Last weekend was a weird weekend for me at the Xterra World Championships. It felt like everything went wrong except what needed to go right. Lets back up for a moment…we’re going into a time warp alternate universe…Wayne’s World Style. Doooddlooot, doooddlooot, doooddlooot…Thursday night in Portland I finally get around to booking my car rental for the trip. Got a screamin deal and it was good. Boarded my flight the next day. Pick up the car, hang out at the beach, go on a few trail runs, run Xterra, run more, have a great weekend and fly home. Doooddlooot, doooddlooot, doooddlooot… now back to reality. I book my car rental in Portland the night before I leave, got a screamin deal, go to the counter after arriving in Honolulu, “Sir” she says, “this reservation is for NEXT weekend.” Wow, I felt dumb. Needless to say, no more screamin deal. This is only five minutes after my walking detour through the parking garage ended in my almost breaking a leg. There was a small brick wall in which my intention was to hop over very keenly while not missing a step. My steeple training has officially vanished. I hop, run my toe into the wall, run my shin down the very abrasive edge, flip over, bags flying, and I’m down, on the ground, in A LOT of pain. Holy Crap, that hurt. No body saw it, awesome. If you had, you would have laughed your butt off. Anyway, moving on. I’m still kind of recovering from a cold but I’ve been pretty good for a couple days now, then Saturday morning I wake up with just this excrutiating headache that continues to get worse throughout the day. Never had anything like this before. Every movement hurt. Just laying there was fine, that doesn’t really help me win a race though. This continues on to a fever, chills and nausea. AWESOME. Love it. I was riding a bike downtown to get my packet and do the Xterra University and the cracks in the sidewalk hurt my head. Got as much sleep as I could that night but didn’t feel much better in the am. Took some tylenol and just told my body “you’re going to have to do this whether you want to or not, so you might as well feel good” and it kinda worked. Felt terrible driving to the course and was dreading having to do a warmup but I started jogging and it wasn’t as bad as I expected. The jarring in my head subsided a bit and the fever was gone. At least that gave me some confidence that I could do it. The race is the one thing that I felt like went well for the weekend. There were a couple of other strong guys in the race that I hung with, then ran most of it in a duel with Will Christian who pushed the pace definitely faster than I liked feeling the way I did. He hung in there until about mile 9 where after already being beaten down my multiple hills, the course throws the longest and steepest and hottest hill at you of the whole race. This thing is THE deciding factor in the Xterra race just about every year and can either make you or break you. I pulled away at this point after a good battle happy to be free and cruise the rest of the course and get it over with because lets face it, I still wasn’t feeling 100%. It was great to be done and hang out in the warm Hawaiian sunshine with great people, old friends and new ones. Xterra surprises me every year with how great the scenery is, how beautiful the Kaaawa Valley is and how tough they’ve made that course. Got some delicious shrimp at one of the famous local Shrimp Shacks, took a little hike through the jungle and headed home…to Honolulu.
And here’s the kicker. I was definitely feeling better by the evening, still a headache but not as bad, so I was riding my bike down to Waikiki to the afterparty and from the apartment I was staying there’s a skinny gate I kind of have to weave through to get through the University campus. A gate that I had made it through the day before in my much more delerious state of being. This time, this time I catch a handle bar and BAM, back on the ground. I just laid there for a sec and laughed at myself, because again, there was no one around to laugh at me, and thought, “this is perfect.” After a slightly rough weekend physically, everything that needed to work out, did. Hawaii in December is never a bad place to be.
The biggest 50 mile race of the year took place last weekend in Marin County, California, and we nearly saw a Montrail victory. Geoff Roes nearly managed to take his first win of five attempts in Marin, but was passed at the end by Miguel Heras, who undoubtedly ran the best race of the day. I did my best to keep up with the leaders, but in the end was not strong enough, and fell back to fourth place. Still, I’m really happy with the outcome from this weekend.
Nobody can truly predict how they will feel over the course of 50 miles. Especially with a course so difficult as the one we ran this weekend, uncertainties are always a factor. Despite the fact that I have had the best season of my life and am confident saying I’ve learned how to race the distance, I was not good enough to pull off a podium spot. This doesn’t mean I’m disappointed – it only means that I still have a long way to go before I can truly vie for a victory at a race this competitive.
Geoff has proven himself over and over again throughout his ultra career as an incredible athlete with the ability to beat anyone. He can beat Miguel Heras, but he didn’t. Heras ran an amazing race and managed to return from behind and snag the victory, and such patience and initiative enabled him to run better than everyone on the course. But this is not to say that Geoff ran a poor race; he just ran a different race, and in the end that came out to be a little slower than Miguel Heras.
The beauty of this sport is that even though finishes are black and white, many gray areas remain. Nobody can ever be truly the “best in the sport” because all the factors are so unpredictable. Racing, training, eating, pacing – all these and more play into the preparation for a single race that lasts only one day. Long-term success is the best gauge we have to measure ability, and in that sense Geoff is better than anyone. But he doesn’t want that label. He just wants to run and enjoy himself, and competing allows him (and all of us, for that matter) to work hard for a worthy goal that is legitimized by the community of ultrarunners. We’re a self-sufficient group, despite the rapid growth of the sport, and our achievements remain largely amongst ourselves.
The performances by the top athletes in Marin last weekend was an incredible achievement. They ran hard and smart and, at least as far as I’m concerned, left everything out on the trails. But this is just the end of the season, and next year will provide plenty more opportunities to see who is the “best in the sport.” Nobody is, but several people have the ability to stay on top. Geoff, Heras, Kilian Jornet, Tony Krupicka and others all come to mind. And then there will be others who nobody has heard of but who have the ability to oust everyone – people like Michael Owen, the 21 year old who ran his first ultra on Saturday at the most competitive field of the year and managed to place in the top ten. Still, no matter what happens we’ll still just be running, which is where this whole scene came from and what it relies on.
I’ll be taking some time off of hard training for a few weeks to let my mind and body recover from a year of exercise. But soon enough I’ll have to get back out there, because my Rockridges are still super muddy from Marin and will need a good run in the snow to clean them off. And these winter runs may be some of the best of the year, because they won’t contain the urgency or obligation of training, but just the fun of running. Then, sometime early next year I’ll begin a regular program once again and get back into racing mode. But not until I know I’ll enjoy the training.
Check out my full race report at thatdakotajones.blogspot.com for a more in-depth look at what happened this weekend from my perspective. Also check Geoff’s blog at akrunning.blogspot.com, where he’ll surely post something meaningful in the next few days (right Geoff?) And above all, don’t forget to enjoy running. That’s the only thing that matters in this sport.
Domination. That about sums up Max King in major Xterra trail running races. On Sunday in Hawaii, Max won his 3rd consecutive Xterra Trail Running World Championship by finishing the 12.9 mile course in 1:16:36. This was his 6th straight major Xterra trail race win in a row – 3 at the national championship and now 3 at the world championship.
Despite suffering from flu-like symptoms that left him unsure if he’d even start the race, once the gun went off and the legs began to move, Max found the rhythm of trail running to be his temporary cure for the day.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to make it to the race this morning, let alone win,” said King, 30. “I had a headache, my fever was going down, but I still felt terrible. But when I got here and started running on the course, I was surprised that I felt a lot better than I thought I would. I guess after all these years, running makes me feel pretty normal.”
This win in Hawaii is the cherry on top of what’s been an incredible year for Max King. Here’s a quick glance at his highlights from 2010:
-Xterra Trail Running National and World Champion
-USATF Trail Half Marathon and Trail Marathon National Champion
-USATF 50km Trail National Championship – 2nd place
-USA Mountain Running Championship, Mt. Washington – 5th place
-Hagg Lake 50k, Oregon – 1st place
-NACAC XC Championships, Tobego – 1st place
-Way Too Cool 50km, California – 2nd place
-American River 50, California – 3rd place
-TransRockies Stage Race, Colorado – 1st place Open Division
-Baltimore Marathon – 2:15:34
-World Mountain Running Championship, Slovenia – 16th place
What a race! Incredible talent and as exciting as 50 mile races can get. Geoff Roes, Dakota Jones and Dave Mackey led the field for much of the race, with Spaniard Miguel Heras just behind them. At mile 38, Dakota dropped back slightly, and at mile 46, leader Geoff Roes was passed on the uphill out of Tennessee Valley by Heras, who went on to win the race 4 minutes ahead of Roes, in a time of 6:47:03.
Congratulations to Team Montrail for laying it all on the line for this one, with some excellent results to show for it:
-Geoff Roes, 2nd (led most the race, was passed at mile 46) – 6:51:25
-Dakota Jones, 4th place (at age 19!!, and one day before his 20th birthday) – 7:02:01
-Joelle Vaught, 4th female – 8:22:28
-Luanne Park, 5th female in the 50km – 5:37:00
Superspeedster Ellie Greenwood did not start the race, suffering from an injury resulting from her race at the World 100km a few weeks back.
Our buddy Jim Vernon, who runs The Endurables, put together this great video from the race:
As you may know, it’s currently lottery season for many of the major ultramarathons that take place in the first 1/3 of next year. Here’s a quick list of some Montrail sponsored races that have lotteries coming up soon, as well as other races whose entry opens soon.
|Bandera 100km/50km||1/8/11||Open until race day|
|Holiday Lake 50k||2/12/11||Open 12/15|
|Mt. Cheaha 50km||2/26/11||Open until race day|
|Way Too Cool 50km||3/12/11||Lottery opens 12/6, closes 12/12. Draw 12/15|
|American River 50 mile||04/09/11||Open until full, usually by February 1|
|Zane Grey 50 mile||04/16/11||Open until full|
|Promise Land 50km||04/23/11||Open 1/15|
|Miwok 100km||05/07/11||Lottery open 12/1 closed 12/10. Draw on 12/15|
|Ice Age 50 mile||05/14/11||Opens on 12/5 until full, usually by April 1|
|San Juan Solstice 50||06/18/11||Open on 1/15|
|Western States 100||06/25/11||Lottery closed, draw on 12/4|
It’s once again that time when we sit back and reflect on how things have gone over the year, and give thanks for the many blessings and opportunities we have. As runners, there are many variables and factors that weigh in when considering how the year went. Were your goals achieved? Did you hit that PR you were training for? Did you stay injury free? Did you find a pair of shoes that makes you happy? All questions that no doubt affect some of us throughout the year. Here at Montrail, we think there are many things to be thankful for this year.
So, with no further adieu, here’s the Montrail Top 11 Things to be Thankful For in 2010:
11. David Horton is still standing
10. Matt Hart was healthy this year (mostly)
9. The many race directors around the country who choose Montrail as the footwear sponsor for their races, and believe in the power of trails
8. Trails – if not for you, we wouldn’t be here
7. Watching Max King dance (or try to) in an 80′s ski outfit next to Gary Robbins playing air guitar with his crutches
6. Rogue Racer – granted this shoe won’t be available until early 2011, but we’re thankful for it this year because, well, you’ll see…
5. The Montrail Ultra Cup – the 09/10 season was the best ever, and 10/11 looks to be even better
4. The Mountain Masochist – we continue to hear that this shoe “is the most comfortable trail shoe I’ve ever worn” and without a doubt, it’s our best-seller
3. Witnessing, firsthand, the battle that took place between the top 3 men at Western States 100. Absolutely incredible.
2. Team Montrail – one of the most talented and successful Team of runners in the world. Your motivation and dedication are truly inspiring. A quick list of major wins we compiled this year: Bandera 100km, Way Too Cool 50km, American River 50, Diez Vista 50km, Elk Beaver 100km, Bear Mountain 50, Silver State 50, Calgary Marathon, USATF Trail Half Marathon Championship, Deserts RATS, San Juan Solsitce 50, Western States 100, Burning River 100, Transrockies Stage Race, Xterra Trail Run National Championship, Run Rabbit Run 50, 100km World Championship, USATF Trail Marathon Championship. There are more, but those are some of the major ones.
1. You, our loyal and dedicated customer whose passion for running trails is what keeps us coming to work every day.
With that in mind, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I’ll be in Denver for the holiday and will run the Turkey Trot on Thursday morning.
Where are you running a Turkey Trot this year?
Ellie Greenwood is turning heads and raising eyebrows with the amazingly successful year of running she’s had in 2010. The proof is in the pudding right? If her stunning results aren’t enough, then this time around, the proof is a two page spread and the pudding is the December 2010 issue of Running Times magazine. One page is a race report from the Knee Knacker 50km, written by Ellie herself. The facing page is a profile written by Adam Chase. Oh yeah, and all this went to print before she won the 100km World Championship. Congratulations Ellie, see you in San Francisco in a few weeks!
This past Saturday saw the closest finish in JFK 50 history on both the men’s and women’s side of the race. Brian Dumm of Colorado Springs, CO won the race in a time of 5:52:02, just 67 seconds ahead of David Riddle in 2nd place. You think that’s a close race? Check out the women’s race…
Amy Sproston edged out Pam Smith by 21 seconds to take the women’s win, in a time of 6:57:16. The two entered the mile 46 aid station together after Amy ran alone in the front from mile 16 onwards. “The last 4 miles were rough; I don’t think I could have made it another block,” Amy told us after the race.
Thus, Brian Dumm and David Riddle will be offered an entry into Western States 100 for the men, and Riva Johnson (3rd place finisher) will be offered an entry for the women. Congratulations!
1. Scott Jaime – 118.69 points
2. Robijn Hage – 89.16
3. Troy Howard – 85.39
4. Timothy Olsen – 77.00
5. Geoff Roes – 65.00
1. Meghan Arbogast – 77.00 points
2. Joelle Vaught – 65.00
3. Aliza Lapierre – 65.00
4. Amy Sproston – 61.08
5. Jenny Capel – 57.84
This past Saturday saw the closest finish in JFK 50 history on both the men’s and women’s side of the race. Brian Dumm of Colorado Springs, CO won the race in a time of 5:52:02, just 67 seconds ahead of David Riddle in 2nd place. You think that’s a close race? Check out the women’s race…
Amy Sproston edged out Pam Smith by 21 seconds to take the women’s win, in a time of 6:57:16. The two entered the mile 46 aid station together after Amy ran alone in the front from mile 16 onwards. “The last 4 miles were rough; I don’t think I could have made it another block,” Amy told us after the race.
Thus, Brian Dumm and David Riddle will be offered an entry into Western States 100 for the men, and Riva Johnson (3rd place finisher) will be offered an entry for the women. Congratulations!
1. Scott Jaime – 118.69 points
2. Robijn Hage – 89.16
3. Troy Howard – 85.39
4. Timothy Olsen – 77.00
5. Geoff Roes – 65.00
1. Meghan Arbogast – 77.00 points
2. Joelle Vaught – 65.00
3. Aliza Lapierre – 65.00
4. Amy Sproston – 61.08
5. Jenny Capel – 57.84
Question: What’s the largest and oldest 50 mile race in the country?
Answer: The JFK 50 Mile, duh!
Montrail is once again proud and excited to support the JFK 50, which is the fifth race in the Montrail Ultra Cup series. In it’s 48th year (yes, 48!!!), the JFK 50 brings together ultrarunners, both elite, amateur and first-timers, from all around the country. It was originally a military race and thus still caters to the local military corps that are in the area. With a mix of pavement, Appalachian Trail and flat C&O canal path, this race is a true challenge of endurance, will and strength. It’s always an inspiration to watch runners come down the last few hundred meters of road as the volunteers and fans cheer them across the finish line, then help them inside where warm soup, pizza and rest awaits them.
A strong group of elite runners will also toe the line, as usual, and will be running for a chance at a Western States 100 entry spot and valuable Ultra Cup points. This is the time of year when runners start hitting multiple Ultra Cup races and points start to rack up, so check back next week for an update on the Ultra Cup standings through Mountain Masochist 50.
Here’s to another successful and enjoyable JFK 50!!
The Mountain Masochist 50 mile adventure!
I was toying with the idea of running the Mountain Masochist trail run (MMTR) for the past few weeks – this is #4 on the Montrail Cup series. Knowing that this would not be an “A” race, but more of an adventure race, social race, to get a chance to hang out with the famous Dr. David Horton, I jumped on board and drove the 9 hours. What a WONDERFUL TIME I had. Not just the race, but all the celebration around it couldn’t have been better. It is obvious why the MMTR is a true success year after year.
Mountain Masochist trail run has been around since 1983. It is 50 “Horton” miles point to point trail run. Horton, meaning that there are more miles than 50. 52, 53…somewhere around there. Looking at the map on this blog, you can see that this is a challenging run, considered one of the most challenging on the east coast – I will have to agree! Not in just elevation climbs but technical in certain parts as well. Many will say that the race does not start until Long Mountain – at mile 27, where the serious climbs begin. Serious climbs, with amazing views.
This event started out with a wonderful prerace meal on Friday night – a chance to meet many amazing athletes, sharing stories, getting geared up for a challenging race the next morning. This is a very social race with many participants returning year after year. I can see why – organization and volunteers are phenomenal and a crucial part in making this race successful. From all the Montrail races I have done, that is one consistency and one reason why they are so successful – well thought out races.
Getting back to my weekend adventure – I drove in from New York on Thursday (9 hours!) to go straight to Dr. David Horton’s class at Liberty University. Never have I seen so many young college kids with so much enthusiasm to run. Come to find out, a good portion of them are running the MMTR. Dr. Horton sure is making a huge impact on his community – the vibe is strong!
I knew the temps would be cold, but I also knew the climbs would be many, so I opted to wear my Mountain Hardwear Geist jacket with the Mountain Hardwear wicken lite long sleeve, capri’s and of course the Mountain Masochist shoes. Perfect, never needed to change a thing – even at Long Mountain where the higher elevation and cooler temps start to set in.
As I approached the finish, a man yelled out “you are a football field away” – he was seriously wrong. Knowing that yes, this was already more than 50, messing with me at the end was just not right!
I had no idea what place I was in. The pressure was not there since I knew to pace myself to be able to save the legs for the “A” races. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was the second female – thought for sure I was a few beyond! And because this race is a Montrail Cup 50 miler, the first two get into Western States! Woo Hoo!
The post race celebration was awesome! From Friday, to Sunday…it was a full celebration of health, camaraderie, and fun fun fun! Dr. Horton, you are an inspiration! Montrail Masochist, thanks for serving my feet well…now for the next one….
For those who are looking for a great 50 miler on the east coast, I would recommend MMTR. I hope to be back!
Along with Ellie’s World Championship run in Gibraltar, a few other major results came in from the weekend.
Max King is once again the USATF Trail Marathon National Champion after winning the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon in Oregon on Saturday in a time of 2:41:24. Max has had an incredible year, winning several USATF national championships, the Xterra Trail Run national championship and running a 2:14 marathon in Baltimore to qualify for Olympic Trials. Great job Max!
Luanne Park also raced Lithia Loop and had a hell of a race. She won the Female Masters division and was crowned National Champ! Congrats!
Jill Perry raced the Mountain Masochist 50 in Virginia on Saturday and cruised to a 2nd place finish in a race she didn’t consider an “A” race. Congratulations Jill! She has secured a spot in Western States 100 and will race JFK 50 in a few weeks.
Go Team Montrail!
Congratulations to Montrail athlete Ellie Greenwood, the new 1ookm World Champion!! Ellie finished in a time of 7:26:42 and in a dramatic finish, took the lead on the final lap and won by a matter of seconds.
Ellie has had a year for the record books, posting wins and course records at the marathon distance, 50km, 50 mile and 100km. She ran her first ever 100km race earlier this year and now she’s the World Champion. Wow
Congratulations Ellie, enjoy this one! We’ll see you in Marin in early December for the TNF Endurance Championship.
In case you haven’t heard the news, Montrail is releasing a new trail racing flat in early 2011, the Rogue Racer. Weighing in at 8.8oz for men and 7.4oz for women (in size 9 and 7, respectively), the Rogue Racer was developed with assistance from Montrail athlete Max King and promises to combine traction and protection with lightweight, low profile performance.
Montrail athlete Gary Robbins received his new pair of testing samples and shot this video review in the mountains outside of Vancouver. Look for the Rogue Racer at your local running specialty store beginning in February.
Finally, success, ok granted things have typically been going pretty well but finally a successful marathon, also granted, only my second one but still I was starting to think I would be relegated to dying a horrible death every time I tried to run fast for two hours or more. Generally speaking this has been my unfortunate fate every time I’ve tried it. But no more, well at least today anyway, I was able to break through that barrier and felt great at 20 miles and finished up a strong marathon on a brutal (by road marathon standards) course. I was starting to have doubts at about 6 miles in when it felt like the pace was way too fast but I didn’t feel like running in no-mans land as the last elite dude in the void between our small group and the rest of the field. So on I pushed, trying to stay with the group to block the wind while staying as relaxed as I could hoping I wasn’t running to my death. The group I ran with was an interesting mix, the only other American in the elite section, a Moroccan, an Algerian (I think), a Columbian and a Kenyan. The Columbian pushed the pace the whole time and actually ran a great race to end up second (we were definitely not top 10 at this point). He dropped us about half way, the group broke up about then as well, and I think I heard 66:25 going through the half which made my freak out just a bit. That was 1-1:30 faster than I wanted to be and made it certain in my mind I was about to have a very painful last 6 miles because I was already starting to get that feeling of reduced muscle function and range of motion. So yeah, I was a bit nervous. Made the decision to chill (I told myself, “just chill” ) and let John (the American) and the Kenyan (all that was left of the group at this point) to go a bit and back off and run my own pace for a bit. They didn’t get far but it was probably a good idea until we hit the wind going uphill from mile 15-19. Then it was a bad idea. How was I supposed to know? Oh well. At 19 miles we hit an aid station, I had a Hammer Gel, then I started feeling great. Things were starting to work again. We were cresting the top of the hill and I caught those two pretty quickly and started moving well at this point. I’m thinking to myself then, Sweet. Maybe I’ll make it and finish up well. I had to make it to 22 then it was all downhill from there. So I pushed hard those three miles and made it to 22 tired but still moving well. The last 4 were a nice gradual downhill where I caught a couple more dying Kenyans. Ended up running a 2:15:30 for 6th. Pretty happy about that. It’s a solid time on a tough course with good competition. A little bitter sweet too since last year I would have been 2nd and brought home $15,000 worth of bacon. Still ended up with a little dough, just not 15 grand. Oh well. Next time. Finished the day off with a pint of Guinness, Shepard’s Pie, and some Ben and Jerry’s. I’m going to be interested to see how the legs feel tomorrow after the 10hrs of travel home. POLL: Was it a good idea to fly home the same day as the race? A. Yes, of course, because now I get to spend Sunday with the wife and kid B. What was I thinking? C. If I were you, I would rather have my fingernails ripped out. D. All of the above.
Montrail endurance speedster Geoff Roes flew south to Georgia last weekend to run The North Face Endurance Challenge southeast regional at Pine Mountain, in the southern Appalachia. Geoff had a strong run en route to another win in a time of 7:42:48. Geoff raced in his Elmoro Singlet from Mountain Hardwear and his Montrail Mountain Masochist trail shoes.
Geoff has compiled another impressive race resume for the year, here’s what it looks like:
Way Too Cool 50k – 3rd place
American River 50 – 1st place
Bear Mountain 50 – 1st place, course record
Western States 100 – 1st place, course record
Crow Pass Crossing – 1st place, course record
Run Rabbit Run 50 – 1st place, course record
TNF Endurance Challenge 50, Atlanta – 1st place
Next on Geoff’s schedule is TNF Endurance Championship in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco. Geoff has finished near the top the last few years and will certainly be looking for the win in December. Should be a great race, with many of the countries top runners entered and gunning for a share of the cash prizes.
Montrail athlete and Banff, Alberta resident Ellie Greenwood continued her amazingly successful year by winning last weekend’s Run for Toad 50km, outright. Ellie ran the 50km race, held in Paris, Ontario, in 3:37:33, fast enough to win the race by 18 minutes.
Run for the Toad is a huge event, with over 800 finishers annually. The course follows trails within the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area and contains 4 loops for the 50k distance, 2 loops for the 25km distance.
Ellie is the female winner for the 2nd year in a row and improved her time by 19 minutes over last year.
Montrail athlete Ryne Melcher also had a great day on the trails at Run for the Toad 50km, finishing in 4:15:15 and good enough for 6th place overall.
Congratulations to you both!
