Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red Hot 50km / 30km 2010

all photos by greg norrander and the full set here.  thanks for letting me share them greg!

having felt the nw ultra love last weekend, this past weekend i decided to head down to moab to cheer on some friends running the red hot 50km.  nuun also sponsored the event. jared, mindy and i drove down then met with luke and the meltzers for a late dinner.

race morning found 6 endurance athletes (most of the la sportiva team) packed into the nuun van to shuttle cars to the finishline.  old man meltzer (42) wasn't at all confident of his chances to win and had just decided it was going to be a good hard training session.

1st dood, karl meltzer

1st woman, anita ortiz

as you can see the course had quite a bit more snow on it than most of us thought possible.  the 50km's had an extra loop that apparently involved knee deep post holing.  i ran the 33km since i was still a bit tight from the orcas island 50km the weekend before.  as cheryl meltzer and i made our way to the start i decided i needed more gels.  we had to park quite a distance from the startline.  as i got my gels and started to run back to the startline i could see the race streaming out the dirt road.  just before that i realized i had stuffed enough gels in my moben arm sleeves, so the return trip was totally unnecessary... great.  it took me 5minutes to catch up to the back of the pack.  i was able to push my effort the whole race but felt tight and slow. 

roch horton

the real treat was watching friends finish the 50km. with the desert sun blazing we ate bowls of chowda and cheered each other through. anita ortiz obliterated the women's field by running 4hr 44min, and old man meltzer decided he's got some speed left in those legs and won the overall in 4hr 19min.

most impressive to me however was young dakota jones at just 19 years old taking 3rd place!  watch out for this kid.

the red hot 50km is a great early season race everyone should put on their calendars ~ congrats to all!

3rd dood, dakota jones

jared and luke's finish..

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Year in UltraRunning 2009

here it is.. the follow up video to my UltraRunning Video that has been viewed on vimeo and youtube over 30,000 times.  2009 was a great year, but one in which i did not race once.  i crewed.  i paced.  i cheered.  i attended races to soak up the energy, to be reminded what determination looks like and to appreciate the athlete's sacrifice.  the following video is the footage i took in 2009.  special thanks goes out to all those that put up with me stopping and video taping you on the trail.  i truly appreciate that.. thank you.

... and thank you to my sponsors for making this ultra life possible:
nuun active hydration

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mountain Hardwear’s Send a Kid to Camp Campaign

My sponsor Mountain Hardwear does some very cool things...  now get clicking!

Mountain Hardwear’s Send a Kid to Camp campaign is back again.  For every click on the “Send a Kid to Camp” button found at Mountain Hardwear will donate $1 to the cause, up to $40,000.  You can and should come back each day until April 15th and click the button until we’ve reached our goal.  The following organizations are part of the 2010 Send a Kid to Camp program:

                Big City Mountaineers – Denver, Colorado
                City Wild – Denver, Colorado
                Girl Ventures – San Francisco, California
                Kismet Rock Foundation - North Conway, New Hampshire
                Outdoor Outreach - San Diego, California
                San Jose Inner City Outings, Sierra Club – San Jose, California
                St. Louis Inner City Outings, Sierra Club – St. Louis, Missouri
                SOS Outreach - Avon, Colorado
                Summer Search - New York, New York
                Youth Enrichment Strategies (YES) - Richmond, California

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The HYPE MACHINE ~ Sean Meissner vs. Matt Hart ~ Grudge Match

bryon powell wrote a lovely blog on his experience at the orcas island 50km. he also put together the below video of sean meissner and my grudge match. in this video sean guarantees a pocatello 50 mile victory of more than 23 minutes. honestly. i mean honestly.. tons of vert, rough course, my favorite distance = he doesn't have a chance.

to be continued at the pocatello 50 miler.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Orcas Island 50km Race Report 2010 - Flying as Close to the Sun as Possible

photo by glenn tachiyama

sean attempting to pre-fatigue my abdominal with smack talk on the ferry to orcas island

i consider the pacific northwest my other home town, after portsmouth, new hamphire of course.  i moved here to work for microsoft in 1999.  i moved to salt lake city in december, but there is no other town that has my heart like seattle.  great friends, great trails, great races.

i have a wonderful group of local seattle athletes that i coach.  my clients miriam and her husband darryl came out to crew me.  which at a 50km just means they pulled my bottles out of my drop bag and handed them to me hopefully as i run by.  they both professed to loving the spectacle of it all and i see more ultrarunning events in their future.  thank you both soo much for being there!!  

so two years ago i race the orcas island 50km. that year we were forced to run a snow coarse that was about 1,000ft less vertical gain than the course we ran saturday.  the snow coarse had about 6,500ft of gain and suunto said this course was over 50km and about 7,600ft of elevation gain.

