Friday, February 29, 2008

My secret weapon is VITARGO

This is an exciting day. As pre-launch guinea pigs, athletes Michelle Barton, Mark Matyazic and I have used GenR8's Vitargo S2 in hundreds of hours of endurance training and racing since last summer. We knew Vitargo was different, an improvement over the standard maltodextrin-based fuel we had relied on for years. We shared our experience with our friends an fellow athletes, however it was not for sale and samples were extremely limited.
As of today, you can buy it at GNC.
There has never been anything like Vitargo in the USA. That's because it's a patented molecule and hasn't been for sale outside of Europe. You know the stuff is potent when counterfeit Vitargo is for sale on the internet!
Hear me now and believe me later: Vitargo is the real deal.

The hay is in the barn...

...and I am ready to throw down.

Quick sleep tonight, get up at 3am, Vision Quest starts at 5:30.

I appreciate your thoughts and prayers because this one is going to hurt. I'm stoked and I look forward to the pain. Click on the elevation chart above for an idea of what 11,000'+ of climbing looks like over 56 miles.

It's all mind over matter: if I don't mind, then it doesn't matter!

I will use GenR8 Vitargo as my primary fuel tomorrow, carrying one full bottle on my bike at the start, with two empty bottles with just the powder inside for the aid stations. Additionally I will have ziplock baggies filled with a couple bottle's worth of Vitargo each should I need more during the race. YOU CAN FINALLY BUY VITARGO IN THE USA! Go to a GNC near you to give it a try.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Camp Freddy Every Thursday in May

VISION QUEST this weekend...

On Saturday I will compete for the first time in the Warrior's Society's legendary Vision Quest mountain bike race. The VQ is one of the toughest bike races in southern California, maybe anywhere. I have run most of the course with my ultrarunning posse, but have not ridden a single inch. Whoops! Ideally I would have scouted the course in the weeks before the race. However, after this past fall's fires much of the course has been closed by the forest service as the roads and trails are rehabilitated. It will be interesting to sneak a peak while suffering for 5+ hours.

At 56 miles long, with 12,000 feet of elevation gain, proper pacing and fueling will be critical. A look at the race results from past years reveals the same cast of characters continually dominating. My goal is to finish respectably, learn the course, and have something left to do a transition run. In all honesty I am in my best early-season form ever and I hope to mix it up "towards" the front on this truly epic test of fitness. This race will be a fantastic gauge of my fitness heading into the gnarly and epic Baja Travesia with my team, DART-nuun.

I will be wearing my Team SHO-AIR/Sonance team colors for this race. Ridiculously strong teammate Super Mario is on the start list and is one to watch out for this year...

Standby for results and hopefully some photos after the race!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Team DART-nuun takes 1st place at 2008 Desert Rage Vail Lake Adventure Race!!!

Sean & Tessa bring Team DART-nuun another win

DART-nuun and finishing together

Vail Lake with San Bernardino snowcapped mountains in the distance

Cyril and Christian compare their own satellite imagry to the 'official' maps. Sneaky.

DART-nuun (orange boat) paddling off the front, along with Team FTM right from the gun

The grass-roots transition area. Paul Romero (in SOLE shirt) taunting everyone

Sean outsprinting formidable runner Evan Hyde to the Kayak finish

Post-race: Sean Conspicuously showing off the new SUUNTO Core watch

Tessa Roorda, Sean Clancy, Cyril Jay Rayon, Sylvie Maracci, Christian Burke & Evan Hyde

DART-nuun WINS the Desert Rage Adventure Race!

Tessa Roorda and I, racing as team DART-nuun, took 1st Place Overall
in the past weekend’s Desert Rage Adventure Race held at Vail Lake, California.

The Desert Rage format consisted of 3 separate orienteering sections: mountain bike, paddle, and trail run. Each section had a time limit of 2 to 3 hours during which your team could hit assigned checkpoints in any order. Navigation and decision making were critical as you wanted to hit every checkpoint, but if you were running out of time on any section you had to hurryback to the finish line before the time cutoff. If you arrived after the cutoff, you would be penalized and essentially out of contention. Between each section was a 15 and 30 minute transition break. If you arrived early, you essentially had more time to recover, study the map and prepare for the next leg. This is a far cry from the usual, where we would scramble through transition in a minute or two.

DART-nuun raced alongside Team for 99% of the race. FTM captain Christian Burke navigated flawlessly, with special guest Cyril Jay Rayon (captain of Team DART nuun filling in) as the world’s best back-up navigator! Seriously. Christian and Cyril did the bulk of the navigating and deserve credit for DART-nuun's win.
Our goal before the race was to race together, and ideally both win our divisions, with one team taking the Overall win. I am extremely competitive and wanted to bring my team, DART-nuun the first win of the season so Tessa and I sneaked a bit ahead during the bike and kayak sections. In my two races with team DART-nuun, we now have 2 wins (Baja Extreme 24 hour in Mexico being the other)...I want to keep that streak alive!

