor the man who points out how  the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and seat and blood. Who knows great enthusiasm, great devotion and the triumph of achievement. And who, at the worst, if he fails at least fails whilst daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those odd and timid souls  Who know neither victory nor defeat. You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who have had to fight for it life has truly a flavor the protected shall never know.

Hope to see you all at the Lake Mead adventure challenge

 Angelika

 ________________________________________________

Badwater to Stovepipe  Wells:
42 Mile Death Valley training run

Another of Angelika's Character Builders
By Don Hayes and Amber Vierling

            Enduring the serious heat of Death Valley in summer is one thing.  Running all day through its furnace-like environment is another.  The latter is an indescribable feeling that one can only know by being there, astride in running shoes hour after hour.  A day of running through the desert invokes changes in ourselves, similar to the way our lives change over time.  At moments we are open to the world, hearing the music from the support-water van and aware of grand geologic wonder of Death Valley.  At other times the whole universe as we know it is contained in our breath and heart beat as we are forced to turn exclusively inward as a matter of survival. 

            On May 29, 1999 the Women's World Expedition continues training with this 42 mile run from Badwater to Furnace Creek and then to the finish at Stovepipe Wells.  Additionally, the Twin Team is in training for yet another 146-mile adventure race, running continuously from Badwater to Mt. Whitney, beginning on July 15, 1999.  For all of us an event like this one is both training for life and it is  life.  Running through Death Valley trains ourselves to have patience for the hours it takes to cover distance using solely our bodies; it teaches us persistence to reach what most would consider an impossible goal; it teaches us reliance on ourselves to have faith to complete any difficult challenge in life. 

            At the same time, this event is "not a rehearsal," rather it is the only May 29, 1999.  It is a day to experience the unusual, a day to be with ourselves, our team, the great nature of Death Valley and to become closer to God.  It is a day to experience solitude.  Yet, as the day wares on, I am also reminded of John Muir who scoffed at the so-called solitude of the wilderness where he regarded "the plant people" and the populous animals as friends.  Indeed, we are not alone.  Angelika passes the jittering roadside rattlesnake. Barbara finds a variety of animal tracks in the sand dunes--birds, rodents, snakes and coyotes.  Amber finds camaraderie in the highly adapted creosote and mesquite shrubs. 

            At the end of this grueling day, our motto of "the harder the task, the greater the reward" makes vivid sense.  We all jump out of the 5 p.m. 100°F heat and into the relief of the swimming pool in Stovepipe Wells.  Some cramping of the calves and stories of the struggle confirm that running in the hard-core heat of Death Valley is no small task.  Indeed one runner, also training for the Badwater run, was helicoptered to a hospital for heat relief treatment. 

We are thankful and proud of another step in a long journey toward our goal to circumnavigate the globe in 2000 hours as the Women's World Expedition.

 _________________________________________

Badwater 2002, Story by Dr. Ben Jones
08-09-2002, Death Valley

Badwater Just Won’t Go Away

 While I was out there in the desert, the media approached me quite a few times. They always seemed to ask two questions:

01)  Why does someone want to do this?

02)  Would I ever consider doing it again?

 In regard to question #01 my first response to the media was “because it is there!” just as Mallory and Irvine regarded Mt. Everest. Another reason is because of the challenges such as doing the most difficult point-to-point footrace in the world, the challenges being: altitude and temperature extremes and long distance and, at the same time experiencing adventure. As the days passed, I decided to redefine my reasons.

This Race draws people from many States as well as from many foreign countries. The people are from all walks of life. Their running talents are quite varied. A large percent of the runners (about 40%) attend the Badwater Heat Training Clinics held on Memorial and Fourth of July weekends each year. The runners bring with them their family members, crew members, and pacers plus some BW groupies and wannabes come.

We get to know each other and become a family. The Race itself is like a pilgrimage each year. About half of the people return. We all mingle at the pre Race meeting and during the Race and especially at the finish area and the post Race activities. We share the entire experience with each other. Many write stories and send pictures and newspaper articles. Albums can be put together such as I have done for the last twelve years of participating in BW.

One can witness the excitement each year as the Race evolves. There are the smiles and looks of apprehension at the beginning. During the Race there are “down times” often very early in the Race. Then there seems to be an amazing recovery. A blazing finish often follows all of this. Again there are smiles followed many times by tears. I did see the digital pictures taken at the finish and the awards being presented by Chris Kostman, Race Director.  http://www.badwaterultra.com

The answer to question #02 is maybe more difficult to answer. At one time my training was directed at being able to do Badwater at any time of day or any day of the year. That was when I was more innocent and naive. The first year I did the Race (1991) my fear was not finishing. The next year (1992) I was afraid I might become invincible. The next year (1993) I was afraid that I should have known better. I never did it to win, just to finish.

I witnessed the Race for the first time in 1990 when I went out on the course to see a couple invited to do the Race. While looking for them, I saw all of the others (about eight). The top three were jogging. The rest were essentially walking after the first of six marathons end-to-end.  In those days the Race was to the top of Whitney and was called the 146.

