Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
We have another US National Championship race on tap this weekend. This time it is the 10k USATF National Trail Championships in the mountains of Laurel Springs, NC. The race is called the Continental Divide 10k, a very challenging technical course consisting of 2 loops with 1550' of climb and 3100' total elevation change. Lots of stiff competition and our athletes will be in that mix. We have Aaron Saft, Gina Lucrezi, Amber Moran and Anne Lundblad, all ready to give it a go Saturday morning.
Also in the WNC mountains at the Tsali Recreation Area, Dwight Shuler from Team Roam/Inov-8 will be going solo once again at the Tsali Challenge. The race has disciplines of paddling, trail running and mountain bike riding on some beautiful singletrack. Good luck everyone!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I've been having an amazing summer orienteering and training in Europe with my inov-8 shoes and I thought I would give you an update. I began my summer in Italy as coach for the US junior team and the junior world orienteering champs. They performed well and I enjoyed watching them all race. I then went to Switzerland for some training with one of my team members who lives over there. Then about 2 weeks ago I came to Hungary to train on relevant terrain for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC). I started the competition by running in the long distance qualification race. There are 3 heats and the top 15 from each heat qualify for the finals. I raced very well and placed 14th in my heat, becoming the first American to ever qualify for a long distance final. Two days later I ran the sprint qualification race and again placed 14! My goal for this WOC was to qualify for one final and I never imagined qualifying for both! I ran the sprint final later that afternoon which ran through parkland, woods and a zoo. You can see the map and my course here: http://news.worldofo.com/2009/08/20/woc-sprint-2009-map-and-results/. It was a good combination of woods running and fast urban running through the zoo. I made a few mistakes and felt slow after the morning, but still placed well. I finished 37th out of 45. The next day I ran first leg for the US team relay which is something I have been looking forward to all week! The adrenaline is amazing as you are standing on the starting line and they are counting down.The relay has three legs and each course is forked. It begins with a mass start of all first leg runners. Then there are some controls which are shared by all the runners and some that are forked. It's difficult to see, but you can see the map with all the forkings here: http://news.worldofo.com/2009/08/22/woc-2009-relay-map-and-results/. Therefore you can use others to help you run fast, but you have to be very careful to run to your own control! I finished my leg in 11th place, which is my best placement ever. Our team ended up finishing 17th, which ties our best placement in the recent past. I have a rest day today and then my last race on Sunday - the long distance final. I'm a bit nervous as it's going to be quite a long race for me. The winning time is expected to be about 75 minutes and I will be happy if I am less than 20% behind the leader.
Then I return home on Monday, after 2 months of racing and training. It will difficult to go back to work ;)
Thank you for handing off the 330s to Ross for me. They have helped me run some of my best races ever!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Some more fine performances this past weekend from Inov-8 athletes. Anne Lundblad took the OA women's title at the Springmaid Splash 10k in Spruce Pine, NC. Posting her fastest time yet, 49:31 on this course, even with muddier than usual conditions and some pretty high water crossings.
At the Where's Waldo 100k, Sean Andrish ran a strong race and got 5th OA in 10:03 and Yassine Diboun was not far behind with a stellar performance himself grabbing 7th OA in 10:16. At the Leadville 100 mile Andy Jones-Wilkins kept his string of top 10 finishes at 100 mile races going strong with a 9th OA placing in 19:49.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Hvordan har du det, Hvordan er livet? (How are you doing, how is life??) I'm practically fluent in Norsk these days (:
Next up, heading to the UK for a few days then to Italy for another prep race before the World Championships!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Daily Adventures: A "Run More, Think Less" Style Defines Marathon Contender Kara Goucher
When you run for fun, you are training...your heart and soul. Just as important as any speed session or hill repeat.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Three YogaSlackers raced this last weekend in non-adventure race settings, and they all surprised themselves with with top 10 finishes.
Andy Magness ran in the annual Detroit Lake's olympic distance Triathlon - testing out his very unorthodox 3-hr per week training plan. As a new father, he is determined that with the right training and intensity, 3 hours a week could let him compete with other elite athletes following the more traditional 15 hr/week plans. He ended up in 8th overall, with a field of over 250.
