Thursday, August 31, 2006

Prep for the Labor Day 75 Mile Epic Run

So how exactly do you get ready for an epic 75 mile run? Hmm. Krissy just sat down this morning and packed up her backpack, easy peasy. Me... well I've spent two days weighing my bars/gels/powder/pack/etc. Reviewing guide books, reading and printing maps and analysing the TOPO software. That is part of the fun for me - the prep and anticipation!

We're out the door right now for the Olympic Peninsula. Starting around midnight tonight we'll be starting the Hoh Valley - Bogacheil Traverse: 75 Miles, 16,000+ feet of gain (yeah it's a doozey!). My pack should weight between 10-12 lbs. I've also replaced my stolen digital camera with the Waterproof/Shockproof Pentax W10 so I should get some great shots to post.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hot Laps of Tiger anyone?

It can be done!! Tiger Mtn's Preston Railroad trail is 13 miles of technical single track with 2,500 feet of climbing. Last year the fastest I was able to ride it was 1:06. And I have yet to hear of anyone riding it in under an hour - so that seemed like a nice little goal - even if I only get to attempt it a couple times a year. Today's conditions weren't perfect for the attempt. It rained last night. This makes the extremely rooty and rocky trail more dangerous than normal. This caused me to ride a little more causious than normal. Even with a crash, a stop to check my tire and riding off the trail once, I was able to get that down to 1:02. Now I know it can be ridden in under an hour, gate to gate.

**There are some really fast XC riders in Seattle so post a comment if you've done this loop in under an hour will ya!? I wanna hear what the fastest time is!

Didn't accomplish the goal of my training today but I was able to ride the Preston loop 4 times. My totals were 52 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing in about 4:51. I did stop between laps to refill my bottles and eat a bit. With the exception of two Hammer Gels, I was on a liquid diet only today. First lap was Hammer Heed, my preferred fuel for under 2hrs.. then after that I used Hammer Sustained Energy and Hammer Perpetuem (which have a protein in them). I am trying to figure things out for Worlds!.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tyler Patterson Swims the Circumference of Lake Washington

My DART-nuun teammate Tyler Patterson just swam the 55 mile circumference of Lake Washington in 37hrs. Congrats Tyler! Seattle Times Article on it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Today’s PCT run: 31 miles of bliss

I’ve been inspired lately.. to trail run. I have friends attempting unsupported records on the Muir Trail and the Colorado Trail.. and of course there is Krissy. She does amazing things every time she laces up her Montrails.

I have the 24 hour Solo Mountain Biking World Championship coming up Oct 7th – but I can’t help myself. I have a true passion for trail running and sometimes it just takes over and I can’t do anything but feed it. Today I did, and it was stupendous.

I started around 12:30pm at Snoqualmie Pass. I had TOPO’d this route before I left. From the parking lot at the base of Snoqualmie Pass Ski Resort I ran 31 miles with 12,184 feet of gain to the Park Lakes and back. The run was amazing. The weather was 50-65 degrees most of the time, with some dark clouds and wind on the exposed ridges.

Today’s goal was to run everything. With 12,184 feet of gain I thought this would be very hard, especially with all the nasty scree sections on the PCT. But I was feeling great and it wasn’t so bad. As I ran up to the Kendall Catwalk with the Sun on Red Mountain I was in heaven. Running to the Catwalk in about 1:32. I got lots of stares and a few priceless comments from hikers who had most likely spent the entire day hiking to the Catwalk.

From the Catwalk I continued along the ridge and until the view of Alaska Lake took my breath away. They don’t call this the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for nothing. Around the next corner I start downhill to Joe Lake (pictured), which was equally impressive. Along the Chikamin ridge I saw a Mountain Goat!

I got down to the half way point at Park Lakes in about 3:30. I figured since the way out was 6,950’ of gain and the way back was only 5,234’, I’d be a bit faster. I finished in 6:51 elated.

