In this segment of Athlete Profiles I had the pleasure of catching up with Inov-8's Shiloh Mielke. Shiloh has made a significant mark in the Mountain Running scene over the past three years, and has a set of lungs that would make Lance Armstrong blush. On his first attempt in 2006 he made the US world Mountain Running Team and again in 2007 where he placed a very respectable 37th overall/2nd American. This year is no different, as Shiloh has his sites on making the team yet again along with improving his world rank. Shiloh was kind enough to take time to answer some of my questions.
Inov-8 Athlete Profile Interview: Shiloh Mielke
Interviewed by: Wynn Davis
1.Living in Weaverville, North Carolina can you tell us some of your favorite trails and/or races in the surrounding area?
The Shut-In Ridge Trail Run, Rock To Rock, and Springmaid Splash are all great races in the area.
The Art Loeb Trail is great and Bent Creek has an abundance of trails that are all great single track
2.Can you tell us a little bit about your running career at Northern Arizona University and what led you into Mountain and trail running?
I ran track and cross- country. It was fun to go out and run with a lot of fast people, however, the downside to training with fast people is that it is easy to over train. I got into Mountain/Trail running after I broke the Shut-In record in 2005. That was when I realized that I was mtn./train running played more to my abilities.
3.Being a Private Coach and an experienced runner at the elite level, are there any common training errors or misconceptions you see among runners? Do you have any particular training philosophies that you promote?
Sometimes people have a tendency to over train. It is easy to do when people are doing high miles. When people run a lot they don’t realize when they are getting fatigued as easily. As with high intensity. More isn’t always better, you have to take a step back and look at the big picture. Sometimes there are other things you can add to your training besides just miles.
4. You have an astonishing 91.8 VO2max, which is world-class, but you also mentioned that diet played a huge role in regard to improved performance, can you tell us a little bit about this?
I was a vegetarian until I was 20 years old. I was tired and anemic. Once I incorporated meat into my diet I started feeling better and performing better. I also do not eat hydrogenated oils or overly processed food. Whole foods are essential for a healthy body.
5.What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?
My strengths are my aerobic capacity and that I am not injury prone
My weakness is my foot speed
6. What are some of your PR’s?
7. Without being to clandestine, can you describe to us what your training leading up to a big race looks like, any key workouts in particular that you have found success with?
As it gets closer to race day I get more and more specific with my training. My training will mimic the race course.
8. What are you goals for the rest of the 2008 season?
I would like to win the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, qualify for the World Mountain Team and if that happens place in the top ten at the World Trophy Race.
9. Recently you set the CR at the Rock 2 Rock race against some very stiff competition, such as, Saft, Bryant, Lundblad?
It was a good race. There had been some inclement weather before the race so there were a lot of trees down on the course. Also it was very hot at the start line, so I feel like there will be a new CR next year.
10. In 2006 you made the US World Mountain Running team on your first attempt and then again in 2007 where you finished 2nd American, and a respectable 37th overall. Can you describe the level of European competition and a particular highlight from the 2007 race?
Running in the World Mountain Trophy is comparable to running in a NCAA Cross-County Championship. There are a lot of great mountain runners in Europe.
The highlight from the race for me was not being able to walk for a week afterwards because my quads were so sore. It let me know how challenging a mountain race can be.
11. What do you know now that you wish you would have known in your high school and/or collegiate years of running?
How good meat is for you. Noting like some iron and protein.
12. Is there a particular INOV-8 shoe that you gravitate toward and why?
I really like the new F-lite 230. It feels like a racing flat. I am a minimalist.
13. Last year you won your third consecutive Shut-In Ridge Trail race and bested your Course Record. What is it about that course that you do so well?
It is the perfect mix of up, down, and technical running to suit my strengths.
14.You just recently finished in the top 10 amongst a stellar field at the 48th annual Mt. Washington Road Race. Did you meet your goal (s)? Can you describe this race in one word? Lastly, can you describe Mt. Washington race in one word?
My goal for the race was to qualify for the World Team, so no, I did not meet my goal.
My one word to describe this years race is cramp. I had a breathing cramp in my right side for over half of the race. Not something that I usually suffer from.
Mt. Washington overall is intense!
Monday, June 30, 2008
In this segment of Athlete Profiles I had the pleasure of catching up with Inov-8's Shiloh Mielke. Shiloh has made a significant mark in the Mountain Running scene over the past three years, and has a set of lungs that would make Lance Armstrong blush. On his first attempt in 2006 he made the US world Mountain Running Team and again in 2007 where he placed a very respectable 37th overall/2nd American. This year is no different, as Shiloh has his sites on making the team yet again along with improving his world rank. Shiloh was kind enough to take time to answer some of my questions.
Friday, June 27, 2008
In this segment of Inov-8 athlete profiles I had the unique pleasure of interviewing one of the west's toughest XTERRA athletes. Toni Axelrod is not only an accomplished photographer and athlete (2007 XTERRA World Championships/3rd place age division), but she is also a community activist as well, by providing financial income to individuals and/or non-profit organizations so that they can increase awareness of thei cause (www.impactracing.org). Toni was kind enough to take time to answer some of my questions.
INOV-8 Athlete Profile
interviewed by: Wynn Davis
1.Being an art teacher and fine art photographer I can’t help but to notice that you are an accomplished photographer by profession. How did you become interested in photography?
My father was a big fan of photography. He bought me my first camera and taught me how to process film and print images in our home closet/darkroom. I loved his style of photographing people.
2. Do you have a particular subject matter or medium that you enjoy photographing? Furthermore, has there been a particular artist that has inspired you?
I love travel photography. I feel that it the most challenging and rewarding type of photography. I do my best to capture natural images of my subjects without influencing the depiction of the character. Even though many times I cannot speak their language, I try to make them feel comfortable in my presence.
I really enjoy the work of National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry for his use of color and honest depiction of his subjects.
3.You have a fantastic website (www.axelphoto.com). Do you publish, and/or exhibit any of your work alongside commissions?
Currently I am not exhibiting any of my images. The time and cost of putting on a show is immense and I am a tough critic of my work. On occasion, I do publish my work.
4.What sparked your interest toward venturing into XTERRA and triathlon events?
It was a natural match. I have a background in mountain biking and love to trail run. The competitive open water swimming was a new and challenging skill to learn. I love the combination of the three off-road sports and the athletes that the events attract.
Also it is worth noting that the views from mountain races are almost always spectacular! I wish I could race with my camera. : )
5.In the last two years XTERRA events have exploded in popularity. Any ideas on why these events are so attractive? Any idea how it all got started?
I have noticed that too. When I first started competing in XTERRA there were a total of 80 athletes at most events. Now you can expect 400 to 500 athletes, which is a lot for an off road format. It makes sense for those living in mountain towns since more athletes tend to ride and run off road. I think it has gained in popularity because mountain biking and running on singletrack is more fun then pounding it out on an asphalt road. Also, I think the athletes are attracted to the post-party beer drinking events
6.What types of multi-sport events make up a typical XTERRA race, and what are the typical distances of each event leg?
