Friday, November 22, 2013

Pass Mountain 50K and Beyond

After spending an entire summer preparing for the 100 mile attempt that didn't pan out, i've been dealing with gallons of disappointment. After talking it over with my GF Lyssa, it was decided the best thing might be to get back in the saddle one last time before the winter fully settled in. After a few weeks of no running and another few weeks of very low mileage, i flew out to Phoenix to take part in the Pass Mountain 50K.

Pass Mountain is part of Aravaipa Racing's Winter Desert Series, put on by the Coury brothers, Nick and Jamil. Both seasoned runners, their race direction is a well-oiled machine and this race course was top notch. 

i don't like overly lengthy race reports, so i'll just say it probably isn't very smart to race 5 weeks after your body experiences an epic blow-up that took place because you were playing mad scientist with your body's chemistry. i will take the time to say this -- i liked the course. we were treated to an epic sunrise as we meandered through the desert floor and the single-track through the Tonto National Forest was really NEAT. The course's variety surprised me with a good portion of technical footing through Tonto as well as an enjoyable mid-lap climb.

As for the race itself, i took off too fast and led the first bit before i was sucked back up into a group of 3 other fellas. the four of us were together for the first of two laps, and then my body hit its current limit. i think i heard Schwartzenegger's voice from terminator 2 say "the vehicle has reached it's maximum speed" in my head. i slowed 'er down and jogged it on in for 4th.

i recommend putting this race on your radar. It was a hoot. i also recommend drinking 4 or 5 Kilt Raiser Scottish Ales at Four Peaks in the Phoenix Airport before your flight.

Now, it's on to winter.

This winter will be spent hiking, swiss-bobbing, skiing, snow-shoeing, and swimming. The running i will do will be in preparation for the Monumental Link-up, a running project i will tackle next year that will link all of the trails in the Colorado National Monument in a single running.

Enjoy some pics below of last weekend's race, all courtesy of Aravaipa Running's website.

start of the course

about two miles into the course, racing like a moron

entering the Tonto National Forest

finishing up lap 1 of 2...feeling like a pile of GIANT DOO DOO

Friday, October 11, 2013

Got Sodium...The Arkansas Traveller 100 attempt

strike 2! last weekend i went on down to Arkansas for my second 100 mile attempt. last year at the Javalina Jundred, I foolishly tried running 100 miles 4 weeks after a hard run at a 50 miler. the result was my MCL blowing up at mile 60. this year i did it right, training hard for a full 6-to-8 weeks leading up to the Arkansas Traveller 100. i was feeling fit and ready, as well as good and nervous the week of. i won't bore with tons of detail, but i was on pace to go around 18 to 19 hours and sitting comfortably in 3rd place when my body started reacting in a very peculiar way. we discovered later that i had taken in too much sodium and not enough water, transforming my body into a convulsing, smashed wreck that i had no control over. i had to drop at mile 84.

despite the obvious disappointment, there were some important details that i took away from the experience. here are 11 of them.

1-i got to experience life as a noodle for about 3 hours.

2-i can now say that it has taken me 2 hours to walk a mile.

3-go to SIMS Barbeque in Little Rock! the place has been around since 1937 and you might cry when
   you bite into the beef sandwich. it's that good!

4-the 8 miles of singletrack on the Ouachita Trail at the AT100 are awesome. as was the race
    direction and organization. i highly recommend the race to those wanting a late season 100 miler.

5-the folks at Fleet Feet Easy Runner are super nice peeps.

6-my family is awesome.

7-my friends Morgan and Ryan are awesome, too.

8-my girlfriend Lyssa is something special.

9-my beard is hot in 90 percent humidity.

10-forget 100's. next year i'm going back to focusing on 50ks and mountain runs.

11-13,000+ mg of sodium in 70 miles does not do a body good.

My two favorite pics from the experience.

with Lyssa at mile 68-ish

surrounded by the fam and friends

Monday, September 23, 2013

does this trail have a name? no trail!

This last weekend I caped off a summer of running with a route I've been keen on doing since I first moved to the Roaring Fork Valley almost 5 years ago. The route I'm referring to is the No Name Trail (sometimes referred to as Jessie Weaver Trail) up to the canyon top above Glenwood Springs and then down the Mitchell Creek Trail to the Glenwood Fish Hatchery.