We rented a Necky Amaruk, one of actual the boats used in Primal Quest 2004 and 2006. Corry Fitzgibbons now owns a small fleet and rents them to racers. Corry lives in Costa Mesa, California and if you need a boat or two for your next race contact him here. The conditions on the lake were perfect. Light wind, glassy water. I was kicking myself for not bringing a surfski, or even a K-1, but this was a team race, Tessa does not paddle a surfski, so we needed a tandem. Thanks, Corry!

GenR8 donated 4 tubs of their much-talked-about-soon-to-be-released drink to the winning 4 person team, which was Team Thanks, GenR8.

I used the GenR8 Vitargo drink as my main fuel during the event. The only other fuel I took on was water with nuun for electrolytes, Pringles in the transition for extra salt, and one bag of Clif Blocks (margarita flavor with extra salt). For breakfast I ate just a MetRx “Big 100” bar, and a couple pieces of bread with peanut butter, jelly, and banana. I used no other supplements during the race and had astonishingly consistent, furious energy throughout. GenR8 will be for sale soon at select GNC stores and is currently available at Fleet Feet Laguna Niguel. Get your hands on some and see what the buzz is all about.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

California Multisport Arrives!

California has CONSPICUOUSLY lacked run-bike-paddle multisport trail races since the rise of adventure racing in the mid 90s. Triathlon has boomed, but if you want something a bit more wild, such as adventure racing you have to find a team. Sure you can race as a solo at adventure races, but even with a dominating win you are not given much credit since it is a team event.
We know Adventure racing is essentially derived from the Coast 2 Coast race in New Zealand. Kiwi racers have historically been the strongest on the circuit due to their years of intense competition from an early age in multisport, mountain running, mountain biking and paddling races. Races similar to the C2C are popular in the Pacific Northwest (Ski2Sea, Pole Pedal Paddle, many others) , Northeast (Jay Challenge), British Columbia (Sea 2 Summit), etc., but have never made it to California. Strange! California is home to more triathletes, ultrarunners, cyclists, paddlers than anywhere.

My wait is finally over. Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren of Team SOLE, and Christian Burke of Team Feed the Machine are bringing us California Multisport. I am stoked. This race series suits me very well and I look forward to competing in the entire series.
Thanks Paul, Karen, & Christian!

Check out details on the website HERE.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dean Karnazes Movie Premiere

On Thursday night I will join iMichelle, Christian Burke, and Melissa Cabrera at the Los Angeles premiere of Ultramarathon Man: 50 Marathons in 50 States in 50 Days, a Dean Karnazes documentary. If you're reading my blog, chances are you have read or at least heard of Dean's book UltraMarathon Man. If you have not read it, check it out if you are looking for some inspiration. I am amazed at how many non-runners have read the book and have told me how it changed their perspective or calibration of what is humanly possible.

I grew up fascinated with endurance sport legend Yiannis Kouros (I adopted that pseudonym on my public library card in Michigan City, Indiana at age 14). Later I discovered Goran Kropp, who rode his mountain bike from Sweden to Mt. Everest(carrying all of his gear), summitted without oxygen, descended to base camp, and then rode his bike home to Sweden. I have a special interest in studying those who have a unique ability to defy and even demolish notions of human endurance limitations. These days, guys like Scott Jurek, Mike Kloser and Navy SEAL David Goggins are defying the odds and redefining human endurance, in their own unique ways.
What are your limits? How do you know?

Pushing these limits is not only about the cliche Ego, or personal demons, or validation. Some sincerely need to explore their limits, out of morbid curiosity. Such is the case with so many runners who try a marathon, then a 50k, then a 50 miler, then a 100 miler, then maybe Badwater 135 in Death every race they feel every possible emotion, an experience shared with every other finisher, and a permanent impression on the amygdala that keeps them coming back for MORE.

"Only those who risk going to far can possibly know how far they can go"

-T.S. Elliot

Monday, February 18, 2008


I am unleashing my secret weapon this weekend at the Desert Rage Vail Lake adventure race .

Tessa Roorda, Brazilian-adventure racer extraordinaire, and I will compete as a mixed duo as Team DART-nuun in this weekend's 6-10 hour Desert Rage Adventure Race near Temecula. We will use this race as a nice hit-out before the Baja Travesia which is now just 4 weeks away. We at DART-nuun are borrowing Tessa from her usual Brazilian team, Mitsubishi Quasar-Lontra.

Tessa is in Los Angeles from Brazil for a few months working with UCLA biologists. When not analyzing rare species, Tessa delights in embarassing Cyril and me on long rides, runs, and paddles. Her other hobbies include winning, domination, and taunting men who think they can keep up with her downright nasty pace.

Get this: Tessa, from Brazil I remind you, entered a Snowshoe race 2 weeks ago. She dominated the field for the win, beating all but a few of the men. Witnesses say she was smiling the whole time and did not appear to be breathing very hard.

I am in big, big trouble.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Massive Baja Travesia Training Weekend!

Vitargo s2 is coming soon!

Saturday's Bodacious Beat-down

42 mile, 5 hour 30 minute mountain bike ride in the eastern Santa Monica mountains
-15 minute transition at the cars, to resupply water, food, and change into running gear-
22 Mile, 4hour 42 minute mountain run in the dark.