thanks alvin crain for this sweet map

as you can read here and here my friend and montrail teammate sean meissner decided that since we were racing against each other twice this year he would publically challenge me.  i think we are landing on the 6 month porn mustash as the penalty for defeat.. although with a 23min lead going into pocatello 50 miler i'm leaning toward the tramp stamp real tatoo of my name on sean's lower back.

we're off! photo by glenn tachiyama

ok so the race.  this course is rugged beautiful single track.  mostly runnable and oh so fun.  as the gun went off yassine pulled ahead and the adrenaline of not having raced for over a year and a half pushed me to the front.  at which point sean, who is tucked in right behind me says " "you better savor this moment hart, because it's the last time you will be in front of me this whole race!".

in the first 30 minutes yassine slowly pulled away and my place in the lead pack faded.  from leading it, to barely being able to hold on.  i was seeing numbers on my heart rate monitor i haven't seen in years.  2:26 marathoner dan olmstead would pull ahead on the climbs, me and b.c. would pass on the descents.  that didn't last too long however, at some point before the mile 11 aid station they all ran away from me.  i was worried i had gone out too hard.  there was a short out and back at the aid station that allowed me to see just how much time they put on me... 2mins - not bad.

on my way out i saw sean for the first time.  he looked concerned.  i did some more math and figured i had 5mins on him.  montrail runner ellie greenwood was less than a minute on his heals looking super strong and positive as always. 

from there we climbed up a game path that is a knee pushing grunt.  i caught the eventual 2nd place runner from british columbia.  this dood was running downhills with reckless abandon, and seemingly no concern for his well being.  i guess it's something in the water up there because gary robbins puts it down too (see 2010 HURT race report).

b.c. dood then decided to crush the powerline climb.  bye bye.  i was moving very well and watching my heart rate.  i just couldn't keep up.  ultra awesome photog glenn tachiyama was at the view point to take some shots as we approached the high point of the course on top of mount constitution.

la sportiva's own ellen parker ran a great 5hr 26min for 2nd place 50km

me right before the wheels came off. photo by glenn tachiyama

miriam and darryl were at the top with all my bottles laid out to chose from. again, thanks guys! the descent from mt constitution was great, however my bottle choice was not.  heed and nuun don't mix.  there was just one 600ft climb up and over then down to the lake, around the lake to the finish.  right as i started the climb i bonked hard!  i saw my buddy bill huggins who had taken a wrong turn.  he said "come on hart, use me as a rabbit!".  next time i looked up he must have been 100 meters down the trail.  it was then i realized i was walking.  i believe the best description of this is "wheels coming off".  i had neglected to eat enough on the constitution climb and the bottle of calories i had was conspiring to make me throw up (again, heed and nuun don't mix).  i ate 3 gels in 1 minute and had to shuffle along as i waited for the simple sugar to kick in.  as i descended to the lake for the last 4 miles or so it did, and i was back on track.  i even hammered the last 2 miles at near breaking point, flying as close to the sun as i could.  i wanted a real test, and i got one.  turns out the 2:20ish marathoners got off course.  that sucks sooo bad, but as we all know it happens at trail races.  i was really happy to run 4hr 47min for 3rd place overall. 

1st thing i consumed was two oreos. i'm getting a bad rap for being obnoxiously healthy and everyone is now going out of there way to get me to eat junk! photo by bryon powell

sean's quick recap post is here and he said, "Yes, Matt kicked my butt. 4:47 to 5:10. And no, I didn't take a wrong turn. Matt rocked it. I got rocked. I'm sporting the loser's vest in my new profile pic."  so now going into the pocatello 50 miler i have a 23 minute cushion in our "grudge match".  thank you orcas volunteers and james for an awesome race and even better post race party.  i am an old man and haven't stayed up that late laughing in a long long time. full 50km results here.. and a 'grudge match' video bryon powell from put together - too funny.

sean did kinda make this look good. photo by bryan powell

my gear

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sean 'n Me

in response to sean's post "matt 'n me".

i first met sean meissner at the where's waldo 100km in 2006.  i crewed and paced krissy moehl that day.  she beat everyone, guys included, sean included.  that was the year i made the move from endurance cycling and adventure racing into ultrarunning.  along the way i had heard sean's name quite a bit.  i had this picture of him in my mind with a skirt on, which he was rumored to run in on ocassion.  i also figured he complemented that skirt with a yellow marathon maniacs singlet, of which i was certain he was a pretentious member.  i figured he wasn't going to be my kind of guy really.

i couldn't have been more wrong.  not having had even as much as a real conversation sean jumped into my van for an ultra adventure that took us to run bighorn, play in the tetons for a few days, then head to tahoe to pace at western states.  many more adventures followed.. and now i consider sean one of my best friends.  you'd be hard pressed to find a more loyal, honest and genuine person.  