Last Friday I began running at 6:00 am and didn’t stop until 4:00 am the following day. Why would I do this? Well, the interesting thing was how the answer became less and less clear as the day progressed. At the beginning of the race 100 miles seemed like a completely logical thing to do. By the final 20 miles I had begun questioning other parts of my life as well. “If I think running 100 miles is a good idea, what other stupid ideas are ruining my life without me knowing?” Well don’t worry – the race didn’t ruin my life. It just felt a little like dying. But what an adventure! The best description I have for the experience was that it was transcendental. My body and my mind had to work together like never before to get to the finish line, and the culmination of all that time and effort was unbelievably rewarding. I didn’t have the fully competitive race I had been secretly hoping for, but I did learn a ton and have an amazing time. For a description, here’s an email I sent Bryan Goding yesterday:
The first 20 miles were relaxed and easy and just fun running. The second 20 miles I felt warmed up and starting catching the leaders. The third 20 miles had me beginning to feel bad and falling off the pace. The fourth 20 miles turned cold and dark and transitioned from running to surviving. And the final 20 miles was the longest, most drawn out ordeal I have ever experienced. The race was unbelievably long and hard, and therefore totally rewarding. But only now that I’m done – being in the race didn’t feel rewarding whatever. I ran the final 15 with Scott Jaime and pacer Josh Brimhall, which saved me from running at least two hours slower. Those guys rocked. What a race man, I don’t know how to put into words what the hell I had to go through, but I’m sure you understand as well as anyone.
The “you” in that last sentence should be interpreted as anyone who has run 100 miles. Now that I’ve gone the distance I’m a new person, and not the shell of a person that seemed doomed by the end of the race to spend the rest of his days wandering through lonely backwoods roads and cemetaries in late autumn. I’m stronger and more experienced, and I’ll take this new knowledge and ability and apply it to future 100′s. Because I’ll be back to that distance soon enough, just after I remember how to move and eat like a normal human being again. For a longer race report check out thatdakotajones.blogspot.com and then go run your own 100. They’re great!
Team Montrail, as a collective group of inspiring and talented athletes, just never rests. Here we are again, taking a look ahead to some big races this weekend:
Max King, Sean Meissner and Luanne Park will be in Bend, Oregon for the Flagline 50km, this year’s USATF 50km Trail Championship. Max has been on an absolute tear as of late, although primarily in shorter races. We’ll see what he can do after last weekend’s win at the Xterra trail run championships.
Young Dakota Jones, a 19-year old ultrarunning phenom, will head to Logan, Utah to participate in his very first 100 mile race. Dakota is pumped and feels like he’s ready for the big miles. We look forward to seeing how things go. Good luck Dakota!
And Eric Grossman will head to Virginia for this year’s Great Eastern Endurance Race 100km, the east coast’s premier 100km race. Eric has been fighting some injuries over the past 6 months but hopefully this race is his return to domination!
Where will you be running this weekend?
Team Montrail tore up the trails this weekend all over the country:
Max King – 1st place Xterra Trail Running National Championship (3rd year in a row). 21km in 1:15:57
Geoff Roes – 1st place, new course record, Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat, CO. 50 miles in 7:11!!!
Joelle Vaught – 1st place female, new female course record, Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat, CO. 50 miles in 8:08!!!
Annette Bednosky – 1st place female, 4th overall, Run for the Red Marathon, Valle Crucis, NC. 26.2 miles in 3:29:34
Luanne Park – 1st place female, Redwood Park 50km in Oakland, CA. 50km in 4:52:59
Sean Meissner – 18th place, Xterra National Championship, Bend, OR. 21km in 1:27:07
Jill Perry – can’t find results from the North Coast 24 Hour Run…perhaps she’s still running…
Nice work all, congratulations!
Good luck to the following Montrail athletes in their races this weekend:
Max King – racing the Xterra Trail Running National Championship in Bend, OR. He won this half marathon race last year.
Jill Perry – racing the North Coast 24 Hour Endurance Run in Cleveland, OH. She won this race last year.
Sean Meissner – racing the Xterra Trail Running National Championship in Bend, OR
Geoff Roes – racing the Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat, CO
Joelle Vaught – racing the Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat, CO
Luanne Park – racing the Redwood Park 50km in Oakland, CA
Annette Bednosky – racing the Run for the Red marathon in Valle Crucis, NC
Tomorrow we run!
The second race of the 2010/11 Montrail Ultra Cup series starts bright and early on Saturday in Steamboat Springs, CO. The Run Rabbit Run 50, in it’s inaugural Ultra Cup season, includes roughly 9000′ of elevation gain and will feature beautiful vistas and challenging singletrack. The race is full with 190 runners and we’re psyched to get things going out in Colorado.
Four Western States 100 entry spots are on the line for the top finishers. Be sure to register for the Ultra Cup in order to receive points for the race.
Good luck to all the runners in Steamboat tomorrow!
We realize that at this point, many of you might have found yourself wondering recently, “Where in the world is Sean Meissner?” His blog, which is his sounding-board for stories and race updates, has gone without a post since MAY. He hasn’t been seen at a few popular ultramarathons that are so often on his list. One might say he’s faded into oblivion. We’re here to SQUASH that rumor. Sean’s been running, oh boy has he ever. What you’ll read next is an attempt to take a summer’s worth of running, both trails and roads, short distance and long, and sum it up into a few sentences.
Let’s start with a quote from Sean to get things rolling:
“Man, I’ve been having one helluva crazy and fun summer, traveling around and racing every chance I get.”
He’s a machine folks.
Without much of a taper, and following a summer of running like no other, Matt toed the line at Wasatch 100 with hundreds of other ultrarunners and only 21 hours, 54 minutes and 38 seconds later, Matt crossed the line in 3rd place after a physical and emotional roller coaster of a run. Happy with his performance? Absolutely! Congrats to Nick Clark and Darcy Africa for their big wins!
Then, with almost no rest at all, Matt’s packing his bags and joining his buddy Karl Meltzer for a run like no other. Karl will be running the Pony Express Trail on the Red Bull Human Express and Matt will be there to crew and pace him along the way. Karl will run from Sacramento, CA to St. Josephs, Missouri and will have a video/photo crew along the way. Good luck!
Matt, you’ve had an epic summer so far. Setting the Zion Traverse Speed Record, a Colorado Trail speed record attempt, pacing and crewing at several 100-mile races, huge runs in the Wasatch. And now you’ve got Wasatch 100 coming up. How are you feeling mentally and physically heading into the race?
Mentally I’m in a very good spot. A lot of things in my life are going well right now, so I’m in a good head-space to race. I love my life. my friends and family and feel fortunate to be able to even attempt to run 100 miles. Physically I picked up a strained glute/piriformis on the Colorado Trail that I’m a bit worried about for race day. It’s felt ok, but at times it’s sharp pain, so we’ll see.
With the Wasatch mountains being your backyard and all, do you have an advantage against other runners who don’t know the trails as well?
All things considered I don’t know the course that well. If you compared me to my running partners like Jared Campbell, Christian Johnson and Roch Horton I am a newbie here in the Wasatch Mountains. In 2008 I lived here for a few months and I ran all but the first 25 miles of the course. This year I’ve really tried to not stress about it and overdue it. Honestly there are so many other great routes to run I’ve been enjoying other terrain for the past 5 weeks I’ve been back here in Salt Lake. However, I have run Big Water to Lambs, and just last night we ran the last 25 miles of the course in the dark to Midway. Really though, those runs were more about who I was running with, scouting the course was just a bonus.
What’s your favorite section of trail along the Wasatch 100 course?
I think up high on the Wasatch Crest, the section by Desolation Lake and Red Lovers Ridges is just spectacular single track. No roads or access, just beautiful views West towards Salt Lake and East towards Park City. I did some backcountry skiing up in that area this winter too and it’s just really pretty.
When the going gets tough out there, what keeps you going? How do you persevere through pain and fatigue?
As I said above first and foremost I’m just thankful to be able to run period. A point really driven home last year when I spent the whole season sidelined with injury. There aren’t a lot of people out there who are able to run a 500 mile piece of trail or a 100 mile race. I’m just happy to be out there, and I remind myself of that when the unpleasantries of ultra distance racing are front and center. As for persevering through pain and fatigue, they are part of the job description. I know they are coming and I welcome them. There is a masochistic part of me that really thrives when the going gets tough, the conditions get nasty or shit just hits the fan and I’m physically falling apart. I feel like I’m build for this.
What’s your goal for the race?
I really want to run my own race from start to finish. I want to focus on my effort and my time and how I feel and not worry about the fast guys up front. If I do that I think I can run top 5, and on a good day top 3. With that said I also don’t want to have anything left when I finish. I plan to leave it all out there on the trail. “Race my guts out”.. as they say. Or maybe just I say that.
Tell me a little about your training over the past month or so. You’ve been running serious vertical all summer, and clearly with the Colorado Trail adventure, you have plenty of miles under your belt. But how do you specifically alter your training regimen for a 100-mile race?
Coming off the 500 miles of Colorado trail I pretty much had the biggest base of my life. I ran my biggest mileage week ever, at 358 mountainous miles. So what I needed to do was sharpen. I could run for 18-24 hours a day no problem, but I lack any speed whatsoever. With all that in mind I was going to push my long run out to every 10 days, and run more shorter faster efforts. But all of that sort of went out the window when I realized the glute injury I sustained on the trail wasn’t going away. So I’ve just been doing what I can without aggravating it, with the main goal of showing up at the start line on September 10th. I did have the distinct pleasure of pacing my buddy Bill Huggins to 3rd place at Cascade Crest 100 Miler last week. At 33 miles this was my last long run two weeks before Wasatch and my glute behaved.
Who is crewing you at Wasatch 100? Will you have a pacer?
I’ve got a great crew. Ellen Parker is heading up the crew and will pace me as well. We’ve known each other for 10+ years, long before either of us were serious endurance athletes. She’s just a great friend and a great runner (she just took 1st at TransRockies open women’s division). My crew will also consist of Miriam Rabitz and her husband Darryl. They are long time coaching clients of mine from Seattle and have never witnessed anything like this before. This should be quite the experience for them!
No. Certainly not by me, and in all honestly I don’t think there are many out there who are capable of touching that record. I mean Karl ran his best time on the Wasatch course chasing Geoff last year, and ended up 2nd. Karl has won the race 6 times. I will say I think Nick Clark is FAST and he’s gotta be the favorite for the win this year.
Tell me about your fueling and hydration plan for this race. How will you stay fueled, and what will you eat/drink?
I try and keep it very simple. I’ll eat a clif shot gel every 20-30mins. One bottle will have 2 nuun tabs in it for electrolytes, the other bottle just water. My crew will give me Roch’s turkey sliders, which is avocado wrapped in turkey. That will give me some protein and good fats and the satiety of eating some real food. I’ll also graze fruit through the aid stations. Oh and ginger chews, I love ginger chews. I usually have my crew divert me away from the aid station so I don’t decide that Doritos and Mountain Dew are a good decision.
First 100-mile race in a few years for you. You feeling confident? Apprehensive?
Yeah I’m pretty good at getting hurt before 100 milers, so honestly I’m an unknown entity. But I’m also pretty good at suffering for long periods of time. Being 100 miles fully supported means it will feel catered compared to what I did on the 500 mile Colorado Trail. I feel like I can run forever, so I’m confident I’ll have a good race. Really I just can’t wait to get to the start line! I get serious taper tantrums.
What gear will you use for the race? Head to toe
Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles for the first 18 miles. Mountain Hardwear Refueler Advanced shorts, Wicked T, mh visor, gloves, arm and calf sleeves at start. Rudy Project photochromic sunglasses, Montrail Rockridge shoes, Teko Socks, Nathan backpack and handhelds.
Good luck at Wasatch 100 Matt. We’ll check back in after the race for a post-race interview.
The results are in and the US men ran very strong en route to a 2nd place team finish and the silver medal in Slovenia. Joe Gray was the top US male with a 10th place overall finish and Max King was the 2nd American male, with a 16th place overall finish.
The USA women’s team finished in 4th, just missing medal contention.
Results can be found by following the link on the right side of the page, here.
Montrail athlete and Vancouver resident Gary Robbins recently completed the 215km East Coast Trail (ECT) of Canada in a record time of 35 hours and 17 minutes. We caught up with Gary in an effort to bring his story to life and find out more about what it takes to put forth this type of effort:
Montrail: Gary, 215km is an epic run. 35 hours plus. Have you ever run for that long of time or distance?
Gary: Not even close! My longest distance was 100miles and I’d never run more than 24hrs before. It was all new ground for me and I really feel like I gained some mental toughness out there last weekend.
What was the former speed record on the ECT and who held it?
Former record was just over 41hr held by Ray Zahab. If you haven’t heard of Ray he ran across The Sahara with Kevin Lin and Charlie Engle and starred in the aptly named documentary ‘Running The Sahara’. He also recently set a South Pole Speed Record, and a frozen Lake Baikal speed record in Russia.
For most people it’s unfathomable to think of running, or even moving in any manner, for 35 hours. How do you get mentally prepared for such a long, challenging, and ultimately painful adventure?
I headed into this one with a decent hip injury so I knew it was going to take a lot of fortitude to pull it off. Expectations can be a killer though and when the trail proved to be much, much tougher than I ‘expected’ it to be it took me quite a while to get my head straight again. A great lesson learned going forward into hopefully tougher and longer events in the future.
Okay, so now you’re up and you’re out on the trail. 10 hours go by, 20 hours go by. By now you must be tired and hurting a bit, and you’re alone. How do you stay motivated at this point? Obviously you can’t just quit, because you’re out in the wilderness all alone, but you could certainly walk, or lie down for some rest. Do you have to convince your body to keep on, or is just automatic at that point?
I wish it were automatic! At one point a 20mile section took me seven and a half hours! It was one of the lowest moments I have ever faced out on the trails and all I wanted to do was to lay down and cry. Outside of the knowledge that I was completely out there on my own and no one was coming to get me, I knew I’d see my family at the end of that section. Having their support along the way allowed my motivation to stay much higher than it would have had I been without their assistance. Continue reading →
Last weekend, Montrail athlete Annette Bednosky entered the Continental Divide Trail Race in North Carolina, this year’s USATF 10k trail national championship, mainly because “it was only 15 miles from my home.” Despite the fact that “short distance mountain runners” made up the majority of the field, Annette, who’s name is usually associated with 50-mile, 100-mile and 24-hour running races, showed her versatility and overall talent by running to a 4th place finish for the women (and 1st place Masters) in a time 58:07. The winning female finished in 52:04.
Congratulations Annette, way to step outside your comfort zone and challenge your potential. Great job!
The following day, Annette hit the trail again for a 1/2 marathon trail race and finished in a time of 1:55:30, good for 4th overall and 1st place female.
How many people do you know who could run these races on back to back days and do so well? Yeah. Me neither.
Congratulations to Max King and Andy Martin of Team Montrail/Hammer!! The team won all 6 stages of this year’s TransRockies race in Colorado en route to an overall Men’s Open championship! This is Max’s second time winning TransRockies and Andy’s first.
Check in here for more standings, updates, photos and videos.
Great work guys! Now get some rest and have a few beers!
***UTMB has been canceled due to severe weather and a mud slide across the course. Press conference in 1 hour. Updates coming. – as of 1:30pm PST
The 165km Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, or UTMB, is about to start in France and we’ll be following along as Montrail athlete Geoff Roes takes a crack at the challenge.
Thus far Geoff has enjoyed his time in France, which has included catching up with friends, running the last 10 miles of the course, and passing a drug test administered by the race officials. Bryon Powell of irunfar.com caught up with Geoff for a quick interview as well.
The race will start at 9:30am PT, 12:30pm ET in the USA. Good luck to all the runners!
As you may know by now, Montrail athlete Geoff Roes will race this year’s Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in France for the first time, a 165km technical and mountainous course around the Mt. Blanc massif. It will also be his first time racing in Europe, against some of the world’s top endurance runners. The race starts Friday at 6:30pm local time (9:30am Pacific) and the top runners should be finishing about 20-22 hours later.
Geoff is approaching this race with his usual calm and collect and is doing his best to avoid all the hype and just run is own race. We all know that if he runs smart and fuels properly, he’ll be at or near the front come the finish line.
Geoff will be running UTMB in his Mountain Masochists. Good luck!
First and foremost, the 2010/2011 Montrail Ultra Cup series kicked off in Willamette Pass, Oregon with the Where’s Waldo 100km. The race was won by Timothy Olson of Ashland, Oregon in a time of 9:25:04. Last season’s female Ultra Cup champion Meghan Arbogast is at it again, as she runs to the win at Waldo in a time of 10:52:50. Montrail athlete Erik Skaden took 4th place overall. Congratulations to all the runners who finished. Western States 100 auto-entry spots were awarded to Timothy Olson, Dan Omstead, Amy Sproston and Jenny Capel for their top finishes at Waldo. Next up, Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat, CO on 9/18/10
In Colorado, the Transrockies stage race kicked off Sunday morning, with the first leg being 20.6 miles of relatively flat terrain (2700 feet of climbing). Veteran competitors Max King and Andy Martin, comprising Team Montrail-Hammer Nutrition, went on to win the first stage in a time of 2:26:03, putting a 7-minute gap on the field. Keep up with the race here.
Montrail ultrarunning superstar Gary Robbins completed his Conquer the Coasts project by running the East Coast Trail (220 km) in Canada in a record time of 35 hours, 17 minutes. He now owns the speed record for both the West Coast Trail (70km) and the East Coast Trail. Congratulations Gary!
Read Gary’s Blog for the full story.
Did you race this weekend? Or maybe you just went out and challenged yourself? Where were you? How’d it go?
The Rogue runs free and the timing couldn’t more perfect.
Montrail unveiled their new minimalist trail runner, the Rogue Racer at Outdoor Retailer show just last week, and August 11th, it was announced that the Gold Ray Dam on Oregon’s Rogue River will be removed. The new 157-mile stretch of free running waters on the Rogue River has been a long time coming; a great accomplishment for the river’s advocate organizations such as Montrail’s Gives Back partner The Conservation Alliance, Waterwatch and Rogue Flyfishers.
Max King, Montrail runner and fellow Oregonian, loves life’s sweet ironies. “Just as we announced the new S11 Rogue Racer, a minimalist trail shoe named after the Rogue Valley, the Rogue River gets freed up as well. It’s great that the salmon, the river and the trail runner are all getting the chance to once again run free.” Max worked closely with the Montrail Product Team to design an ultralight and fast trail runner, something for all his miles on the trail, both in training and on race day.
Read the full story on the Gold Ray Dam, Rogue River carves its way around Gold Ray Dam ahead of schedule written by Joe Rojas-Burke.
Things have been fairly calm here at Montrail headquarters in the few weeks after the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. If you haven’t already seen, check out the photos from the Wasatch Wobble 5k. More photos are being added to the Montrail facebook page daily.
The storm is brewing however, and in this case it’s a storm of excitement and anticipation heading into a few major events in the upcoming weeks.
The Montrail Ultra Cup 2010/11 season kicks off this weekend in Oregon at the Where’s Waldo 100km near Willamette Pass. This gorgeous setting plays host to the kick-off Ultra Cup series race for the second straight year and once again the competition is strong on both sides of the field.
TransRockies starts August 22nd and Max King and Andy Martin will be competing for the win. Max is running very strong right now, coming off a win at the Trail Runner Uphill Challenge (15 minutes at 10% incline on a treadmill) during Outdoor Retailer and a course record run at the Ashland Hill Climb, 13.2 grueling uphill miles, with an elevation gain of 5,600 feet. We’ll be following Max and Andy throughout the week during TransRockies in Colorado. Good luck guys!
Also kicking off next week is the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in France. This race is the world’s largest mountain ultra (2300 runners) and certainly one of the toughest (166km with over 9000 meters of elevation gain). Two-time defending champ Kilian Jornet will be back to defend his title, and he’ll be challenged by the likes of Montrail athlete Geoff Roes, as well as other Americans Karl Meltzer and Scott Jurek. Irunfar.com’s Bryon Powell will be there to cover the race and keep us posted on how Geoff is doing. We can’t wait for this one!
Canadian Gary Robbins will be out trying to break another speed record. A few weeks ago he took down the 80km West Coast Trail and next Friday he’ll head out on the 220km East Coast Trail and go for the record. Follow his blog for more info.
Then in September, we take the Montrail Ultra Cup to Colorado for the very first time, as the Run Rabbit Run 50 hosts the 2nd race in the series in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on September 18.
Enjoy the action!
Big-ups to our Canadian friend Gary Robbins for his new speed record on the West Coast Trail in Canada. Gary knocked 5 minutes off the old record and ran the 80km trail in 10:08:50
Gary said logistically, this one was a nightmare, and very challenging. But he pulled it together and challenged himself and came out triumphant. Success!
Check out Gary’s blog for more info and for some videos and photos.
Gary will go after the East Coast Trail speed record in a few weeks. That one is 220km and will be a serious test of will and endurance.
From Cara Marrs, Steamboat Springs Running Series organizer:
Well we are 7 races into our 2010 series and the series is going great, breaking records at almost every race so far. New for 2010 was the addition of a partially off road Duathlon in late June. The Du was a fun event for our first multi sport race. July brought us the aspen-lined singletrack of the Howelsen 8 Miler and the 9M Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run that includes a challenging steep rough 3 mile section of primitive trail, tree crossing, and bushwacking.
In keeping with the last few years both races broke runner number records and we had to cap the 9 Mile at Spring Creek for the first time. We are so happy with the way the series is going and happy to share our beautiful trails so far with runners from 20 states and 3 countries, as well as runners from all over Colorado. Proceeds for almost all SSRS races go to local non- profits and charities so we appreciate our runners, as they help us give back to the community!
The next 2 races are close to being full and are both in the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series. On the 7th we have the Mt Werner Classic, a 12 or 5 mile run up to the top of the Steamboat Ski Area and another beautiful race on the 22nd of August with the Continental Divide 16 Miler, both of which will serve up a hefty amount of elevation gain.
After August we will look forward to the remainder of the season with 3 more trail races in September, capping off on September 18th with the Run Rabbit Run 50M, now in the Montrail Ultra Cup Series.
We added one new race to the Ultra Cup series this year, Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat, Colorado on September 18, 2010. This race has been full for a little while now. However, registration will reopen tomorrow, August 11th at 9am Mountain Time for 25 entries, and all remaining entries are contingent upon registering for the Montrail Ultra Cup. Register for the Ultra Cup series first, then register for Run Rabbit Run 50.
A major thanks goes out to the Forest Service near Steamboat Springs, CO and the Run Rabbit Run 50 crew for stepping up to increase the field size for the race this year.
Montrail hosted the 15th annual Wasatch Wobble 5k at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City last week. OR attendees signed up by making a $10 donation to the Conservation Alliance, and then showed up early Thursday morning decked out in Superhero costume and ready for some fun.
Course challenges included a push-up station at mile 1 (minimum of 5 for women, 10 for men) and a contest to see who can carry the largest rock across the finish line. There were also 4 kittens stuck in trees throughout the course, and runners had a chance to be heros and save the kittens.
Thanks for playing everyone! We had a blast. Here’s some photos, we’ll get more up as soon as we can.
Last Saturday was the USATF 50 mile trail championships at the White River 50 in Crystal Mountain, WA, outside of Seattle. I was there, along with many other top ultrarunners, to see what I could do against a high level of competition.
After my last race on June 19 I wasn’t sure whether I should race White River or not, since earlier this year I stacked two races this close together and ended up dropping out of the second. But I felt great – in shape and confident – and decided to go for it. So on Friday afternoon I pulled into Crystal Mountain and headed over to the race headquarters. The participant list had only included a few names I recognized until the final week leading up to the race, when names like Scott Jurek suddenly appeared. Then, when I was finally in WA, someone told me that Anton Krupicka had decided to come back and go for his record from last year. So all of a sudden we had a super deep field, and I was psyched.
When the race began I fell into a spot about 10 guys behind the front runners. We cruised along the bottom of the valley for about three miles, when we passed through the first aid station. Half a mile later I had to stop and go to the bathroom, which majorly pissed me off and lost me five or six places and a smidgen of confidence in the race. But soon enough I was back in the race and we were headed up the first big climb of the day. This race goes from rolling trail along the valley floor to steep and outrageous uphill with hardly any indication, and all of a sudden I found myself walking up steep trail and even stairs over two minutes behind the leaders less than five miles into a 50 mile race. Questions came into my head like, “have I been deceiving myself with delusions of speed that cannot hold up to real competition?” But I immediately stopped myself from thinking like that because doing so is just going to hurt me. Plus, we had a long way to go still.
