Tuesday, October 31, 2006

rim to rim to rim - running the grand canyon

saturday oct 28th was krissy's birthday. for her birthday she wanted to run across the grand canyon... and back. since this sounded like one of the coolest things in the universe to do, i obliged.

ultra legend roch horton was fresh off the san diego 100 miler (where he placed 10th) so he didn't run with us. instead he was nice enough to get up at 4:30am and dropped us off at the south kaibab trail head just before 6am sat morning. with temps in the low 40’s and headlamps blazing we headed down into the great hole.
we started before sunrise for two reasons; 1. we wanted to finish in the light (we estimated 10-12hrs). 2. we wanted to avoid getting stuck behind the mule trains we had heard so much about. well within 9 minutes we were behind two cowboys and about 6 mules. they were very nice to us and allowed us to pass pretty quickly after shutting off our lights. it was so incredible to see the sunrise over the side of the canyon as we were by then about 1500 feet deep. the sun pealed back the curtain to unvail this natural wonder.. i was in awe. - did i mention it was krissy's birthday!

down down down about 5,000 feet we decended from the south rim via south kaibab trail we ran. after crossing the colorado river at the bottom of the canyon we ran into a horseback riding tour. their guide saw us coming, but as we found out he was determined to make us wait. so we waited for him to "check things" as his crew of tourists took photos of each other and i looked at my watch insesintly. to bring myself to a calm place i reminded myself that we were running at "birthday pace", and we were not in any rush (i took 112 photos if that is any indication).

we did finally make it to phantom ranch in about 1:40 (7:40am). the ranch opens at 8am and has coffee, lemonade (that roch and catherine said we must try), candy bars and post cards (that are muled out of the great hole - pretty cool). from the phantom ranch it was up the kaibab trail and the beginning of the 14 mile ascent. the climb was a a gradual pitch along the river and really nice runnable trail. then, about 5 miles from the top of the north rim it gets much steeper.
it was probably around 80 degrees but didn't feel hot as the nice breaze took the moisture from us before it got in our eyes. on our way up we stopped briefly to chat with dave mackey (team spyder) who was running out in front of the boulder crew and on a sub 9hr pace (yeah he's fast!). the ascent was amazing and the views were enough to stop me in my tracks... and if you know me that takes a lot. i sang happy birthday to krissy every few hours or so as the two of us made pretty good time up to the north rim. we arrived in just over 5 hours.

at the top (mile 22) there was a failed attempt to re-tape krissy's banged up knee for the descent she knew would hurt. so we took it a bit slower than normal on the way down. after all it was a 6,000 foot, 14 mile descent (my knees hurt just typing that). i didn't realize until krissy mentioned this to someone afterwards, that this descent had to be the longest continuous descent she'd ever run... me too (obviously). not sure where else in the world you can find that kind of runnable terrain.

the north kaibab trail back to the phantom ranch (mile 35) seemed to be twice as long as the way out. at the ranch krissy and i enjoyed the fabulously sugary lemonade and wrote post cards to our moms that the mules would carry out for us. i also gave her the birthday card i'd been carrying the entire run. . she loved it.

with renewed energy we headed up the final climb. back up to the south rim via bright angel trail, probably around 5,000 feet straight up and 9 miles. krissy owned this climbed. i was running the climb, just in a "lower gear" than her. i had an australian guy say to me, "she's losing you mate!". i just looked up and said "yeah, that happens". as we got closer to the top we ran into roch and catherine. they had hiked down to the river and timed it perfectly to see us finish and give krissy happy birthday wishes.

we slowed to chat when i looked at my watch.. we had only a few minutes left until we hit 11hrs total run time (the watch was on non stop from the first step of the run). "we have to beat 11hrs krissy!" we left roch running the uphill hard. krissy got about two switchbacks away from me and i didn't think i'd make it. she then of course waited for me and we literally sprinted the last 1/4 mile finishing in 10:59:50!