Race distances vary according to location of the event. Distances average a 1.5K lake swim, 25-30K mountain bike and a 10K trail run. Time ranges between 2 and 3.5 hours.
7.Is there a particular area within triathlons and/or XTERRA that you excel at more than others? What, if any, areas do you feel like you may need to improve on?
There is always room for improvement in all the sports; at least for me! It can change from year to year. In the past it was always the swim and run. This year, my bike could be a faster.
8.Last year you placed 2nd in your age group at the XTERRA Nationals followed by a 3rd place age division at the XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii. Can you tell us what some of your pre-race goals were going into one of these races, and any notable highlights?
I was very happy with the results. I knew that the USA Championships was a good course for a Colorado athlete, so I tried to make it my A game race. There is a lot of climbing and you have to be accustomed to the altitude and cold weather. Living in Vail helped with that preparation.
Since it was my first time to the Worlds I did not what to expect. The course is very challenging with multiple layers of sharp lava rock. The hot and humid temperatures helped make made it a grueling race. Somehow I still managed to have fun! I was a memorable experience competing against the best athletes from around the world.
9.I see that you have the XTERRA World Championships slated for 2008. What are your expectations this year going into the race?
Although I loved going to the Worlds, I have decided to take this year off from the event. With the current economy, it is very expensive to compete in and travel to Hawaii.
10.What does a typical week of training look like for a multi-sport athlete like yourself leading up to a peak race?
I try to swim three mornings a week, bike and run twice and fit in a weight training session mid week.
11. Could you describe any important strategies without being too clandestine for those new or interested in XTERRA and triathlon competitions?
My best advice is to have fun! The time you stop having fun, it is time to quit. I recommend joining an MTB club or sign up for an off road riding clinic . Once you learn the fundamentals of mountain biking safely you can start competing. The advantage of triathlon competition is that the training is diverse. You can stay focused by alternating between the three sports. Try to practice swimming in open water a few times before your first race. It is very different than a pool. Always make sure that you give yourself a few rest days.
12. Is there a particular INOV-8 shoe and/or gear that you gravitate toward?
Currently my favorite race show is the roclite 285. It sticks in all conditions, is light and fast! I think for a wet race I may add the roclite 312 gtx into the mix. My favorite training shoe has been the roclite. 295. In fact, I like them all. I have to mention that the 285 matches my trisuit a little to well!
13.What is the scariest thing that have ever experienced in a race?
I guess when I was new to triathlons and open water swimming I faced some frightening rough water. During stormy weather, there have been a few hair-razing swims in Lake Tahoe (USA Championships) with high waves and choppy water. I don’t miss that!
14. What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue racing XTERRAs and building the Impact Racing/Inov-8 Team. I starting Impact Racing as a way to give meaning to my training/racing and give back to the community. The non-profit has kept me on track through some challenging times.
Impact Racing's mission is to provide financial support to individuals and/or non-profit organizations in need and to increase awareness of their cause with hope of creating a positive impact on communities through athletic competition.
Congratulations to Team Inov-8's Ben Nephew as he once again lit up the New England Running Scene with a first place finish at the Nipmuck trail marathon. You can read his race report below. Sounded like excellent redemption! Ben wore the Mudroc 280's
Wait until they see the sweet aesthetics of the 2009 Mudroc's! Go Green Baby!
Way to go Ben!
2008 Nipmuck Trail Marathon
The Nipmuck Marathon is one of the oldest trail races in New England, and tends to attract a strong mix of short and ultra-distance trail runners. The course itself consists of two similar length out and back from the start finish area. The first 20k is less technical and faster than the hillier second out and back section. It also usually warms up during the second half of the race, which adds to the difficulty of the second half. My previous two attempts at the race resulted in two second place finishes to Leigh Schmitt and Dave Herr, and this year I figured I’d give it another shot.
Although I’d advised several friends to take it easy during the first half due to fact that many people fade badly on the hills in the second half, I took off about a minute into the race. At this point in the day, the weather was still nice and cool, and my legs felt good, so I just bolted. I was probably at 5k pace for about a minute, and then settled to a more sustainable pace. As I was wondering if anyone was going to come after me, I paid the price for not focusing on the trail. I clipped a rock with my right foot, and went down hard on a pile of sharp rocks. After making sure everything was intact, I got up before anyone was able to spot me lying in the dirt. My back was stinging, and when I checked it with my hand, it came back with blood on it. Not much blood, but I had obviously done some damage.
At this point, I was annoyed with myself for having fallen. I rarely fall in trail races, but for some reason, my worst two falls have been at Nipmuck. The last time I raced, I was running a close second to Dave Herr when I went down so hard I thought I broke a rib. While my back was sore from the fall, I decided to continue with my race plan of a fast early pace. My logic was that it would be hard to make up ground when it warmed up during the second half of the race. I just needed to make sure that I still had enough left to run a solid second half myself.
As a continued to press the pace, the sweat started to seep into the wound on my back. The stinging was a bit distracting, but it probably helped me maintain focus on the trail as well. The last thing I needed was to fall again. At the first turn around, I had about a minute lead on Dave Herr, Glen Redpath, and a few other runners. At one point, I passed a runner that must have been from the same town, and he yelled, “Go Mansfield!” I knew several of the runners, and it was nice to get some support out on the trail. Between having to pass people, and backing off the pace a bit, I ran about 2 minutes slower back to the start/finish area.
After grabbing my bottle holder with iced tea, I asked Scott Livingston to give a yell when the next runner came through. When I heard him, I was less than a minute out, so the pack had made up some ground in the second 10k. It was hard to figure how fast to run for the next 7 miles. If I ran too hard, the last 7 would be a death march, especially considering my lack of long runs recently. However, I didn’t want to slow too much and waste my hard fought lead. This second half of the race is really not all that hilly, but after running hard for about 2 hours, even moderate hills felt like a lot of work. I was getting anxious to get to the turn around, and I had forgotten how there is always one more hill in this section. When I finally got to the second turn around, I was a little disappointed in my time. It appears that I had slowed as the temperature increased. The good was that I had about a two minute lead over Dave Herr, and felt like I had something left for the last 7 miles.
I was surprised at how well I felt at this point with my low training mileage, but the hills over the last few miles reminded me that I was pushing my range. I struggled to keep running up the last big dirt road hill before heading into the last 2.5 miles of singletrack. Since Dave Herr has run me down in several races over the years, I could never really relax all that much. What I didn’t know was that he was having stomach issues, and Glen Redpath was gaining on me. Despite almost taking another bad fall just before the finish, I won in 3:23:15, with Glen coming in about 90 seconds later. Full results can be found at runwmac.com.