Sure enough, as the climb wore on I found myself working my way up the crowd and picking off some of the debris that had fallen off the front pack. By the time we were getting up towards the top of the mountain on the out and back section I was running with Yassine Diboun and Scott Jurek. We talked for a little bit and ran together for a short time, but after a mile or so I felt good enough to pass them and keep going. Passing Scott Jurek is kind of wild, because he’s The Man, right? I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was advisable, but decided to go ahead anyway, spurred on by the unbelievably stunning views of Mt. Rainier and its glaciers. At the turnaround point I was about two minutes behind Anton, and by the time I reached the long downhill back to the road I was feeling good and looking ahead to catch him. But he managed to stay out of sight all the way down and through the next aid station, and by the time I reached the base of the Suntop trail he was 1:45 ahead of me.
The climb up to Suntop was long and hard. On a normal training run I could have run the whole thing, but after almost thirty miles of mountain running already in my legs I was forced to walk about a third of the climb. Anton, of course, ran the whole thing and put something like 15 to 17 minutes on me by the top. Right below the top, when the trail crosses the road I saw him fly by going downhill and my hopes of catching him more or less evaporated. But I still had second to maintain! So I dragged myself to the aid station, drank some coke, ate some food and took some salt pills and then began the long downhill dirt road section to Skookum flats. I am good at downhill running, and though this wasn’t technical I managed to recover quite a bit so that when I reached the bottom I flew onto the final rolling trail through the trees at something like a 6:30 pace. This was maintained for about three miles until my body stopped enjoying running and began to shut down. Two gels and too much walking later, I jogged onto the road and ran the final half mile to the finish, where I was greeted by a decidedly un-sweaty Anton and many other cheering onlookers. My final finish time was 6:49, whereas Anton threw down a serious CR 6:25. Way to go Anton – you are an amazing runner.
Scott Mcoubrey and the rest of the crew at White River put on a fantastic race. The views of Mt. Rainier and Washington are spectacular, but the mainly singletrack course stays in the trees for a majority of the race, meaning the hot sun has little effect on runners. The course is HARD, and because of that is wonderful, and I’ll surely be back soon. This was my first time running any of these trails, but the course was marked so well I had no trouble following the course whatever. And the hospitality was top notch too. Thank you to everyone who had a hand in this race, because you make life good for everyone.
Over the years, some of my best races, have not been “races” after all, yet an event in which the outside world and inside world meet in a spirit of celebration and collaboration. This past weekend was another spirited adventure on the trails-this time in Northeastern Ohio at The National 100 Mile Trail Championships. The Burning River 100-Mile Endurance Run, just having completed it’s 4th year running takes place on the trails and roads of Cuyahoga Falls National Park and a variety of Cleveland Area Metro Parks. This year the race brought 251 starters from all over the US and from across national lines.
I was super-excited to make this 7-hour car journey north, as much about running 100 miles, as to celebrate my last days of “summer vacation”. I am a high school counselor and after having July off, faculty work days started on August 2, 2010 with the 2010/2011 school year beginning on Thursday, August 5, 2010. I thought of this weekend as my last “foray into freedom” for awhile!
After Western States 100, which was 5 weeks ago, I haven’t trained much. Recovery from WS 100 took almost 2 full weeks in which I did some short jogs and had some time on the road bike. Coach Howard gave me a schedule for the last 2 weeks which included at most a 3 hour run. I was hoping that lots of rest combined with as much planning as I could do without previewing the course would set me up for a successful day. I watched all the course videos posted on the race website, looked at past runner times and splits and compared them with my times and splits from WS last month in order to come up with a loose plan at least up until the 64 mile point…after that I wasn’t sure how long it should take me. I thought that since BR100 has much less elevation change than WS100 I should be able to take off at least 2.5 hours from this year’s WS time, and even more depending on race day conditions. That meant that (in my own head), I could run it in 18ish hours. Little did I know during my planning, that the weather conditions, volunteers, course diversity and just plain ‘ole having a good day would add up to such a happy outcome for me! Travel and pre-race
I left Jefferson, NC about 11am on Thursday and listened to borrowed library book CDs on the journey, arriving at the modest Economy Inn, 4 miles from race start by 7pm. At room check-inn I met a young Royal Navy (British Military) fellow, John Oakley who’d also be running the BR100. His room was 2 doors down from mine and although we didn’t hang out much, his journey to this event and adventurous spirit and complete courage with abandon inspired and invited respect. More on this later! Friday morning was spent running my “Coach Howard prescribed” 25 minute run, exploring by car and foot trailheads and little sections of the course from mile 81ish on…I expected that if I couldn’t preview the whole course, having a taste of the last 1/5 would be helpful. I discovered during my brief “scoping out” in person, that it was indeed not flat or track-like. There were plenty of hills and mud piles and roots and blackberry thatches to satisfy even the most devoted lovers of backcountry trails. This looked like a perfect urban trail race: plenty of miles of dirty, muddy, semi-maintained trails, some well-groomed trails, horse trails, boardwalks, flat bike paths and some super flat stuff followed by hilly and muddy and root surface AND pretty sights that made you wish to build a snow globe of the scene instead of hurrying through! The hilly road sections were just mellow enough in grade to warrant running instead of hiking breaks. Ahhh! An adventure of training, headspace, passion and embracing the day was at hand and I was thrilled and itchy to get going! Race Day!
Race morning was early and fast. John and I met the buses at 3:20 am and arrive at race start at 4:30ish am for the 5am start. After a quick wave at Howard, I, along with 230+ others was on my way! I ran side-by-side run with fast guy (and Montrail teammate) Eric Grossman for a mile, John and ran the first 20ish miles together along with 34-year old seasoned ultra runner Harvey Lewis. John has been on ship and largely been unable to train until 5 weeks ago, yet he set forth, with some modest support from the Royal Navy to run this event. Along the way he was raising money that would go to a scholarship fund for families that got left behind after a loved one who was in the Royal Navy passed on. Harvey is 34 years old and lives in PA and has done tons of ultra running. I loved being around his passion and enthusiasm for the sport and his obvious running talent had me sucked in!
During the first 12 miles, those two guys chatted and chatted and they requested my comments (I had several opinions!), yet begged off to focus on breathing and current reality. I didn’t want to get sucked into “too fast”, yet I loved being around that life energy! Finally the fellows pulled away as I acknowledged the need to be a bit more conservative with my pace!
The 1st 9.6 miles were on the road; the remaining 90+ miles would be the varied combinations I spoke of earlier. I had planned to arrive at Shadow Lake, 18.6 by 2:40 and Ottawa Pt by 5:50. Though I have not yet seen the splits, I think I was close to spot on for both.
All clean and fresh during early miles.
The morning passed very quickly-It is hard to remember details as I was in cruise mode-running, drinking, fueling, pit stopping as necessary. It was like breathing in the terrain and surrounding without really seeing. Sounds kinda weird, yet these words most accurately describe my perception of the 1st half! Relaxed, working forward into a grand adventure!
I did not have a crew and (though it’d have been invigorating and great-) I didn’t need one, as the volunteers were attentive, responsive and encouraging! Aid stations were just as advertised and well stocked. For this reason, I left my little fanny pack in a drop bag at mile 39.6 and continued as light as can be with only a handheld Nathan Quickdraw Plus! Never before have I dared to run with so little!
Volunteers, all attired in red VOLUNTEER shirts catered to me! I felt like a rock star and appreciated their assistance. My hands were sweaty and dirty. Volunteers unscrewed my water bottle, filled it with my hearts desire-usually ½ Gatorade and ½ Hammer Heed. Though I prefer and train and race with Clif Bar Products, I have learned that without a crew, I can adjust to the race sponsored products and usually do just fine…Volunteers emptied cold sponges over my head as I dramatically yelped while I was given beta on the upcoming trail section. My only responsibilities continued to be to simply run and not hurt myself or anyone else! What a gift of freedom!
One of the many fine aid stations
Arriving at Boston Store #1(49.1) I had reached the (almost) halfway point. Yay!!! Yet not so yay as I met up with Eric Grossman who had to drop due a hamstring issue. Big-time bummer! Eric is a quiet tough guy who I believe would have placed in top 2 if “issues” didn’t present! Ick and ugh and thank you to Eric for your selflessness and encouragement!
The miles ticked by on the shadowed trails and I reached the Happy Days Aid Station at 64.1 miles feeling steady. A “little birde” informed me she heard that the next woman was gaining on me. Hhhmph. I expected that, yet didn’t love it! Thank you little birdie! As I proceeded down the mildly technical trails I met up with Harvey again and asked about our Royal Navy friend…John had reportedly slowed down to a pace that better matched his recent training. Makes sense to me…best wishes to the young Brit –I really wanted him to meet his goals!
I considered what it meant to be “gained on”. I didn’t like it! Not that I wish anything bad to my competitors –as I always hope we have the race of our dreams and that way we will push eat other to run our very best! I did however, do a reality check with myself. “ Am I running my potential at this point in the race?” A Big FAT no. I was very much in my comfort zone!
We were in the shade and on trails and on very mellow elevation change. I had and would have access to plenty of food and water. The only bummer I was experiencing was an abundance of pit stops due to the trots. HMMMPh! Though I hate taking the stuff, I carry Imodium and took 2 tablets at this point, 2 hours later I would follow with one more. I can’t control this issue, yet I can help make it better! I also knew that I could run less conservatively and therefore run better, so I found delight in pushing my comfort zone and going more towards “the edge”. Yippie!…another dimension to this adventure!
Before I knew it I was up and over the meadowy “Sound of Music Hill” and Howard greeted me as I arrived in aid station territory. He was encouraging and assisted me with refilling and saying I was still moving and looking fine! Yep! Thank you Howard, you rock! Amanda was there too continuing her encouragement and well wishes. I appreciate the great energy, and used it to propel me on!
I ran another loop of 3.3 miles, came through this aid station again, sucked in fuel and water and generous good wishes and bobbed along, arriving at Covered Bridge #1 filled with crazy energy of a person who was excited and nervous and at a mental place of imagining running sub 17:00 and earning her 1st national title.
At this point I had not a clue of placement of my competition, the draw of the sub -17 idea was taking shape! The next section was supposed to be torturous, so I mentally prepared myself for the likes of Short Mountain at Massanutten 100 and was happy to find, that in comparison, this was a fun section. Some muddy parts and steep ups, yet not the torture I’d read and been warned of! As I came through Covered Bridge #2, I learned I had a 56-minute lead since last time through. Cool! Yet now the run was about focus and staying as strong as possible. I longed to earn a National Champion Title, yet at the same time, wanted to find the edge of performance and run with risk and sensibility. Could I run sub 17? Or 16:30? Don’t know! Will find out!
Though I picked up my headlamp at mile 85.5 I didn’t turn it on until just after the last aid station at mile 96.3. At this point Nathan Yanko and I were sharing miles. I caught up to him at around mile 95-he was worried his wheels were falling off. I could see he was tired as I was-yet I knew his wheels were fine-and expected he’d be even better once reaching Devon (Super-fast Devon Crosby-Helms is his girlfriend and was one of his crew this day).
Nathan did recharge and I followed close behind him, catching up during the last trail section mile 97.5-100ish. We ran together. Not chatting or racing, just sharing the same pace and illumination from out lights. As we started to emerge from the “canyon” Nathan gave me the heads up that he liked the finish strong and would run very fast for the last half mile. Super cool! I encouraged him to do so! This is a race and event where we are all invited to work hard, take risks, yet also to acknowledge, appreciate and use our strengths! Go Nathan go!
We left the trails, follow cones across a bridge and down the road and with less than a ½ mile left to go, Nathan surged ahead and before long, I saw Nathan was going to overtake someone and he did!
I followed behind, running as strong as I could, being escorted by 2 guys on mountain bikes. Free thoughts followed:
I can see the clock! I can see the numbers! I hear the music. Holy buckets the finish line is in sight….oh my there is a black tape for me to break…I have won races yet never broken a tape…run Annette run…I think I’m gonna cry: BAM! Done! Over! Tape broken with a course record time of 16:44:21! Annette is a National Champion! Wow! Oh-my-God, how on the planet did this happen? Super cool!
I soaked up the warm congratulations and walked for 45 minutes before sitting down. After sitting down too quickly after WS100 last month and loosing blood pressure, I was not going to let that happen again! Nathan’s Mom even escorted me to my car to get my cell phone so I wouldn’t be alone. I called George and my Mom! Super exciting!
After leaving the finish line I headed back to my motel for a quick shower and then 15-minute ice bath with 20# of ice. I ate a Lean Cuisine dinner, drank ½ glass of wine and slept for 5.5 hours, after which I took another ice bath and another 1-hour nap. Rising, I walked across the parking lot and enjoyed Dunkin Donuts coffee and an egg sandwich. I wondered about John…I was a light was on in his room, yet dared not disturb him, not knowing what time he arrived back-or if the light was left on by housekeeping as mine was? After packing up, I arrived back at the finish line at 10:15am.
At the finish line I sat around emotionally cheering in 28 and 29-hour runners. I hung out with Todd Braje and Scott Dunlap as we waited for awards. During the awards ceremony, I was part of a special club-of all people limping-it seemed regardless of position finishing we all were hobbled and could laugh at ourselves. I still have not learned of what happened to John Oakley, yet will endeavor to find out!
Todd and I Sunday morning
Devon and Nathan Sunday morning
The Burning River 100 is a quality event with excellent volunteers, varied surfaces and terrain. I hope to be back one day! After awards, I drove the 7 hours home and got ready for work and a new school year the next day. Starting a school year with a face of race-induced pimples, sore legs, post 100 mile hormonal upset wasn’t ideal, yet I am privileged to have the health and resources to have made the trip and very happy (especially with budget cuts) to have a job!
Canadian Montrail athlete Ellie Greenwood continues her streak of wins this year with another big one on Saturday. Ellie ran The North Face’s Canadian Death Race, a 125km grueling foot race with over 17,000 feet of elevation gain, and finished 1st place female with a new course record time of 13:28:39!! She broke the old record by roughly 50 minutes.
Ellie ran her first ever 100km earlier this year and won the race outright. This time she’s showed again how strong she is at the longer distance and bigger hills. Ellie’s having an incredible year, including 5 wins at distances ranging from half marathon to 125km. Congratulations Ellie!!
Watch for a race report on Ellie’s blog.
Congratulations to Dakota Jones. The kid can flat out run! 19 years old and with two major 50 mile victories already this year, Dakota raced the White River 50 on Saturday, which hosted this year’s USATF 50 mile championship. In an absolutely stacked field, Dakota put his talents on demonstration en route to a second place finish in a time of 6:49. Anton Krupicka won the race with a new course record time of 6:25. Greg Crowther took 3rd place with Scott Jurek in 4th.
Congratulations Dakota in another impressive performance!!
With a smoking fast course record time of 16:44:21 on Saturday at the Burning River 100 in Ohio, Annette Bednosky was crowned the USATF 100 mile female champion and caps off a big month in a big way.
A month ago, in late June, Annette finished 7th at Western States 100, and at one point at the Michigan Bluff aid station, was overheard saying, “you know, I’m just not a 100 mile runner. But I’m still having fun!”
Now one month later, she’s at it again. Congratulations Annette, 2010 USATF 100 Mile Female Champion!!
Montrail and Mountain Hardwear President Topher Gaylord runs in the Alps with Montrail athlete Max King
Fin – Monday evening we transfered to the small town of Chatel and closer to the start of Le Tour in Morzine the next day. The mood was a little lighter Monday evening. The five of us, Topher and photographers were gone now, had a traditional French dinner. Erin and I shared a Raclette, a huge half wheel of cheese that you stick under a heat lamp and scrape huge globs of rich creamy cheese onto your plate and pair with potatoes and meat. Man that was rich. I still feel it sitting in my stomach like a rock. But it was good though.
Tuesday morning we drove over to the Tour start in Morzine and with some Columbia connections got a VIP entry to the village and the start line. But not before almost nailing Lance when he pulled out of a parking lot as we were driving in to park. Lance, if you read this, be more careful man. It wasn’t that close but he was right in front of the van. We were given access to the start line where they were introducing all the riders so we got some good shots and a great experience. It was pretty cool. The tour is a huge production. Miles of fencing, tents, stages, buses, team cars, helicopters, dozens of police, hundreds of volunteers and this was just the start line. And then as soon as the riders are gone, the crowds disappear in an instant, and it all comes down. Amazing to watch. We hung out at a pizza joint and watched the tour before having to get back to Geneva.
- Lance’s backside
When you spend a few days together with people you get to know them pretty well, but when you throw a few people into an experience like this that tests limits, patience, and organization you get an intimate picture of your compatriots. Through time spent on the trail you can get to know someone’s personality, time spent around a dinner table you get stories and a picture of their life. Physically demanding situations serve up an interesting social dynamic between the participants. It’s cool to watch and experience. Thursday morning I had never met these people before, now I know Brian likes trains, Lisa is closterphobic, Leslie does just about every sport known to man, Erin is cool under pressure and really likes French cheese, Topher’s switch is permanently “on” and takes the hard way, that’s just part of the experience in a trip like this.
Dinner with the gang after the Tour Viva le Tour du Mont Blanc
Here are some gear reviews from the equipment I used while on the trip. Fluid 10 – the fluid 10 is a small lightweight running pack that has a large central pocket, water bladder pocket, sinch cord, water bottle pockets on both sides, and waist strap pockets for gels…or a camera. This is the pack I used for the majority of the miles on the trip. It performed really well. I carried a jacket, a long sleeve shirt, food, camera and a water bottle. I was typically just carrying one water bottle because of the abundance of fresh water on the route and used the pocket on the side. With just one water bottle the pack didn’t feel lopsided like some might. I had it sinched down pretty tight and the shoulder straps were soft, comfortable and wide enough that they didn’t chafe my neck. Actually I didn’t have any chafing anywhere even wearing the pack with no shirt. Even had two of these packs on for quite a bit of the trail, just one over the other, and that worked out pretty well too. The pack is unusually spacious for it’s size. I have a camelbak I use that is similar in size but the Fluid 10 can carry more stuff. My one beef with it was trying to retrieve my water bottle without taking the pack off. It was pretty much impossible. The few times I ma
naged to get it out and back in I tweaked my shoulder out and had to take some time to work out the cramp. Not ideal. Running with it was a breeze however and there was minimal bouncing and no chafing.
Fluid waist pack – I tried to run with the new Fluid Waist Pack for a good section of the second day but it was lighter than Scott’s camera equipment so I was saddled with that for the remainder of the trail except for when we were shooting photos. During that it was great. Didn’t bounce with a full water bottle, had a few pouches for food and a mesh pocket that held a lightweight jacket easily which would be great for longer runs in the mountains where the weather is variable. I’ll probably use it for Transrockies where I want to go super lightweight but still have to carry a little water, jacket, tights, hat and gloves. Geist – Still in love with the Geist series. The jacket is my fav. I don’t usually go anywhere without it and I even got to test it out on a stormy section of the second day. It kept me warm and dry in a light rain and felt at home under a pack without pulling and riding around under the pack. The best fitting, lightweight breathable running jacket I’ve ever tried.
Shorts – I used the lightweight Refueler Advance Short. The fabric is a nice light fabric that doesn’t inhibit movement at all, which is crucial for running. The thing I still don’t care for is the waist band. It’s comfortable but I have to tie the drawstring to keep them up. They just feel loose when I’m used to having elastic waist bands. If you can look past that, they are a great running short and have a couple little zip pockets that have come in handy for holding a gel here and there. Shirts – I used several shirts on the trip. The wicked lite tank and tee, Elmoro zip tee, and the Singlet coming out. One thing I have to say is that the fit of all the mountain hardwear tops are spot on for me and are the best fitting most comfortable shirts I have. Why? because when I’m running I like a shirt that has a close athletic fit and doesn’t flap all over the place but at the same time I don’t want to feel like I’m being smothered by a boa constrictor.
Shoes - Montrails of course. I did two days in the yet-to-be released Rogue Racer which performed flawlessly on all trails from buffed single track to rocky double track. At 8.5 oz I was feeling light on my feet all day. The third day I decided to give the new Badrocks a try on th
e super rugged and rocky Bovine climb. Honestly, I did it for a little extra protection because I’d been having a bit of a nerve issue in my foot and I was expecting to notice the extra weight of the shoes. I wasn’t too optimistic that I would appreciate having an extra 2 oz and a lot more shoe on my feet. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and don’t remember even noticing which shoes I was wearing that third day. It was nice to have that bit of extra underfoot protection and flying up the last climb of the day I didn’t notice that I had a different shoe on than normal. So, good shoe, yup.
Poles – Like I said you have to have poles for racing over here. Note to self though, don’t get the ones that have anti-shock springs in them, they’re just annoying.
Lastly, I need to say thanks to everyone involved. Erin for the impeccable organization and interpreting. We would have been totally lost without her. Topher for the invite and a trail buddy along the way. Scott and Seb for the amazing camara work. And Brian, Lisa, and Leslie for the companionship along the trail and for putting up with a high maintenance athlete. You know how we are.
He survived the bad weather. He survived hypothermia at 12,000 feet. He survived taking wet nap showers at night and eating bars and gels all day for over a week. He survived quite a bit, in fact, and now he is done!
From the time of my last post, Matt ran for about 24 hours all the way to Molas Pass above Silverton. From there he took a four hour nap and got up at 8:00 in the morning to keep going, this time with Linda Barton running alongside. Durango is about 73 miles from Molas Pass, and he was determined to finish with as little downtime as possible. And he did just that, finishing about 28 hours after leaving Molas Pass. The remaining trail was broken up into three 20 ish mile sections and a 12 mile section, meaning he had to run for many hours at a time with very little support, all of this being at the final end of the trail when his energy was extremely sporadic. I really have no idea how Matt managed to keep going in the final sections; his all consuming dedication was a powerful force.
After hours of waiting and preparing, we finally went up to the Junction Creek trailhead at about noon today, and began the walk up to find Matt. We didn’t have to walk far. Within 20 minutes he came around a corner hooting at us and running a 7:30 ish mile fueled entirely by adrenaline. He looked really good, and especially so considering what he had put himself through in the past week. At 12:18 on Friday Matt Hart finished the Colorado Trail, for a total of 9 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes total, from start to finish. What an achievement! He literally ran from Denver to Durango, through the heart of the coolest mountain ranges in the state, and finished smiling and joking – just the way he started.
Since finishing he has eaten every bit of food in my house here in Durango and continues to wolf down everything within sight. How I’m going to get him to leave is beyond me, since he can’t actually move anymore, but that’s just fine because we like having him around. As for me, I’m going to go get my first full night of sleep in 9 days. Good night!
At about 5:00 am this morning Matt Hart headed up into the San Juan section of the Colorado Trail. With a little over 100 miles to go he is both fatigued and sleep deprived, and this section up above 13,000 feet promises to really tax his strength.
Yet he continues to run. He is hoping to finish the day at Molas Pass, between Silverton and Durango, for a total of 55 miles. I had to take his two wheel drive van from Spring Creek Pass on the Continental Divide all the way around to Durango today, and so I won’t see him until tonight. With him in my stead are Ben Reeves and Linda Barton, who have undertaken the giant task of what I like to call high altitude crewing. This isn’t something that can be done off the couch and even the toughest and most experienced crews have been known to falter in their tasks. Yet I am confident these two can continue to provide Matt with his essentials even at Carson Saddle and Stony Pass. In fact, the only factor that worries us today is the weather. Even Durango is getting rained on today, and that usually means the Silverton area, and especially the high peaks and ridges above Silverton, are REALLY getting rained on. This could spell trouble both for the vehicle which has to drive steep dirt roads up to the Trail, and for Matt too since the majority of the section he is on is above timberline. I’m not exactly a scientist, but I do know that people are great conductors of electricity, and carrying two metal poles certainly won’t help matters. However, in spite of this difficulty I am confident in Matt’s ability to make safe decisions and avoid obvious danger, like a thunderstorm. Similarly, our communications are such that any problems Matt encounters will be apparent to the crew and all backup plans have been discussed. Worry not, for Matt shall endure.