I started the run with about 9 lbs of gear including water, pack and bottles:
Shoes: Montrail Highlines w/Yankz!
Backpack: Gregory Iso
Bottles: Nathan Quickdraw Plus Bottle Straps and two 24oz Hammer Bottles
Fuel: Hammer Gel, Heed, Perpetuem
Electrolytes: nuun

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

SLC and the Outdoor Retailer Show

I flew into SLC on Friday to meet up with my girl, and hit the Outdoor Retailer Show. Krissy has just completed a 14 day 6 hour fast pack of the Colorado Trail. It' s great to see her smiling face again.

Packing all night Thurs, I arrived on zero sleep (it's good training right?) and we hit the Outdoor Retailer show. It's been a blast, I'm like a kid in a candy store. Loads of cool gear and fun events, met with some of my sponsors and even saw a drag show. We preached the gospel of nuun, active hydration, and gave out tube after tube. The joke of the show was how every 1.5 hours Krissy would get a job offer. Kind of amazing, you could set your watch by it. It was great to see lots of friends including Mike Bitton, who was there reporting for (THE adventure racing news website). He sat me down for a quick interview.

Saturday night we went for a run with Scott Jurek, Karl Meltzer and Roch Horton. We did a 13 smile loop out of Big Cottonwood Canyon to Desolation Lake with just under 3,000 feet of gain. Absolutely beautiful terrain, and it's obvious with the legendary snow this place gets the backcountry skiing is endless and insane!

Monday Krissy, Roch and I did one of Roch's staple runs up Mount Granduer, another 2,800 foot climb to the top and about a 9 mile run. So beautiful. Then I pulled the Turner Flux out, had Krissy drop me at the top of Brighton Ski Resort. I hammered out along the Ridge trail, over Red Lovers Pass and down Mill Creek Canyon for a good 25 miles with 5,000 + feet of sweet downhill and just 1,200 feet of climbing. The trails here are super smoothing and fun. I am really hating my Stan's No Tube setup however. On TWO downhills I got flats that caused me to crash hard. I was flying downhill with a silly grin on my face when I felt the front tire get sloppy but had not chance to react.. the tire washed out on the corner and I ate shit. Put a tube in, cursed Stan's then continued down the epic terrain. I was almost at the end of the ride, right where it gets steep and super rocky when it happened again. This time I flew off the side of the trail, into the bushes/rocks/rattlesnake homes of Rattlesnake Creek. I escaped with only a few scratches and a deep hatred of Stan's No Tubes.

Today we are meeting up with Cyril and Silvy for a ride at Soldier Hollow just south of Park City. I'm planning on doing the 24 hours of Soldier Hollow on Sept 9th so it will be nice to get a ride on the terrain before hand. I'm trying to prepare for the Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike World Championships Oct 7th in Georgia. From Soldier Hollow it's on to Oregon where I'll pace Krissy at the Where's Waldo 100k (62 miles). This will be fun as I get to run 30 of the miles with her! It will be interesting to see what she can pull off having just gotten done with the Colorado Trail, 14 days averaging 33 miles a day. She is super human though so the smart money says she'll win.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Raid the North 36 hr Adventure Race - Kamloops, BC

Just back from Kamloops and the Raid the North 36hr adventure race.. what an epic adventure we had. DART-nuun comprised of Ryan Fleming, Patricia Williams (from team Mighty Dogs), Glenn Rogers and myself placed 2nd in a time of 19:05 - the first two teams scorched the course that the race directors said would take the winning teams 24-26hrs.