I almost forgot to mention my shoe experiment. I wore the Mudroc 280’s for this race. Although I was worried how my legs would hold up with such a minimalist shoe, there aren’t a lot of pounding downhills at Nipmuck, and my legs felt great the entire race. I really appreciated the lack of weight on my feet over the last 4-5 miles, although I was glad when I was finished with the road sections. My feet were in good shape after the race, and my recovery was similar to my last two runs at Nipmuck, when I wore shoes with much more cushioning.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Yet another big weekend of racing coming up for Team Inov-8. The highly anticipated Western States 100mile will take off from Squaw Valley on Saturday as runners make their way to the Auburn track. This could quite possibly be one, if not the most competitive field to date. The possibility of a new male masters record and overall course record could easily be set this weekend. Brian, Scott, Andy, Devon, and Kevin will all be participating and we wish them all good luck. You can follow all of the runners via Western States Website. Furthermore, Dewey will be racing the Continental Divide 14km trail race and Kelli Lusk, fresh off her Mt. Washington weekend will be racing in the US National 10km Trail Championships. Have fun and run strong.
Brian Morrison Western States
Andy Jones-Wilkins Western States
Kevin Sullivan Western States
Scott Dunlap Western States
Devon Crosby-Helms Western States
Dewey Peacock Continental Divide 14km
Kelli Lusk US National 10km Trail
Type rest of the post here
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Checkpoint Zero / Inov-8 takes first place in the co-ed category at the Trailblazer Adventure Race Club's annual Siege at Fort Yargo adventure race.
The Seige at Ft. Yargo is billed as a beginner sprint race, the kind to get newcomers introduced the sport and show them how much fun adventure racing is. Nonetheless, many of the top regional teams sign up to duke it out and have some fun along the way. This year, Paul and I took my fiance Carol along with us, mostly to have some fun. Of course it never fails that once those numbers get pinned on, the competitive spirit comes out in us, and we just have to go for broke.
The race started off by having the team split up. One member was to swim about a quarter mile in the lake, while the other two collected three checkpoints on foot. All team members would then meet up at the canoes. Carol was nominated to do the swim, while Paul and I went to collect the CP's on foot. The run was pretty straight forward and Paul and I got out in front quickly to avoid the stampede of folks making their way to each CP. Luckily, the race directors had thought ahead and had hung 4 punches at each CP to make it as painless as possible. Meanwhile, on the swim, Carol discovered that I had been the last one to wear her PFD and it wasn't adjusted properly. (Note to self, check the gear before the race start.) The vest was coming up around her head making it difficult to swim. Eventually, she made it out of the water, but not before most of the race had passed her by.
As we all got into the canoe, we started paddling hard. Paul has been doing a lot of training for the Yukon River Quest, a 450 mile paddle race, so I knew he'd set a strong pace in the front of the boat. I think we could have let him paddle the whole way and we still would have done well. By the time we got the first CP we had passed over a third of the teams that were ahead of us. Paddling towards the first of the 12 optional CP's in the race, we saw a large number of boats on the shore, obviously folks looking for the point. We managed to slip in between a couple boats, disembark, find the CP and get back before most teams even found the CP. Back on the water we had moved up to about 10th place overall. After getting the last 2 CPs, we were in 6th place, and looked to be about 3rd place co-ed.
We quickly transitioned from the paddle to the bike and took off towards the first CP. Along the way, another racer turned and looked at Paul and asked him where his helmet was. In our haste, Paul had forgotten it so we had to rush back, and grab it before we could continue on. Once we corrected that mistake, we started making our way through the multitude of teams that had skipped points on the paddle and had gotten off the water before us. It's never fun to pass on single track, but we took our time, and I don't think we elbowed anyone into the woods.
After getting all the mandatory and optional CP's on the bike we got back to the TA to set out on the last section, the run. We figured we were in good shape, and were going to try to get all the CP's on this section, but we knew it would be tough. After getting the first couple, we realized that it would be wise to skip the furthest out point, instead focusing on the points that were closer to the finish. As we debated this, we ran right by another of the optional points. Looking at the watch and trying to estimate the time it would take to get to the finish, we decided that we would have to blow off the one we missed as well, and hope for the best.
As we collected the last of the mandatory CP's on the run, we were given the choice of swimming across the lake back to the start, or running all the way back around. We knew we wanted to swim because that set us up to collect the remaining few optional CP's on the way in. With time ticking down, we grabbed the last of the CP's and started to head to the finish. By chance I took a look at the rules then, and realized that there was something we completely missed! We had to portage the canoe from the take out back to the finish line! Luckily we were still close to the canoe and Paul and I hoisted it above our heads and jogged to the finish. We crossed the line with 10 minutes to spare, but had no idea where we placed.
When they got to the awards ceremony, and announced the first place co-ed team we were shocked when they called out Checkpoint Zero. We had guessed that at least one other team had gotten more points than we did, but in the end, most teams had problems with several of the points like we did.
All in all a great race. This race was a great showcase for our Inov-8 shoes as every time we got them wet, they seemed to dry out in minutes. Even the swim across the lake wearing our shoes wasn't bad. I also learned that my PFD will, just barely, fit in the Race Pro 30 pack. Certainly made carrying the PFD a lot easier as it didn't flop around at all. One suggestion for the Inov-8 pack designers though, put some drain holes in the bottom of the pack. As I finished the swim and got onto dry land I realized I had about 15 lbs of water in my pack and had to turn it upside down to empty it. I'm guessing they probably didn't plan on anyone doing lake swims while wearing a pack!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Congratulations to Team Inov-8's Dewey Peacock on his 1st place finish at the Jim Bridger Race located in Bozeman, MT. Despite the post-hole snow, Dewey prevailed on the wicked course. Sounded like Chippewa 50km race conditions! You can read his race report below.
Jim Bridger 10 Mile Run Race Report w/ Newspaper Link
This is definitely one of the more premiere trail runs in Bozeman, attracting a large turnout of all types of runners. It’s put on by the local ski team, so you get a very strong mix of trail/mountain runners, road runners, and the local ski talents. For anyone who races in competitive cross country ski areas know that trail races are frequently dominated or at least well represented by ski racers. We have plenty of talent here in Bozeman, with numerous skiers with national titles to there name. Something about 20+ hours of training a week apparently leads to a high fitness level, weird…
The race itself runs as a loop from one trailhead across some dirt roads and up to another trailhead. From that point it’s all single-track trails that climbs up and up, eventually linking up to the original trail head with miles of fast downhill running. It climbs 2000+ feet, and seems to just get steeper and steeper until it finally levels out, leading to my always favorite downhill section that you can just scream down. I’ve placed 3rd, 4th, and 2nd respectively in the three years I’ve ran it, and certainly was looking forward to racing it again this year.
This year was definitely looking to be exciting, because apparently Bozeman is a coastal city in Northern Greenland, and it snowed constantly for the week leading up to the race. We’ve had a very crazy spring, and as you can see from the picture below (taken Wednesday before the Saturday race on the same course), the race was to be a bit different this year. Although it turned out to be an absolutely sunny and beautiful day, about 3-4 miles of the race course was completely covered in snow, with no visible tracks or even trail at times.
To shorten this recap up, I won the race with a comfortable lead, and saw no one from about 2.5 miles on. Unfortunately this meant that I post-holed through tons of snow and had to navigate from my memory of the trail. Only getting off trail a few times, I was able to coast my way into being one of the very few people who have won this race (although probably with slowest winning time in its history!). The usual winner was noticeably absent, but I’ve been a lot closer to him in races lately and would have certainly appreciated the competition. It’s funny to have won this race, because it draws enough attention locally that I’ve got more phone calls and congratulations from people than almost any other thing I’ve accomplished in my life (shows you the priorities in a mountain town!). .