As for the record, our campsite last night was about thirty miles off of Jonathan Basham’s splits. Is a record time still possible? Yes. Is it likely? Well, it’s possible. Matt is an amazing athlete who has undergone similar mental and physical strain in the past, and the camp has heard talk of a possible all night run at some point. So we’ll see. If he makes the record that will be fantastic for everyone concerned. But that was only a secondary goal even from the beginning. I may have pushed the idea of a “record attempt” on this blog to the extent that it may have seemed the only goal, but the truth is that Matt has spent a lot of time in Colorado this summer and decided after some research that a fast run on the Colorado Trail would be AWESOME, record time or not. so he’s out there, tired and hurting, but the way he feels now is inherently a part of why we love to run long distances. You might say that Matt is in his element right now. He’s also in the elements right now, traversing through the hardest and possibly coolest section on the Trail. So wish him luck!
Also – Sean Meissner should know that I am much more adept at sleeping upstairs in the Eurovan than he is, as well as living out of the van in general, as stated by Matt himself. So take that!
Day 5 – Matt is traversing through the saguache range right now, and I’m looking up at the mountains from a cafe in Buena Vista. This range just south of Leadville has the highest concentration of 14er’s in the state, with something like 14 or 15 all crammed into a few square miles. The mountains are HUGE.
Day 3 ended with Matt coming into the Mt. Massive trailhead just before midnight. I was psyched because that meant we could all get some sleep finally. But no, Captain Energy was riding high and decided to do the next section right then. So Ben and I fueled him up and then dragged our sleep deprived selves around to the next spot, above Twin Lakes. We got to sleep a little before three and then slept in until seven. Awesome.
Day 4 was painful. Matt had not had enough sleep and the mounting fatigue brought him down early in the day. He took a nap at one point, but it still wasn’t quite enough to get him going. So we decided to finish the day a little early, with slightly less than 40 miles for the day. The logic behind this was that Matt could hang out at camp a little, eat a lot and catch up on sleep. We had a lot of fun last night just lounging around with zero stress about crew points or sleep deprivation.
So now he’s on to day 5 and feeling pretty good, all things considered. He’s a little behind the desired pace but we are all confident that last nights extra rest will provide an advantage in the end. The challenge he has taken on is pretty incredible, but he is holding up amazingly well considering he’s run nearly 250 miles in the last 4.5 days. Yikes. Crewing for him is like a longer version of crewing for a 100, but being a part of this is really exciting and makes me want to do something similar myself. But not for a while. Thanks again to all the sponsors. We’re going into Salida today to pick up supply drops at the post office, courtesy of Nuun, Black Diamond and Montrail. I’ll update this again as soon as possible.
Day 3 – Ok, last day, felt good. Started out the day in a beautiful spot, amazing Swiss Breakfast, and sunrise over the mountains. Does it get any better than this? I felt for Erin this morning. Today is a logistical challenge with portering everyone around to different locations. First Topher and I had to get an early start to avoid getting in at 7pm again like the last two days. Scott needed to get photos on the first leg and 3rd leg today. We had a nice 3 mile flat section to start out on so Erin dropped Scott off at the start of the climb then shuttle him from the end of section 1 to section 3 while going back to pick up the others so they could do sections 2 an 3, then go around to the finish to meet us at the top of the last climb just because it’s one of the most beautiful spots on the course. Each section has one big climb of 2500-3000ft. All of them steep. Both Topher and I were fatigued and knew that it would be a tough one. Today we had a deadline of sorts, so no dilly dallying at stops. He had a meeting in Chamonix at 4pm with a retailer. Always “on”, always committed. So that’s the day in a nutshell.
Our first climb was the Bovine, a tough technical climb that involves big steps and lots of boulders. The photography on this section should look pretty cool, in your face, gritty. We climbed up and over, nothing remarkable…except every corner, every mile, every step of this trail is paradise. There isn’t a section of this course that isn’t just incredibly spectacular from the high mountain passes with immense panoramas over multiple countries, wooded tracks winding through deep alpine forests, luminescent rivers of glacial silt flowing through valleys, backdrops of larger than life glaciers that are begging you to reach out and touch, quaint villages that belong only in fairy tales of youth or another time altogether, scenes of mountain huts that can only exist in an artist’s mind and created on canvas, brutal climbs and even harsher downhills. I hope the experience from the past few days is starting to come across or at least peaking your interest as a trail running must do. The second climb of the day up the Catogne was the toughest. A non-technical grunt of a climb it was the steepest sustained climb we’ve had. Hiking all the way and steep. The others had left about 10-15min prior to Topher and I arriving at the bottom in the town of Trient. We were pushing to catch Brian, Lisa and Leslie before the top and we just caught them. They were moving pretty well too. Then it was down the other side to Vallorcine and the final climb up to Tete aux Vents.
Unfortunately, coming down to Vallorcine Topher’s quad tightened up and began to give him problems. He decided to forgo a 3mile flat section to take some time to work it out but to no avail. We began the climb up to Tete aux Vents but he realized that his quad would slow him down. One thing I’ve learned about Topher over the last three days is that he doesn’t take the easy way out. The motto for the trip became “the hard way”. If there was a fork in the trail, we took the hard way. Topher and I share some of the same ideals such as this. I’ve always been enamored by the hard way even if sometimes I feel like I don’t live up to my own expectations. It’s the romantic in me again. You can learn a lot about a person by which path they choose, you can learn a lot about yourself if you test your limits. It causes you to look inside and see if you’re really as strong as your mind thinks you are. It tests your tenacity when it’s tough to press on. The only way to train yourself, to get tougher is to take the hard way and push and test your limits. Spending a few days with Topher putting our bodies through physical duress I learned a lot about him and he learned a lot about me. I appreciate what came out of our relationship on the trail and that his choice in life is “the hard way”. With the photographers Scott and Seb waiting at the top already, I went ahead with a push to the top. Final climb of the day, of the trip, might as well blow it out if I could. So I pushed hard, ran as much as I could and thought of how I might feel racing the distance I had covered in the last three days. Questions arose. I felt good on this climb after 30 miles a day for the past three days, but I’d had two nights sleep with full meals during that time as well and as you know it’s amazing what a night of sleep can do for recovery. Could I do it? Could I run the UTMB? Covering over 100 miles, 9500m of accent in 20 hours. I don’t know if I could. Obviously it would be prudent to try an easier 100 miler first or the CCC (Courmayeur – Champex- Chamonix) 98km race first. But I don’t know, it’s just something I’ll have to find out. I ran most of the climb and was spent by the top, we shot some video for about 30-45min then Scott and I wandered down the trail to look for a few good shots. Two hours later we finished up. The blazing high alpine sun had wiped me out, I felt just baked, dehydration was setting in, I was glad the day was about over. Just one little 3000ft decent to go and I would be back in Chamonix. Down I went. Glad to be about finished but at the same time wishing it didn’t have to end. Glad I was shaded again by the alpine conifers, but sad that I was decending to civilization and a van that would take us out of this spectacular setting.
As I write this Matt Hart is headed up and over the top of Copper Mountain on day 3 of his epic Colorado Trail run. He left this morning a little later than planned, but the extra sleep is good for him (and me) and he is feeling ready to keep moving fast.
Two days ago he began running from the Waterton Canyon trailhead outside of Denver at 4 am. While he ran, I drove his van around to different spots to crew for him. This is a feat in itself, since the van is a VW eurovan intended for the roads. To put things into perspective, I’m pretty sure the damn thing doesn’t have suspension, and this makes for a rather jolted ride along dirt roads. Everything went well throughout the day until the very end, when we suffered from a problem called “dumbass crewchief” that involved my going to the wrong spot to pick him up and him finishing the run with no van and no supplies. Oops. This created no small amount of fuss, but I eventually managed to retrieve him from the terrors of a chain smoking veteran housed in a dilapidated trailer and we pushed on in our journey.
Day two saw Matt off at 5 am using his poles right from the start. Roch Horton and Black Diamond were kind enough to donate a pair of awesome poles for Matt to use on the trail, and he has carried them nearly the entire trip thus far. He ran up and over Kenosha pass, down into South Park, up and over Georgia Pass, down into Breckenridge and then up again and finally over the ten mile range into Copper Mountain, finishing at about 10:00 pm. Part of the way he ran with Scott Jaime, who came out from Denver to run and share his experience from running the trail last September. Scott had to return home, but his advice and information continues to be extremely helpful to our cause. From Breckenridge to Copper Matt had the company of Good Ben Reeves, co-crew-chief and friend of everyone. Ben has given us his home, his time and his experience, without which we would be in a lot worse shape. Thank you Ben. Most people who run the CT plan for months in advance; we planned for less than a week. This puts a lot of stress on everyone involved and can slow the supply train considerably. Nevertheless, our sponsors have come through admirably. Clif Bar sent a goodie box full of energy and an exciting, unmarked new gel for us to test. Nuun hooked us up with enough electrolytes for a lightning storm and Black Diamond sent over some awesome poles that Matt says he couldn’t do without. But Montrail above all has stepped up to the plate with gear, shoes and support from the outside. Montrail has been in trail running from the beginning of the sport and they continue to support huge adventures in beautiful places, like Matt’s attempt at running an average of 58 miles per day along the Colorado Trail. Matt refuses to run in anything besides the Rockridges – a testament to the durability of Montrail’s road/trail hybrid shoe. Seeing how they hold up on this terrain proves that nothing but time can wear out these shoes. This didn’t happen overnight. Montrail tests their products for years on the toughest trails on the planet, like the Colorado Trail, and the result are the highest quality trail shoes on the market.
Keep checking Matt’s twitter page throughout the day and the week for periodic updates on his progress, and I’ll try to post a few more blogs online before he finishes. But I have to get out to Camp Hale and start making him some pancakes before he blows through there without me!
Day 2 – Stiff but not sore. Amazing. Thought for sure after that decent yesterday I would be. We got outta Dodge, I mean Courmayer, around 8:30 after another amazing meal. Everything is so authentic here, well duh right. Toph and I pushed hard up the first climb right out of Courmayeur with Scott trailing. This morning I was trying out Lisa’s poles, or sticks as they call them here. They’re basically essential gear for this terrain and everyone here uses them. I’ve always wondered why they’ve barely caught on in the US and we trail runners kind of mock the Euro’s for using them, but mock no more will I. I see why they are necessary. These trails are so steep they aren’t really runnable for any extended run of more than like 1 mile. Our first climb out of town was about 2500-3000ft in 3 miles. Yeah, I could run it but I wouldn’t be running the next 25 after that. I’d be trying to find my collapsed lungs on the side of the trail and reviewing my breakfast in the most unpleasant way. The sticks do help on these trails and I definitely saved my legs a bit using them on this climb while keeping up with Topher. Guess I need to start XC skiing in the winter more to work on those lats. From the top of the climb we had a beautiful fairly flat traverse of about 10miles where we did all of our photography and video for the day. We worked with Scott getting shots in a few locations down the trail before running into the Bonati Hut where we met up with Sebastian and Fred for some filming and interviews. It’s hard to get a bad shot in a location like this. Lush green hills full of wildflowers, glacial rivers rushing down the hillsides, and picturesque stables high above the Val de Aosta floor made for some incredible scenery. I think the shots we got today will make up an amazing experience for viewers. Check out the video at Mountain Hardware in a few weeks. I’ll post a link to it on this blog when it’s up and keep an eye out for photos in PR stuff next year.
Down the trail we met up with Erin and the gang for delicious Italian potato and rosemary pizza and Coke. It was nice that we were taking it slow and relaxing a bit between sections so that we could enjoy the finer foods of the region. That wouldn’t go over too well in a race but for this, it made the whole experience just that much more enjoyable to be able to fully experience the culture of the region. After all, we had to fuel up, we had another 3000ft climb to the highest point on the course, the Col du Ferret. In the interest of time and getting in before dark, Topher and I pushed on pretty hard as the others were going to skip the last 10miles. All told we shot photos and video for 4hrs today. That adds a lot of time on the feet and Topher and I definitely were feeling it in the final miles today. We cruised down the climb, stopped for an apple torte in La Poule, pushed on to La Fouly where we stopped for an ice cream, I had a Shrek Popscicle, it was delicious. It’s amazing how good something like that can taste after 20 hard miles and about 8hrs on your feet. One final climb of about 2000ft up to Lac Champex and we were home for the night. Lac Champex is an interesting little town geographically. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before. It’s set in a Col or mountain saddle and while one side slides away gently the other is a straight up cliff face. The latter is the side our hotel was on. Literally. Probably the sweetest hotel location I’ve seen. 2000ft above the valley the yard of the small inn went right to the edge. Awesome. We all sat down to a delicious homemade dinner by the owner, another friend of Topher’s, watched the final of the World Cup, and went to bed.
Day 1 – Knowing how capable and tough Topher is I still thought he was crazy when I heard his plan was to arrive in Chamonix at 11pm the night before we were to start our adventure. The crew picked him up at his hotel at 7am looking fresh as a daisy… or the president of a world wide brand that needs to be “on” 24/7. I liked his enthusiam. As most of you know, running is unique in that it gives back more energy to the body than it takes out, but Topher is unique. There are few people that I’ve met that can maintain that kind of spark through situations with obvious fatigue. This morning was no exception. We had an hour drive around to Les Contamines but got started on the trail by 9am. Traveling quickly we crossed the valley and made our way up to tree line around 6,000ft up though the dense alpine forest. One up to the bowl below the Col we were greeted with green European pastures, sweeping views of the valley we climbed up from, and a few homes dotting the hillsides the trail passes by. We’d climbed about 1500ft and still had about 2500 to go before the top but we were fresh this morning and traveling well. Putting our heads down (metaphorically of course, I couldn’t take my eyes off the vast mountain hillsides and expansive views) we crested the top, took some pics, and headed down the other side.
One aspect of the European trails that was evident pretty quickly was they never choose the easiest path just the shortest path. Just like the trail up the mountain, the trail going down was straight down, none of this wishy-washy switchbacky stuff, the trail gets to where it needs to be in a straight line. They decided to forgo saving joints for saving a bit of time when they made the trails here. Needless to say we made pretty quick work of a 2500ft decent. Topher and I hit the hut at the bottom and while he ordered some butter sandwiches with a little ham and cheese, I went back up to make sure the others were on the right track. As the token sponsored athlete I assumed the responsibility of keeping track of everyone and making sure they had what they needed and remained in good spirits. The last thing you want is for someone writing a story about their experience to have a bad one to write about. Keeping a positive feel and outlook to the adventure makes a huge difference in the perception of the trip in the days and weeks afterward. Of course adventures like this are supposed to be difficult, a chance to challenge yourself, and find your limits while keeping it enjoyable and rewarding for everyone involved. And you don’t want to lose anyone, that will definitely put a damper on the trip. The way Erin had the trip set up was that she would meet us at two designated locations that she could get to during the day, effectively splitting each day roughly into thirds so that the journalists and photographer could hop on and off as they wished. Thirty miles is tough for anyone to do on any terrain and the mountains, rough trails, and heat made these thirty miles especially challenging. After coming down the Col de la Seine Topher and I dropped off Brian, Scott, and Lisa and picked up Leslie for the final 8-9miles up and over our third climb of the day and down 3000ft into Courmayer. Topher and I were feeling the time on our feet at this point just as the others were but we were in it for the long haul. Leslie was awesome heading up the 2500ft climb as the weather moved in and we made quick work of a beautiful, but brutal final climb. Because of the hot weather, the thunderheads moved in covered the tops of the peaks with a mysterious thick grey mist and cast a damp shadow on the landscape. The feeling of running to the distant sound of thunder is reminiscent of a grand expedition, a mission even, that must be accomplished at all cost. It takes on an air of melancholy urgency. It always puts me in the scene of an adventure movie and inspires me to a greater effort. Yeah, I guess it’s the romantic in me.
The decent into Courmayer is a brutal one, but first we had to rendezvous with with Jockomo. You know the characters in movies that play the supporting role of the unique old friend with lots of fantastic history behind him, this is Jockomo. An old friend of Tophers from the race, he stops by his small but quaint lodge at the top of the Courmayeur pass about once a year during his training pilgrimage. He was kind enough to treat us to the freshest marinara pasta this side of Tuscany and a shot of Jagermeister, because what run isn’t complete with out a little Jager, mmm. And talk about a character, Jockomo’s lodge is a hodge podge of memorabilia from his life in the mountains, Photos, posters, and other items cover the walls to make his hut one of the most memorable on the tour. A picture of Jockomo racing his motorcycle is pinned up next to one of him riding horses next to a poster of him during a speed record attempt on skis. This is of course punctuated by the occasional poster of a scantily clad woman in a thong bikini like an old auto garage or man cave, because, after all, he is Italian, right?
Another bone jarring, joint smashing, quad destroying decent to Courmayeur would lead us to our Italian hotel and a gorgeous dinner that wouldn’t be complete without Italian wine and Caprese salad. Thus ends day one. Yeah, I’m beat but taking stock of my condition I’m in good shape for what tomorrow brings. Good night.
Prologue – In true European tour form, our first full day in the Alps today (Friday) was a kind of prologue day. After sleeping late to acclimate to the new time zone Erin, Brian, Leslie, and I took the tram up to the Aiguille du Midi at over 12,000ft where we were treated to spectacular views of the Chamonix Valley, the peaks around Mont Blanc, and a history on the climbing tradition in the mountains. How many places have you seen that goes from 3500ft to more than 12,000ft inside of about a mile or two. The steepness and vertical gain of these mountains is what is makes them so spectacular and impressive by the numbers.
We took the tram back down to mid mountain where we could catch a trail that traverses over to the Mer de Glace. Before setting out we sat down on a rock for a traditional French picnic with salami, local cheese, French wine, and freshly baked bread. The plan was to run the 3-4mile traverse to the glacier and I figured a large lunch with some spicy salami might make the run more interesting. It was a beautiful warm cloudless day with a light breeze.
Brian and I set off down the granite strewn boulder trail at a comfortable pace and we would meet back up with Erin and Leslie at the Inn at the Mer de Glace. It was hard to keep my eyes on the trail with the views I was surrounded by but I managed not to sprain an ankle. It was amazing to me how many people were up in the mountains and hiking. We passed probably 40 people or more in a 3 mile section.
Brian and I arrived to a beautiful overlook of the Mer de Glace (sea of ice for those of you that don’t speak French, I don’t either). We hopped down the trail after a few pictures and ended up at one of the many refuges (kind of a lodge or hut with an Alps feel) in the trail network. This one was pretty large with an inn and a train station for the cog rail way that comes up 3000ft from Chamonix. Brian and I sat down for a beer on the outdoor patio to enjoy just being in the mountains on such a great day. And that we did, with the train rolling by every 20min or so, the aesthetics of the inn and patio with fellow hikers, alpine breezes in the pines and firs, and the glacier sitting below it is hard not to sit back, relax, and think to yourself, there’s really no place I’d rather be. It’s hard to put words to how being in the mountains in a setting like this can make you feel. As they say, a pictures worth a thousand words, and a picture never does it justice. So I would suggest ya’ll just experience it for yourself sometime. To tune the legs for the next couple days in the mountains I decided to work the quads on the downhill back to Chamonix, so that’s what I did. It was a wake up call to how the mountains would test me over the next few days.
The others took the unique cog rail down and we met back for dinner in Chamonix with Fred (the MHW dude from Annecy), Sebastian (a local mountain guide and our videographer on Sun and Mon), and Scott (our photographer that would make the whole trip with us). We talked logistics after a beautiful French meal and went over the maps with our route and the gear we would need. Then it was to bed with anticipation of what the next few days held during our run around the rooftop of Europe, around Mont Blanc.
Check out more pics on my Facebook page. And check out our route around the mountain at http://www.ultratrailmb.com/page/64/Visitez%20le%20Tour%20du%20Mont-Blanc.html.
Denver, CO – In a striking news event now unfolding in the Denver area, a “new breed” of ultrarunner has announced plans to take on the Colorado Trail in its entirety. The gruesome monster has been sighted numerous times along the front range scavenging for supplies and gear for its trek across the state.
Matt Hart, a longtime Montrail runner and former human being, reportedly took last year off to recover from a neuroma in his foot. However, inside sources have reported that he was undergoing some highly questionable scientific experiments in the backwoods of Washington, which would explain his recent transformation into an entirely new breed of runner. When not eating chunks of raw flesh or hacking locks of scraggly brown hair off his head with a machete, this new breed can be seen running confidently across mountain passes in a pair of dirty Rockridges.
The hideous beast’s latest endeavor on the Colorado Trail was declared just last night to the world via a tweet on its online coaching service coachingendurance.com. Suspicion of its intentions is rife amongst the online community as it says it isn’t focused on the record so much as the “experience” or the “challenge.” The terrifying behemoth also mentioned that since it will be consuming close to 15,000 calories per day it would need to take full advantage of a crew and even of hikers on the trail. Analysts say this could mean it is looking forward to the experience and challenge of eating nothing while on the trail except for hikers and its crewmembers.
Scientists are unsure what this new breed of runner could mean for the outdoors community at large. Details on its physiology and eating habits are sparse, as most people searching for information have disappeared for long periods of time and turned up in exotic places several months later with no recent memory. However, the bottle wielding fiend’s ability to move fast cannot be questioned, since this year only it has taken third place in the Orcas Island 50k, set the speed record on the Zion Traverse and run under ten hours in the San Juan Solstice 50 mile race, all with only minimal spectator casualties. As this article goes to press, word has reached us that the National Guard has been deployed to several points along the trail to prevent the sickening ogre from committing its normal quota of atrocities, like going so fast along the trail that it could be finished in just over a week.
Hardrock is my favorite race in the whole world. It embodies the reason I run ultras: for the challenge, the adventure and the camaraderie between all the runners, volunteers and crews. This past weekend I had the privilege of being a part of the race for the third year in a row. The overpowering current of Hardrock swept me into the sport at my first exposure and has continued to inspire me ever since.
I didn’t run the race and so I don’t have a report to post. But suffice to say that anyone who can run 100 miles in the San Juans is impressive. Most of these people aren’t there to win or to set records, but to live the experience of being up high in Colorado pushing themselves to their limits. Every runner at Hardrock is an intense athlete with maximum aspirations for success, no matter their goals, but a few runners stood out this weekend as stunning examples of hardened endurance. Diana Finkel led the race for more than fifty miles, nearly winning outright and setting the women’s clockwise course record. She has raced Hardrock several times before and always stands out as someone who can kick ass in the face of the toughest extremes. Her achievement this past weekend was downright incredible and should definitely be considered as the performance of the year.
Jared Campbell won the race and nobody has ever deserved it more. This was his sixth time running Hardrock and while he has always run fast his times have never been quite enough to win it, until this year. Jared is quite possibly the nicest person I have ever met, and together with his wife Mindy they make a great race even better. Thanks for the ride Mindy!
And finally Darcy Africa ran through pain and hardship to secure an unbelievable fourth place overall on her first Hardrock attempt. Running with her allowed me to see what running fast on the Hardrock course is really like, and seeing how she dealt with fatigue and suffering was positively incredible. The kind of success Darcy has had throughout her career says a lot about the kind of person she is, and I was privileged to get to run with her. Congratulations to Diana, Jared and Darcy, along with every other person who participated in this awesome race, for their stunning performances in the San Juans this weekend – you make Hardrock look like fun.
Hey Colorado, you asked for it, and now you’ve got it. The Montrail Ultra Cup will be coming to Colorado!! More specifically, to gorgeous Steamboat Springs, where the Run Rabbit Run 50 takes place on September 18, 2010.
The Run Rabbit Run 50, also known as the Steamboat 50, will take place for the 4th time this year and features a race limit of roughly 150. The race currently has plenty of openings left so get registered right away.
“The course is a spectacular 50 mile run through the beautiful mountains and fall colors of the Routt National Forest of northern Colorado. The race starts bright and early at the Steamboat Springs ski area (elevation, 6,900 feet) and proceeds up, up, up to Mount Werner (elevation, 10,568 feet) then goes up and down and up and down some more and then across the Continental Divide to Rabbit Ears Mountain (elevation, 10,500 feet) before heading back and way down to the ski area. ”
“The course will have nearly 9,000 feet of climbing. This course will test the endurance and spirit of any runner, whether you’re a tortoise or a hare.”
