KILIMANJARO, Tanzania, Africa.
The Twin Team, daughter Katrin,
son Alexis, Preston, Wendy, Henry, and Doctor Ann joint for the
Angelika had not only planned
to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro but she made sure it would be the most
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
tremendous fall from her mountain bike and injuring her knee
which was 2 sizes bigger then normal Barbara had to drop out.
Preston finished arriving at a sunset at the ocean in Del Mar.
Toyota 4WLD vehicle drove over a 1000 miles to reach them in the
most remote areas.
Twin Team Events and
An Account Of
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. 1-20-99
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
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
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
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
Angelika and Barbara earned first place and received the RAAM reward
for the most inspirational athletes of the year 2001.
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:
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
Desert California, October 17th 1998, bush whacking
event that brought the team close together happened in the Borrego
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
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
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.
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
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
9/1999/ running 50 miles in the hills of Catalina Island
Twin Team WWE
athletes teamed up. This time a very different adventure expected
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?
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.
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
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:
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.
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
Amber we need your orienteering skills and hope that you can
interrupt your difficult studies of the law for a long weekend.
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
will continuously update you and answer the questions you have.
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
Badwater to Stovepipe Wells:
42 Mile Death Valley training run
Another of Angelika's Character Builders
By Don Hayes and Amber Vierling
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.
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
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.
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
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
Badwater 2002, Story by Dr. Ben Jones
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.
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,
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!”
Below are some very nice remarks which makes it even more of a special thing to “Do Badwater.”
Badwater reflections 1977
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
Congratulations on finishing the Race Across America and becoming
first two woman team to do so! As usual, you are blazing new trails
others to follow. I'm very proud of you!