Since I live in Lone Pine and used to have a medical office in Death Valley I felt that I could do this Race if I just walked fairly quickly from the start. Twenty-minute-miles gets you to the finish in 45 hours; that’s three mph! All I had to do was stay awake and move forward for as many hours as I used to do as a medical intern.

I had to have some props, however. In those days we used a U-Haul. I wanted to put a condo spa filled with water in it in order be able to cool off. Since I thought the water would slosh out, I substituted a metal casket (body removal tank), which I purchased from Owens Valley Mortuary for $400.00. This had a lid with toggles and would keep the water in. Many thought I had ice in it. I never said I did but it made a better story if they thought I did. I also borrowed a fake potted-palm tree from La Florista, the local flower shop. This would create an “oasis effect” to lure me ahead. I also had to have some distractions.

The first year I did an autopsy during the Race on a Death Valley victim – a tourist trying to do a traverse of Death Valley. The body was baking in the saltpan merely a half-mile from Badwater when we started in 1991. I am the only one I know of who has done an autopsy during a race as well as being the only one to successfully get in and out of a casket during a race. The next year I made house calls in Lone Pine during the race. The following year I did litter pick-up on my two two-mile sections on the course: one in the floor of Panamint Valley (67 –69 mile marks) and the other near Keeler (108-110 mile marks), which are still my Adopt-A-Highway sections. What is interesting to me is that I usually started as a techno nerd. At some point in the Race I would transform myself into a Zen mode when I didn’t care what happened.

I never really had any good hallucinations, but there were times I couldn’t remember doing a ten-mile segment such as in the Darwin Flats (85-95 mile section). I have always been disappointed that I never saw panda bears, condominiums, road-closed signs, printed circuit board stepping stones, bikini-clad inline skaters, etc. On the Portal Road I do remember transforming myself into a patient with a combination of cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease. I was always pleased to get to the finish line and then on to the top.

Now I think to myself, do I really want to go through this again. Everything has gotten so sophisticated with Solumbra wear, special fluid and electrolyte replacement drinks, energy capsules, special footwear, etc. I now enjoy helping others get through this Race with the Training Clinics, which my wife, Denise, and I hold. By the way, I never would have finished those three years without her help along with the others there for support. I never had a “pacer.”  I didn’t even have a concept of a pacer. What I did have and need from time-to-time was a “visitor.” I would almost rather help ten runners successfully finish than to finish again myself. There is one incentive. Next year I will be 70 and no one has done it yet at that age. Who knows?

Even after the Race, Badwater just won’t go away.

On 07-27-2002, after our Race was over, a Navy SEAL, Mike Tilden, went from Badwater to the Portals solo in 32:01:40 and immediately headed up the mountaineer’s route and got to the top in just under 39 hours. This sets an AM-start record by around one or two hours.

The Austrian Twin Team of Angelika Castaneda and Barbara Warren were in the area.

And did a double ascent/descent of Whitney using the mountaineer’s route in 23 hours. They are getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro.

 So you see, “Badwater Just Won’t Go Away!”

 Ben Jones
_____
______________________________________

Below are some very nice remarks which makes it even more of a special thing to “Do Badwater.”

Badwater reflections 1977 and 2002
By Arnold

Good morning, Denise and Ben:

If the smoke has cleared up by now you must have some great sunrises and sunsets. When I was on my trek these wonders of nature were so beautiful that I just wanted to go on forever. If I can ever get beyond the trauma of my knees, that are sans cartilage, I would like to take a hi-tech video unit with me and re-trace my steps including the "offshoot" form Panamint Springs called “No Name” Canyon. That might be scary this time because I would know what to expect.

One of the blessings of being a "Pioneer" is to expect the unexpected. Every new turn is a new adventure. I'm sure that every ultra runner who visits Badwater for the first time is, at that moment, and for himself/herself, truly a pioneer. What a great thrill it must be for the both of you, who have been there so many times yourselves, to see, firsthand, these athletes, filled with emotions that only Badwater reveals.

And, as you know, it may "hit them" when they least expect it. My "least expect it" moment was when I walked up onto the stage at Furnace Creek .............. 25 YEARS LATER ............................ Just think about it for a moment, I was just a guy with a very "strong heart", and no purpose other than trying to prove to people that you are capable of doing more than is expected. Nothing more. No publicity or fame, but just expanding the envelope further than before.

I love Classical Music and as such, I guess I can express my feelings through Copland's: "Fanfare For The Common Man", I believe it was part of the closing ceremony of the LA Olympics. I'm just a common man; with a very strong heart ... NOTHING ELSE.

I used to love listening to the radio program: "Death Valley Days". The both of you are a team whereby your commitment has extended the legends of "Death Valley ULTRA Days" to a new dimension. I feel so honored to have met you and be a part of "IT".

My very best to you both, AL

JOGGERNAUT@badwaterultra.com,  (AL ARNOLD)
"SEARCH" :(badwaterultra.com) and get a feel of the quest.  

 ___________________________________________________

Race Across America
Chris Kostman

Congratulations on finishing the Race Across America and becoming the first two woman team to do so! As usual, you are blazing new trails for others to follow. I'm very proud of you!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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