As with all Montrail Ultra Cup races longer than 50km, the Run Rabbit Run 50 will be awarding Western States spots to the top 2 men and women finishers at this year’s event. The course record is 7 hours and 26 minutes, held by Colorado’s own Ryan Birch. See you in Steamboat in a few months!
The full schedule and official launch of the 2010/2011 Montrail Ultra Cup will take place next week. Stay tuned! At that point you’ll be able to go online and register for the 2010/2011 Ultra Cup series. In the mean time, get registered for Run Rabbit Run, as well as Where’s Waldo 100k and Vermont 50, our first three races of the series.
This race was amazing. Below is the link to my blog – thank you Montrail for continuing to sponsor amazing races. I have had a great Montrail Cup Season to see so many different races, but a couple of things in common to them all, 1. True beauty – trails, terrain – all different, all wonderful. 2. Organization is phenomenal. So important to making an athlete feel comfortable and able to continue on.
Thanks again, and looking forward to the next Montrail Ultra Cup Series!
Wow, guess where I am. It’s stunningly beautiful beyond your(my) imagination. I’m surrounded by grand mountains, quaint chalets and an absurdly amazing trail network that surpasses just about everything I have ever seen. If you’ve every been to Chamonix, France before you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t I suggest that if you like mountains and trail running, or are just an outdoor freak in general that you drop in for a visit at some point in life because pictures truly do not do the Alps justice. It is more spectacular than I could have imagined from any picture I would ever see. I’ve included a few pictures from the valley just for kicks anyway though. The reason I’m here and blogging it up is that Mountain Hardwear has invited me to Chamonix and Mont Blanc for a media trip/training adventure with Topher Gaylord and a few awesome magazine editors. With Topher’s new position at Mountain Hardwear and his connection to the UTMB race here in late August MHW put together this trip as a get to know Topher. So that’s what we’re going to do for the next couple of days. The plan is a three day training block for Topher’s upcoming UTMB race over 75miles of the trail. Since we just arrived today, tomorrow is an acclimation day of some hiking and running. Saturday the real fun begins. We’ll be traveling to Les Contamines and starting our 49km run at that point to Courmayeur in Italy. Day two will be 47km from Courmayeur to Champex in Switzerland and the final day is about 45km from Champex back to Chamonix. I’ll be keeping a blog going on how the trip is going and all the grand adventures as we traverse mountain trails in France, Italy, and Switzerland. I’ve only been here a few hours and already am having the trip of a lifetime. Delicious French food, homemade candy, spectacular scenery, beautiful Swiss (I guess technically they’re French) Chalets, an awesome trail run in the mountains, and now I’m doing a little work on the computer while admiring the warm summer mountain air with an amazing view of the high peaks. Training has never been so sweet. Ok, gotta sleep. More later.
Montrail is proud to announce that the Wasatch Wobble will be back again for the 15th running of this fun 5k trail run. The Wasatch Wobble takes place during the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, UT.
What: 15th annual Wasatch Wobble 5k – Badrock Battle
Where: Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Start is just north of Red Butte Gardens, Salt Lake City
When: August 5th, 2010 at 6:45am
Why: All proceeds from registration are donated to the Conservation Alliance
Who: Event is only open to Outdoor Retailer trade show attendees
Theme: Superhero!! Badrock Battle is a nod to the new Spring 2011 trail running shoe from Montrail, the Badrock, as well as Badrock the superhero. Dress up in Superhero costume for a chance to win the costume contest.
Registration: Stop by the Montrail booth #25001 on Tuesday or Wednesday, August 3rd or 4th, to register and receive your runner goodie bag!!
Co-Sponsors: Mountain Hardwear, nuun, Nathan Sports, Tech4O, Darn Tough, Jetboil, Clif Bar and Trail Runner Magazine
Prizes: Grand prizes will be awarded to the best Superhero costumes. Other prizes will go to 1st place male and female finisher, Most Push-Ups, Largest Rock Carried Across the Finish Line, and other Superhero related course challenges that will be implemented.
Transportation: Don’t drive, take a bus. Buses stage at the Salt Palace East Entrance at 5:45am and depart at 6am sharp. Buses will return runners upon completion of the race, around 7:45am
I know we’re closing in on two weeks since ‘The Big Dance’ but that funny thing called work has gotten in the way of me finally putting my thoughts to a race report.
It’s rather lengthy, but then again so is running 100 miles I guess!
You can find the race report here,
I really owe a big thank you to Montrail on this one, outside of providing me with the best footwear to cover 100 miles in, I finally got to meet most of the team. It’s a pretty special thing to be a part of such a talented and fun group of individuals. AND, I got a sneak peek at what’s coming your way in 2011…honestly, I pretty much have goosebumps right now, the new footwear is incredible. It just keeps getting better and that’s pretty impressive considering what’s been released in the last two years. I’m pretty sure you’re going to LOVE IT! CAN’T WAIT!
As I write I am on the plane heading home from this adventure. Though this was not a focus race for me, it was fun and hard and joyful and now that “race weekend” is over, I am feeling tired and relieved and just a little lost….
Many amazing things happened out there for many people. The men’s race was a true dual of fitness and tenacity and passion. A record number of runners finished. Some dropped. What I am writing is just a glimpse of this past Saturday from my own little world…http://annettebednosky.blogspot.com/2010/06/staying-in-bounds-of-my-training.htm
With all the coverage and attention this last weekend being paid to Western States 100, Ellie Greenwood quietly continues to kick butt in her races up in Canada.
Ellie raced the Scorched Sole 50 Miler in British Columbia and ran to a 1st place overall win in a time of 7:58:49. This is Ellie’s 2nd outright win this year, she’s on a tear and we’re excited to see how things shake out for her in the remainder of the running season.
Congratulations Ellie! Race report here.
As we knew would happen, the standings shifted based on finish times at Western States 10o. Congratulations to the champions and to the top 5 men and women in the Ultra Cup standings. Here’s how it shook out:
1. Glen Redpath – 248.85 points
2. Geoff Roes – 229.65
3. Rod Bien – 215.99
4. Erik Skaden – 214.08
5. Victor Ballesteros – 204.20
1. Meghan Arbogast – 253.48
2. Annette Bednosky – 247.69
3. Pam Smith – 243.28
4. Jill Perry – 203.01
5. Joelle Vaught – 186.63
Complete standings can be found at Real Endurance. Stay tuned for announcements regarding the 2010/2011 Montrail Ultra Cup series.
Congratulations to Geoff Roes on his win and new course record at Western States 100!!! Geoff turned on the after burners at about mile 75, where he was 12 minutes behind the leaders, Anton and Kilian. Geoff eventually caught them at mile 89 and never looked back, en route to a new course record time of 15:07:04
Here’s how the other Montrail athletes finished:
Gary Robbins – 6th place overall
Erik Skaden – 11th place overall
Joelle Vaught – 7th place female
Annette Bednosky – 8th place female
Luanne Park – 13th place female
Jill Perry – 23rd place female
Congratulations to all the runners of the 2010 Western States 100!!
At 5:00 in the morning on Saturday, June 19, almost 200 runners stood at the start line in Lake City, Colorado. Fellow Montrail athlete Matt Hart and I stood amongst this group in nearly new pairs of Rockridges. We have been living together in his van for the past week touring around Colorado, and we were both looking forward to a great race. The San Juan Solstice 50 mile run began sixteen years ago with less than thirty runners and has steadily grown in size to the point that this year the race sold out in about ten hours. The cause of this can be attributed to many factors, but to me the largest draw was the aesthetic perfection of the course. This race has no out and back or paved sections – it is largely singletrack, with a few gnarly jeep roads, and the parts that aren’t on trail merely strike out across the tundra in a line of little red flags stuck in the grass. But quite possibly the most striking difference from other races is the fact that the race has 13,000 feet of cumulative uphill, the low point of which is the town of Lake City, at about 8,600 ft. The first half of the race features two solid 4,000+ ft. climbs, and the second one tops out at 13,300 ft. That’s really high. Maybe you’re like me and have hiked 14-er’s and thought to yourself, “this isn’t bad. I can totally breathe up here.” But running at that altitude is an entirely different scenario, and can be extremely frustrating when your legs won’t let you move up a hill that would be totally runnable 4,000 ft. lower. This is the way everyone on the course felt last Saturday when we were running the 9-mile section across the top of the Continental Divide, which was completely above timberline. This is why I wanted to run this race; because the course invites runners to challenge ourselves in some of the most difficult and beautiful mountains in the world. I ran/hiked (more hiking) up the top of the first climb with Gary Gellin, Ryan Burch and Scott Jaime. This section features about nine creek crossings, most of which we just splashed right through Hardrock-style. At the top of the climb, around 12,800 ft., I was leading the race, but Ryan Burch easily caught me on the downhill. I tried to keep up with him while also attempting to save my legs for later in the race, and in the midst of this concentration managed to trip on a rock and completely flatten myself into a small creekbed. How this happened is still beyond me, but without thinking I was suddenly on my back in the water, with an extremely bloody knee and bloody wrists, as well as mud all over my right arm and shoulder. Fortunately this was only a flesh wound, and I managed to rally like a Spartan and finish the descent with my bottles slipping on the dripping blood. Trust me, this sounds way worse than it really was. The second aid station was at the bottom of the mountain, and my parents were there being an amazing crew which allowed me to hardly falter as I switched my water bottles and pulled ahead of Ryan. After that we climbed all the way up to the top of the Divide in a huge push, and just below the top I switched my water bottles for a pack in anticipation of the long dry section along the top. Once on top the hills did not end. In addition to a debilitating lack of oxygen that reduced my pace by a depressing amount and forced me to walk on many nearly flat sections, the ridge goes up and down in countless small peaks that frankly hurt. A lot. But somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, the section did come to an end eventually and I got to the Colorado Trail’s yurt aid station in about 5:32. A few more miles and a little over an hour brought me to mile 40 at the Slumgullion aid station, which my mom and I executed flawlessly. I didn’t even break stride as I flew down the hill, threw my pack and grabbed my bottles for the final ten. This may or may not be on video somewhere online, but I’m quite proud of our efficiency. At about this point I looked at my watch and realized that on a normal course I might actually have a shot at breaking Matt Carpenter’s record. 6:40 with ten miles to go, and the course record is 7:59. I got excited, and tried to run as much of the next 1,700 ft. climb as I possibly could, but came to the realization that this is in no way a normal course, and my CR chances were slim. Also, 1,700 feet for that last climb? I beg to differ. 9,700 ft. might be more accurate, or 170,000 ft. The uphill took me – this is a rough estimate here – two lifetimes. Maybe three. At the top the little flags were happy to indicate that I was not on top at all, but had several hundred feet yet to go. This could best be described as painful. Eventually though I crested and flew down the rest of the trail. I knew I was out of reach of the record, but wanted to see how close I could get. The final aid station filled up one bottle and gave way to a little more uphill and then A LOT of steep downhill. The kind I like, with rocks and roots and turns and all kinds of fun. After my utter defeat going up the mesa I found my downhill skills were in much better condition than expected, and I careened down this section at a sub-6:00 mile pace. Three miles later I ran into town and was given the honor of having the race’s founder, Chip Lee, escort me to the finish line in 8:13. The San Juan Solstice 50 is without a doubt the most exciting race I have ever participated in. The combination of the altitude, the difficulty and the views made for an amazing experience I will never forget. The people of Lake City who put this race on were incredibly friendly and helpful and I could never thank them enough. I would like to send a special thank you to Annette from Lake City and to Chip and Cathy Lee, who were hospitable to us beyond the call of duty. They fed, housed and cheered for Matt and I throughout the weekend, and made our stay wonderful. We cannot thank them enough. The volunteers were also incredibly helpful. I had never been on the course before and didn’t get lost once thanks to the fantastic marking, and even though I rarely stop at aid stations for longer that 50 seconds they are essential to my racing strategy. And I’m not alone in this. This race was incredibly good to me, and I have nothing but good things to say about the town, the area and the race in general. I recommend the Lake City 50 to anyone who wants to challenge themselves in a beautiful place. Ryan Burch finished second with a PR of just over 8:40, and Sean O Rourke came in third in his first 50 mile race, which he signed up for the night preceding the race, and ran in a cotton shirt. Matt Hart finished in the top ten in 9:54 – overcoming a lack of altitude training to meet his sub – ten hour goal. He will continue to train hard for Wasatch later this summer. Matt and I are now in Crested Butte sleeping in his van again. Tomorrow he’s going to run to Aspen and the following day I’ll run to Leadville. On Thursday we both fly out to support friends at Western States. This is the life! Montrail runners on the road, training hard in beautiful places.
Setting His Sights on U.S. Mountain Running Championships
Max, the ultimate weekend warrior, works his job during the week and wins races on the weekend. Last weekend, on June 13th, he dominated the field at the USA Half Marathon Trail Championships in his hometown of Bend, OR. The home crowd cheered him on as he smashed the previous record by three minutes with finish time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, 53 seconds. View the clip from the local Bend news station here.
This coming weekend, Max heads to New Hampshire to compete in U.S. Mountain Running Championships at the Mount Washington Road Race. He’s hoping to do well and grab one of the six men’s spots on the U.S. Mountain Running Team. If all goes his way, Max will be travelling with the U.S. team to Kamnik, Slovenia to compete in the 26th Annual World Mountain Running Championships on Sunday, September 5th.
Canadian Montrail athlete and world mountain runner Syl Corbett reports here with an update from a recent race:
Whiteface Mountain lived up to its name last weekend. I ran the Whiteface Mountain Uphill Foot Race in NY. Rumor has it the top provides a panoramic view of the Adirondacks, New England and Canada. The race climbs 3,500 ft in 8 miles with a steady 8 % grade for the duration.
I was so tough I did my warm up inside a diner near the start. Actually, I’m not as tough as a runner I saw eating a stack of blueberry pancakes just 30 minutes before the start. It was pouring cats, dogs + a few other things as we waited for the gun to go off. The course wound its way up to an elevation of 4,867 ft. This race is very popular competitive event and serves as a great race leading up to the Mt Washington Road Race two weeks later. There were a few guys ahead of me, but I couldn’t really see them in the fog.
We were pummeled with hail on the last few switchbacks up the mountain. It was one of those races that makes you love your sport and warm strangers alike. Running straight through the finish line you end up in an amazing old castle-like tower the tourist bureau has converted into gift and coffee shop.
5 men finished ahead of me. Zack Rivers, a fellow international mountain runner, won on the men’s side. We were all smiles + whitefaces at the finish!
As we all know, it’s full on racing season, and here in California, the snow is finally melting up high, the rivers are raging and the mild temps of summer have set in along the Bay Area. Here at Montrail HQ, we’re pretty focused on Western States 100 in a few weeks, and man are we jazzed about it! At the same time though, there are events going on across the nation and Team Montrail athletes are out there getting it done.
Here’s what some of Team Montrail is up to right now:
Max King laid it down on Sunday at the Dirty Half trail half marathon in Bend, OR. The race was the USATF Trail 1/2 Marathon National Championship and brought out some incredible talent.
Max had a great day and won the race in a time of 1:11:03, good for a new course record. Sopagna Eap won for the women and also set a new course record.
Click through for the full article.
Congrats Max! Good luck next weekend in New Hampshire at the Mt. Washington Road Race!
I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a few months now. Ever since American River really but I needed some time to mull over my race and how it ended up for me. This isn’t so much a recap of American River but more of a what’s next and how do I get there kind of story. And I’ll come out with it now and up front for those of you who want to know the truth, Ultra running is HARD, it’s harder than I ever could have imagined, it hurts. From a shorter distance time based approach of track and road racing it definitely doesn’t get the respect it deserves, even from me, at least until I’d run a few. Yeah, I know that’s pretty cocky, but trust me, I’ve been humbled by every ultra I’ve done, usually staggering in barely able to get one foot in front of the other. I still get harassed by the Skaggs boys and Shelton for having to walk “a hill” in the last mile of my first ultra. Sure, it may have barely been an uphill grade but at mile 30 of a fast 50k that can feel like a rock wall. Anyway, I haven’t figured out this distance over a marathon (or the marathon for that matter) yet, but I’m working on it. After American River I figured that I needed to take a step back and reassess how I was going to do that. Up until that point my plan was to just run more miles and run them in big chunks on the weekends sometimes. I’d let the speed take care of itself because it was more endurance that I was after. I’d had a decent buildup to AR, five 50ks as either Fat Asses or competitive races from January to April with one 40miler in there. Yeah, I know, that’s not enough but I figured it would at least be enough to make it better than the year before but whether it was or not is debatable. I ran 3min faster, and at 50 miles that’s barely a PR, but it’s still faster. And I was able to run within a few days of the race and had quite a bit less soreness than last year. So maybe that increase was enough to help but not enough to get me to where I want to be. I may be answering my own questions as I write this too. After feeling fairly frustrated after AR and also like I never wanted to run that far ever again for a few weeks (I’ve also figured out that’s more of a rule than an exception in Ultra running), I came up with a new plan. This new plan didn’t involve me winning Western States this year because clearly my goals (and ego) were way ahead of my legs. My new plan involves a mild progression of pain and suffering and getting back to what I’m good at while still progressing toward where I want to be. How’s that for a plan? Sounds more clear in my mind I think. In short, I’m working on the endurance I need for ultras while trying not to put as much pressure on myself and waiting for the strength to come. I’m adding in some shorter races into the plan that get me excited and keep me running fast. I’m using ultra races as a tool to get me stronger. Part of the challenge for me is the necessity to “race” when I’m in a race. In an Ultra, I’m not there yet. I’m out for a run, to hang on, to survive. I envy guys like Tony, Geoff, Hal, Uli and many others who can get in an ultra and really enjoy it as a spiritual like experience and really be able to race it. They’re tough. I’ve always had this desire to run these really great races in beautiful locations on great single track (like WS) and for it to be this great experience, but truthfully, once I start that race, I could care less where I’m running. For me it’s always been about the competition, head to head is my favorite. I do enjoy the long runs during training and those are very spiritual for me but when a gun is fired or “race” is attached my brain no longer has the ability to enjoy “where” I’m running, only who I’m running against. I don’t take it in, I block it out. Everything, but the guy in front of me. So that’s where I’m at. Working on strength and endurance while having some fun with my speed. (It’s weird to say that as I have about the least speed of anyone I race on the track) Tomorrow is the USA Trail Half Marathon Champs in my backyard. I’m going to start that race, going hard from the gun, and racing until there’s no one left to race. I’ll enjoy the post-race festivities at the finish line. Wish me luck.
Good luck to the Montrailians going for glory at WS. Have fun “racing” and try to at least enjoy the sunrise at mile 3 and that chair at the finish line.
With Western States 100 just over two weeks away, the attention of the ultrarunning world has once again focused on what will happen in the 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California.
This year, it’s safe to say that the men’s favorites include a few runners from overseas (Kilian Jornet, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki) and 3 American men who are blazing fast: Hal Koerner (two-time defending WS Champ), Anton Krupicka (two time Leadville 100 champ, 2010 Miwok champ), and Geoff Roes (Wasatch 100, Bear 100, and several other course records). Anton and Geoff have never run WS100 before, Hal has, several times. But Hal’s been beaten by both runners in other races in the past (Anton at Miwok 100k, Geoff at Wasatch 100). Maybe these things matter, maybe not. More than likely though, it’s just about who has the best day on June 26th.
We wanted to take a moment to congratulate and recognize Ellie Greenwood for some of her recent running accomplishments. Ellie lives in Banff, Alberta and has quietly been having an incredible year of running.
Ellie ran Orca’s Island 50k in February in a time of 4:36 but received a DQ for running the wrong direction. Oh well, it happens. She followed that up just a few weeks later at the Frozen Ass 50k and finished in 3:48, 1st woman, 4th overall.
In March Ellie ran Chuckanut 50k, a very challenging and competitive race, and finished 4:19, good for 2nd place female. After this race, Ellie trained and then tapered for her first ever 100k, the Elk-Beaver 100k in May. It’s safe to say Ellie crushed it. She won, outright, and clocked an incredible time of 7:36:40. That time is an unofficial female WORLD RECORD for 100km trail running. The IAU is currently working to confirm this record, but her time beats out the best women’s 100km runs of 2009, most of which were on the road. An incredible performance, to say the least.
Most recently, Ellie ran a half marathon in in Cranmore, Alberta in 1:36:13 and then went on to race the Calgary Marathon, where she smashed the female course record by 1o minutes, with a time of 2:52:21
What’s ahead for Ellie you ask? She’s planning to run Scorched Sole 50 Miler in British Columbia in June, the Knee Knacker 50km in Vancouver in July and possibly the White River 50 in late July.
Recently the Calgary Herald wrote an article on Ellie, read it here.
We encourage you to tune in to Ellie’s blog, where writes wonderful and detailed race reports and training updates.
Registration opens for the Trail Running and Wellness Retreat for Women
Trail Runner magazine’s Elinor Fish leads this mind-body health retreat in the Colorado Rockies July 30-August 1, 2010
Trail running’s popularity is booming, but go to any trail race and the men standing on the start line still largely outnumber the women, which is one of the reasons Trail Runner magazine’s Elinor Fish has made it her mission to entice more women to take their running off road. “While men are more comfortable with heading into the woods solo, women prefer learning how to do things safely and building confidence when taking up a new activity,” says Fish. “This retreat involves group trail runs during which we discuss how to stay hydrated, fuelled, safe and practice proper trail-running techniques.”
Such techniques include running up and down technical trails and even-energy expenditure, which is how to pace yourself on trails with variable terrain and difficult footing.
In addition to trail running, the all-inclusive program involves yoga classes designed for runners. “Yoga is great not only for stretching your muscles and working on flexibility, but also for making you aware of muscle imbalances and points of tension that can affect your running,” says Fish. Professionally led seminars will cover sports conditioning, nutrition, gear and injury prevention. And participants will enjoy free time to hike and soak in the solar-heated pool or hot tub.
Recently, Rowan, our Mountain Hardwear/Montrail Warranty Manager, received an incredible story from Pedro, an eco-tourism guide and Montrail faithful down south in Chile. Check this out:
Rowan – I also read your email signature and see that you work with Montrail footwear, let me tell you that I have been a Montrail costumer for many years, I work in the mountains and the sea of the islands, doing land and underwater excursions, I work on a boat all day and the only shoes I use and have behaved well are the Montrail. I am now living in Santiago because I lost my house and business in the earthquake and resulting tsunami, but I went to the island 15 days ago and went scubadiving to check the underwater situation. The sealife is ok, but a lot of things are underwater after the tsunami…tv, refrigerators, washing machines, cars, beds, clothes, etc, and you wont believe me but I found one of my Montrail shoes. Yes!! See the image…what are the chances of finding your own shoe , 80 feet underwater, two months later after a tsunami??
Crazy isn’t?? The shoe was in a fairly good condition, some seaweed on it but nothing terrible, unfortunately I just found one, the other is lost. I have a picture I will send it to you so you can show and tell this story, maybe Montrail can sponsor me with a new pair!!!!
Saturday June 5th is National Trails Day and we encourage you to get out there and honor thy trail! This national trail awareness day, instituted by the American Hiking Society in 1993, aims to “inspire the public and trail enthusiasts nationwide to seek out their favorite trails to discover, learn about, and celebrate trails while participating in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail work projects.”
Here at Montrail headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re fortunate to reside in an area where trails are plentiful and where National Trails Day has been fully embraced. Here’s a list of registered trail projects and events going on in California.
We encourage you to spend some time on the trails on Saturday. Take your kids out for a hike, go for a trail run, or better yet, volunteer some manual labor on one of your hometown trails. In the end, it’s all about discovering the trails and having fun.
What are your plans for National Trails Day?