I wore my Mudroc 280’s for the first time hoping that they would be able to grip well on snow and wet terrain, and hopefully dry quickly over the 3 creek crossings in the race. They worked absolutely great, and I feel these not only have the best trail-feel, but the most flexible feel of all the racing models I’ve worn. They are definitely great for any terrain that needs some bite, and they don’t collect any mud or dirt like so many other trail shoes do. These would be perfect shoes for running the many trail races in my hometown back in the wet Southeast Alaska where mud and windy trails are aplenty. Now it’s all about recovering for the 1st USATF Montana Trail Championship, June 28th!
Congratulations to Team Inov-8's Sandy Powell who made a triumphant return back to Surgeres, France 48hr. Race to not only place 4th overall, but reach her goal of 200 miles around the 300m track. You can read her race report below.
Surgeres, France – 48 hour race…………… by: Sandy Powell
I sit quietly reflecting on my second visit to Surgeres, France and think about reaching my goal of running over 200 miles. I was invited back to run in the world-class 48 hour run on May 16-18, 2008. The thoughts that consume me are so numerous and the experience is just like a dream. It begins with an invitation to participate and then from there you are treated like an Olympic Champion. When we arrived at Surgeres train station, having traveled almost three hours from Paris, the race director and his crew met us and transported us to what would be our home base for the next six days. We stayed at the same hotel as last year and it was so wonderful to see the owner and his wife again. Like others, we met up with some of the same runners and it was fun to share stories about the past year and catch up on what was happening in our lives.
The whole town of Surgeres is involved in the success of this race! The business people had a big celebration downtown on Thursday evening to meet the athletes and welcome us to Surgeres. Afterwards, we went to the Hotel Gambetta for a pre-race meal that was just what people say about French food – out of this world! We departed that evening to begin our preparations for the race that was to begin the next day at 4:00 PM. (Rain or shine)
I began my day planning and preparing my crew about all the “things” they would need to do for me as I began this 48 hour journey. I must say and would say a thousand times over, I could not have made it without my crew. My husband, Ben, my sister, Cindy and her husband, Dan Clymore have been there for me the past two years. We went to the race site and readied my camper for the everything I would need for the next two days. (Each athlete has their own camper/table/chairs to use throughout the race.) I felt content that we had made all the preparations so we went to the luncheon and then participated in the “Parade of Athletes”. Each athlete is introduced and then your national anthem is played. I think at this moment I am so honored to be invited to this race but more importantly I am so honored to be representing the USA. Shortly, thereafter the race begins and off we go around and around the 300 meter track for two days. We switch directions every six hours and each time you pass the scoring table you wave to your lap counter so they can record your lap. I had the best lap counters – they cheered me on and were so encouraging especially during the downpours of the continuous rain.
During my first 24 hours I followed my race plan. My coach, Lisa Batchen, told me to be patient. Do not follow the crowd – run your race! Of course, if you look at the leader board I was doing just that – being patient and waiting until the dawn of a new day to move out and start moving up the leader board. The first 24 hours of running for me had been fairly consistent. I was eating/drinking and experienced no problems. At hour 24, I took a short break to change clothes, shoes (my faithful and best shoe the INOV_8 F -Lite 335) and just rest a few minutes before I started the second half of my race! I am over half way finished this race I thought – and that was a good feeling. The second day would prove to be very interesting as I began to move up and started to pass people that on the first day left me way behind. Again, I focused on my goal and what I needed to do each hour. Into the second night proved to be a challenge as I experienced some problems with my knee but after my crew’s help and prayers I was able to get back in sync and kept adding laps to my total mileage. The second night when we had the worst rain storm there were about only six of us that stayed out and ran all night. We accumulated some valuable miles even in the downpour. As daylight came, I was revived and was eager to add more miles and finish the race. I kept watch on the leader board and stayed with my plan! I ran steady and moved up to fourth place and held that place until the end. I was also glad that Phil McCarthy from New York was there to run and represent the USA as well. He did a great job by placing third in his first 48 hour race.
The race was over and the feeling of just being able to run in this race and be a part of this festive weekend in Surgeres, France was more than words can describe. The support and help that you receive is just unbelievable! I love this race and really do enjoy the experience of running 48 hours! I reached my goal of 201.5 miles and look forward to the next race! I know that I want to go back because there is no other race experience like the 48-hour race of Surgeres. I want to add a thank you to my sponsors: INOV-8, POWER BAR and RIVERHEADS RURITANS.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
In this installment of Inov-8 Profile, I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Team Checkpoint Zero. Checkpoint Zero is one of Team Inov-8's talented Adventure Racing teams that compete on some of the most beautiful and brutal courses across the country; going against some of the toughest AR teams in the Nation. AR teams and races are becoming quite popular, as the sport culminates a plethora of different athletic mediums (i.e. running, orienteering, climbing, biking, and paddling). Team Checkpoint was kind enough to take time to answer some of my questions regarding their Adventure Racing experiences. Enjoy!
INOV-8 Athlete Profile
Team Checkpoint Zero AR
Interviewed by: Wynn Davis
1.Can you tell us a little bit about how Team Checkpoint evolved and how you came together as a team?
Jon: Paul & I were racing as Tally-Ho! And had a couple of good seasons. Paul Angell (Yak) and I had been friends for a while and I was recommended to Yak to be captain of his new CP0 team. I agreed and came on board joining forces with the old Race Metrics team of Michele Hobson, Chris Brown and Tim Abbot. The team has evolved with Suz Falvey, Scott Pleban, Allen McAdams racing occasionally. In the last year I invited up and coming all rounder Peter Jolles to join in 2007 and with Peter taking over the captaincy from a semi-retiring Jon for 2008.
2.The interest, participation and race venues of team/adventure races have been growing rapidly. Can you tell us why this sport is so enticing for many outdoor enthusiasts and how it has grown in the last few years ?
Paul: I was an outdoor enthusiast well before my first adventure race. I loved to be on the water, backpack and mountain bike. When I learned of adventure racing about 8 years ago, it struck me as a perfect way to make a team sport out of all my outdoor interests. What a perfect excuse to run around like a kid in the woods for days and days doing all that stuff you like! Plus, you can think of adventure racing as a treasure hunt for grown-ups, and you're doing it with a bunch of your friends. After a long week of working – for many of us – at a desk, this can be a wonderful escape. And races seem to be getting faster and faster as more endurance athletes – such as tri-athletes or cross country runners – are discovering how much fun this sport is.
Peter: For me, I the draw is that I don't have to be an expert in anyone event, but rather have to know how to do a variety of things. That variety is what keeps the races interesting, you never do the same thing twice. In an Ironman you know exactly what you will be doing, how long it's going to take, and where the course goes. With adventure racing you are told to bring a bike, some shoes, climbing equipment, but you often have no idea what the course will be like until you actually get out there. The unknown adventure factor is what keeps me coming back.