Chelsey Gribbon and Jason Magness had just finished a 17-hr drive and ended up in Vining, MN, just before the start of the Annual WaterMelon Days "Run for the Melon" 10k race. They entered, feeling a bit hungover from the sleep deprivation of months on the road teaching. They decided to run together, with Jason trying to keep Chelsey on a strong pace. Despite a bit of tension between the couple in the middle of the race, Chelsey came across 3rd female, and 2nd in her age group. Jason was 8th male, 2nd in his age group. It was their first run in over 3 months! The pair immediately inverted into yogic headstands as recovery, and spent the afternoon enjoying the rest of the fair festivities. They ended the afternoon doing an impromptu acrobatic performance to old-time Polka music.
For pics, and video of Chelsey's recent 100' slackline walk visit yogaslackers blog.
Beginning on September 7th, I will challenge the supported Long Trail speed record, held by Ted "CaveDog" Keizer. Teddy's record is 4days, 13 hours, 15 minutes.
The Long Trail, located in the "Green State" of Vermont, begins at the Canadian/Vermont border and extends 272.7 south to the Vermont/Mass border. As the nation's oldest long distance trail, the LT has seen it's share of speed hikes. As many of you may know, last fall, I attempted an unsupported speed hike on the LT. Although, I did not reach my goal of completing the LT in under 7 days, I did take away a substantial amount of knowledge about the LT that I will utilize for my supported attempt in September. A major noteworthy point that I discovered was the advantage of a late summer/early fall start date. That is, during my hike, not once did I walk through or around a muddy bog (the LT is notorious for its muddy bogs), nor deal with black flies or mosquitoes, nor struggle with heat and humidity (cold nights and relatively cool days). In addition, because the majority of thru-hikers had already come through, the Trail was well worn and broken in. Yes, a September hike will mean losing valuable day-light hours, however, I believe the mentioned pros, combined, are more valuable than the additional day-light hours.
We have 2 ultra runners toeing the line at the 100k National Trail Championships outside of Eugene, OR called the Where's Waldo 100k. Sean Andrish and Yassine Diboun will do battle on the scenic mountainous single track course with over 11k of climbing. Speaking of mountainous courses with some extreme elevation thrown in, this is where you will find Andy Jones-Wilkins on Saturday at the Leadville Trail 100 mile race. The low point in this race is 9,200' and the high point is 12,600' on the 50 mile out/back course in the mountains of Colorado.
In Spruce Pine, NC the Inov-8 sponsored Springmaid Splash 10k & 5k takes place this Saturday. Anne Lundblad will be racing the 10k distance and getting her feet wet plenty of times on this fun but technically challenging course in the WNC Mountains. Lastly Todd Walker will race back to back weekends this time at the Mount Toby 12 Miler in Sunderland, MA. Good luck everyone.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Running short distances or rather shorter than the ultra distance is not exactly my thing. So when I decided to participate in this past weekend's Half-Wit Half Marathon in Reading, PA, I was a bit unsure of what to expect in terms of my performance.
You see, over the past few months, the focus of my training has been towards my upcoming attempt at breaking Ted "CaveDog" Keiser's Long Trail speed record; not running a fast 13.1 miler. At any rate, I knew that racing a short distance could be a good thing seeing as how I have not "raced" in some time. Overall, I was pleased with my results. My time of 1:39 was good for 8th place. For the duration of the race, I ran with 3 other runners whom I believed were the top 3 runners. It was not until I finished that I was informed of my 8th place finish. I had no idea there were 4 front runners who had finished approximately 10 minutes ahead, two of which were Olympic Trial Marathoners. The course was relatively tough in that it served up 2283 ft of climb and 2238 ft of descent, all the while in 90 degree temps with high humidity. I ran in my f-lite 230 which treated me exceptionally well. I have never before raced in this model and was a bit apprehensive seeing as how the course was littered with rocks and roots (typical PA singletrack); I thought a more aggressive tread might be better suited for the course. Nevertheless, my 230s stuck to the trail like rubber on hot asphalt and never once let me down during the race. The high breathability of the shoe kept my feet dry regardless of the moisture produced by the heat and high humidity. I highly recommend the f-lite 230 for those runners looking for a fast and super light-weight shoe.
The Dam 11 mile trail race
Oxford, MA 8/8/09
After Escarpment I decided to test my speed at a much shorter and faster race. I have run the Dam trail race several times, but skipped it a few years after being mis-directed on the course one year. It is a very difficult area to mark a trail race, but the current race director has been doing a great job. I would have to say that this year’s course was the most clearly marked trail race I’ve ever run. There must have been a thousand red arrows out on the course to guide us through the thousand intersections.