June is here! What makes June such an exciting time? It’s the gateway to the summer months. School is out, temperatures are rising, snow is melting from the high country, and many of us will spend as much time outdoors as we can. The longer days mean more sunset runs after work and the time is now to take to the trails and start training for an upcoming trail race. Oh yeah, that’s another good thing about June, trail races galore! Here’s a sampling at some of the June trail races we’re supporting:
6/5/10 – Golden Gate Dirty Thirty – El Dorado Canyon, Colorado: 50km, 12 mile and 7 mile trail races on gorgeous single track in the Colorado foothills
6/5/10 – North Shore Trail Series race #1, Kupenda 5K Trail Race in Massachusettes
6/5/10 – Chicago Trail Series race #2, Trail Challenge 8k: single track trails in a forest preserve outside of Chicago
6/6/10 – USATF – New England Mountain Running Series, Pack Monadnock: 10 mile uphill race
6//12/10 – Wahsatch Steeplechase – Salt Lake City, UT: 17 miles of trail running and rock scrambling in this adventurous race
6/12/10 – Pagosa Peaks Trail Series race #1, Turkey Track Trail: marathon and half marathon on the trails of beautiful SW Colorado
6/19/10 – San Juan Solstice 50 – Lake City, CO: this challenging 50 miler is sold out again this year, and runners will likely deal with the snow at the higher elevations
6/19/10 – Highlands Sky Trail Run – Davis, WV: a 40 mile trail run on scenic single track trail of mountainous West Virginia
6/19/10 – Great Adirondack Trail Run – Keene Valley, NY: 12 mile trail run in upstate NY
6/20/10 – Mt. Hood Scramble – Mt. Hood, OR: X-Dog Events throws down the gauntlet here at this challenging and unique scramble event
6/26/10 – Western States 100 – Squaw Valley, CA: If you’re an ultrarunner or endurance athlete, you know about this one. It’s the big dance. It’s the Super Bowl for ultrarunning. Should be another exciting race.
Are you running a trail race in June? Tell us about it, and let us know your personal goal for the race.
Shoes: Mountain Masochist – perfect, pack – Nathan hydration pack
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Strong and steady, Erik Skaden prepares for another run at Western States 100, where he showed the young guns a thing or two last year with another top 10 finish:
The Western States Trail 100 is less than one month away. The races imminence will surely be felt this weekend for those taking advantage of the Memorial Weekend Training Runs in Foresthill, CA. The excitement should be building whether you are a participant, volunteer, crew, pacer, or athlete. As I approach my seventh start, I am looking forward to the uncertainty of race day, in terms of my performance relative to the new mix of elite ultra competitors. In these remaining days prior to the event, the number one topic most discussed will surely be those conversations related to snow conditions and race day temperature extremes. Will we experience another year of the triple whammy? That is, temperatures in excess of 100°, deep snow in the high country, and the ever-challenging California Trail.
See you all at Squaw,
It’s always interesting to get trail runners’ perspectives on road running. Some trail runners could be classed as trail snobs and wouldn’t run a step on tarmac even to get to a trail, claiming they have trails out their back yard or will ride or drive to a trail head instead of run on tarmac. I recently met an ultra runner and she described what seemed like agony of the one and only road marathon she had ever, and will ever, run. But run 100 miles on trails? No problem! I’m in a different camp and despite calling myself a trail runner I regularly hit the roads for a run, and even actually enjoy it.
One of the main reasons I road run is accessibility – roads right out of my door so if I only have a short time frame then there is no commute time to get to my run. But also I still enjoy racing on roads and one of the main reasons is that element of being able to compare and measure runs so easily. A PB on a set distance on roads is a PB, there’s not much discussion about the course, or the weather or the competition, if you set a PB then you quite simply know that you are in your best shape for that distance that you ever have been. But if you set a PB trail running there’s always going to be the discussion of was it an ‘easy’ course, was the trail in good shape etc and it is much harder to compare race times between two separate courses.
But all of that aside I truly believe that road running helps your trail running. Road running keeps your turn over fast and your cadence up, you get used to steady, long runs – rarely is there an excuse to hike a hill on a road run or take a walk break because of the road surface, you just learn to get those legs moving and turning over fast. This translates well onto the trails where you feel comfortable at steady continuous running and having an even pace. I’ve all too often see road racers convert to trail running (great!) but then they wonder why after a few months they are not getting faster, and I truly believe that throwing in an occasional road run would keep them monitoring their speed and remembering what an all out effort is like. I don’t want to seem like I’m implying that trail running is slow but the nature of many trails can lead you to drop off the pace and the once in a while reminder of what road running is like can, in my books, never harm your trail running. That said, I’m off to test my turnover at Calgary road marathon this weekend!
I love exploring new trails – the mystery of not knowing what the next turn will be. I feel like it is both exercise for my body as well as my mind. My imagination runs wild. I love watching my feet learn the rhythm of a new path.
My passion these days is exploring different parts of the Finger Lakes trails….a trail that is over 500 miles long which also includes additional link trails (adding more miles). It is easy to get lost in thought when out on these trails alone. Single track, rolling hills, creek crossing, very scenic…awesomeness. Thankfully for my Nathan hydration pack I am able to sustain a good amount of time without having to return(which is necessary when making long adventures solo!). I felt sustained for a good 5 hours.
The benefits for me going out alone is that I am at my own rhythm…learning my own breath, my own patterns of energy and how to work with them. It’s not easy to do long training runs solo, but the benefits pay off…a full focus on self, making mental notes of what is working.
So if you dare, why not take the road less traveled? Enjoy the mystery!
Eric Grossman, the beast of the East, reports here on his “choose your own adventure” weekend:
On Friday, May 28, a small group of us will start a 3-day 100+ mile run through the high country north and south of Damascus. We will cross White Top, and circle Mt. Rogers, the highest peaks in Virginia, connecting a loop of the Iron Mountain Trail and the Appalachian Trail.
I haven’t done a stage run since the “Tour De Appalachia” several summers ago. Byron Backer came along then, and is back to run this “3-day high country 100.” Annette Bednoskey, Jenny Nichols, and Jenny Anderson are coming along for at least parts of the run — and I’ll report back on the results.
I look forward to spending a few days on the mountain. The days are long, the sun is hot, and the air is thick. The trees promise shade, though, and the valleys water, and the mountaintops wind. View High Country 3-day in a larger map
Read the full version here.
If running is my first sweet love, then triathlon would be my first hearty lust, and after a painfully long hiatus from either type of racing I jumped in a triathlon this month for a pure dose of—unabashed satisfaction. It turned into the kind of really rich pleasure one only gains access to when years have offered perspective and the body’s been around long enough to sag a bit.
After a 13 year hiatus from completing a triathlon I, along with 2000 others, boarded the Hornblower Ferry in San Francisco for the 30th Anniversary of the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. As a 10 year pro triathlete happily extending my endurance endeavors into getting dirty with adventure racing, ultra running and mountaineering, I hadn’t planned to toe the ferry’s edge of this iconic event. But a special invitation for being a past winner (’90), combined with a year long injury rehab made the Escape appear … enticing. Kinda like the super cool old boyfriend who resurfaces when you haven’t had any action for a while. Might be fun to take him for another spin? The current Escape course doesn’t include the exquisitely brutal 18 mile trail run we completed in ’90 two weeks after racing in record wicked weather at the Kona Ironman, but it would be a challenging event. Surely it would provide me with the racing fix I sought? Lust satisfied? We’ll find out.
I’ve never stopped loving triathlons (or all the old boyfriends) for the richness they offered me as a maturing woman, but if my current body had cooperated with my tougher than ever mind I’d be running across a desert or doing a trail 100 miler in some remote part of the planet right now. As we mature sometimes we outgrow those old relationships. Perhaps they don’t support our desire for higher access to our personal development. If triathlon is increasingly about going around in circles, gear bling and designing itself for the masses, ultra trail races and remote adventures are a lesson in getting away from all that is socially contrived. As a pro I’ve done bling and high profile for many years. Events I seek these days feel more soulful, integrated in nature, dirty. But my body likes cross training best. And I was touched and honored by The Escapes’ invitation. The old lust came knocking and was looking pretty good in a dry spell, while I was desirous of a little racing satisfaction after a WAY too long injury rehab.
To jump randomly like a lemming from a cliff, into the frigid waters and strong currents of the SF bay a fair ways from shore suits me just fine, but in truth I wouldn’t have noticed if it were comfortable, or, arctic. In the fling of my lust for racing the gun went off and an innate switch was thrown in my brain. GAME ON! If my desire as an endurance athlete is to master the chess game of executing an optimal race while fine tuning the dials on my love relationship with pain and discomfort, I was psyched that all the ingredients I needed were immediately in focus at race start. These types of tests are as pure as I’ve experienced in this lifetime—a means to gain access to at least one truth of me. And though the years roll on and the bod changes up, the purity of our connection to the urgency of racing is always there. It never left. Lucky me to be tossed into the washing machine of the Pacific to further tap into—that special bit of something.
An endurance race is an expression self with a clear view of how our brain operates under duress. In short, it’s a test of our ability to intelligently suffer. In that type of game in this race my internal dialog looked like this; Can I go faster? Hold pace then hang it out on the downhill. Breathe. Really tough 8 miler coming up, can I push harder on this hill on the bike? Open. Relax to open. Open deeper. Be here now. There’s more to give.
I move from the hearty frenzy of this unique swim to the finesse of sandwiching a strong bike performance between two other events while feeling a bit rusty in the saddle. I’m then privileged with the presence of my first love—the run—and am in the excruciating throws of endurance bliss. Immediately I notice the top end speed that is missing with middle age but I look to highlight what’s still there. The joy of the push. The perusal for more stride in that nebulous dance with what we desire our experience to be, and what we could so easily force over the edge into failure. I try to pull a bit more out—but my seasoned mind has access to more than my body can offer today. So I dial the speed back. Keep fueling the machine. Then open to test for power again.
I have been diligently practicing sitting meditation and most times I struggle as I did as a very young girl learning to run. I sense promise in my sitting practice but I am a long ways from mastering it like the instinctive ease I feel in the hard forward push. So many years of movement allows me to tap in naturally. The release from knowing spot on that I am hitting the perfect pace—for this moment, with this body, at this time in my life is—pure freedom. I feel a much richer joy than I would have experienced 15 years back because my literal speed is no matter now. It’s the knowing that I am being what I can be, at this age, as this person, with this wisdom—that satisfies the current lust.
It’s human to compare oneself to what was. It is enticing—and it’s futile. And though I have struggled with failures of my strong body over and over again, I have never wished to go back in time. My experiences as a world class racer are an honor to own. But in recent years I’ve sought to appreciate the unique challenge required of figuring out the new rules of this new (older) body synced with my increasingly wise mind.
In youth, most embrace the beauty which society affirms. As the lines show deeper in our skin perhaps the texture of experiences we seek exemplify an authenticity that wasn’t available for us to see when our body was lithe and our mind green. As older athletes we can know that the interpretations we place on our racing experiences are our choice. We then work with our newfound maturity to accept what is, now.
We can still throw down big in a race. The time it takes to get to the finish line to appreciate our effort just might be a tad longer than it was in years past. Whether first or last, satisfaction is what endurance athletes seek. Satisfaction in playing out our race well and being present as it unfolds. There is no age limit on that type of pleasure—the only limitation comes when our mind seeks something that isn’t real now or maybe never was.
Lust satisfied? For now, most definitely. But then, maybe I’ll still look up one of those old boyfriends just to stoke the fire a bit . – Terri Schneider
When it comes to running trail, nobody’s been in the business as long as Montrail. After all, there was no “trail running” category until Montrail coined it. And while the days of the heavy, bulky, tank-like shoes are gone, there’s no doubt that we will continue to provide the best shoes for running trails. It’s in our DNA, it’s what we’re all about, we’re not just another footwear company who slaps a rugged outsole on a running shoe and calls it a trail shoe. There’s more to it than that.
At the same time, we’ve got an incredible group of world class runners who will lead Montrail into the future. This group of runners is commonly recognized for their achievements in trail races across the country.
On May 15th, a small yet solid collection of Team Montrail toed the line at the Silver State 50/5o. Congrats to Joelle Vaught, who continues to quietly assault seemingly every race she enters, as she took 1st place female (3rd overall) in the 50-mile distance and set a new course record. Yes, we realize the course was a bit different this year, but Joelle says she ran slow the last 10 miles because of a painful side cramp. So yeah, she’s fast and strong, and we can’t wait to see how she does at Western States 100. Recently, Joelle won Where’s Waldo 100k with a new course record, took 2nd at The North Face Endurance Challenge in December, won Way Too Cool 50k in March, and now this.
Annette ran the first annual Mt. Rogers Trail Days Half Marathon in Damascus and finished 1st place woman (1:34:54) and sixth place overall. She also probably had more fun than anyone else. Sorry, but it’s true, it’s just the way she works!
Matt Hart recently set a new speed record for the 48 mile Zion Traverse and he seems to be in fine form heading into the Pocatello 50 this weekend. At Pocatello 50, Sean, Matt, Mandy and Joelle will hit the hills and wallow in what sounds like some deep snow as they race to the finish. Should be an exciting race.
Max King is preparing to kick butt at the upcoming USATF Half Marathon Trail Championship in Bend. Just try to beat him, we dare you.
And soon, as everyone knows, we’ll have the showdown at Western States 100, with some seriously fast and strong racers on both sides, male and female. Can’t wait!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
“The Trans-Zion Trek (sometimes also called the “Zion Traverse”) is a 48-mile route across Zion National Park in Southwestern Utah. It runs from Lee Pass in the Kolob Canyons section of the park, to the East Entrance Trailhead, though stunning and diverse high desert landscape. The route is typically done as a 5-day backpacking trip.”
Montrail Ultra Runner, Matt Hart ran the 48 miles with 10,400ft of gain across zion national park in 7 hours 58 minutes 07 seconds beating the previous record time of 9h 08mins.
Read Matt’ blog post for a brief history of the Trans-Zion Trek with a stride by stride description of the run including a funny moment 1hr 30m into it.
Mountain Masochist 50 Miler, a tough race in Virginia and part of the Montrail Ultra Cup again next season, is very close to filling up. Don’t miss out, get your registration in today!
Also, Where’s Waldo 100k is close to full, so get your race plans together and sign up soon! Waldo will again be a part of the Ultra Cup series for the 2010/2011 season.
Congratulations to Geoff Roes for winning the TNF 50-Mile Challenge at Bear Mountain in New York. As is often the case when Geoff wins a race, he also set a new course record, finishing with a time of 7:06:04. Leigh Schmitt (former course record holder) finished 2nd and Brian Rusiecki finished in 3rd.
In the middle of the country, the Montrail Ultra Cup held it’s final race before the series finale at Western States. The Ice Age 50 took place in Wisconsin and among the large field were a few fast runners looking to earn the final few Western States spots available through the series. On the women’s side, friends and fellow ultrarunners Meghan Arbogast and Montrail’s Annette Bednosky finished 1st and 2nd. For the men, Todd Braje and Phil Kochik finished 1st and 2nd and earned themselves a spot in Western States. Congratulations to all the finishers at Ice Age 50!
Review by Brian Coffee from Trailpeak.com
I generally prefer hiking in boots instead of shoes. I know a lot of hikers who wear shoes for every type of trails, even scrambling in the Rockies. In fact, I’ve even seen scramblers in sandals. Don’t know how they do it, but it’s not for me.
But some days when you know the trail and you know it’s pretty smooth sailing all the way to your destination, shoes just might do the trick. I’ve tried other light hikers in the past and have been disappointed (no names), so I was a little apprehensive when we were offered Montrail’s new AT Plus hikers to evaluate.
The name Montrail, for the last decade, has become synonymous with cutting-edge outdoor footwear. In 29 countries, Montrail shoes are worn by people who feel their feet deserve nothing less than the most technologically advanced products. For rock climbing, Montrail learned how to integrate thermo-moldable foam into the pressure zones for a custom fit in a traditionally uncomfortable shoe genre. For hiking and ultrarunning, where users spend non-stop days on their feet, Montrail created the Integrafit last based on digital scans of thousands of different feet. For everyday comfort, Montrail created a uniquely contoured, thermo-moldable sandal. These innovations and a dedication to bringing the best performance to extreme and casual users alike have created a reputation for the best fitting, high-performance footwear on the planet.
With this reputation in mind, I ran the AT Plus hikers through their paces. The first thing I noticed was the outsoles, which seemed much more rigid than the other light hikers, more like a hiking boot. They also have a ‘rockered’ heel allows you to land on a flatter surface than just on the back edge of the heel. I’m sure that, scientifically, this also gives you somewhat of an assist on the takeoff phase of the step, although I didn’t notice it. Another aspect of the sole construction that I appreciated is the GrytoniteTM compound that contributes to sure-footedness in all conditions. They have a nice low cut around the ankles (important to me) and are very lightweight.
Montrail athlete Jill Perry checks in here with an update on her training for the upcoming 24-Hour Worlds in France:
Training is done, count down is on and taper madness has started. France, here we come. And watch out! USA 24 hour team is super strong this year and I, for one, am going to give it my all. It is a true honor to be representing our amazing country.
Due to my serious love for the trails, it has been an effort to take my feet to the roads and train my muscles and body to adapt to the asphalt. My personal opinion, if you are running roads, train on them. If you are running trails, train on them. Look at your race, and find a route that will simulate the course, and then love it. And the best time to get out there is when you don’t want to.
The Worlds 24 hour race is held in Brive, France – May 13-14. This event is held on a course that is just under a mile in length. Yes, that would be over and over and over again…for 24 hours! From the website, it looks like there are over 25 different countries represented. Just imagining all the different languages spoken is mind boggling! If you would like more detailed information, check out their site http://www.24h-brive.fr/ .
So, my training for the 24 hour race has been a .9 loop right outside my house on the school grounds that my kids go to. I have a walking section that I’ve worked into the loop. This has been wonderful for me to work out my pacing. Also, being that this loop is so convenient, I get out at crazy times for short jaunts to just throw me off my comfort. Important to run when tired, run when you want to sleep, …all a part of training your mind and body to deal with stresses that come up, which they will, especially in a 24 hour race.
Last week I did a 6 hour race as a training run. This was important for me to race the clock and not people…stick with my plan. And I did. 41.26 miles later with a lot left in my engine. I practiced my fueling, my walking breaks, and my pace. It all paid off and gave me even more confidence.
So now what, with a little over a week to go? Well, this week can make or break my race. I can keep testing the waters and keep pounding away the miles but that will not let me build up and rest – that will break me. What I can do is get enough rest, make sure to eat a healthy diet, visualize my goals, and clean my house (yes, a part of taper madness), and start packing (which usually boils down to packing, unpacking, repacking…double checking…). Now is the time to have an attitude. To say, Yes, I am ready, Yes, I am strong, Yes, I am going to represent this awesome USA team and kick some asphalt.
..and after that, be happy to throw on my Montrails and head back into the happy trails…..
Hi all, Last weekend I went up to Fruita, CO to run my third ever 50 mile race at the Spring Desert Ultra among the cliffs and canyons of Colorado National Monument. This place is absolutely stunning in scope and grandeur, with countless miles run along benches directly above the Colorado River and up on mesas high enough to survey the landscape for miles in every direction. And, to top it all off, nearly the whole race is run on single track trail – something we’ve all been longing for these past winter months.
The race is managed extremely well and has a great atmosphere all around. We started in the pre-dawn light at 6:30 feeling comfortable in light clothing, a hint at the coming heat later in the race. I went out at a comfortable pace with the full intention to run well within my limits for the first few miles and see how I felt as the race progressed. Going up and over the first climb I ran with Duncan Callahan, feeling comfortable at staying with him considering the speed he is capable of. But when he stopped at the first aid station I ran on through and started up the next hill on my own. The following several miles were rolling benches with a slightly downhill bent, and I felt fantastic. My legs were fresh and light and I just let my stride take me along the trail with ease. I caught up with Ryan Burch and Nick Clark after a little while, but when they stopped at an aid station around mile 13ish I again ran on through and pulled a small lead, wondering slightly whether my pace was sustainable or not. Following the 19 mile aid station was a completely unexpected and outrageously steep hill, but once on top the single track resumed with fantastic views of the monument and the valley as a whole. I was able to cruise down the trail to the 25 mile turnaround in about 3:21, still feeling good but knowing the worst part was yet to come. Going back out I passed Ryan and Nick right as they came into the aid station. They both looked strong and focused, as expected. Going back up the steep singletrack to the top of the mesa felt surprisingly good, and I was able to run the majority of it. Then back down the descent to the mile 31 aid station, where I filled up my bottles and grabbed some gels before heading out. I was carrying two handheld bottles and wearing a gel pack around my waist, and this was a major help. Having two bottles allowed me to more or less avoid aid stations on the first lap, and then coming back I was able to carry enough water to continue drinking enough in the heat of the sun.
The second lap could be characterized by desperation. I had never run this fast in a race this long before, and combined with the heat of the sun and my lack of experience all around, I was unsure how far I would be able to last out front. I kept eating gels whenever my body seemed to lag, but as time went on they started to have less and less of an effect. I was just trying to hold on to my pace as long as it would last. The course wound back around to the south and up some hills, then down to the benches above the river, going in and out and around as the terrain demanded. The sun was beating down mercilessly and my body gradually became more and more fatigued as time went on. But it was awesome. All of it. This is the very reason I run these races: for the adventure. Extreme endurance events like these are opportunities to stretch our mental and physical capacity to the limits, and I was basking in the glow of an incredible effort in an amazing place. By the time I reached the final aid station with 5ish miles to go, I was exhausted. Yet one more monster climb remained. I could not go fast up this one like I had the others, but was still able to run about half of it. And then, after forever passed, the trail started to lead downhill, and it took me from the top of the mesa surveying large swaths of western Colorado, all the way down to the parking lot where I had camped before, and then along the dirt road to the finish line.
I have never won an ultra before last weekend, and so it was fun to be in that position for the first time. But the real battle was won by just finishing. Battling through such physical suffering is an extremely rewarding experience, and I can only imagine what it would be like after 100 miles. The Spring Desert Ultra is a fantastic race, and I recommend it to everyone who likes to run long distances on skinny trails. And now that more trails are opening up by the day, I don’t plan on doing much else for the next nine or ten months. So lace up your Montrail’s and go run where the label says: on a trail. I’ll see you out there.
Here’s a video sent to us from the folks over at Rock Creek in Tennessee. This race took place on the last weekend of March.
*2010 Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k Ultra
*Diez Vista 50km Trail Run
*Mad City 100k/50k
|(100k) Men’s Results|
|(50k) Men’s Results|
|2||Nick La Luzerne||28||4:02:36.2|
This weekend will be busy for Montrail, as well as for many of the Team Montrail athletes around the country. I guess you could say racing season is in full swing. Here’s where you’ll find us:
American River 50 (Ultra Cup race #7) – Sacramento – Erik Skaden, Luanne Park, Max King, Geoff Roes
Mad City 100k – Madison, WI – Annette Bednosky
Diez Vista 50k – Vancouver, BC – Gary Robbins
Peterson Ridge Rumble – Sisters, OR – Sean Meissner (RD), Matt Hart
At the same time there are many other big races taking place around the country, so good luck everyone!
This year, American River 50 is stepping it up to a new level of online race coverage. In the past, you could follow the splits as they happen, but that’s boring. Nowadays, we can do better. AR50 will bring Twitter feed updates as well as streaming video, live blogging and instant photography of the race. Here’s where to find it:
Ultralive.net – featuring a live photo gallery, streaming live video and a race blog
Good luck to all the AR50 runners, run your hearts out!
The Montrail Rockridge™ has been honored once again in the April 2010 issue of Shape magazine, a premiere women’s fitness and lifestyle magazine. The Shape Shoe Awards testers selected the Rockridge as “Best for Rugged Terrain.” The Rockridge was also recently awarded “Editors’ Choice Best All-Arounder” in the April 2010 issue of Trail Runner magazine.
“The feedback we are getting with the Rockridge right now is incredible,” said Todd Lewis, Montrail Product Manager. “For the second year in a row, and the second time this season, Montrail has turned out award-winning trail runners, testament to the Product Development Team’s running know-how.”
The 2010 Rockridge™ is a low-profile, neutral shoe with outstanding cushioning perfect for dirt, rock and fire roads. It features the VEL last (think Velocity for speed) designed specifically for trail runners with its medium-volume fit and roomy toe box. The outsole has been optimized for moderate to technical trail conditions with deflecting lugs for cushioning and perimeter digging lugs for traction up and down hills.
Shape testers specifically called out the mesh upper that “keeps toes dry and cool” yet “withstands pokes from branches.” The newly designed outsole on the Rockridge “…makes you feel ‘secure enough to run anywhere without fear of slipping.’”