RACE START: Midnight Friday Aug 4th after a two hour drive from Sun Peaks resort to a remote lake. We started at midnight sharp and running straight into impenetrable bush. We had to find the corner of the lake and follow it around to the South West. It was bushwhacking insanity. We followed the couple of teams that managed to get in front of us at first, then grew impatient with their lack of speed through the brush and broke off on our own. I was watching the compass and they were off bearing anyway. From there it was madness.. charging through the overgrown forest with no path whatsoever. When you move at that speed while breaking through shrubs, trees, branches, etc there is a good deal of falling/slipping/struggling. You trip, get caught in branches or fall in holes that are covered by the overgrowth. It's crazy, and fun, and your shins take a beating. After every adventure race I will have gashes on my legs for weeks. You sort of just cross your fingers that you don't twist an ankle or hurt yourself. I still have cuts healing today from the race. I caught a couple in the eye, if you forget your glasses watch out.
Once we found the lake it was hardcore coasteering. Which basically means running the coast. We could run the shore in spots, on baby head sized boulders.
However at times we would have to wade out into the water to get around boulders or little cliffs you could not climb over. It was cold! I hyperventilated every time we went swimming, and every time the strange noises I made caused Fleming to laugh. Like I said it was cold, and the middle of the night. We kept a good pace with Fleming and myself taking turns pushing the pace up front. We could see the wet footprints of one team in front of us as we traveled the shore. When we got to the CP it turned out to be Tom Zidek's team Banf Construction Co .com. From CP1 we headed straight up! A few thousand feet of steep bushwhacking uphill to a road we had some trouble finding. We arrived at CP2 in 3rd place, just after another team. Once through that CP however we passed and dropped that team as we ran downhill at breakneck speeds and arrived at the TA for the bike section in 2nd place, about 34 mins behind 1st.

As we left the TA on our bikes the sun started to come up. With so many dirt roads we got a bit confused at first, but were then able to figure out where exactly we were going.
We started out hot, towing Patricia up the long dirt road climb. Glenn did a good job navigating the maze of roads. I got a flat and changed it very quickly (Matthew Noell I'm getting fast buddy!). Damn stan's notube system keeps failing on me. After all the effort to get them setup I don't even think they are lighter or less likely to puncture. Back to the race - After hammering up and flying down we ended up at the TA where our lovely support crew was waiting for us with PB&J sammies, chips and all sorts of junk I knew I shouldn't be eating.. but did anyway.

Running out of this TA we had to run with our PFDs, paddles and climbing gear. This weighed the team down a bit. With Patricia charging we now had to help Fleming out a bit. I started by pushing him from behind. Then I took Glenn's paddle and he stepped up and grabbed Flemings pack. We didn't move very fast but when we arrived at the rappell we could see the 1st place team pushing off in their canoes.

The rappell was about 150' straight down to a five foot ledge on the waters edge. I went first and we moved as quick as I could on the slow rope, pushing the rope through my ATC. Patricia came next.
Then we waited and waited and waited for Fleming. He finally showed up. Apparently he had his prusik get stuck in the ATC, and the ropes guy came down and cut it off for him! Crazy.

It must have been 12 hours into the race, noon the next day when we started our coasteering to the canoes. We had the most amazing 25 mile paddle down Lake Adams to the next TA. We started out sloppy, but then Glenn and I put Patrica and Fleming's canoe on tow. This made it far more difficult for Glenn to keep our canoe straight, but he did a great job (even though I was constantly badgering him with "more left!", "hard right!"). After getting into a groove and really feeling like we were picking up time, we just HAD to stop. I protested stopping but it had to be done apparently, and.. we.. well.. I'll spare you the details but we all made a syncrinized deposit on the shore. Now much lighter we were able to cruise towards the end of the lake and the TA. The last few miles were not without drama though as things started to come off the hinges a bit. Teammates were running out of water, bonking, yelling at each other and everyone just generally wanting out of the boats!

I hit the shore running and I see the first place team, Banf Construction Co. com. Tom doesn't look happy realizing we gained 15 minutes on them in the water. But he's a good sport and gives me a low five as I cheer them on with "way to race guys!". Now it's on. We know we have a 4,000 + foot climb ahead of us and I am giddy like a school kid to chase them down. After another slow TA where we give too much time back, we head out. Up up up we go, taking turns towing Patricia we all look pretty good. After a couple hundred feet Fleming and I are now sort of rotating between towning Glenn and Patricia up the climb, but we are still moving fast. Around every corner I think to myself "I can't believe we haven't caught them yet!".