It was a great day for trail race, cool and dry despite all the rain we have been getting all summer. While the air was dry, the original course had to be altered due to flooding in a few sections. Instead of 10.5 miles, the course was going to be somewhere around 11 miles. This wasn’t a surprise to anyone who has raced the Dam; the course tends to be new every single year! Since race day was going to be my long run for the weekend, I went out for about five miles in my f-Lite 220PK’s before the race. My plan was run steady for the first half, and try to pick up the pace in the last 5-6 miles.
Everyone let me go at the start, and I should have taken that as a hint to back off a bit. The first five minutes were probably a little too ambitious, but I settled into a safer pace after that. The new race route was surprisingly dry, which made running through the relentless turns and small rolling hills very enjoyable. Although the Dam course is mostly flat, it can wear you down with dozens of tight turns and consistently rolling terrain.
I started to increase my pace at about 35 minutes, and soon regretted my quick start. We had two shallow water crossings in this section, and it took me a while to get back up to speed with wet shoes. By 55 minutes, I was struggling to maintain my speed, but I soon started to realize that I was approaching to the finish area. I won in 1:13:40 last year after a small detour, but I wasn’t sure how long the new course was going to run. The course workers informed me that I had a big lead, which allowed me to focus on running as hard as I could to the finish and not worry about someone creeping up on me. I was suffering on the small climb with about a mile to go, but pushed as much as I could after recovering at the top of the hill. My time ended up being 1:12:06, which was considerably faster than I ran last year on the shorter course.
I went for a 4 mile cooldown, and then hung around and talked with a number of people about some of the recent trail races and recommendations on specific Inov-8 models. Talking Inov-8 shoes after races is becoming a common occurrence, and it’s nice to see more and more people wearing Inov-8’s at the New England trail races.
Full results at: http://runwmac.com/gt2009/dam2009.html
Monday, August 17, 2009
Some great performances from this past weekend, headed up by Scott Williamson breaking the PCT Speed Record on August 12th in 65 days and change. Averaging over 40 miles per day. An amazing performance, think back to what you were doing 65 days ago and it brings something epic like this into perspective.
Kevin Tilton ran a strong tough race and got 8th OA at the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2:31:50. Jonathan Basham got 8th OA (1:39:27) as well at the competitive Half-Wit Half' Marathon going up against some of the best mountain runners in the US. Todd Walker ran well and was 7th OA (3:27;48) at the Savoy Mountain 22 miler. Team Roam/Inov-8 grabbed 4th OA at the Strong Adventure Race in Ocoee, TN.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
David Horton's PCT speed record broken!
On 8/12 at 9:58 PM Adam Bradley and I arrived at the northern terminus of the Pacific crest trail, 65 days, 9 hours, and 58 minutes after leaving the Mexican border having averaged 40.5 miles a day. We have broken David Horton's record by about 21 hours, the old record being 66 days, 7 hours, 16 minutes. This was the culmination of a dream that we started on June 8Th at 12 PM. We broke this record as backpackers without any outside assistance, doing the trail as backpackers picking up prepacked boxes of food in towns along the tail. In addition we did not use any vehicles at all during our journey, but instead chose to walk into and out of all of our resupply towns which added over 20 miles of walking to the already difficult 2655.4 mile distance we were trying to cover. In the course of going after and breaking David's record I have gained even more respect for him as an athlete setting the record he did in 2005 which was a much higher snow year and thus more difficult year for a speed record than what we had. My feet held up well and the flyrocks performed well. I ended up losing about 25 pounds during the course of the trip and although I do feel somewhat run down overall feel happy to have made it to the finish after battling the flu and non stop 45 degree rain during the last six days of the hike. I will post more once settled back into the off trail life. For now I am happy to report that we met our goal and now hold the all out overall Pacific crest trail speed record. Scott
Thursday, August 13, 2009
“After the Applause”
By Anne Lundblad
As a master’s athlete heading toward my mid-40’s – yikes! – the issue of retirement from competition comes up from time to time. It doesn’t help any that each time I plan another event, my family asks whether I’m about through with all this racing stuff. And it’s really no fun to get beaten by girls half my age. The thought of retiring from competitive running is an odd one, though. What would I do with my time, my energy, my seemingly insatiable competitive drive?