Hip hip hurray! Part III is finally here. If you didn’t read Part I and Part II, go back and do so. Then come back for Part III, Dr. Horton’s take on race weekend. And as always, leave your comments or questions below.
RACE WEEKEND – ORGANIZED CHAOS
By: Dr. David Horton
If you are a race director, forget about getting much sleep the week of the race. You are always
thinking, “Is there something I forgot to do or cover?” I make lists each day of things that I have to address that day. This becomes a difficult task when you also have a full-time job that you must take care of as well. I have always given the analogy that directing a race is like preparing for a hurricane. You try to take care of everything before it hits. However, if you leave one window or door not properly closed or nailed shut, chaos can occur. If you forget one important point about the race, disaster can result. MAKE LISTS. Keep them from year to year so you can see what you did last year.
Following is a list of issues or subjects that I think are important and need to be addressed.
- You will be the first one to the race course and the last one to leave. No one knows as much as you do about what is going on with the race, you have the ultimate responsibility for everything that happens.
- The MOST important thing in any race is a properly marked course. There is NO such thing as too many race markers. I use streamers, surveyors paint, flour, reflective streamers, and chemical lights. I don’t use all of these, just the ones that are needed. I really like to use paint at tricky intersections or turns. It is very easy for vandals to take down streamers and mark the course the wrong way. You can’t do that with painted arrows. Orange paint is the best in most cases. I also block off side trails or routes if possible. Mark the course in the direction that runners are running, if possible. I use the philosophy that is used in marking the Appalachian Trail, place streamers WITHIN SIGHT DISTANCE of each other. Also, try to use colors that contrast with the surrounding background. WARNING: Check with the Forest Service on using paint if you will be using their land. ALWAYS CLEAN THE COURSE OF TRASH, STREAMERS, ETC., IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RACE.
- Continue reading →
Hey All, I just wanted to take a quick second to post about my biggest endeavor of 2010.
It’s called ‘Conquer The Coasts’ and will involve attempting to set trail speed records upon British Columbia’s 75km West Coast Trail and Newfoundland’s 220km East Coast Trail.
The entire project is in support of ‘Right To Play’ and if you click on the above picture it should bring you to the full breakdown of everything.
I’m hoping to help raise $5,000 for this incredible charity and am already 15% there. If you could help spread the word it would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much, and happy trails to all! GR
What a FAST weekend of running for Team Montrail. Two 1st place finishes, including one new course record.
Starting out with the longer of the two races, at Umstead 100 in North Carolina. A very special congratulations to Jill Perry, who achieved her goal of breaking 16 hours and set a new course record in doing so, breaking her own CR from last year by 4 minutes. Jill’s final time was 15:58. Unbelievable, that’s a pace of 9:30/mile, for 100 miles. Wow. Just a side note, last year Jill’s Umstead run (16:02:27) was the fastest 100 mile performance by a female in 2009, in the WORLD.
Sean Meissner took to the roads in Washington and won the Yakima River Canyon Marathon in a time of 2:45:14
Great work Team Montrail!
You may be wondering what we Montrail runners do in the wintertime between bouts of road running and relentless blogging. I know I used to wonder what sponsored runners did with their spare time, and now that I am one I can tell you that it’s….pretty normal. Aside from regular work and school, we train a lot, and that doesn’t always mean running. I try to cross train as much as possible in order to gain a well-rounded fitness, and this can include road biking, swimming, kayaking, and staggering home under the weight of my overwhelmingly large runner’s paycheck. But far and away my favorite cross-training activity is going backcountry skiing. Living in Durango, I have access to killer mountains right out my door, and I try to get into them as much as possible. Fortunately, I also have friends with experience traveling in avalanche terrain who are kind enough to take me along. That’s what happened last week, when I followed Leo Lloyd – captain of LaPlata county search and rescue and medical director for Hardrock each year – and two others up the mountain Red 3 in the San Juans. Below are some pictures of the climb.
Incidentally, this mountain is almost exactly in the center of the Hardrock course and, as you can see, the landscape is rather daunting. Steep and sustained, these mountains characterize my favorite part of ultra running: the adventure, and I can hardly wait for the snow to melt so I can lace up my Montrails and get above timberline. But until then, check out this video of Dave Hughes and the Sugar Hill Gang getting steezy in the fresh and then go cross train in the mountains for yourself – it’s totally worth it.
Late, but better than never. On February 27th, the World Snowshoe Invitational (also acting as the Canadian Snowshoe Championships) were held in British Columbia, Canada at Grouse Mountain. Syl Corbett, Team Montrail athlete and Canadian mountain runner, finished strong and ended the day as a decorated medal winner!
Syl took third place, bringing home the bronze medal and also earning herself the Canadian Snowshoe Championship. Congratulations!
Held at Grouse Mountain during the closing days of the Olympic Games, the World Snowshoe Invitational featured 30 athletes from eight different countries and was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the sport to the world, and make a claim for it’s addition to the winter Olympics. The course was a rigorous 8.5km up and down the mountain and the competition was as strong as you’ll find anywhere for this type of race.
If you’d like to catch up with Syl this spring/summer you can find her at the following events:
World Mountain Running, Grand Prix – France – May 13th
NACAC Mountain Running Championships – Alberta, Canada- July
Long Course Mountain Running World Championship – Pikes Peak, CO – August
Short Course Mountain Running World Championship – Slovenia – September
The following is part 2 of a 4-part series written by Dr. David Horton and addressing the finer points of directing an ultramarathon. This week, David continues with his list of what he thinks it takes to be a good race director. For part 1 of this series, read here.
11. Entry Fee: Sometime this is not an easy decision to make. Overall, you look at the other ultras held in your area and see what they charge. You also have to consider what you are going to give as awards and the cost to put on the race. When my costs go up, the entry fee goes up. The more you charge, the more runners expect.
12. Time Cut-Offs: This is another difficult decision to make. You can look at comparable length and difficulty of other races in your area. But the only real way to tell is to go out and run it. Before the first year of the Hellgate 100K, I went out and ran the entire course starting at the projected start time of 12:01 A.M. I had thought about having the race time limit of 16.5 hours. When it took me almost 15 hours to do it in training, I knew that was not enough time, so I increased the limit to 18 hours, where it still stands after 7 years.
13. Awards: This is an area where you can make or break your race and your budget as well. For many years at the Masochist, I gave a trophy to all finishers. Many runners like trophies, especially maybe first-timers. Belt buckles are also nice awards at some races. Awards vary per race. But for those of you who have been running ultras for many years, do you NEED another belt buckle or another trophy? Of course, therein lies the dilemma for a race director . . . who do you try to please? After many years of giving trophies, I decided to present runners with awards they can use in this sport, such as shorts, jackets, technical tops, and other items. I think I made a good decision by all accounts. But this is in keeping with your budgets as well. Continue reading →
This race is awesome. Flat out. Beautiful mountains, lakes and streams. Great organization. Excellent competition. A top notch race.
We’re excited to partner with Craig Thornley and Co. for another season of the Montrail Ultra Cup, the 2010-2011 season. We’re not sure yet if Waldo will be race #1 or if another race might sneak in before it. In any case, we look forward to another year on Willamette Pass in August.
Registration is OPEN for Where’s Waldo 100k. Go get it. Race your way into the 2011 Western States 100 by placing top 2 male or female at Waldo. No entry lottery, no online registration, just an old school application that must be printed, filled out, and mailed back. Go get it.
Welcome to a 4-part series brought to you by Montrail and written by Dr. David Horton, the king of race directors. Every Wednesday for the next month, Horton will deliver information and valuable know-how on what it takes to be a successful race director. We’ll start with the preparations, and then go on to talk about the specific things to address leading up to race day. Week 3 will be all about race day, and week 4 will cover some specific stories and unique happenings that Horton has witnessed. We welcome your feedback and comments.
RACE DIRECTING: FUN—TONS of WORK—REWARDING—STRESSFUL—TIRING—FUN
By David Horton
Have you ever thought about directing a race? It may look easy on race day to the average runner, but it is NOT. If you ever direct a race, you will either direct MANY more, or you will never direct another one. It will either destroy you, or you will get addicted. It is sort of like running an ultra. After you do one, you immediately say, “I’ll never do that again.” And then sometime later, you’ll start planning on when you’ll do your next one.
Directing races is just like that, but more so. Completing my first ultra (JFK in 1979) was so rewarding. But directing my first few races was probably more rewarding. Completing an ultra is difficult, regardless of the length . . . Directing a race is even more difficult.
I have directed 60 ultras. After each one is over, I think to myself that I don’t want to direct another one. A few days later, I begin thinking of what I will do different next time. I make mistakes EVERY race, just different ones each race.
On Saturday we saw cool temps, lots of sunshine and plenty of mud at the 14th running of the Way Too Cool 5ok. The wet course slowed down the top runners compared to past years, but not much. Leor Pantilat won for the 2nd year in a row (3:41:47) followed by Montrail athletes Max King (3:47:39) and Geoff Roes (3:51:51). The battle for 1st coming down the stretch was incredible.
On the women’s side, the field was pretty stacked and after Kami Semick called it quits due to flu-like symptoms, Team Montrail’s Joelle Vaught ran alone in first most of the race and finished with the win in (4:13:53). Also running strong and solid as usual from Team Montrail, Bev Anderson-Abbs came in 2nd female/1st masters (4:29:40), only a few weeks after running a 50-miler. Darcy Africa was 3rd place female in a time of 4:37:12.
In the men’s race, Max King lead Leor Pantilat by a minute at the ALT 2 aid station. Geoff Roes was 4.5 minutes behind Max. Two significant hills remained, and knowing Geoff’s speed on the climbs, we figured he’d have a chance of catching the leaders. Low and behold, we find out that Geoff caught them at Goathill aid station and eventually “blew by us, looking incredibly strong”, according to winner Pantilat. However, Leor came through the finish first, and was surprised to see the tape across the line. After crossing, he immediately asked about Roes. In the end, Geoff missed a turn in the last few miles and it cost him the win. While clearly upset with himself for missing the turn, Geoff ran extremely strong, as usual, strong enough to win. Hopefully that’s what he takes away from this one.
We’ll have the chance to watch Max and Geoff dual it out in another few weeks at American River 50.
Thanks to Julie Fingar and her awesome crew of volunteers and staff. Another great race!
The Montrail Ultra Cup series returns to California this weekend for another running of the Way Too Cool 50k in Cool, California. On Saturday March 13th, 560+ runners will hit the trails and attempt to finish within the 8.5 hour time limit.
This year we’re sure to see a battle for the top spots, as several runners in the field could make a push for the win. With rain expected on Friday, we’re likely to see a wet and muddy course on Saturday. Will the trail conditions level the playing field, or will the wet conditions give some an advantage over others? We shall see.
Top men in the field: Leor Pantilat (last year’s winner and new CR), Max King, Geoff Roes, Matt Lonergan, Victor Ballesteros, Erik Skaden, and Scott Wolfe. I’m sure I’m missing a few top runners here (apologies). Any dark horses in the field that we’re unaware of?
Top women in the field: Kami Semick, Bev Anderson-Abbs, Darcy Africa, Joelle Vaught, Jenny Capel, Shawna Wilskey, and Luanne Park. Who’s likely to surprise us this year in the women’s field?
We’re really excited to watch and cheer along as Max King and Geoff Roes hit the trail in the same race for the first time. Should be fun. Bev Anderson-Abbs and Joelle Vaught both ran very strong here last year, we look forward to seeing if they can best their performances.
Montrail, of course, will be in attendance with our full line of Spring 2010 running shoes and some fun swag for all. We’ll also have some post race refreshments to share, so come by and say hello. And don’t forget to register for the Ultra Cup series online to be sure you receive points for your finish.
And, “how do we follow along with the race”, you ask? Twitter, that’s how. Follow the Way Too Cool twitter feed at twitter.com/WayTooCool50k for updates throughout the race.
Last weekend the USATF hosted their National 50k Road Championship at Caumsett Park in New York. We’re excited to report that Montrail athletes Annette Bednosky and Jill Perry took 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the Women’s Open division. Annette was also 1st place in the Women’s Masters division.
Annette and Jill together on the podium, this is starting to get redundant, yet in the best possible way! Recently, the girls have run Bandera 100k together (Jill 1st place, Annette 4th) and also Mt. Cheaha 50k (Annette 1st, Jill 2nd). The East Coast Montrail ladies are on fire right now and off to an incredible start to the year. Rest up and recover well.
Next up, we’ll see Annette at Mad City 100k and Jill will be at American River 50. Go get ‘em!
So this isn’t much to do with ultrarunning but just hoping someone is interested in XC. It is such a sweet event. It’s kinda like trail running….right? Just no trail. 28hrs later and I’m watching a calm western sky slowly grow darker over the Pacific ocean sitting in LAX. No matter how long I’ve been gone, it’s always a great feeling being back on the West Coast. Something about it that makes it home, no matter the latitude. Even the warm weather and people of TnT can’t keep me from that feeling. It’s always hard to leave a tropical locale in the end of winter when you know that heading home means chilly morning runs and layers of clothing to pull on before heading out. We’re getting into that time of year when I just want to be warm again, the weather is getting slightly warmer so that precipitation is now just cold rain, and yet, you know that there’s still a few months that you’ll be dealing with the weather. Man, now I just sound like I’m whining. Which, in a way I am, I try not to whine but man, the weather, cold weather, is what does it for me. Onto NACAC. I’d like to think that preparation ruled out in this competition. Of course I have no idea what everyone else has done leading up to this race or how they prepped, so it’s just speculation of course. Mine certainly wasn’t perfect with a 50k two weeks ago, which I could still feel early this week, but I was in good shape with good training behind me, a fast race three weeks ago, and all the heat training I could handle the last two weeks. I’d like to think it was a combination of the above that pulled out the win this year. I knew that it was going to be tough to handle the heat, even with the heat training I tried to do the last two weeks, and my feelings were confirmed after the juniors staggered across the line in the first two races. The US team gave a good fight in both, but in the end the Canada A squad was just stronger and pulled out the win in both Junior races. Senior women were next and ran brilliantly to pull out a win against good Mexican competition. We were last off the line. After the warmup (and I was definitely warm) the trick of cooling my core temp as much as I could with bags of ice seemed to help through about 4k of the 8k course. The US team lead the way mixing it up with a runner from Guyana and the Mexican squad. True to form though the Jamaicans lead through the first 400m. But the race quickly became a battle between the US. We controlled the race after 3k with 4 runners out front. Running together for another 2k loop we began to whittle away at each other until we were adequately spaced apart on the last 2k loop to hold position and bring it in. The last 2k was more of a survival lap than anything since we’d all lost whatever heat reserves we had. I managed to pull out a good win in my third try at NACAC. Pretty happy with that. The course ended up playing very well to my strengths and I managed the heat and humidity as well as anyone. Everything came together on the day. Doesn’t happen too often, but when it does it feels good. It was a beautiful awards ceremony on a hill above the beach and Caribbean Sea watching the sun set. Couldn’t have planned a more idyllic setting. Of course we all took a nighttime dip in the Sea one last time to cap off a great couple of days in paradise. It’s difficult to add words to a dip in dark warm waters with the sand between your toes after a good hard effort competition. Sublime. These trips always forge a common bond and lasting friendships with the other members of the team. Hanging out after supper with nothing much to do but reminisce about the culture of your current surroundings, old teammates and races, and of course all things running is as rewarding as the event itself…unless of course you can mark down a W in the log. That’s pretty sweet. See some of you at WTC next weekend. Looking forward to some warm Cali sunshine already. Wait… I’m in LAX right now. Results at http://www.usatf.org/events/2010/NACACXCChampionships/results.asp
A quick congratulations goes out to Max King, winner of the 6th annual NACAC Cross Country Championship. Max won the 8k Men’s Open race with a time of 23:48.2 and was 18 seconds ahead of his USA teammate Michael Spence. Team USA took spots 1 through 4 for the men.
The question is “How do you keep the Junior team from getting sunburned when you go to a tropical race?” There are currently a few that look like lobsters here in Tobago and the senior team hasn’t been good about watching over them apparently. I’m here in Tobago with the US XC team for the NACAC (North Amer, Central Amer, and Caribbean) Championships. This was my consolation prize for an 11th place finish recently at the USA XC Championships in Spokane. Not a bad consolation. It has been a great experience so far with the race yet to be run. We have been here a few days to acclimate to the weather (90deg and 80% humidity) and travel time (17hrs from the West Coast, that’s long). I didn’t realize it when I signed up for the trip, but Tobago is way down here. Only about 20 miles or so off the coast of Venezuela. And because these trips aren’t just a race but a cultural exchange of sorts we were able to take a day and do what you would normally do in the caribbean…but without the pina coladas and rum. When we travel to these meets we have a Junior men’s and women’s team and a Senior men’s and women’s team. The Senior team is supposed to kind of keep an eye on the juniors to mentor them if need be, and at this point I’d say we failed since a few of them look a little pinker than when they arrived. But, we haven’t raced yet so it may all be fine. The islands, if you haven’t been, are pretty close to what I expected. Beautiful beaches with reefs just off shore, palm trees swaying in the warm island breeze, and anytime you step outside you immediately become drenched with sweat. Love it! I do think I could handle this year round although not on an island, no trails here, and running on the roads will end your life eventually. Not an “if” but “when” sort of situation. No body’s in a hurry here except the drivers. The hotel we’re staying in is a golf resort built, as far as we can tell, on an historical fort of some kind but no body knows what it was. There is definitely an old cannon sitting out back though. Not something you might find just laying around say…at Motel 6. The food is good, lots of fish barbequed with different sauces usually with some kind of fruit in them, and other pretty standard fare. We were able to finally get a course preview in this morning, (Saturday morning, the morning of the race) and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that golf course doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing it does in the U.S. It’s a pretty tough course with undulations and turns and uneven footing pretty much the whole course. Certainly not going to be an easy race when you add in the temperature at 4:30 race time. It’s the dry season right now and it’s pretty evident when you look at the shape the course is in. There are some cracks on the fairway that I swear go through to China. I’ll be surprised if someone doesn’t lose a foot out there. And that’s just the worst of them. There are cracks that would swallow a golf ball every five feet. Playing on this course would require some absurd amount of free drops and mulligans if I played it. I doubt even Tiger could get himself out of a jam on this course. Anyway, sitting in the hotel room now waiting and resting for the race. I’ll give a full report and some pictures when I’m back in the states.
Congratulations to all the finishers of the 2010 Mt. Cheaha 50k in Alabama. This past weekend, good weather and great trail conditions greeted the runners as they took to the single track trails and headed up to the high point of Alabama, Mt. Cheaha.
Special shout-out to Montrail speedsters Annette Bednosky and Jill Perry. Annette came down from NC after several weeks of little to no trail running (winter weather), and cruised to a new female COURSE RECORD, 5:09:41. Jill Perry had a nightmare of a time getting to Alabama from New York, with fierce winter weather delaying and canceling flights left and right. After very little sleep, Jill ran the race and was 2nd place female, 5:26:03.
Read Annette’s race report below, and Jill’s can be found here.
Thanks to Todd and the rest of the Mt. Cheaha 50k crew and volunteers for putting on such a great event.
Next up for the Montrail Ultra Cup: Way Too Cool 50k on March 13th. See you there!
It was with relief I came to Alabama from the High Country of NC on Thursday before the race. After weeks of treadmill and road shoulder running-due to inaccessibility of trails and dirt roads due to accumulated snow/ice I got to bask in the sun and “warm” environs of eastern Alabama.
Having arrived Thursday evening, I spent most of Friday resting and exploring parts of Talladega National Forest. A 30 minute out and back run on the race course gave a taste of what to expect and driving to bib pick up Friday afternoon, gave some more hints to the ridges and drainages in these small, yet steep, wintry mountains. This day I spoke with Montrail teammate Jill Perry a few times. She was dealing with lots of snow in upstate NY and might be challenged to get to AL. Yet, alas after delays and being “bumped” I spoke with her around 8pm just as she was leaving Atlanta for Birmingham. Whoop! I’d get to see Jill again and meet her husband Vincent if only for a little while before race start.
The next morning, an enthusiastic, yet travel-weary Jill and I hung out for a bit and I met her husband Vincent and his traveling companion Paul. Since this is point-to-point course, we left our vehicles at the state park and were bused 35 minutes south to Porter’s Gap, the course start.
The race started in the trailhead parking lot promptly at 7:30am with the blaring music of Sweet Home Alabama-a rollicking way to start a run to the state’s highest point. Runners were on an “honor system” to seed ourselves appropriately since we started straight out on narrow single track. From my place about 15th from the front, it seemed folks made good decisions. There was a front pack of fast boys and a few singles. Dink Taylor-usually a fast boy was still in recovery mode after a recent 100. (He did not tell me this –I over heard much of his conversation with Jill during the first few miles) Dink and Jill ran together and I came and went following them, catching them on the downs and falling back on the ups.
A beautiful course!
I was thrilled with the opportunity to see views and run along ridges. The day was perfect-mostly sunny, light wind, about 28 degrees at 7:30am, with warm upper 40’s later on. The course and environs reminded me Lots of Uwharrie 40 miler in NC. Rocks, roots, wet feet, relentless ups and downs. This course had much contouring as well with at times some interesting, bordering on exciting footing for those that weren’t paying close attention. We also got to duck under/vault and sneak around several downed trees. All in the spirit of a trail run, I misjudged one vault and wound up with an impressive abrasion on my left knee for not going high enough. Another trail souvenir.
It was a joy to run this day! I appreciated the warm weather, snow/ice free trails and rolling with the terrain. At one point, around 12 miles in, one of my running companions who I’ve been acquainted with for years wanted to know if I was injured-as usually I was far ahead of him. I did not realize this. I told him I wasn’t hurt-just a little out of practice pacing myself on a 50k trail run and I was aiming for steady. Yet, truth be told, I was feeling stronger as the miles passed.
Up and down and around, little leaping, slipping on pine straw, splashing through creeks. Gathering liquid and nourishment from the helpful aid station volunteers, following little flags as we adventured along. A couple miles after Aid Station 3 I saw Jill and eventually caught up. We chatted for a few seconds. She reported she was okay, just in a lull and tired from the previous day’s travel. We wished one another well and continued our own paces. At aid station 4, one of the volunteers, Ken, told me he is a friend with my former boss, Bradley McNeil who was principal of Ashe County High School and lives in my town. I like and respect Bradley very much and was buoyed by this connection.
From roughly mile 22 to “the road section” I was in trail running heaven concentrating, yet it wasn’t all consuming, then the road presented itself. Don’t get me wrong. I like roads and grass and tracks and treadmills anything I can run on. I used to only like trails-yet after being hurt several times and finding the value of training on mixed surfaces-I do have an appreciation for all. The road was long and straight and uphill. I told myself this was going to be a good break for my muscles and a way to run steady for a few miles. I tried to pick out a good song from my mental play list to play in my head to keep up the energy on the road. After 2 tries I wound up with an acceptable one: I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack (I have a “dance” version in my running list). This helped maintain happy, hopeful energy slogging up the road. Then I caught sight of a runner in white ahead of me and didn’t need the music anymore. I found a rabbit!
Entering the final aid station, I saw the white shirted runner dart into the woods. Again helpful volunteers supplied me with water and electrolytes and I grabbed a peanut butter square and darted off. The “darting” didn’t last long for either of his. Shortly we found the section of the course commonly referred to as Blue Hell. This is a steep section of the trail marked with blue markings. It is steep, necessitating using hands to help oneself up in places. The runner in the white shirt-I asked his name, yet do not recall it, he and I marched in line, up up, up! Reportedly some 850’+ feet of climbing in ½ mile. I was grateful the day was dry, as scrambling over these rocks in a rainstorm would have taken 2x as long. The route took us underneath a rappel site and finally into the developed area of the state park and onto the summit. The course ended with about a mile of single track on the “Mountain Express Trail”, dumping us out around a corner from the finish line in front of Bald Rock Lodge. I finished in a CR time of 5:09:41 with “white shirted runner” prob’ly less than a minute behind me. I had enough energy left to click my heels once-yet otherwise I felt pretty worked-yet happy to feel good and find a 1st place finish!
