There are days now and then when I forget to be grateful for what I get to do in my job. There are days where it is just a tough job listening to people in pain for 12 hours, trying to find ways to help them, often falling short of the mark. Being who I am, it steals a little life from my heart when I fail to help people whom I so desperately want to help restore some normalcy in their life. If something is eventually going to kill me, I fear it will be this slow tapeworm stealing from my heart. Perhaps this is where my insomnia comes from, who knows.
And then sometimes there are people who walk through the door, people that just remind you of the bigger picture of caring, of gratitude, of giving. They remind you to be bigger than your own problems, they remind you with a smile that everyone has their anchors to drag about. They remind you it is going to be ok. Sometimes, the doctor becomes the patient. These are people who's heart is bigger than they are, their missions are grand, their goals, seemingly impossible. But what I have learned from the successful ones like this is that they put something else ahead of them - someone. And when it is sick children, children that are not their own, children they have never met, it restores my faith. It reminds me to be grateful again for what I have and and what I have been allowed to do everyday for 20 years.
Life is short. I know, these words I share about "time" are perhaps getting old to some of you. None the less, I have taken a few days off from my job this week, to heal my aching hands, to try and find some sleep again, to try and refocus on the bigger picture. I was getting lost in the grind, I needed to refocus. It wasn't going well - until Luis emailed me today.
When I first met Luis, his feet would fail him part way through so many of his races.
Then he was able to heel his feet.
Then, he got back to marathons . . .
then some really long ones, . . . . .144 hours.
You are a lion Luis. Thank you for giving me permission to share your latest story to my followers (on The Gait Guys) around the globe. It has inspired me, saved a piece of my spirit and soul, and I hope your mission and message will inspire others. It is clear your mission and your goals exceed your heart. And, I am sure your cause, to help those Orphan Children with Aids in Ecuador, has changed the lives of many precious little ones.
This is Luis's story . . . .144 hours . . . in a row . . .on just 6 hours of sleep.
· 315 miles of mountain biking
· 104 miles running/trekking
· 52 miles paddling
· One giant rappel
· One very deep and small cave
· 37,000+ ft. gained
· 144 hours of racing
· 6hrs of sleep
· Lots of cold
· Lots of heat
· Lots of wind
· Lots of mud
· 3 shots of Whisky
· Lots of singing and hallucinating
· 17,000 calories spent per a day
· Many hours of Training
· One Giant smile
Haku Adventure racing crossed the Finish line at the Adventure Racing World Championships in Wyoming. It was 6 incredible days of adventure in the Wild Wild West. We got to really experience the great State of Wyoming as it greeted us with wind, rain, cold, heat more wind and more wind. We also noticed just how incredibly big Wyoming is! (It’s actually more than 2x the size of our home country Ecuador) We saw Bears, Elk, Moose (at least the back of the Moose), rattle snakes and learned how to use Bear Spray..
The race started in Jackson Hole in a beautiful ski resort and ended in Casper. Our plan was to complete the full course. Usually these courses are designed for the top 20 teams in the world to complete. We were going to give it our best and crawl tor the finish line if needed.
Here’s an idea of just how far we had to travel (see map). The course wasn’t as direct as google maps of course, we went through some incredible scenery and very long legs. After the first 10 hours of racing we didn’t see civilization for 3 days.
We couldn’t find water but once we finished that extremely long trekking leg we ended in a ghost town where had to have a shot (or 3) of Wyoming Whisky. I had heard bad comments about Wyoming Whisky, but this one was pretty damn good. This town, was one of the first towns that served some of the first mineral mines in Wyoming and was in the middle of the Oregon trail. Kind of freaky. This is where we got our first hour of sleep after 72 hours of non- stop racing. After this we would start the longest leg of the race. A 200 mile bike leg.
This was after 26 hours of biking and Hike a Bike (Pushing/ carrying your bike + carrying all the rest of your gear) For those of you that were tracking us this is where we got lost for 12 hours and started playing catch up so we could make the cut offs. My feet were fool of blisters from so much walking with our bike shoes and being wet, so I needed to get them treated. We also found some good souls who were making bacon cheeseburgers! What a way to start the Next leg (60 mile trek)
Sometimes in adventure racing you find other teams and work together. We had the privilege to find this team from Georgia. We ran out of water for 9 hours and were trying to find a ridge throughout the night. This picture was taken in the Wyoming continental divide. These guys decided to retire after this leg
We couldn’t find water but once we finished that extremely long trekking leg we ended in a ghost town where had to have a shot (or 3) of Wyoming Whisky. I had heard bad comments about Wyoming Whisky, but this one was pretty damn good. This town, was one of the first towns that served some of the first mineral mines in Wyoming and was in the middle of the Oregon trail. Kind of freaky. This is where we got our first hour of sleep after 72 hours of non- stop racing. After this we would start the longest leg of the race. A 200 mile bike leg
This was going to be the mother of all legs. We heard in the transition area that we were starting to catch up to other teams so that motivated us to get going quickly. The open land and the endless roads were just incredible and in some cases tricky to navigate particularly at night. The winds were so strong that even with our weight and the weight of our back packs the front wheels in our bikes were raised from the ground. Night came and we caught up to about 6 teams that were having a hard time finding a checkpoint. We started looking for it and got hit by a terrible storm. We had to leave our bikes and find some sort of shelter we were soaking wet and it got really cold.
After 144 hours we were one of the last teams to complete the course and cross the finish line. We had a great welcoming party at the finish line. Just seeing our friends and families there made it all worth it and we all broke out in tears. For guys like us (with families and real jobs) this is an incredible achievement. People compare these adventure races to 4 or 5 full Iron Man races in terms of mental and physical strength. (Sorry my Iron Man friends)
I really want to thank everyone who supported me during this process. Specially my family, work family and church family. Either with encouragement, prayers, letting me train or just liking and following us through social it means a lot! But mainly I want to thank those of you who supported and believed in us and our cause to help those Orphan Children with Aids in Ecuador. We were able to raise about $3,000 which will go a very long way in Ecuador. The team just got back to Ecuador this week and will most likely be visiting Juvilus and the kids in the next couple of weeks to deliver those donations. I’ll
share an update as soon as they confirm and send pics. So again a HUGE thank you to all of you. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who want to help the less fortunate.
Hope you enjoyed the little story here and hopefully also found some inspiration to go find your own adventure!
Thanks to all of you from your friends at Haku AR! You can follow the team on FB at HakuAR.
More adventures to come!
Luis Becdach #hakuAR
* reach out to Luis and team HakuAR if you wish to help the children of Ecuador.
Thank you Luis. For the inspiration, for the kindness, for who you are brother.