in 2008 we consummated our relationship by running the trans rockies together, as team montrail.  this put our running strengths in stark contrast.  day one was flat dirt road for 13 miles.  i stared at the mhw bolt on the back of sean's montrail jersey as the world blurred by on the sides like i was going into hyperspace.  doods got leg speed.  on the hike up hope pass at 12,500 feet i ran and pushed him from the waist, adventure racing style.

today i woke up in seattle, went out for a run with the thursday threshold crew, my first threshold run in months.  before i left the house i saw sean had made a blog post called "matt n' me". i cringed. you see he's been taunting me about this orcas island 50km for about a month. telling me he's going to "kick my ass" and calling it a "grudge match".  in the blog he calls for suggestions to what we should wager on the two races we face each other in this year.  orcase island 50km and the pocatello 50 miler ~ lowest overall time wins. 

i haven't raced since august 2008, when sean and i ran the transrockies race together.  this fact caused @masonham to comment "Seems kind of suspicious that he wants to make the bet on your first race back after surgery." 

i've been accused of sandbagging in the past, so rather than say i've been skiing more than running, etc, etc i'll give my true unfiltered opinion.  the slow runnable climbs and flats favor sean.  the steeper climbs and more techincal trail favor me.  i think there is more runnable climbing than there is technical on this course.  however i have course knowledge, sean does not.  sean is more fit than i am right now.  but i have gotten some good training in and i've been at altitude a lot lately.  honestly though i'm not sure i have the high end fitness to run 50km flat out.  with all that said... i will run as hard as i can. i will enter the pain cave and not come out until i am bleeding from my eyes or i have beaten sean meissner.  i will turn myself inside out if need be and we'll let the blogosphere decide what the stakes are.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." ~ King Solomon

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wasatch Wandering - A Lil' Mill D Circ

this mornings avy report although considerable is certainly better than the high we've been having more often than not.. although if something goes it's likely to step down to the nasty surface hoar 3-5' down... unsurvivable.
"We have a dangerous, unmanageable situation in the backcountry. The danger is CONSIDERABLE with deep, unsurvivable avalanches breaking near the ground."
i thought i'd post this route because it was so much fun. 12 miles with 6,578 feet of climbing. i started at spruces campground. i've been feeling safe heading up mill D north on my own lately. today i decided to explore desolation, but wanted some vert so i took the long way there.  this was a ski tour by all accounts, but holy shit did i get some sweet turns. the gps (iphone) died half way through so i had to manually add the second half of the route to  you can tell because it starts in the middle.  but with google terrain i thought it was cool visual.  it might help to click the link as the embedded version doesn't always render the terrain.

Mill D - Desolation Circ

starting up mill d north i skinned up reynolds peak and skied down the NE ridge to dog lake as you can see in the photo below.

the route then heads up little water peak.  i skied the NW face in the birch tress down into upper big water. this slope has yet to disappoint.  back up lil' water and along what i think is the powder park ridge (pictured below).

powder park just wasn't steep enough to drop in.  i skinned along scott's bowl across the red lover's ridge that i'm familiar with from running and mtn biking, then finally skinned up to jupiter peak.  the top of jupiter is just a few hundred feet above a park city lift.  so i was joined by some boot packers looking for powder.  on the way up there was a solo guy skiing the west facing slope that drops down to desolation lake.  it's lightly treed with a perfect pitch.  however seeing someone drop in alone i said "don't make me come down there and search for you".  i then had another 10 minutes of skinning to decide that i would in fact ski the same line.  probably not my best idea, but it was mostly treed, kinda safe and incredible nonetheless.  i then hightailed it out of the desolation lake death trap real quick like.  back up the deso ridge (red pictured below) and out to the big avy slope from jan 24th

i however dropped west averting the rocks and into the trees (green line above). this was a bit scetch being alone and having never been there.. it's a knife ridge.  i had scouted it from across the drainage many times and it looked like there was a safe route to trees from the rocky ridge.  it wasn't too bad.  through the trees and then up leanord's peak and over to what i think they call swingset for the final ski down to mill d and the spruces campground parking lot.

the day was awesome.  although my black diamond skins conspired to stop me literally in my track, i managed this route in 5hr 15mins. i certainly wasn't charging, but i wasn't sitting around either... a nice cruiser pace.  it was a beautiful sunny day and there is no place i would have rather been.  i'm decidedly not fast by any standards and certainly not by wasatch standards but i'm getting there.  6,500 feet of gain is a good day, however next time i'll try to bump that up a bit... but first the little business of orcas island 50kmmeissner has been talking smack for the last month!!