Jill came in 5:29:00. She appeared sprightly as always, yet the stresses from the long day previous and sleepless night obviously took its toll. Sally Brooking, 53 and experienced Cheaha runner came in at 5:47:46. The top men appeared well before all the females with course shattering…Dane (super crazy fast guy) Mitchell 4:00:25!!! DeWayne Satterfield 4:36:22 and Alex Darth, 4:39:22! Yikes! Go guys go!!! Full results to be posted at http://www.pinhoti100.com/mountcheaha50k/ soon.
Mt. Cheaha 50k is now on my list of favorites…On Saturday I fondly referred to it as “East Coast’s Way Too Cool”… They are not really alike, yet are the same distance, same running season and now both part of MUC. Both:
- have very runnable terrain w/ plenty of ups and downs.
- have a version of “Blue Hell”, where tenacity and patience often overtake fitness.
- have a fair number of aid stations (WTC =5, Mt C=6)
Finishing times are Way faster w/ WTC…yet terrain more rolling and wet and precocious w/ Mt Cheaha.
I am an “east coaster” and by realities of $$ and time constraints tend to do most my racing within a ½ day drives from where I live, yet to be fair, I have sample a number of mid-country and west coast runs. Yet, I can say, this run is superbly executed and designed. There are small parts you curse and larger parts where one celebrates their privilege of being alive. Come to Alabama to discover more of who you are!
Thank you to all volunteers, race director Todd Henderson and staff from the USFS and Alabama State Parks, you have a high quality event tucked away in those Alabama mountains!
The CTS is the Chicagoland’s premier trail running series and is made up of short distance trail races on single track trails through forest preserve lands. Ranging in distance from 5k to 12k this series has something for everyone.
May 1 – Trail Blazer 5k – Libertyville, IL – NEW
June 5, 2010 – Trail Challenge 8k – Palatine, IL
July 10, 2010 – Renegade Trail Run 10k – Palatine, IL
August 7, 2010 – Xtreme Trail 12k – Palatine, IL
September 4, 2010 – Old School Trail 4 Mile – Libertyville, IL – NEW
I guess I first need to introduce myself since I haven’t met many of you yet but I’m sure I will soon. My name’s Max and this is my first Montrail blog entry…so go easy on the writing critique. I’m an engineer. And come find me at a race this year, I love to talk running and training and shoes. Race Report from Hagg Lake 50k This past weekend Sean Meissner (aka the Mayor of Oregon Ultra..I’ll explain later) and I traveled from sunny and dry Central Oregon to the other side of the Cascade Range to frolic in the Portland mud at the Hagg Lake 50k. This was my first opportunity to don the Montrail Ultrarunning Team jersey and I have to say, it felt good to be part of a larger team and to know you have team members for support just about any race you go to. Sure running is primarily and individual sport but I’ve always enjoyed being part of a team when I’m competing so it’s nice to find that in ultra running there’s a strong supportive community of runners. It’s nice to have great gear from Montrail and Mountain Hardwear too. The new Montrail lightweight racers performed awesome! Plug! So back to the race report. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Cool and sunny with a high near 50F, some mud on the trail to make it fun, (although everyone tells me it was a dry, fast year and I (and everyone else) still came out looking like we came straight from a mud wrestling competition), and great trails to run. Sean decided to work on his leg speed this year and entered the 25k. Starting an hour after the 50k and finishing way before the 50k somehow seems unfair. Sean ran a great race he was happy with for 4th place in 1:46:10. By the time I finished the 50k he was already washed off and working on his Terminator Stout we picked up the night before for a post race celebratory picnic. I, along with Andy Martin, our compatriot that made the trip with us and a decent runner himself, opted for the 50k as a tune up/workout for our upcoming ultra season. I wanted this race to be a good test of my fitness with WTC and AR50 coming up and I also had some unfinished torture on myself from last weekend where I raced like a 10yr old schoolboy with a blister (slowly, and no offense to school children intended) at the Cross Country National Champs in Spokane. It was a disappointing race to say the least, but in hindsight I came away learning that training for both ultras and xc races don’t always overlap very well. This will be the first time in the last four years that I haven’t made it onto the US world champs team, but as a consolation prize I did come away with a trip to Tobago next week for the NACAC Championships. Tropical vacat…I mean a race in hot, adverse conditions will be good for me. Andy, Rueben Galbraith, and I ran a solid 13 miles together until we split up and went at it alone the rest of the way. I pushed through the middle section of the race pretty hard and came away feeling pretty good about the race and my fitness (now I’m giving all my secrets away to Geoff before WTC) finishing in a solid 3:27 with Andy a few minutes back in second. We were pretty lucky to get such a great day and man, it’s fun to run through the mud like a kid again. We stuck around a few hours after to enjoy the day and some good company and even if we’d wanted to leave Andy and I didn’t have a choice because Sean proceeded to have an in-depth conversation with everyone at the race. Thus the Mayor of Oregon Ultra. Now I know what my wife feels like when I drag her to an xc race and she can’t drag me away.
This weekend, Saturday February 27th, the Montrail Ultra Cup series will travel to Alabama for race #6, the Mt. Cheaha 50k. This is an exceptional course on mostly single track trails in Talladega National Forest. The point-to-point run ends in Cheaha State Park at the summit of Cheaha Mountain, the highpoint of Alabama (2,407 ft).
While no Western States spots are on the line this weekend, runners will have the chance to earn precious Ultra Cup points with their finish. Female Ultra Cup points leader Annette Bednosky will be racing, and her Montrail teammate and challenger in the standings, Jill Perry, will also be in attendance.
So far, 165 runners have registered and 17 different states are represented. The weather forecast looks promising and we’re looking forward to a great event. See you in Alabama.
What a difference a year makes! Last year I headed to the Canadian Frozen Tundra in Alberta for the Frozen Ass 50k. Not sure why I expected it to be somewhat mild dead smack in the middle of a Canadian winter especially having lived in Calgary for a year. I guess living in Vancouver where we are currently hosting what seems more like the summer Olympics makes you soft. The starting temperature last year was a bonechilling -20F (yes that negative sign is supposed to be there). I cried for the first half of the race wearing five layers. At that temperature your tears just freeze your eyes shut so I had to abolish that in the second half! By the end the temperature had reached a balmy -14F. It took about 3 days for me to get feeling back in certain areas of my body, or so it seemed. I got passed with about 15k to go by a guy wearing shorts. I thought I was so cold and frozen I may have hallucinated that happening. Never again I said.
Fast forward to this year and for some reason I ventured back. Teammate Ellie Greenwood who now lives in Banff was going to be there as well so we had our own little Montrail Party in the Texas of the north. Unfortunately I came down with pnuemonia the week before the race and it made the running a little more challenging. To get to the race start participants walk across what is an assumed frozen over canal. This made me feel more at home about my decision to run with pnuemonia, strange and perhaps lacking sense more or less sums up ultras! The starting temperature was around 34F so much more pleasant to run 50k.
All things considered I had a decent race at 3:46 after a 10 day layoff of running. Ellie just absolutely crushed it. She came bounding across the line right on my heels at 3:48 for a 38 minute course record. I’m pretty sure she could of turned around and run it again she looked that fresh! All in all a fun little event with about 125 people in it to keep fit during those winter months.
Montrail and Mountain Hardwear are excited to be presenting sponsors of the 2010 USATF-NE Mountain Running Circuit. This prestigious series reaches hundreds of dedicated and passionate mountain runners of New England. The new Spring 2010 line of footwear from Montrail and running apparel from Mountain Hardwear will be featured at each event in the series and overall series winners will have a chance to win cash and product.
05/22 Northfield Mountain Northfield, MA 10.3 km New England Trail Championships 05/29Wachusett Mountain Princeton, MA 4.3 Miles 06/06 Pack Monadnock Wilton to Temple, NH 10 Miles 06/27 Cranmore Hill Climb North Conway, NH 12 km New England Mountain Championships 07/04 Loon Mountain Race Lincoln, NH 5.7 Miles 07/11 Ascutney Mt. Challenge Windsor, VT 3.8 Miles
The Montrail Gives Back program exists as a vehicle for supporting local and regional organizations who’s work positively affects the places we play and explore, and who inspire and motivate the future athletes and outdoor enthusiasts of the world.
Montrail’s primary focus has been narrowed to support trail running as a healthy lifestyle choice. For 2010, the board recognizes a local need for support of community races and school running programs in Montrail’s backyard of the San Francisco Bay Area. Programs supported by Montrail for 2010 include:
- Richmond YMCA Bayfront Run
- Berkeley Athletic Fund
- Richmond/Oakland area middle school running programs
- Conservation Alliance
- HERA (Climb4Life and Susan Sandoval Ovarian Cancer Fun Run)
Montrail’s secondary focus on maintaining and preserving healthy trails was supported with a fundraiser at the Winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Utah in January. Montrail sold the Sabino Trail running shoe to raise funds and awareness for wilderness designation of the Hardrock 100 trail in Southern Colorado.
Dakota Jones, Matt Hart, and myself laced up for Moab’s Red Hot 50km and 33km races this weekend in snowy, sunny, Moab, Utah. Dakota, a Moabite (I just made that up, I think), claimed to have not run much when he lived in Moab, yet he finished strong in 3rd place overall on the 50ish km course. He certainly made it look like he took his first steps as a child on the undulating sandstone of the Poison Spider Trail. Matt Hart chose to grab an easy “recovery run” on the 33 km course and handily pulled off a 4th place finish in the “young dude’s division” (39 and younger) despite a fashionably late start.
As for the ladies, well, there used to be a great bumper sticker here in Utah claiming a world class climbing location, Indian Creek (Canyonlands, Moab, Utah), as “The Best Crag in ‘Rado.” That’s right, those Southwestern Coloradoans had claimed our special Utah crag as their very own. For shame. Well, the Colorado girls ran this past weekend like it was THEIR course and they were on THEIR home turf. Hats off to them for some proud finishing times! Anita Ortiz handily snagged 1st place for the women with a time of 4:44. Incredible. Helen Cospolich and Sonja Wieck stood by Anita on the podium with times both under 6 hours. Let me say that the snow was horrendous and anyone finishing around the lunch hour is fast, furious, and a fine snow runner to boot. I came in 4th place for the young ladies and was thrilled to see my fellow SLC runners, Anny and Mindy, right on my tired heels. Full race results are posted and feature some familiar names, including Utah’s own Karl Meltzer (#1 overall).
The race itself was stunningly beautiful, well organized, well marked, and an all around crowd-pleaser. A fine shin-dig at Eddie McStiff’s (who wasn’t McStiff after that snowy slickrock?) wrapped up a gorgeous and arduous day. It was a great course for the Montrail Mountain Masochists. A pair of skis would have been nice for the Metal Masher section, however.
Had there been an award for the runner who travelled the farthest to participate, it would have gone to Ryaturo Mizuno, of Queens, NY. “Roo” chose this race as his very first ultra. Huge congrats to him for braving the terrain, the snow, and the distance. Roo is now hooked on trail running. Mission accomplished.
Having just read Dakota’s posting below it looks like us Candians will be running in a slightly colder climate this weekend as Ryne Melcher and I lace up to race at Calgary’s Frozen Ass 50km on Monday. That said I’m sure you’ve all been hearing about the snow (or lack thereof) at Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics and we’ve got pretty similar weather over here in Alberta now so I’m stoked to be running in temperatures over zero! Ryne has run the Frozen Ass before but has not enlightened me with any tips on the course (hey I thought we were a team?!) so it’ll be a bit of a blind run for me but just fun to be out on a new course. I’m still weighing up on which shoes to wear. I was a dedicated fan of the Montrail Streaks in 2009 and have thus far found the Masochists an awesome replacement for me. But then again I have been super suprised how great the new Montrail Rockridges are. On first trying them on I found the toe box a little roomier than I would have chosen but after a few runs in them I am enjoying them more and more. Plus the Frozen Ass course is non-technical packed trail/ road so a transition shoe like the Rockridge could be just perfect for the conditions.
This weekend Mandy Hosford and I (Dakota) are headed to Moab for the Red Hot 50K+. For those of you who haven’t run this race, it’s fantastic. The course weaves throughout a landscape that is so stunningly beautiful it’s hard not to stop and just admire the view. Personally, I grew up in Moab and therefore have strong ties to the area, but anybody, and especially ultra-distance/mountain runners like ourselves, can appreciate the spectacular wonder of the desert landscape. I got to run this race last year and the experience was well worthwhile. The volunteers are enthusiastic and fun, and the skillful organization makes for smooth passage from start to finish. I definitely recommend this run to everybody. Hopefully the weather will be on our side again this year, as low temperatures and high amounts of snow have loaded the course with all kinds of trickery.
I’ll be wearing the Mountain Masochists during the race. In the past I used the Hardrocks, but since discovering the Masochists I haven’t looked back. Wearing the Masochists is like jumping into a snowdrift and feeling the snow conform to every curve and bend of your body, except they’re much warmer. I’ve also been training in the Rockridges lately here on the snowy Colorado roads and they feel wonderful – much better than a regular road-only shoe since they have lots of traction on the snow and ice. That’s right, snow and ice; we mountain folk have it pretty rough come wintertime, but luckily we have Montrail shoes to keep us on our feet.
Lastly, I have my own blog now! Check me out at thatdakotajones.blogspot.com and give me a hard time for all the dumb stuff I say.
See you out on the trails somewhere.
Last weekend Team Montrail runners were out on course, participating in 50k trail races from Washington to Kentucky. Congratulations goes out to Matt Hart, who finished 3rd place at Orcas Island 50k in his first ultra in over a year (4:47:15). “I finished 3rd, and it hurt, but I felt great overall.” Sean Meissner, who was in a little friendly competition with Matt, finished 8th in 5:10:31. Nice work fellas! Ellie Greenwood, representing the Team Montrail women, was running as the top female for most the race, until she missed a flag, went off course, and eventually was disqualified. Ellie felt good about her running and her fitness, which is what really matters here.
Across the country in Louisville, KY, at the Lovin’ the Hills 50k, Eric Grossman finished 1st place with a time of 5:02 on a really nasty course, covered with fresh snow after a good deal of rain. Nice work Eric, we’re thrilled to see that you’re getting healthy and feeling good.
A shout-out goes to Luanne Park as well for her strong run at the Jed Smith 50k last weekend. Luanne finished in 3:59, good for 1st place female.
Now, onto the next events. What 50k ultra takes place every Valentine’s Day weekend in Virginia? Well it’s Dr. Horton’s Holiday Lake 50k of course. A tough course and fun group of people will make this an event not to miss.
Also on the horizon is the Hagg Lake 50k/25k, where a few Montrail athletes will join hundreds of friends and take to the mud for a fun morning of trail running. That same day, down in Columbia, SC, Halfmoon Outfitters will be hosting the second of two winter trail runs, this one a 12k in Harbison State Forest.
With that said, we want to know where you’re running this weekend? Participating in a trail race or event? Just hitting your local trail? Going for a destination run? Let us know where you’ll be.
Trail enthusiasts rejoice: new Montrail footwear has arrived and will be shipping to your local retail location soon. Check out montrail.com to view the new shoes,, including trail runners the Rockridge and the Sabino Trail. For the run/hike/fastpack crossover we’ve got the AT Plus and AT Plus GTX, and for the hiker and light hiker, see the Feather Peak GTX, Jawbone, and Sabino Trail Mid GTX. Also, check out the new 350 degree view of each shoe.
Rockridge: designed as a transition shoe, to get you from the road to the trail and back, the Rockridge has a neutral, single-density EVA midsole with a forefoot-only Trail Shield. Coming in at under 11.5 ounces, the Rockridge features a seamless mesh upper and supreme cushioning, providing the superior fit and feel only found in a Montrail.
Sabino Trail: our new stability shoe is built for performance and comfort on the trail. A thermoplastic midfoot shank and forefoot Trail Shield provide the protection and rigidity that you need for a long technical run, while a medial post assists in stability and support. A Gryptonite outsole with an aggressive tread will help you to handle all conditions of technical trail running.
AT Plus/AT Plus GTX: This lightweight and low cut hiker features a seamless nylon mesh upper with a synthetic leather rand for support and protection. A dual density midsole provides cushioning where you need it, and a firm 360 degree perimeter platform will provide support, protection and stability.
Visit montrail.com for images and more info.
With January just about wrapped up, we thought it’d be appropriate to compile some recent achievements by Team Montrail athletes and put them all in once place: right here.
Geoff Roes – recently named Ultrarunner of the Year by UltraRunning Magazine. Geoff also received Ultrarunning Magazine’s Performance of the Year for his course record at Wasatch 100. Geoff was also recently selected in the lottery for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. He’s also now a Cover Boy, gracing the cover of the Feb/March TrailRunner Magazine.
Jill Perry – Jill has come on strong in her short time as a member of Team Montrail. Jill set a new course record (along with Aliza Lapierre) at the Bandera 100k. Then, she received word that she’s been named to the USA 24 Hour Run National Team, after winning the 24-Hour National Championships in Cleveland.
Gary Robbins – Gary had it all come together for him at HURT 100 and broke the course record set last year by Geoff Roes.
Big Ups Team Montrail!
This has been some winter. I’ve had to field the question: “what do you do in this weather?” many times. I share my answer over on my blog. Check it our here!
Hey all, just a heads up that if you’re interested you can find my full race report from Hawaii here
My first time using WordPress, hope this worked…Happy Trails!
Looks like everyone is at it already in ’10 – excellent to see. After a super long injury rehab I’m psyched to be back on the trails – hoping to see some of you at the races soon.
I kicked off the year, with a few adventure racing/ultra running buddies, on an 8-day, super tough and culturally rich, mountain bike trip in parts-unknown-Mexico. I wanted to direct you all to my blog for the full recap and some pics. I think there may be some other posts that you may find interesting as well, including a kayak paddle recap from my November paddle across the Monterey Bay. Enjoy!
For LOTS of pictures on our trip to Mexico go to my Facebook wall. If we’re not currently FB friends, friend me at email@example.com.
Train smart, and we’ll see you all soon!
Terri Schneider – www.terrischneider.net
Montrail speedster and Bandera 100k co-champion Jill Perry reports:
Bandera 100k – WOW – two words to describe it: Brutal Beauty. I have but only positive things to say about this race. First, very well organized. Since I had no crew nor pacers, solid organization really made a difference in my getting in and out of aid stations. The volunteers were awesome! All smiles, lots of “sweetie” (guess that is a Texas thing, and I liked it!), and positive energy all around.
I entered this race with a very relaxed attitude. After banging my knee up at JFK, I had taken some time off to rehab and strengthen my legs. Only two weeks before this race did I start training for speed and hills and picking up the miles. I really was happy to be healthy again, and very excited to meet some of the other Montrail athletes (Sean Meissner and Annette Bednosky).
The race began at 7:30 – temps in the teens. Everyone looked like ninjas with their buffs over their faces and only eyes exposed. After about 15 minutes of running and early climbs, I was already warm. The day progressively got warmer and very comfortable for running.
The terrain was very rocky, rolling hills, some steep climbs, a bit of bushwhacking going on. Views were incredible! We were-warned of the sotol, which is a plant with lots of razor edges. I wore long tights which protected me from them which you little ran through in some spots. Thankfully I wore my Montrail Mountain Masochist and they were PERFECT for this rocky terrain – they had a bit more stability in the forefront. My feet were happy. I did have a couple of falls, one bloody one, but jumped back up and just said under my breath “I love this” and kept going. I met the NICEST people on the course. Annette and I ran for a bit (she has such an upbeat attitude and so motivating to others…great energy), some of the guys on the course and Aliza who ended up finishing in first place with me. And yes, we finished at the EXACT SAME TIME. We shared so much of our lives with each other on the course that the finish was just perfect. Within the last mile Aliza said to me “Do you want to duke it out?” and I replied “You bet” so we pushed it to the limit.
It was awesome. Thankfully we finished before dark because I couldn’t imagine running on such a technical trail even with a headlamp in the dark.
Now the big bonus of all of this, hanging out with Annette and Sean from the Montrail Team. They’re awesome! And it only makes me that much happier to be on this team. After the race, we went out for margaritas with some additional runners – lots of laughs, lots of shared stories.
Looking forward to the next race. Hopefully we can all get a chance to meet up with each other on the Montrail Team – because I have a feeling this is going to be a good year…for all of us!
Congratulations to Geoff Roes, Montrail athlete, course record smasher, and now the 2009 Men’s Ultrarunner of the Year, as named by Ultrarunning Magazine.
Geoff broke 5 course records in 2009, including HURT 100, Crow Pass Crossing, Wasatch 100, Bear 100 and Mountain Masochist 50.
Geoff’s performance at the Wasatch 100 was also honored as Performance of the Year.
Kami Semick took home the honors for the ladies.
See the official announcement here.
Hey all! Our buddy Bryon Powell from irunfar.com recently interviewed new Montrail athlete Max King and he’s posted his interview online.
Check it out here.
Montrail signed four new elite trail runners to Team Montrail including Max King, the winner of the 2008 and 2009 XTERRA Trail Run Championships and the 2009 USATF Trail Marathon Championship.
Max King (Bend, OR) – “As a relatively new ultra athlete, it will be great to be part of a stellar team of athletes that I can learn from and compete with at a variety of ultra distances. My hope is that we will become great friends that will continue to push each other to faster times and bigger goals.” – Max King Recent Highlights: 2008 Olympic Trials Steeplechase qualifier; Winner of two straight XTERRA Trail Run World Championships, numerous USATF and USA Cross Country trail championships and the 2009 USATF Trail Marathon Championship; Max began running ultras in 2008 winning both the Siskiyou Outback 50k and the TransRockies Stage Race and the 2009 American River 50-mile. Goals for 2010: Focus on ultras while still competing at the top level in shorter distance events; Work with the Montrail Product Development team to create progressive trail shoes for upcoming seasons; Continue his career as a Biochemical Engineer at Bend Research and coach a performance running group.
Dakota Jones (Durango, CO) Recent Highlights: 19 years-old with top finishes in 2009 including: Jemez Mountain 50-mile, The North Face Endurance Championship, Moab Red Hot 50k and The Other Half half marathon. Goals for 2010: Run trail events, both ultras and sub-ultras, hoping to one day win the Hardrock 100.
Jill Perry (Manlius, NY) Recent Highlights: 2009 wins at Umstead 100 and the 24 Hour Run National Championship; 2nd place at Vermont 100 and Caumsett 50k; Represented the USA at World Championship 50k in Gibraltar. Goals for 2010: Continue her winning streak as a mother of five; Run the Badwater Ultra; Further the success of her business, Whole Running.
Mandy Hosford (Salt Lake City, UT) Recent Highlights: All in 2009: 3rd at the Pocatello 50-mile, 1st at the Wasatch Steeplechase, 1st at Speedgoat 50k and 2nd at the Wasatch 100-mile. Goals for 2010: Working toward strong finishes in more 100 and 50-mile races across the country.
Bev Anderson-Abbs, Annette Bednosky, Syl Corbett (Canada), Luis Escobar, Ellie Greenwood (Canada), Eric Grossman, Matt Hart, David Horton, Mandy Hosford, Hiroki Ishikawa (Japan), Dakota Jones, Max King, Sean Meissner, Ryne Melcher (Canada), Luanne Park, Jill Perry, Gary Robbins (Canada), Geoff Roes, Terri Schneider, Erik Skaden, Joelle Vaught
Camp Victory — Baghdad, Iraq In Iraq, X-Dog worked with Camp Victory and the C/ 1-82 Brigade. First Sergeant Gavin McIlvenna and some of his crew worked on an epic route that provided a little distraction from everyday stresses.
The following is a thank you note from First Sergeant Gavin McIlvenna:
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your support of XDog Events, and helping him sponsor the Scramble in the Sand, The Desert Cup adventure race in Baghdad, Iraq.
Over 300 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and civilian supporters were able to participate in this epic adventure on Camp Victory, Iraq for free thanks to you!
This weekend, the Montrail Ultra Cup action heads to Bandera, TX for the Bandera Endurance Runs. The race includes a 100k and 50k distance that are both good for Ultra Cup standing and points, as well as a 25k distance. The top 2 men and women overall will earn an automatic entry into Western States 100.
Speedsters Zachariah Miller, Chikara Omine, Pam Smith, Annette Bednosky, Jill Perry and others will duke it out for tops in the 100k.
Montrail is excited to bring the Ultra Cup back to Texas. The weather forecast is calling for chilly days with below average temperatures. Rest up, dress warm and we’ll see you in the Texas Hill Country!