A Sporting Venture
From Costa Rican jungles to Portuguese cliff tops, cross-country adventures are just a click away.
You’ll see wild Central America at running speed in the ninth Coastal Challenge: Route of Fire, February 2-9. Eventually your feet will take you up to 155 miles from the remote and dry northwest coast and the volcanic region through farmland, over dirt roads, narrow trails, and asphalt. You’ll run on ridgelines, along the beach, through wet and dry forests and windy highlands. You’ll cross rivers and streams. You’ll zipline, whitewater raft, rappel, and even surf a bit if you like, and each night you’ll sleep in a tent. A treat for marathoners, ultra-marathoners and adventure racers, the Route of Fire is a supported six-stage run of trips that hooks you right into the scenery. Four versions of the race are available for everyone from entry level racers to masochists, individuals and teams. Connecticut-based TCC Adventures runs this and similar events in Panama and Bolivia. Soft Adventure packages begin at $1,950 and don’t involve camping. Packages for competitors begin at $2,375. Airfare is not included.
active.com :: thecoastalchallenge.com
Bright white sails glide over glistening seascapes. Teams of yachtsmen work the wind to their advantage over a 125-nautical-mile chase that sweeps them from affluent Orange County to a Mexican seaport. Then the real fun starts. The annual Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is known as much for the pre-race and afterparty as it is for the race itself. Starting from the Balboa Pier on April 26, sailors of many different stripes will head south in pursuit of a trophy and some Saturday Night Fiesta at the Hotel Coral. The modern 147-room hotel features rooms with private balconies and standard amenities. Baja California cuisine and local wines are served at the award-winning Antares Restaurante; Arrecife Lobby Bar is famous for its margaritas and martinis; and visitors to the spa can reserve a variety of massages, facials and body treatments. The marina has space for 353 vessels up to 65 feet in length, with private transportation and shuttle service to and from the hotel. Rooms start at $105 per night. Packages including spa treatments start at $210 and winery tours for $155.
hotelcoral.com :: newporttoensenada.com
A two-wheeled tour of eastern Portugal in just nine days would be close to paradise for a serious mountain biker. The 11th annual Trans Portugal Garmin covers 700 miles off road – over 100 km in each stage but the last, from the country’s northern tip in Braganca, south to Monsaraz before cutting west to the Atlantic and Europe’s most southwestern point at Sagres. But there is no marked path. No aid stations or support staff. GPS unit maker Garmin provides the only navigation and it’s attached to your handlebars. The spring days (May 4-12) will be beautiful but grueling along dirt and gravel roads, through forests and up steep single tracks on clifftops and ridges. The nights won’t be quite so tough though, with each day’s stage finishing at the door of the best hotels in the region, with excellent local food and even a massage. Entry fees start at 950 euros (about $1,230) with massage packages an extra 200 euros (about $260). Packages that include meals and accommodations start at 1,365 euros (about $1,775). Airfare is not included.