The No Name Trail climbs approximately 5,000 ft in 8 miles onto the canyon top (The Flat Tops Wilderness Area) and dead ends at the Transfer Trail. From Glenwood there are two other access points onto the Flat Tops, one of which is Transfer Trail and the other is the more rugged Mitchell Creek Trail that starts at the town's Fish Hatchery.

On the Fall Equinox my partner in ridiculous pursuits Zeke Tiernan and I dropped a car shuttle off at the Mitchell Creek Trailhead and then began our climb up No Name. You may ask at this point if we celebrated Fall in style. We did. Zeke tripped over a rock 4 minutes in. Don't worry, I tripped over a stick about 30 seconds later. You can't celebrate autumn without a fall.....

The route was everything I could have hoped for and more. We climbed out of the canyon and into an alpine zone, and then we got lost. For an hour. If anyone ever repeats this route, please note to take a hard right down a hill about 5 minutes after seeing a sign for route # 635. Don't go down that route. We didn't. But we still had no idea where we were. The torrential rains from the late summer turned the trail into an overgrown jungle. If you want to know what the trail looks like, I suggest you take a giant leaf and put it over your face. We bushwhacked and second guessed ourselves about 5 times. The trail opens up about 3-ish miles from the Hatchery. Lucky for us, the sky also opened up and we were hounded with hail and rain for the rest of the run. About 4 miles from the finish, we lucked out and ran right into the thickest brush of stinging nettles in the United States. I was really happy to hit this patch as I love having really itchy legs. We didn't just brush up against the nettles. We were "in the shit" as they say.

The route ending up being a 5 hour outing, though the running was more around 4 hours. I look forward to exploring this area more next season. Below are some images from the route.

Zeke one mile into the route

4 miles up No Name. Canyon entrance is in the background

Zeker pushing through some brush halfway through No Name

a low bridge at the headwaters of the No Name creek make the crossing difficult in early season

Zeker heading into the alpine zone toward the top of the canyon

a really neat picure

Zeke checking the map on the Flat Tops

heading down Mitchell Creek 2 miles from the Hatchery

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Avalanche Lolli-Pop Loop

two weekends ago my great buddy and training partner Zeke Tiernan and i checked off my final long outing before arkansas traveler. the loop was actually a lolli-pop style run starting at the avalanche creek trail head just off of highway 133 outside of carbondale. any time i'm in charge of picking the route, we usually end up bushwhacking at some point...we got to bushwhack. to achieve the loop, run 11 miles up avalanche, then make a right onto the silver creek trail. (there is good signage here.)

my girlfriend Lyssa was camping out with a group of kiddos for outdoor ed, so we were treated with a brief stop and some chatting with her about 2 and half hours in. We topped off our bladders and continued up the first of three passes. after gaining the first pass (Grassy Pass), you stay high for some amazing high alpine track, then you climb out of a small basin onto Silver Creek Pass. From there, it's a fast and furious descent down toward the town of Marble. at the base of Mt Arkansas, make a right at the bearded hunter laying next to a rock, and head up the north fork trail to avalanche pass.

avalanche pass is a bitch. the footing is rutted out and there is some over growth on the way up. once you are on the pass, head up to the right toward the high point another 200 feet. now this is where you get to have fun. time to bushwhack. the trail poops out 500 yards down the other side of the pass. the trail is a brown, dotted line on the map, which usually means it is a primitive or unmaintained trail. in this case it is a figment of the maps imagination. follow the creek about 2 hours back to avalanche and cross. then it's just 8 miles back down avalanche to the car and you're done!

in all seriousness, we had 9 hours of epic running and it was a great way to spend the day. here are some pictures from the day.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

running in the ruedi

hey look. a post. i haven't posted in almost two years. unfortunately, this post will be mostly  meaningless. i thought i would expand the subject matter of this blog to encompass really NEAT runs  that i happen to go on. maybe it will be a good resource for someone somewhere....out there. beneath the pale moon light.

casey weaver (one of my good friends and training partners) and i, did some exploring in the ruedi area this morning. we ran the tellurum lake trail up to lake josephine. our original plan was to then summit savage mountain, but the rain and fog moved in and forced us to turn around a few hundred feet from the summit. it was a great 2 hour jaunt though. the ruedi has a lot of untapped potential for some great runs.

casey in henderson park

willie and casey at top of lake josephine trail

before the climb up to savage. the fog was thick as peanut mean pea soup.