Finally as we are almost to the top of the climb we see them. Then Glenn starts to fall back. I put him on tow again and we are slowly closing the gap. Glenn is hurting and as I tow him he says "I have to get off, I have to walk". Walking a bike up hill is at least 4 times slower than riding it in granny gear. I thought to myself "if he gets off we will never catch them". So I started to yell at Glenn, "Don't get off your fucking bike! Do not walk, stay on that fucking bike!". That bought me about one more minute, then he got off, and they slowly pulled away again. As the terrain flattens out we chased them down and finally pass them, then they pass us down the next hill. As we chase I'm getting frustrated with our lack of speed. The other team starts to pull away on the downhill! I'm not impressed with our team. On the next downhill I follow them as they take a left hand turn and Glenn yells for me to stop. "It's the next turn" he says. He's right as we arrive in 1st place at the Lake Mickilveray CP.

Now we're off on the advanced course trying to get out of the area before the other team sees which way we went. It's getting exciting. We make a couple wrong turns and my excitement turns to anguish, and I'm nervious that they are catching up. We stop short of a CP and for the next 30 minutes preceed to look for the checkpoint... when - ah damn! Banf Construction has caught up. We continue to look to early on this road for the CP, they continue on, find it and speed downhill as we figure out what we are doing. Eventually we're on the right track again and flying downhill. We catch them again at the bottom, at the next CP. We all start up the final climb on the bikes. I'll be honest, I felt great and we had been making time on them the whole race. I felt as though they had been beating us on navigation and now that there really wasn't too much more, I thought for sure we had them. We just had 2,000+ feet to climb on bikes to the TA, then a few thousand feet running to the top of the ski resort and down to the finish in the village. Easy.

As we started up this hill it got steep and very challenging with loose rock all over the place. It became a game for me to stay on my bike and ride it as team members from both teams started to fall off. I think Patricia and I rode the whole thing, passing the 1st place team in the process. Glenn and Fleming weren't too far behind and before long we were now leading again. This is when we came to an intersection that I knew was a left hand turn. Glenn wanted to wait there, and see if the other team would pass it. Didn't make much sense to me, and in hindsight I think this was a way for him to take a break. It didn't work either, after all that work they just passed us as we stood there (well actually Fleming was laying down on the side of the trail).

Once we gave them the lead back we started up again after them on this never ending climb. Glenn slowed and even with tows had to walk again. It was a heart breaker to watch them ever so slowly disappear.
In the TA they were gone in seconds and we took waaaay longer than we should have again. Tom told me later that he just sort of got lucky finding the CP at the top of the mountain. After hitting the top we headed down to the finish. I felt my teammates slowing as they realized that we were not going to win this one.. so I pushed even harder on the downhill, trying to will them to move faster - we might not win but I wanted to make it as close as possible and push to the end. After all was said and done we finished just 13 minutes behind them. Great race, frustrating finish.

Thanks to Ryan's Dad, Glenn's Mom and Daughter Laura for being great support!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Hello from Kamloops

Hello from Kamloops, BC! Well actually hello from Sun Peaks Resort (50 miles North of Kamloops. Sun Peaks is the location for this years Raid the North 36 Hour Adventure Race. Because we had so much fun in last years race (sans Grizzly Bear bluff charge and the 500 lbs boulder that almost killed us) we are back to see if we can once again bring home the victory. This years team is comprised of Glenn Rogers, Ryan Fleming, a new girl I’ve never met but is supposed to be super duper Patricia Williams, and myself. Note: no actual Canadians. Last year I had 3 of them to race with. The race starts Friday at midnight.. I can’t wait.