Last summer and fall, watching Dara Torres, Brett Favre, and Lance Armstrong make comebacks with varying degrees of success, I began to wonder what it is that makes retirement from sport so difficult. Obviously at the professional level there are issues of finances and lack of alternate career options, but even for the non-professional elite athletes, letting go of that dream can be a challenge. Is it a matter of unfinished business? Or the question of “what’s next”?
By the time they reach the point of retirement, elite competitors have spent years developing their bodies and minds in pursuit of athletic excellence. Often this comes at the expense of other aspects of life, including education, hobbies, even family and social relationships. For athletes who begin their competitive life at an early age, this can result in the establishment of an identity formed solely on the basis of being an athlete. No matter what they tell you, athletes thrive on the glory that comes with being a champion. It is easy to become addicted to the limelight, and hard to figure out who one is without that status.
Tracy Steele, a former competitive runner from Atlanta, says, “Still I struggle with where I am compared to where I have been. I’m not sure if it ever goes away. Running has been my full identity. It put me through college. It gave me confidence when I had none. I created my whole social network around it. And still I wrestle with where I fit in the whole thing.”
Steele’s retirement came gradually, as injuries and age began to increasingly affect her performance. For several years she chased her old PRs, hoping to reclaim her previous form, although now at age 46, she is beginning to come to terms with the fact that her best days are behind her.
Stacey Enos, Head Women’s Soccer Coach and Athletic Director at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, had a more sudden conclusion to her competitive career. In her early twenties, Enos was at her physical peak. She was a starter on the first U.S. national women’s soccer team and had played in international tournaments, achieving great success against the top players in the world. When she was in the zone, she felt infallible. A car accident on her twenty-third birthday brought everything to a crashing halt. Rather than competing in a tournament in China as she had planned, she spent the next six months in a cast, recuperating from a badly broken leg. Enos describes intense feelings of isolation and vulnerability, as the team had been her primary support system and she was no longer able to travel or train with her teammates.
After what she describes as a challenging year of rehab, Enos moved out west and channeled her competitive drive into other outlets. She went back to school and took up a variety of outdoor activities. Today, although she still wonders what could have been, she recognizes that her injury and forced retirement ultimately helped her to develop into a healthier person. “Athletes are selfish”, she says. “My injury helped me to explore other avenues of myself – mentally and spiritually. I challenged myself with different questions and learned to be a more giving person in society.” Although she no longer plays competitively, she still loves the game and remains active through coaching and the development of “Go to Goal”, a non-profit soccer program for underprivileged girls.
Maylon Hanold, a 1992 Olympian in whitewater kayak slalom, chose a similar path following the conclusion of her competitive career. For her, retirement meant deciding not to compete at a high level anymore, but, “retirement is a misnomer when it comes to where I still put my energies or how I live my life. I try to be good at whatever I do – it’s both a blessing and a curse.” For Hanold, one of the biggest adjustments to life outside of the athletic arena was no longer being around people who wanted to be the best they could be. “I was dismayed at people who just seemed to be going through the motions…the passion and drive I was used to being around was not there.”
In the world of competitive sports, things tend to be black and white. You either win, or you lose. For high level athletes, the adrenaline and excitement associated with a win can be intoxicating, making ordinary life seem mundane. As soon as I began to contemplate life after racing, my mind began to swirl with ideas for the next challenge in my life – should I seek another graduate degree, write a book, learn a new skill? Athletes are used to challenging themselves, and it can be difficult to face a future with no concrete goals.
Rather than giving up their sport entirely, some athletes choose to continue at a more recreational level, leaving the door open for a comeback. Lecky Haller, who competed in whitewater canoeing in the 1992 and 2000 Olympics, was on the U.S. national team for twenty years. From his early twenties through his mid-forties, paddling was his full-time job. He made the decision to retire after getting married and feeling pressure to give up his hand-to-mouth lifestyle in order to support a family, but continues to paddle frequently. He still considers making another Olympic bid at age 51. That might not be such a long shot, seeing as how he placed a close 2nd in the National Downwater Championships last summer.
Talking with Lecky, it is obvious how much he misses his life as a professional athlete, but he recognizes the need for balance at this point in his life. “I understand how retirement could be depressing if that was all you had, but there’s more to life,” he says. Yet the ambivalence is apparent. When asked about his chances of making another Olympic team, he replies, “I’m hopeful.”