3.What types of athletic mediums besides running and biking are found in Adventure Racing?
Allen: Adventure racing is a multi-sport competition that involves not only running over hill and dale, but also cycling over varying terrain, paddling (craft ranging from inflatables to canoes) orienteering with map and compass, climbing, rappelling, trekking (bushwhacking), and in some instances , swimming. Occasionally, for good measure, racers must complete "mystery" events spread throughout the course. Tyrolean traverse anyone?
4.Is there a Captain or “ring leader” for Team Checkpoint Zero? Are there any specific tasks that this person is in charge of in regard to keeping the team aligned?
Peter: Well, since I'm the official "captain" this year, i suppose it's up to me to answer this. For the most part, I take on the responsibility of identifying the races that the team wants to compete in, getting sqads together to race, and serve as a liaison between our main sponsor (Yak @ Checkpoint Zero) and the rest of the team. When racing, I'm no different from the others, and we all play our part and help get the job done.
5.Do certain teammates have various strengths if a particular athletic medium or race stage to compliment one another, or is there a balance all around?
Jenn: Each teammate brings unique strengths and talents to the table. Jon Barker and Peter Jolles are amazing navigators and keep us going in the right direction. Others have great paddling or biking skills. Someone on the team always has to keep an eye on nutrition and energy for the team as a whole. Oh, and I can't forget, Paul Cox has some great vocal talents that he uses to keep us going in the "wee" hours of the morning!
6. Is there a particular race your team enjoys most?
Paul: Most every race is special in its own way, whether it's because of the stunning terrain or how well the race directors have designed the course. I've raced in every edition of the Swamp Stomp, a 30-hour race held annually in Florida, so that's probably my favorite. The race usually is my first of the year since it's held in February, when the sweltering Florida heat hasn't set in yet. The location changes every year, but the paddle sections are always beautiful and the race directors put together an interesting and demanding course. And the gators won't bother you -- as long as you keep paddling!!
7. Do you rehearse or discuss a pre-race “game plan” before each race, and if so, could you tell us what it might entail without being to clandestine?
Jenn: I wouldn't call it a "game plan", but our goal is to always get the race done and do it as fast as possible. We discuss the overall course and strategy for transitions, but other than that, we just race hard and fast.
Allen: Much of adventure racing success depends on the ability to formulate sound race strategies, and to alter those plans depending on ever-changing race course conditions. Ultimately, teams must move as quickly as possible over the course as a unit. Therefore, teammates must work together to maximize their personal strengths and minimize weaknesses, i.e., a stronger runner may tow or push a slower running teammate to navigate a course in the most efficient manner possible.
Some questions we debate prior to racing are: "Which route is fastest-not necessarily shortest?'; "Which route demands the most energy?"; "Which route choice provides the most favorable conditions for ease of navigation?" (Is it prudent to navigate in dense fog or foliage during the dark of night)?
8. Can you list five of the most essential pieces of gear that you rely on most during a race, and what are some of your favorite Inov-8 gear?
Jon: Compass, map case, shoes, rain shell, socks (and food…) – Love the 320s.
Jenn: Hydration bladder
Inov-8 pack - RacePro 30 is the best for 24 hour or longer races. Pack a small or large load and it compresses to fit your gear.
Foot/body lube (to prevent chaffing)
Cushioned trail shoes (Roclite 320's) for all the rocks and roots
Paul: 1.) Shoes! The Inov-8 315s are my weapon of choice. They're light, drain water well (my feet stay wet almost constantly during adventure races), have fantastic traction and conform to the shape of my feet very well. You've got to have happy feet to have a happy racer. Hands down – err, feet down – they are the best shoes I’ve worn for adventure racing.
2.) Inov-8 Race Pro pack. It's a maxim every backpacker knows: Keep the weight low and against your back. That's what this pack does well. With this pack, I can keep my balance as I'm hopping across rocks or scrambling up loose hillsides. If I get wobbly, well … then that's what a good bike helmet is for.
3.) Long sleeve wicking shirts with a 3/4 front zipper. Managing body temperature is especially hard for adventure racers because we're always in and out of water, and going up and down hills fast without stopping to change clothes. And I don't like to fiddle with lots of layers. A long sleeve shirt with a big zipper helps keep me in the "comfortable" range. Roll up the sleeves and pull down the zipper when climbing a hill on the bike, and vice versa when it's time to enjoy the downhill.
4.) Duct Tape! Race directors usually require each team to carry a small bit during races. I'd carry a few feet even if it wasn't required. I've fixed buckles on bike shoes and more with the stuff. In my book, duct tape is an invention on par with the wheel!
5.) Anti-friction foot cream. I layer than stuff on like it was cream cheese icing and my foot was a carrot cake. Getting blisters can slow you down tremendously, or worse, even end your race. So, I re-apply the stuff at nearly every transition area in long races, especially if I change socks.
9. What does a typical week of training look like for an Adventure Racer?
Jon: Eat a lot, eat some more then taper with some more eating… Seriously, a lot of running with tons of hills, paddling and biking also during the week, mainly early before work with occasional lunch times and evenings. Weekends include one long day of training and one of rest and honey-dos.
Allen: Most adventure racers are not professional athletes who train religiously throughout the day. Nevertheless, I believe most adventure racers strive to run, cycle and paddle no less than three sessions of each discipline per week, and may perform some type of resistance training twice each week, such as climbing or weight lifting. Additionally, these athletes often participate in local orienteering meets to train themselves to match physical landmarks outdoors to the ones they see printed on maps. The mileage varies for each discipline and for each phase of training athletes establish depending upon the schedule and distances of races. Generally speaking, adventure racers spend an average of ten hours each week training.
10. Just recently your team captured first place at the highly acclaimed Wild Wonderful Adventure Race in West Virginia. The race report was epic and I encourage everyone to read it on the Inov-8 site. Can you describe your emotions and strategy during the final stage of the race? To set the stage, Team Checkpoint was in second place after becoming disoriented on the orienteering portion of the race, which was the final leg of the race. After multiple attempts they persevered with one last logistical push through brutal landscape and found that they had indeed one. Team EMS was unable to capture two of the checkpoints, the two that Checkpoint Zero managed to persevere and attain.
Peter: From the start of the race, we pretty much knew that we had to try and keep EMS in sight, as they are an extremely fast and talented team. As the race went on they slowly pulled away from us, and with the few issues we had kept us from closing the gap. About 3/4's of the way through the race I knew we were effectively racing for second place, and we just had to keep a step ahead of the teams behind us. You never like to admit defeat, but there is a time where reality sets in and it's foolish to punish yourself unnecessarily. We definitely struggled on the last orienteering section, but gave it our best and were relieved when we headed for the finish line, knowing we had a solid second place. As we got to the finish and went to congratulate EMS, we were shocked when they asked if we got all the points and said they hadn't. Part of me was definitely elated that we would be winning, but I also felt that we didn't entirely deserve it, as EMS really did outrun us. However, navigation and finding the checkpoints is part of the game, even if it is the most frustrating part at times.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
This weekend is the big showdown at the Mt. Washington Road Race in New Hampshire. A race with rich history and tradition and a place where legends are made. However, the punishing course will definitely test the runners' physical and mental mettle to the maximum. This year's race is also representing the USATF National Championship. This meaning, the top 4 men and women will represent the U.S. in the Wolrd Champs later in the year. With such a loaded field, will Inov-8's Jonathan Wyatt's (5 time World Champion) sick course record go down(56:41)? Check out all the buzz on the race site link above. Team Inov-8 will be bringing their heavy hitters to the race. Regardless, it will be a quad-pounding / lung burning ascent Read further about the course vitals and profile. It's a real doozie!
