Sunday, January 6, 2013

(Re) Running the Caminho Da Fé - Day 1 Preview

Attempting to break the Caminho Da Fé (“CDF”) speed record will prove to be a daunting task, especially considering it will be timed with a sub-48 hour attempt of the Brazil 135 Mile Ultramarathon (days 3 and 4).  However, the difficulty of this journey does not come without constant reward – the opportunity to visit and experience remote areas of a foreign country.  Sure, we’ve been there before (twice to run the Brazil 135 and once to cover the CDF), however, the prior CDF run began in Cravinhos (one of 3 separate CDF starting points).  This time, we will begin in São Carlos, the southern most starting point.  The day 1 journey from there to Tambaú will cover unfamiliar terrain, and visits to new local cities and towns.

São Carlos, and its approximately 220,000 inhabitants, sits approximately 145 miles Northwest of São Paulo.  It was officially founded on November 4, 1857, but it was between 1831 and 1857 that the pioneer coffee farms were formed, commencing the first economic activity in São Carlos.  Railway service was added in 1884, helping to expand the transport of coffee production and further boosting the city’s economy.

 The industrial sector also developed through workshops that incorporated the coffee industry. The manufacture of processing machinery, shoes, fertilizers, hardware, furniture, pasta, cigars, as well as activities such as breweries, foundries, sawmills, weaving, pottery and pencil production expanded the economy of São Carlos in the 1930s. In the 1950s and 1960s, with the expansion of refrigeration, new factories of machinery and tractors arrived. Numerous small and medium-sized companies, which provided products and services, were also established.

In the second half of the 20th century, the city received a boost of technological and higher educational development when in 1953 the Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos, or the Engineering School of the University of São Paulo was created. In the 1970s, the Federal University of São Carlos was launched.

São Carlos is home to two Universidade de São Paulo campuses and the Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), two of the most important higher learning centers in Brazil. Other minor and private universities are also based in São Carlos, such as Centro Universitário Central Paulista (UNICEP) and Faculdades Integradas de São Carlos (FADISC), and community colleges like SENAI, SESI, SESC, SENAC and the Escola Técnica Estadual Paulino Botelho. This has turned São Carlos into a university-oriented town, with an abundance of student-focused commercial establishments. It is also known for its student parties.

São Carlos' cultural life is marked by a young audience that enjoys musical concerts of Brazilian contemporary alternative artists, that usually include the city in their tours. Also, São Carlos has 3 theaters and 7 commercial movie-theaters rooms.

There are two important events celebrated every year in the city, the Climate Party, which happens in April and has a traditional Orchid Exposition which features a craft work fair and several food barracks. An Oktobertech fest is held yearly along with the São Carlos High Tech Fair (Fealtec).  The TAM Airlines Wings of a Dream Museum (Museu TAM) is in São Carlos, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) from central São Carlos

The Day 1 route heads from São Carlos to Descalvado, a municipality that had a 2033 population of 31,058.  Like São Carlos, Descalvado was founded in the 1800s as a main coffee producer during the golden coffee plantation years.  Its economy is largely farming based, with sugar cane and poultry as its main products.

Porto Ferreira (or, Port Blacksmith), a municipality with about 54,000 inhabitants, is the next stop, followed by the even smaller Santa Rita do Passa Quatro, with the ultimate destination of Day 1 being Tambaú, a municipality that was initially known for its sugarcane until coffee plantations took over.
Total Miles for Day 1 ≈ 67.1



  1. Exciting stuff, Tony. Have a great time. Can't wait to hear about it.

  2. I am sure you can break the record as long as you have a few local beverages each night. Its good for karma and carbs. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about the journey. Peace E p.s. Avoid the bulls!