So for me, the question remains – when and how will I leave this sport? Will I exit gracefully, recognizing that I have achieved what I can and that it is time to move on? Will I go down kicking and screaming, hopelessly chasing old dreams? Will it be a gradual diminishing of speed or a sudden, life-changing injury? Talking with these athletes, the main thing that seems clear is that I will need balance in my life, along with new goals at which to direct my passion and energy. In the long run, I guess that’s what all of us need.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
We gets things started with Team Roam/Inov-8 at the Strong Adventure Race in Ocoee, TN on Saturday morning. An 8 hour AR with mountain biking, canoeing, trail running and orienteering. Next out in CO we have KevinTilton tackling the famous and epic Pikes Peak Ascent. Kevin will be in his element and looks to be one of the guys upfront with the stellar season he is having thus far. With unpredictable weather conditions usually awaiting near the top and over 7,815' vertical gain, this course is a beast. Speaking of tough races, Dewey Peacock will be racing the Ed Anacker Bridger Ridge Run outside of Bozeman, MT. A 20 mile super technical race along a ridge line. Continuing on with epic challenges, Jonathan Basham will try his hand at the Half-Wit Half Marathon in Reading, PA on Sunday, August 16th. The description and warning from the RD about this extremely tough trail race on their website is quite amusing. Finally our race theme for the weekend concludes with Todd Walker at the 22 mile Savoy Mountain Trail Race in Savoy , MA this Sunday. Good luck everyone!
Type rest of the post here
Monday, August 10, 2009
Shoe Review: Inov8 Roclite 318 GTX Great for work and play
When you look at the Inov8 line of shoes, there seems to be a model for every type of terrain and footing you could encounter. There are shoes for deep mud, tight singletrack, hard packed gravel, even ice and snow. But if I had one pair to keep in my car at all times for any occasion, it would be the Roclite 318 GTX. I have taken this shoe up mountains, in snow, on smooth trails, bushwhacking off trail, and through wetland areas. They've been able to handle the task in every occasion.
As diverse as my tastes in running trails are, more so are the places that I go as a land survey technician. My job brings me up mountains, through swamps, across streams, and over ledgy slabs. The 318 GTX keep my feet dry, stable, and always give me grip, even when I'm carrying tripods, axes, and very expensive measuring devices.
Roclite 320 Review
By Todd Walker
I'm notoriously negligent in several respects when it comes to my running shoes. First off, I'm not a a gear head so I don't pay much attention to which model I happen to be wearing. Secondly, I rarely, if ever, wash or take care of my running shoes. Thirdly, I don't replace them very often. That being said, I've been primarily wearing one pair of Inov 8 shoes for the past 18 months. A few months ago I started telling my friends that I had over a 1,000 miles on the shoes. I banged the mud off them this morning and headed to Mt. Monadnock. After coming back home and cleaning out my car, I took a good look at the shoes. I know I've raced in them over 500 miles of rocky terrain.
I'm talking about the Roclite 320's. I've grown to love this shoe. Despite the abuse and lack of attention, they are still serviceable after at least 1200 miles. I find that amazing as the bottom tread is peeling back some and loose. The toe box is chewed up from getting snagged on rocks. I love this shoe. I was still running up and down open faced rocks on Monadnock today. The traction was still great. I know it's time to throw them out but I still found myself hanging them up on my shoe rack this afternoon.
Thankfully, I've got a pair of 318s that still need to have another 600 or 700 miles put on them. Maybe I'll be able to put this pair of shoes to rest by then.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The full story can be found at http://www.arnavsupplies.com/news.html
Ben Nephew kept up his winning ways on the mountainous 30k Escarpment Trail Run with nearly 10k of elevation change from Windham to North Lake in Haines Falls, NY . That is a ton of climb for a 30k distance. Read Ben's report below.
ESCARPMENT 30k 2009
I returned to the U.S. about a week before this year’s Escarpment race, which is usually my main focus for the summer. I would like to think that this race would be my favorite in spite of the fact that I’ve won it 8 times, as it is a spectacular trail, but I’m sure winning has some effect on my perception of the trail. Although this was my 10th year on the course, it was a surprisingly unique race.
I tried to convince Steph that I didn’t care if I won, but she wasn’t buying my story. While she had a point, I wasn’t really sure how recovered I was from my 42 mile race in France, and all the hiking we did after the race. If I lost the race, I surely would not regret going to France; it was a tremendous opportunity, and an incredible vacation.