if you consider yourself an ultra runner i think running a r2r2r is a must, maybe even a right of passage. our route was 44 miles, 10,218 feet of gain (by suunto) - it was probably the most incredible run i've ever done. having never been to the grand canyon and the fact that it was krissy’s birthday made it that much more special (see her blog)... and she said it was one of the best birthdays she's ever had.

my gear:
shoes: montrail hardrock w/teko ecomerino wool socks & yankz laces
fuel: perpetuem, hammer gel, heed
pack: gregory stimulus w/one nathan handheld
electrolytes: nuun

Monday, October 23, 2006

a conversation with my quads

6:30am - beep.... beep.... beep
quads: are you serious? why in the world is that alarm going off. shut that damn thing off!

me: fellas it's time to train. the kid has to get some trail miles in today. it's supposed to start raining again tomorrow. plus this run is going to be under snow soon, let's hit it one more time.

quads: you aren't getting up to train. we hurt too much. and you did this to us.. so you owe us.

me: you used that excuse yesterday.

quads: yeah? well we still ran 9 miles yesterday! it would be stupid to do the same exact run that made us sore just two days ago (see previous blog). let us heal, then we can talk.

me: sorry fellas.. uppy uppy uppy (with my best mrs. noonan impression)

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

red mtn/goldmyer/snow lake loop from snoqualmie

great run today. pretty colors and good company. justin angle, john stamstad (both patagonia athletes) and myself started at snoqualmie pass and did an awesome 18.5 mile loop with around 6,700 feet of gain. so sweet.

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just too many good photos to put in the blog - see the rest here

Monday, October 16, 2006

northwest trail run and chuckanut

congrats to jill purcell!!!! i am jill's coach and i so proud of her recent endurance accomplishment - she completed her first 50 mile mtn bike race! wow she's come a long way in a short period of time (she just this year started to mtn bike!). great job jill, keep pushing your limits!

saturday i played volunteer and helped out local adventure racing team mergeo.com at their trail race. the series of runs is called the northwest trail runs. i love the idea, small, shorter trail races on local trails for people to get out and enjoy our local trail systems. national orienteering champion eric bone put on a great grass roots event, either a 5 or 10 mile course in soaring eagle park in sammamish, wa. i helped out and got to run about 8 miles while i marked the course. these are the same guys who put on the beast adventure race series, and the ron herzog 50k ultra (nov 11). got a total of 13 trail miles for the day.

10.15.06_chuckanut13.6miler 005sunday with the parkers!! got out with ellen her brother kurt for a 13.6 mile trail run up at chuckanut. great run great company... and with the light drizzle keeping the gapers away we had the trails all to ourselves. kurt had just solo climbed the south twin sister the day before, so he was suffering on the climbs.. and at chuckanut it's all climb! got a total of 18 trail miles on the day.

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the parkers love to run!

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kurt parker (one day after climbing the south twin sister) - this dude will smoke a pack of reds and still kick your ass

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me and kurt.. lovin' it (the rain stopped)

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the diva pose

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run it!

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kurt is fast

Sunday, October 15, 2006

2006 24hr Solo Mtn Bike World Championship Photos

2006Worlds 031 first off i have to thank matthew noell for his amazing support.. he was the only one in my pit, so he did everything; kept the bikes in race shape, fed me, cleaned me, helped me change cloths, kept track of what i was consuming, what place i was in and how fast i was going. the guy is amazing support but an even better friend. there was one point were i was starting to get down on myself, thinking i just wasn't riding well enough. 2006Worlds 032the next time through the pit matthew happened to give me a pep talk. he told me how well i was riding, how consistant i was and how much of a bad ass he thought i was. i didn't tell him this but the next few laps i was filled with the confidence he had just given me... priceless.
thank you matthew!

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my hammer pills. with just matthew as support i had to setup ready made tubes of pills for ease of consumption. my main three - race caps, mito-r and anti-fatigue

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as we line up for the lemans start they introduce each solo racer one at a time - this is australian craig gordon (cannondale) the eventual winner - hopefully he's out of the hospital by now!