Parlaying with this busy weekend of racing will be Inov-8's Greg Feucht, as he takes on the Caldera trail marathon and Toni Axelrod who will be racing in the XTERRA Buffalo Creek race. We wish everyone good luck and good fun.
Dewey Peacock Mt. Washington
Meadow Tarves Mt. Washington
Kelli Lusk Mt. Washington
Shiloh Mielke Mt. Washington
Kevin Tilton Mt. Washington
Paul Low Mt. Washington
Greg Feucht Caldera Trail Marathon
Toni Axelrod XTERRA Buffalo Creek
The Course: The Mt. Washington Auto Road is 7.6 miles in length, has an average grade of 11.5% with extended sections of 18%, and the last 50 yards is a 22% "wall" to the finish. There are mile posts along the course, but these posts represent mileage from the Auto Road office across Route 16 . Mile one is thus actually 0.9 mi. from the start. And mile posts 2 - 7 are thus 1.9 - 6.9 miles. From milepost 7 to the finish is 0.7 mi. There will be a digital clock at the exact halfway point of the race (3.8 mi.). The course rises 4650 vertical feet from start to finish. Relax, there's Only One Hill!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Inov-8's Ben Nephew shares his dramatic report from the Soapstone race in New England. Fast times, roads less traveled and making up ground were all encompassing in this year's battle. Despite all of this, Ben forged his way to victory lane.
Soapstone Mountain 14.5 mile trail race
For the New England Grand Tree trial racing series, you are scored on your best six races, and it usually takes a near perfect score to win the overall title. While there are about 20 races throughout the year, it’s always better to get wins as early as possible. After a good run at 7 Sisters, I was hoping to get my first win of the year at Soapstone. I’ve won Soapstone several times, and the course seems to fit my combination of decent road speed and good technical trail running. It’s always a little difficult to follow the course with dozens of turns, but this year was particularly special.
After a delay at the start, I decided I was going to go out hard on the initial dirt road section. Even though I’ve run the race for several years, I always get paranoid about missing the turn onto the singletrack. After stopping a couple times to make sure I didn’t miss the turn, I dove into the singletrack with a healthy lead. After a couple short hills to soften up your legs, you hit a wall of dirt that is the side of Soapstone Mountain. There is little running here; it is a slow hike for most of the climb. I saw that one of top runners at Seven Sisters, Brian Rusiecki, had decided to give chase. Since I wanted to try and run a fast time in addition to going for a win, I accelerated over the top of the climb and tried to use my familiarity with the trail to put some more time on Brian on the technical downhill. For a while things were going smoothly, but when I tried to follow the course ribbons around 3 miles, I ended up coming out on a dirt road when I should have been on singletrack. Although I was able to get back on the trail, my detour cost me some time. Fortunately for me, Brian was not able to catch up with me at this point.
That diversion was minor compared to what happened next. As I was running down a carriage road, I noticed a bunch of ribbons leading left into the woods when I thought the course went straight. There were too many ribbons to ignore, and I figured it must be some sort of detour. This new section of trail was very primitive which made me nervous. After a minute or so, I wasn’t sure I had made a wise choice following the markings. It was too well marked NOT to be part of the race, so I just continued to follow the pseudo-bushwhack. After a few minutes, I finally got back to a trail that looked familiar, although I wasn’t positive I was running the right direction. As I looked at my watch a little while later, I was surprised I had not hit the 7 mile aid station when I had been running for over 50 minutes.
When I finally got to the aid station, I could see a few runners ahead of me, much to my surprise. I must have taken the scenic route, and gotten passed by several people. When I passed the first guy, he said he was in 7th, and my blood began to boil. I had been working hard to run a fast time, and now that was pretty much hopeless, not to mention all the runners who were in front of me. This section of the race consists of a solid mile of downhill that is right down the middle of a stream. While I am usually not very timid on this section, my irritation with getting lost resulted in a mad dash attempt at getting back into the lead. Considering I didn’t even look to see where my feet were going, it’s a miracle I didn’t destroy my ankles. I was able to pass three runners on the downhill, but couldn’t see anyone else up ahead.
As I started up the next long uphill, I spotted another two runners. When I finally was able to catch up with them, they asked if I had gotten lost. I confirmed their suspicions, followed by a long line of profanity. At this point, I thought there was one more person to catch, and kept pushing as hard as I could. I would hope to see the leader around every corner, but it never happened. Maybe Brian took the right trail, and was too far out to catch. By 11.5 miles, at the last aid station, I was hurting from my attempts at getting back in the lead. To my surprise, the aid worker told me I was in first! The first runner I passed was counting me when he said he was in 7th!
I was pretty excited to hear that I was leading, and my attitude improved drastically. I backed off the pace for about a half mile, and then ran hard up the last big uphills and down to the finish. I ended up winning by about 3.5 minutes in 1:46:05. Several runners ended up taking the same detour I did, which were actually markings for a new mountain bike trail. The race organizers guessed that it probably cost us about 5 minutes. I’ve gotten lost at several New England trail races, and it usually doesn’t work out this well at all. It was a nice surprise to manage to win in spite of the detour, and I actually needed the extra mileage! I wore the mudroc 280’s for this race, and they did a great job of protecting my feet in the stream, and then quickly drying. Race results and excellent pics by Scott Livingston can be found at runwmac.com.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I am more and more impressed by the quality of Honey Stinger endurance fuel products. I have tried many of the major fueling companies out there and either they have fuel that partially works, doesn't work, or is a money grabber (i.e pixie dust products that make you believe you need them).
What impresses me about Honey Stinger is that they have the "Less is More" approach in my mind. They have the cadre of fuel that is needed to perform at your peak level, without sacrificing quality and taste. This leads me to taste... I like to have variety in my long races and along with the variety of tasty gels, the peanut butter and honey bars taste great and are mild, not that rich dense flavor that makes you feel like you just ate an entire chocolate cake. I also really like their fruit chews for something different as the miles pass. They are soft, tasty and easily digested, unlike some of the chews out there that are tough to eat on the run, like you're eating juju bees and you can't even open your mouth to breathe.
The all natural gels are great too because you get the larger calorie component, but without all the sodium, allowing you to control that on your own and the larger calorie count allowing you to stretch out your fueling.