As we lined up for the race, only three people stepped forward when the race director asked for runners who were shooting for a sub 3 hour time. One of them was Dave Vona, who reminded me of the hellish duel we had at the one and only HERC open, the hardest short trail race I’ve ever done. As soon as we were all off, into the water we went. It had been an extremely wet spring (the most ran in 60 years), and I had never seen the trail so muddy. My shoes were instantly soaked as I led up the first climb to Windham. About 15 minutes into the first climb, Mike Dixon blew by me. I was climbing pretty well, but my stomach still felt full from breakfast, and I couldn’t manage to match his pace. He soon disappeared into the trees, and I was left to test my dedication running my own race.
I definitely thought there was a possibility that the race was over due to how strong Mike was on that first climb, and that made me a bit sad. Although my streak was dead, the 2009 race was my opportunity to finally earn the most Escarpment wins, beating Rich Fargo’s 8. My attitude didn’t improve much when a hiker informed me that I was 1:30 behind Mike about 30 minutes into the race! I new Mike wasn’t as strong on the downhills, so I decided that I was going to have to take some risks after the first summit. Despite the slippery conditions, my trusty 280’s let me attack the first downhill. It was too early in the race to be going all out, but I was trying my best to gain some time back, safely, kind of.
I was surprised to spot Mike not long after the first steep downhill. He definitely picked up the pace when I pulled in back, and I waited for a technical section to pass him. I was not surprised to see that Greg Hammett had also caught up with us, as he can run down with just about anybody. At this point in the race, the top three were all wearing 280’s! Mike stayed with us for a while over some difficult sections of trail, and then Greg and I pulled away heading to the big climb up Blackhead.
While my race plan was to try and focus more on the last third of the course and avoid the sufferfest that I usually put myself through, I was concerned that I would have difficultly pulling away from Greg over the faster downhills towards the end. Part of me thought it might be a good idea to try and drop him on Blackhead after all my recent hiking in the similarly-steep Alps. I ended up compromising by hiking up hard enough to make sure Greg was working, but not trying to decide the race right there. We spent most of the climb going up a small stream cascading off the mountain.
After I missed a turn at the top of the descent, Greg led the rest of the way down the mountain. I focused on running as efficiently as possible until the last climb up to Stoppel point. Since I typically train alone and have run by myself at the previous last 9 Escarpments, it was nice to actually run with someone else. Greg and I actually spent much of the descents talking. Strangely, there wasn’t much conversation going on as we climbed Blackhead.
As we passed Dutcher’s Notch to begin the grind up to Stoppel, I passed Greg and soon started to pull away, despite shoes so full of water they felt like trainers. I held a solid pace all they way to the top, and felt ready to push the last 4.5 miles to the finish. I noticed that I was about 11 minutes behind my course record pace at this point, but it was not going to be fast day with all the water.
With my healthy fear of Greg’s downhill ability as motivation, I hammered my way down to the finish. I took a good fall at top speed, avoiding most of the sharper rocks, and quickly got back on pace. Despite the greasy rock ledges that necessitated much more caution than usual, I completed this last section as fast as I did when I set the course record on a perfect cool, dry day. The final results are not posted, but I ran a 2:56 to get my 9th win in ten years. Greg ran a strong second and just missed breaking three hours with a 3:01, and Dave Vona was close behind in 3rd. Mike Dixon backed off after a couple of ankle rolls, but still managed to hold on to 4th.
It’s becoming a tradition for most of Steph’s family to meet me at finish for a picnic at North Lake, which is always a great way to end a race. I don’t know if Gavin really cared that his Dad won or not, but my new Escarpment goal is to keep winning until he is old enough to run it. With the way he ran up the French Alps, he’ll probably be faster than me by the time he is 12!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
A report from the Xalps race by Dave Hanning. "Team USA took 3rd place in the Red Bull Xalps 2009. This is the best finish by a non European ever. To have Honza Rejmanek represent the USA so well and to have him stand on the podium with the worlds top two pilots is awesome." Results, photos and video media can be gotten from Nick Warren and http://www.redbullxalps.com/
Great job Honza!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
In this addition of 50 trails / 50 states we stick around the Midwest and meander down east of the Mississippi into the pulse of plush wilderness that is the Mark Twain National Forest located in the Show Me State of Missouri. Well it has plenty to Show that's for sure.