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chris eatough (trek/volkswagen) - 2nd place

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rebecca rusch (specialized) - 2nd place female

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the line up before the run.. i hate the run!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

primal quest on espn2 and abc!

the first episode of primale quest 2006 aired last night on espn2. this is the big expedition adventure race my team and i raced in earlier this year in moab, ut. it will air every night this week on espn2. there are 4 episodes with a finale on abc this saturday - check it out! espn airtimes

Episode 1: Monday (Oct. 9) @7:30pm EST ESPN2
Episode 2: Tuesday (Oct. 10) @ 7:30pm EST ESPN2
Episode 3: Wednesday (Oct. 11) @ 7:30pm EST ESPN2
Episode 4: Thursday (Oct. 12) @ 7:30pm EST ESPN2
Episode 5 / Finale: Saturday (Oct. 14) @ 2pm EST / 4pm PST ABC

read these
  • yak from checkpointzero.com interviewed pq ceo rich brazeau about the show.
  • cyclingnews.com article on the world championship.
  • sologoat blog he was 2nd at worlds last year and 5th this year
  • floyd landis news
  • daily show on repubilican senator ted stevens
  • Sunday, October 8, 2006

    12th place - 24hr solo mtn biking world championship

    just in case you're curious. i placed 12th in the pro category at the 2006 24hr Solo World Championships. the course was soo brutal i can't even begin to tell you how much i hurt right now. i rode 24 grueling laps equaling 216 miles with 26,400 feet of gain. australian mtn bike marathon champion craig gordon won the race, beating trek/volkwagen's 6 time world champion chris eatough - absolutely amazing. adventure racer rebecca rusch took 2nd place in the pro female category with u.s. national short track champion sue haywood winning it.

    i have tried twice now to sleep but i am basically too messed up to fall asleep, it's mostly my breathing (super dusty course) but most evey movement hurts. i'm going to try again now as it's 12:08am atl time. i'll write a report l8s. here is a good pre-race velonews article on the heavy hitters.

    Tuesday, October 3, 2006

    a t l

    hot-lanta - home of the freaknick - i'm here in the dirty dirty baby!

    sunday lorna picked me up. we rolled right into a bbq at her neighbors house. they couldn't have been nicer. i think folks down here are very hospitable.

    monday traveled around town for 6 hours on my bike. this town is pretty sweet. i came across many cool little sections of town including little five points and a part of monroe st that was sweet.

    tuesday i did some errands around town on the bike in the morning. then got out to conyers for a couple laps of the worlds course. lorna hooked me up with a local xc racer named carleton who was just awesome. he gave me the complete tour of the course, which is almost totally marked. 9 miles, 1,100 feet of gain and a true mtn biking course! first lap we stopped a lot and was about 54 min. second lap i rode straight through, not race pace but not taking it easy either and rode about 48 mins. actually there really is nowhere to take it easy on the course. it's got loads of steep and relatively short uphills and then washed out steep and rutted downhills. there is a lot of exposed granite on the course, remincent of the slickrock in moab.. however not as smooth. it's mostly off camber and super rutted and rough, making it very jarring to ride. and stay off the pine neetles! i slid out yesterday purposely taking the pine needle section when i should have stayed on the granite. just a few scraps, nothing bad. one thing is clear - this course will beat you up! this race is going to be very tough.

    wednesday i chose a trip to the natural history museum instead of a mtn bike ride.. yeah that's right. i had an option to ride the course 2-3 more times with a hardcore local dude named johno. "listen to you body" got the best of me, plus i had just ridden it yesterday - and well the museum has the largest complete dinosaur that exists, a 123 foot argentinosaur! so sweet. finished the night with 20 mins of intervals on the bike, and a 30 min jog.

    thursday i picked up matthew and took the whole day off just doing errands... and eating a lot!

    friday today i woke up and packed the car to head out to conyers and setup. when matthew got up we started working on the bikes. the we hit a movie, the departed, good stuff. now he's on a conference call and i'm about to pack the car so we can go ride, setup and resigster.

    saturday we race!! you can follow along on ride424.com.

    80 - out!