Type rest of the post here
Friday, June 13, 2008
Good luck to Clark Zealand on Saturday as he takes on the tough, rugged and beautiful Highlands Sky 40 mile course in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area of West Virginia. Dwight Shuler will be going to hot and steamy Athens, GA for the Fort Yargo 6 hour Adventure Race and Emma Garrard will be in Richmond, VA competing in the Xterra East Championships on Sunday. Good luck to all!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
If you're looking for a tough race out east that combines all of the classic ingredients of tough trail, beautiful scenery, lung busting distance, and strong comp. than look no further than the 7 Sisters Trail Race. However, if you plan on having delusions of grandeur you'll have to test your mettle against some of the East's quickest legs. Both Inov-8 athletes Paul Low and Ben Nephew have made their mark on the 7 Sisters race, seemingly owning the top spots each year. Ben was kind enough to write up his experience of the 2008 race. Read below.
7 Sisters 12 mile
The Sisters is one of the stalwarts of New England trail running. Per mile, many think it is the most difficult race they have ever run. Many of those who run it, never come back (to run it again, they don’t just disappear, usually). The description on the website is: “Extremely hilly with 3,700 feet of climb consisting of many steep hills with hazardous footing in places due to the many sharp basalt rocks the comprise the elevated ridge of Mt. Holyoke.” Over the 12 miles of the out and back race, there is one 400 meter section that is flat. The rest is up and down, up and down, up and down…….
I tend to do well at 7 Sisters, and usually look forward to the race. This year, due sub-par runs at Northern Nipmuck and the Merrimack River 10m, I wasn’t sure I was ready for the course. Although Paul Low, the course record holder by 5 minutes and multiple winner, could not make the race, the field was still quite strong. Josh Ferenc, who won Northern Nipmuck in a course record time a few weeks ago, and Leigh Schmitt, one of the few runners to break 1:50, were the favorites. Greg Hammett and Andrew Baird have also run very fast in recent years. The unknown in the race was the condition of the course. The terrain is dangerous enough in the dry, but it had been raining over the past two days, and the downhills were sure to be slick.
As the race started, two runners shot off the front as if they were running a 10k. I worked my way up to Leigh, and a few more people lined up behind us. Although we both were a little concerned at the pace of the leading pair, going out hard usually doesn’t work well at all at 7 Sisters. After the first few hills, I was surprised at how well I felt running with Leigh. At about 2.5 miles, Josh Ferenc shot around us and quickly pulled away. I told Leigh that he was in pretty good shape, and he was satisfied with our present pace. Since Josh was a first time runner, there was a good chance he would come back to us.
We were pulling away from the rest of the field without too much effort, and had a chance to catch up on things during those early miles. We are both Dads, so recently we talk about trying to fit running in with the family. We ran over three miles before we spotted the younger of the lead pair, running in what looked like basketball shorts. He had slowed considerably, and was sure to have a tough time with the remaining 9 miles of relentless hills. It actually took a little while to get around him, due to the use of an Ipod, which is not a good idea on a technical out and back trail.
By four miles, Leigh and I had separated ourselves from the rest of the field and started to pick up the pace a little in an attempt to spot the race leader. I was still running comfortably, and found myself having to hold back on some of the uphills. I could have passed Leigh, but given my insecurity about my fitness and my respect for the difficulty of the second half of the race, I backed off. When we reached the turn-around at six miles, we realized we were actually in second and third. The guy in front of Josh must have gotten off course. The longest uphill in the race is just after the turn around, and Leigh suggested we try to reel in Josh. I still felt strong, but wasn’t very confident that we making an impact in his lead as we progressed up the climb.
On the second climb after the turn, I told Leigh that I would give leading a shot, and he seemed to struggle a bit as pushed up a steep, technical climb. I never pulled too far ahead, but I thought be able to get a lead as we neared the finish. Based on our halfway split of about 53 minutes, and our current pace, I thought I might have a chance at breaking 1:50, which would be a solid PR for me. Since Leigh had run sub 1:50 the last two years, I figured I just need to stay close. Although I has thought that the wet conditions would slow us down, our Inov-8’s provided plenty of traction to keep us upright. To give you a visual of a typical technical downhill at 7 Sisters, there is one section of fast running where you turn a corner, and the trail drops away 30-40 into broken rocks and trees. There is a lone tree on that corner which is crucial to slowing down, and if that thing ever goes, people are going to be flying off a ledge like lemmings!
Leigh and I have raced each other several times at the Sisters, and there is one last large hill that has been the deciding factor in some races. It’s a two-tiered wall up through some pines that is so steep, it is hard to keep moving forward at all. I have a lot of respect for Leigh’s downhill ability, so I decided to try and make a strong push up the hill. Although I pulled away, Leigh stayed in contact, and he recovered from the effort better than I did. Earlier in the year, he had won the North Face Challenge 50m in New York, so his endurance was obviously there. He ended up passing me in the last mile, and as I tried to chase him down, I almost went down a couple times. My legs were shot, and he had more left than I had thought. I still pushed as hard as I could to the finish, and ended up 23 seconds behind Leigh with a one minute PR. Josh ran a 1:47 for the win, which made him the third fastest individual to run the race.
Everyone in the top five was wearing Inov-8s, in addition to plenty of others in the field of 241. Josh wore 285’s, Leigh had 320’s, and Greg and I wore 280’s. I was very happy with my shoes; they saved me from a few bad falls after slipping on the torn-up trail heading back to the finish. As a public service announcement, Greg explained that a big coffee combined with some sort of caffeine laced energy beverage leads to an extremely elevated heart rate, and does not enhance performance! Hopefully next year I can come to the race with a bigger base and run sub 1:50.
Members of Team YogaSlackers spent the weekend working hard in the heat of Red Rocks, just outside of Vegas. After a few days of legitimate training with Daniel and Lina, Jason and Paul spent the next few days climbing, doing yoga, practicing acrobatics, drinking smoothies, and avoiding the cops.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Inov-8 runner Emma Garrard was part of the winning mixed team at this year's Reno Tahoe Odyssey a 177.6-mile relay in 19:43 more than an hour off their anticipated finishing time and more than two hours off the mixed team record. The cutters placed third overall behind Battle Born and the Runny Buns.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Registration and information for the 2009 Chippewa 50km is now posted at CHIPPEWA 50 This is a beautiful course along the Western Terminus of the Ice Age trail, traversing over hills and 55 different glacial lakes. This year's race was epic, as we experienced an unexpected snow storm. Next year should be beautiful and much faster with the new date.
Starting tomorrow afternoon I will be joining an all-star cast of Tahoe athletes for the Annual 177.6 mile relay race around the Reno/Tahoe area. I will have three legs totaling 14 miles in about a 14 hour time period and make it to work the next day. We are shooting for a mixed team record. Our team is a great group of mostly trail runners but unfortunately it's all on roads.
The team has 12 runners including Peter Fain, trail runner, Bill and Sarah Raitter, both good trail runners, Jessica Hall, soccer, Paul Sweeney, trail runner, Shannon Rahlves, triathlete and soon-to-be trail runner also sister of Olympic Skier Daron Rahlves, Chris Luberecki, trail runner, Sam Skrocke, just got done biking from Alaska to Argentina, Katie Goldammer, Kelly Krueger, trail runner, and Todd Rose.