Named after Missouri native, Mark Twain, the Mark Twain National Forest is located in 29 counties across southern and central Missouri. The St. Francois Mountain section is known for its clear spring-fed rivers and streams, lakes, rocky bluffs, pastoral views and shaded trails. The forest gets a variety of visitors through the year including spring and fall, when color changes the forest. In the spring, serviceberry, redbuds and dogwoods paint the winter landscape in pinks and whites. In the fall starting mid September, the oak hickory forest transforms from greens to yellows, peaches, reds, burgundies and dark purples. Beauty in color and landscape that would make Bob Ross go stir-crazy with his paint brushes! Read More...
Bell Mountain Wilderness Area and Trail
This rugged wilderness was named for the highest peak in the area, Bell Mountain (elevation: 1702) and was designated by the United States Congress in 1980 as a federally protected and preserved area which “generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable…” Popular for experienced hikers and equestrians, there are 9027 acres with tall peaks, Shut-in Creek and a spring-fed stream with several gorges along its course. Gnarled blackjack and post oak, black hickory, and a few winged elms are found in the harsh environment of the granite glades within the Wilderness. Pileated woodpeckers, wood thrush and ovenbirds are abundant. White tailed deer, wild turkeys and squirrels can be found. There are 14 miles of designated trails established for hikers and equestrian use within the wilderness. Bell Mountain Wilderness Trail, is concurrent with a section of the Ozark Trail for about one mile, then splits and turns northward to the summit of Bell Mountain peak. Joe’s creek cuts deeply into the west slope of Bell Mountain; clefts and boulders form the basic landscape. The area is rugged and suitable for experienced hikers only.
Marble Creek Recreation Area and Trail
Visit the peaceful oasis of Marble Creek Recreation Area where you can relax among the deposits of pink dolamite native to the St. Francois Mountain range. Swim in an the old mill pool where the creek that now rushes 20 miles through the rugged mountains, was once harnessed to power an old grist mill. A reminder of the past, the concrete remains of the grist mill dam and building foundation, although crumbling, are still visible. Prior to 1935, the colored dolamites were mined as "Taum Sauk Marble" used in the building trades. Enjoy picnicking or go wade-fishing for smallmouth bass and panfish. Go hiking, biking or horseback riding! The trailhead for the Marble Creek Section of the Ozark Trail is here, beginning an 8-mile trek leading to Crane Lake. From Highway 221 and 21, go south on 21 then turn east at Hwy E and travel for 15.5 miles.
Buford Mountain State Forest and Trail
Rich in history, this 3,743 acre forest is named after William Buford who acquired the land through a Spanish Land Grant in 1812. In the mid-to-late 1800s, the site served as the hub of the charcoal industry in our region. Old kilns still dot the entire mountain. Numerous Indian mounds, arrowheads and other artifacts have been found at the site. The Missouri Department of Conservation acquired Missouri's 3rd highest mountain (1740 feet) and the surrounding property in 1979. A strenuous 10.2 mile hike on the Buford Mountain Trail provides incredible views of the Arcadia and Belleview Valleys.
This is the largest, most significant fen complex in unglaciated North America and the largest known prairie fen in Missouri. A fen is a low, marsh-like area where water plays an important role in how the ecosystem functions. It is usually very wet and grassy with a variety of plant and animal species. Grasshopper Hollow is controlled by the Nature Conservancy whose mission is "to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth" by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. This 223 acre tract has a self-guided one-half mile long trail with 10 interpretive stations including an observation deck. Its wet, stony ground (in knee-deep water) is laced with beaver runs among a rich assemblage of native grasses and sedges. Among many native forbs and grasses, a visitor may find swamp agrimony, arrowleaved tear-thumb, prairie cordgrass, big bluestem, swamp aster, rough-leaf goldenrod and Michigan lily. Notable animal species include beavers, the rare four-toed salamander and the rare wood frog. In 2000, the federally endangered Hine's Emerald Dragonfly was discovered to be breeding at this site (renowned for its beautiful emerald green eyes, it is the only dragonfly on the Federal list of endangered species). A spur of the Ozark Trail borders the preserve.
Races: Ozark Trail 100mile: This is the inaugural year for this beautiful and most challenging race through the Mark Twain National Forest during peak colors. Expect a world class course headed by two race directors who fantstic individuals. I have had the pleasure of bumping into both Paul Schoenlaub and Stuart Johnson. Paul has done ultras all over the country for some time and and Stuart has done the same including (11 finishes at Superior Sawtooth 100m!!). I should also mention that this is a point-to-point course. What could be better!