by Cabro Colorado I can still remember the day as if it were yesterday.
Planes, broken down busses and too little sleep.
Confusion from elementary language skills.
Excitement for the adventures ahead.
A long, beautiful train ride through a very strange land getting to know a brother as an adult for the first time.
Fascination at the realness in conversations with a World class athlete.
First sightings of the colorful Raramuri people.
Opportunity to gaze over the grandest of grand canyons.
Wondering how we would find the Horse in such a busy pasture.
And then there you were. A cartoon of a man. Larger than life with a huge smile and genuine happiness to see us arrive for the great journey.
The land was rough and beautiful. The company was intimidating for a new ultra runner. They moved like you did, graceful and beautiful through the rugged terrain.
Our journey down to your home was bumpy, dusty, smelly and noisy thanks to the strangest person I had ever encountered in my life ... a monkey that would soon become a very good friend.
The group was eclectic. Gathered from all corners and collecting an Italian Eagle along the way.
Batopilas was wonderful with odd encounters in town meeting Nacho Barracho, a surprisingly fast person and talented violin maker when sober.
The run that day out to the mission has always been one of my favorites among a thousand runs. Simple, relaxed, joyful. Watching elite runners take running casually. Experiencing true running talent as the scantily clad and dangerously beautiful La Brujita passed El Perro and myself with insane speed as she floated down a lengthy hill.
Eating at each of your favorite Oma's houses was always a joy and the lady in Batopilas brought class to a tiny house in a tiny town while treating us all like her family.
Our hotel was small and somewhat like a dorm. We gathered in the hallways and played as if we'd known each other for years. Instant bonding, joy, bristling with excited energy for the long journey ahead.
Too soon it was time to leave and conquer the intimidating 30+ mile hike from Batopilas to Urique. The mood somber to start. Then lightening as the warm sun help thaw our moods and souls.
The day was full of intriguing encounters. A real chance to truly meet many interesting people and discover their stories. Girrafe, Gavilane, Venado y Venada, Bujo, Rana … even Cabrocito who I was growing to know and like more each day.
Then, suddenly and silently the Batopilas Canyon legends were standing there. Meeting the men, these champion of Leadville legend and their descendants. Careful introductions. Respectful. Quiet. Gentle touching of hands.
I remember running up behind some younger ones just for the joy of watching them disappear through the woods in the blink of an eye. Laughing at the gentle play.
Mono and I trying to get ahead to use the digital video cameras to get some footage of these camera shy people.
Learning to run down through the rugged terrain by stepping properly on chingocitos … trying to stop sounding like a herd of buffalo next to people that made no sound. Slipped no rocks. Always knew where and how to step.
Rest, respite, grapefruit, tequila-moonshine in excess. A very sick Tortuga del Sol.
Crashing on the long, long, soft trail downhill but getting up with streaming blood to run down while passing Raramuri, hooting and hollering. Any chance of a future race was over, but respect from the Raramuri was building.
Then we made it to town and it was clear who the Rock Star was. Urique loved you. They loved us. The loved the Raramuri. Everyone wanted to know if we were Corredors and figure out who could possibly beat their champion.
The people were nice. The company rewarding. The food outstanding. The sun and culture helping to thaw out my soul even more. Real change had become to take shape in my way of looking at life and people.
The race was anti-climactic. The real journey was in the pre-race events. Long hours pre-walking the course with more chances to talk to and play with the Raramuri.
But the 30 of us celebrated afterward in the true spirit of Korima. Giving freely of congratulations for runners of all speeds. Making a point to congratulate young and old Raramuri on the effort even if the course and heat proved too much that day.
Immediately I knew I would be back and had the incredible privilege of traveling with my wife the second time. A time for us to fall back in love after slipping too much into the routine grind of life.
The 2nd year did not capture the same magic as the first partly because you got so sick and my natural tendency to lead in a leadership gap thrust me into the RD role. I could not relax the same with my broken Spanish and big-wig Mexican officials coming into town. I began to understand how much work you did to make CCUM happen ... a catalyst for the formation of a group dedicated to protecting the race and assisting in fund raising.
But I took pride when it was done and you were able to get to the starting line while we all watched the incredible power of the first Raramuri women to join in the journey.
Then, the shocking finish as a humble turtle took down a National Champion and the women's winner showed she was back to the Champions form she held before a long absence.
And we should never forget how your leadership in the simple joys of a simple race launched other races into existence. Important races.
I hope to run them someday since people I call friends started them boosted by the confidence of seeing it grow organically.
We disagreed at times but always respectfully. Stresses and pressures got in the way of our friendship. I grew tired of being your banker. I grew tired of the stresses of trying to understand your complicated and often conflicting views. I grew tired of being on one side or the other between people I wanted to include as my friends. I grew tired of the efforts in leading Norawas de Raramuri where it deserved to go.
But I never got tired of knowing you were out there, helping the world in your special and unique way.
I never get tired of having such good friends in my life as a result of your uniqueness bringing together people from such diverse backgrounds, cultures and mindsets.
I truly believed that if anyone could survive tragedy for a few days, it would be you. That you would come walking out or the Mas Locos would get in there and find you. I wanted to fly down so badly and help but knew that I could be nothing but a liability in my current form.
The final reality has hit me very hard. I did not see this coming. I had come to understand and accept that my problems were mine and I had lost something special by leaving it behind.
I had planned to be there in 2013. To find the Raramuri that had become friends. To spend time in the Canyons before and after the race delivering corn and renewing our friendship.
To see that huge smile and goofy cowboy hat one more time in a chance encounter on the trails in Boulder or Leadville would be priceless.
To tip one more hoppy brew at Twisted Pine and talk about the future of the race, beyond measure.
Kuiri ba norawa,