Go to www.renotahoeodyssey.com for more info, I am runner #2
Inov-8's very own Ben Nephew was kind enough to establish a very thorough review of his experiences with many of the Inov-8 models. Ben has tested these shoes both on diverse trail and road throughout the country. Furthermore, in regard to performance Ben has used Inov-8 shoes to excel him in his races as an elite front runner.
Inov-8's natural response to ground/foot control, comfort, traction, versatility, Meta structural components and light-weight are some of the peak advantages found in Inov-8 shoes. My go to shoes are the Roclite 315 and F-lite 300. Find your favorites!
Inov-8 Multi-shoe review
Since I’ve had the good fortune of running in a good number of the Inov-8 shoes, I thought I’d give an extensive overview of my impressions with several models. I also get feedback from several other top New England trail runners that now run in Inov-8’s (almost all of them, at this point). I’m thinking it may help some of the team members, as well as others, pick the right Inov-8 for the job.
To qualify my opinions, I’m about 130 pounds, have low volume feet with bony heels, no biomechanical issues, and am a decent technical trail runner. I should also mention I have Morton’s feet. I’ve run at least a few hundred miles in each of the following models (not including the mudclaw).
This is good shoe from flat 5k’s to 10m trail races. It’s also been up Mt. Washington on some pretty quick feet. The trail traction is surprisingly good, and the outsole pattern offers good foot protection, probably more than the 280’s. It fits well with my low volume feet. If you are worried about not having enough cushioning, try putting the thicker insole in.
Unbelievable traction in deep mud. The heel and ankle area fits quite low.
This is a great trail racer. It is very flexible, and the traction is good on just about everything. I just ran a trail marathon in them, which is stretching the distance, but they worked out great. The thicker insole is a good idea for longer races if you have the room. It may not have enough forefoot protection for some, but this is the price of the excellent flexibility.
I switched from the 280’s to these for a while, but am now back in the 280’s. These are also great racers, but they have better forefoot protection and less flexibility than the 280’s. Because of this, they seem to work better for bigger runners. I’ve seen several very fast guys in the 170-180 pound range racing in these. The stiffer forefoot offers more control over rough terrain, but they have a little less traction than the 280’s. They also seem to have more room than the 280’s for wider feet.
This shoe offers a similar feel to the 280’s with more forefoot protection and overall stability.
This an extremely comfortable trainer with a good mix of cushioning and trail feel. There is a bit too much volume for my feet, so they probably work better for those with high volume or wide feet. The wider forefoot gives them more stability than the roclite 315’s, but they also feel less nimble. They feel very similar to the flyroc 310’s with more cushioning. You can run all day in these. Like all roclites, the traction is excellent.
This is a great shoe for someone who does roads and trails, or does mostly hard packed, non-technical trails. It is very stable, and the f-lite forefoot offers great protection from stones and roots. Not the greatest in mud, but better in the mud than the mudclaws are on the road!
This is a very comfortable long trainer. The heel is quite low, but the forefoot fit is excellent. The cushioning is probably overkill for lighter runners, who might prefer the 315’s.
I like to call these trail slippers, because they are that comfortable. With a thin midsole, they have great trail feel, but may not have enough forefoot protection for larger runners. There is plenty of room for swollen feet during long races, yet your feet stay secure even at a fast pace.
This is my favorite training shoe and long racing shoe for all kinds of surfaces. They are great at all speeds, have amazing grip on all surfaces, and excellent fit and durability. This is becoming a very popular shoe at the New England trail races. I’ve run under 2:40 for a trail marathon, and around 4:00 at the Headlands 50k in these shoes. Not only are they a great trail shoe, they are one of the best road shoes I’ve ever worn.
roclite 318 GTX
Excellent winter shoe for those who like the 315’s. They do a great job of keeping your feet dry and warm. However, they are not too warm to be used throughout the year. The Goretex construction gives them a bit more stability than the standard 215’s as well.
These are similar to the 305’s with a higher heel. With the added cushioning, they do not feel as quick as the 315’s, but can hold their own in a speed workout. Since you are higher off the ground with these shoes, they are slightly less stable. They seem work well for larger runners who feel that the 315 is not enough shoe. They came in second at the 7 Sisters trail race this year, ahead of my 280’s……(first place was a pair of 285’s).
This shoe is a paradox. I did a good amount of road running in them, and they were great. They have a nice, smooth ride, and plenty of cushioning from toe to heel. One day all my other trail trainers were wet, so I threw these on. They are fantastic trail shoes on everything except mud. Forefoot protection is great, and the traction on any kind of rock is unreal, even in the wet. The soft outsole may not hold up to a lot of road running, but they were durable on the trails. I think the PK 301’s might make a great ultra racing shoe for out west.
The classic. These are great for people that like to be close to the trail, but want more protection and stability than the 310’s. The fit is good for low volume feet.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Inov-8 team member Dwight Shuler pulls out the win at the 6th annual Greenway Challenge Adventure Race. Held on the grounds of the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, this event raises money to help build and maintain the greenway system along the creek and eventually link up a continuous running/biking system to downtown Chattanooga and beyond.
Read the race recap below.
Although, not really and adventure race, this event had all the makings of one packed into a short 1.5 hour triathlon. It kicked off with with a Lemans start and 50m sprint to pick up our bikes and head off into the meadow lands. Then we crossed all the terrain that the park had to offer, grass, trail, pavement and gravel. Along the way there were obstacles to dismount and hop over, ala cyclocross style, as well as a knee high 'spider web' of rope and wire to pick up your bike and navigate through on tired legs. I was in 3rd place on the second pass through when the guy in front of me went down in the ropes. I passed him there, had a quick transition into my RocLite 295's, and I was on my way.
The run was a blast. Lots of bushy trail and plenty of hills including a 200 foot bushwhack climb off trail up a steep drainage. I power walked that section and soon had the lead guy in my sights. I passed him a short while later but it was a little too soon as I was really red lined after trying to catch him. He quickly passed me back. I needed to regroup. We got to the next long climb and I noticed a little hesitation in his step. I was starting to recover so I passed him there and never looked back. Shortly after that we came to another couple obstacles. A tight rope walk followed by a balance beam. Both were short 15 foot sections, and would normally be pretty easy, but not so when your at your AT and seeing stars. Luckily, I made it through without too much trouble and was able to recover completly and tempo it back to the final belly crawl under some low slung rope before the next transition.
We had about another 1/2 mile run to where our boats were dropped. From there we had to pick them up and "run" to the river. Not far, but carrying a 45#, 14 foot boat doesn't make for a quick pace. Made it to the river for the short 3 mile paddle to the takeout. We carried the boats UP hill for a ways before we were allowed to drop them, do another belly crawl under the ropes and run to the finish. I made it through in the top spot just 2 1/2 minutes ahead of the second place finisher.
It was very hot on Saturday. 92 deg. when I left. It was the first time I had used the NUUN electrolyte replacement tablets. I drank a bottle before, during and after the race. No stomach issues and more important, no cramping. Its good stuff.