No really I can’t wait… so I left Seattle on Sunday and drove to Kamloops in the VW. Monday I tried to climb up through the resorts trails on my bike to the top of Mount Tod at 7,060 feet. But “the man” stopped me. Even after offering to sign the liability waver and promising to stay on dirt roads that no one rides down – no dice, pay up or get out! So I spent the next 4 hours exploring some legal trails on my bike and ended up getting a pretty good climb in and seeing lots of cows (and cow patties). After dinner I ended the day with a short trail run before it got too dark.

Yesterday was more of the same.
Found my way out to McGilivery lake and wanted more. So I followed this forest service road for what seemed like days down hill. After passing through a saddle I could now see on the other side this untamed amazing lake. On the other side of this lake was mountain, with a trail cut into it’s side all the way to it’s top. I was enticed to descent even further to find this trail and climb that mountain. I hadn’t thought about how I was just miraculously going to find this trail once I was down there without the birds eye view. Well I couldn’t. I got to the end of the forest service road and had no idea what to do. Without a map I was lost and had to play it safe. So back up I went for two solid hours of climbing in the heat. No run on this day.. I’m supposed to be tapering.

Today I took care of errands and didn’t really feel like riding or running. I’m trying to listen to my body more, so I took it as a sign to take a rest day. Got my Turner Nitrous setup and dialed in for the race, contacted Geoff Langford (Raid the North race director) about when to help him stuff nuun in the race bags.

Then a little angel came to see me.
A super cool Canadian mtn biker stopped by my van as I was working on my bikes and said “you want a ticket, we’re leaving and won’t be using it”. I’m familiar with this type of activity from years of skiing and biking at Whistler. You CAN’T walk away from that ski area without a 17 year old dude asking to clip your ticket. I usually feel bad for them, and let them get the last few hours of skiing in on my dime – I’m not using it. I know the tickets are not transferable, blah, blah.. but they are damn expensive and I’ve been in brosephs shoes before – hell I’m in them now. With that said I would never ask to clip someone’s ticket. I prefer to skin up, run up or climb up on my bike while they aren’t looking. I’m not using their lift, why do I need to buy a lift ticket? But today, this dude asks me if want his ticket and he hands it to me. Well I can’t pass this up even if there is only enough time for one more run. Now keep in mind this is a freeride mtn bike park, they ride bikes with 6” of travel, in full body armor and full face helmets. Their bikes aren’t meant to be ridden up hill. I have a XC race bike. But I do find a more XC option and have a blast tearing downhill without having to earn it.

Now back at the van I feel like I need more. I decided for a little run, and promise myself I’ll only run to the top of the lift which is a 1,900 foot climb. I now had a ticket if they tried to stop me right? With about 2.5 hrs of light left the resort is technically closed but as long as I take the right trails up, no one will see me. From 4,100 feet I get to the top of the lift at 6,070 in :55 mins. Not bad at a steady pace, but not too much effort, remember I’m tapering. From there I figure I have to go the next bit higher because it’s called the “Top of the World” and the sun is setting and I want a photo from the top of the world. It’s actually the top of the ski resort at 6,824 feet. Another :25 mins and I’m at the top of the world taking a photo. Great, however the second highest mtn in this range, Mount Tod (pictured) at 7,060 feet is right behind me just another 200 feet higher and a few miles away. So I press on for the summit as the sun is setting. The loop I took actually drops to Tod lake first, so the climb was another 500 feet probably.
I get to the top with enough light to take this photo in 2:02, not bad having to navigate and take photos. The way down is where it gets interesting cause it’s getting dark but I don’t want to stop and get the headlamp out of my backpack.. I’m also freaking myself out about Bears. So I ran in the dark for about an hour, whistling to myself to scare the bears away, and singing songs about the trails at the top of my lungs. I made it down in 3:32 – now I’m tapering. Tomorrow, clean the bike up, little run, little ride, meet up with the team – that’s it I swear. Next blog will be about Raid the North 36 hour!