Massive amounts of steep climbing on both sessions.
Cyril has the data from his Garmin 305.

On Sunday the legs got a rest...but the shoulders got SMOKED!

Giant Breakfast at 50s Diner on Santa Monica Blvd!

2 Hour kayak paddle from our usual put-in, Children's Beach at Marina del Rey
1 Hour paddleboard, suffering terribly.

Kathryn Tubbs was cool enough to give me a lesson on proper technique.
Thanks Kathryn!

The crew included Cyril Jay Rayon, Sylvie Maracci, Tessa "The Impossibly Strong Brazilian" Roorda, Christian Burke, Melissa Cabrera, Ryan & Evan Hyde.

Pictures on the way. LA city lights, stream crossings, Eagle Rock, Backbone singletrack, Malibu beaches, and some road rash....I crashed on the mountain bike on some steep, rocky, narrow singletrack...again! Bruises in the strangest places. How do you bruise your chest?

This was a 26 hour training week for me, my biggest this year. I have averaged around 20 hours of adventure racing training per week since Thanksgiving, and I still look forward to every session. Training with good friends, in new and beautiful areas makes burnout much less likely. I also attribute the lack of burnout to logging on, where my teammates and I can track eachother and hold eachother accountable for putting in the volume necessary to compete at an elite level. Eventually you have days where you just don't feel it...that's when you have to HTFU and get out the door and go into Rocky-mode. Living in Seattle for years, almost every session was a "Rocky-Mode" session. Not in Orange County! I am very fortunate to have such great weather and the nearby ocean and mountains.


Our teammates up in the Seattle area are all on the ferry home right now from Orcas Island. They planned on circumnavigating Orcas and Shaw islands by sea kayak-following part of the Primal Quest paddle we all did in 2004. In addition the crew had some fantastic mountain biking (also from the 2004 PQ Race) and a 50K trail run on the agenda...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Newport to Crystal Cove Paddle

Magnificent paddle today. Absolutely stunning.

I paddled the Valhalla surfski from the Newport Aquatic Center to Crystal Cove. The water was absolute glass this evening. Very little wind, 70 degrees...literally perfect conditions for a February evening. Seals and sea lions competed with dolphins for food...pelicans swooped in for scraps. The only sounds were my paddle's entry and exit and the boat gliding along the water. Talk about being "in the moment"! The German Olympic team is in town training out of the NAC, and watching their form from across the harbor was motivating and invigorating, improving my stroke immediately.

I paddled through Balboa harbor and into the ocean. It took about 40 minutes at an easy to steady pace to reach the end of the jetty. I had planned on just doing my usual loop around Balboa Island and then back to the NAC. However the conditions were so perfect that when I reached the halfway point, the SW corner of Balboa Island, I caught a glimpse of the glassy ocean and couldn't resist. It was too good to be true after the last few week's cold and rainy weather. I was not going to miss an opportunity for some fantastic ocean paddling.

I turned 90 degrees and set course for the open water, just the ocean's horizon in front of me. Once beyond the jetty I made a hairpin turn & paddled south past Corona del Mar beach, where I swim on summer nights. The water was so perfect that I imagined that this must resemble heaven. I could not recall paddling in such ideal conditions in the last several months. Typically I paddle north along the Balboa peninsula out of habit, but after today I will reverse course and spend more time paddling south. It's one of the most beautiful pieces of coastline in the country and now I can't get enough of it.

As I passed each Corona del Mar swim buoy I recalled all the swims I had there with friends, avoiding stingrays(!), last summer. Passing Big Corona and then Little Corona beach, I reached "flat rock" which is known as the turnaround if you want to do a 2.4 mile swim to prepare for an Ironman triathlon. Just behind flat rock is an incredible house called "Portobello" that is up for sale for...$75 million dollars. Cool pad.

Passing the ultramegahouse I continued south to Crystal Cove. Immediately I was reminded of the summer swims again, but now of the runs I would do after the swims. From Big Corona, you run down through Corona del Mar, down PCH, and into Crystal Cove. The south end of Crystal Cove, Reef Point, is usually my turnaround, about 3 miles. Every time I ran last summer, I would look out to the ocean and imagine the view the boats would have of the beach and cliffs...Last summer I was just training for triathlon and ultra running and was not paddling. I was missing out...

...By now I could see El Moro canyon where I had just run 3 hours on Sunday night. On the southern end of Crystal Cove there is a killer breakfast restaurant right on the beach, just past Reef Point. You have to park nearly half a mile away and walk to access the place. It's always packed. The sight of the restaurant marked my turnaround point. One hour and just under 6 miles of paddling. At some point I will have to paddle to breakfast... Not sure why I haven't done that before. The highlights of the paddle home were the sunset over catalina, more dolphins, and glassy conditions through Newport Harbor all the way back to the NAC.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

GenR8 Performance Test: Palm Springs 100 Mile Ride

Saturday morning I rode the Tour de Palm Springs 100 miler with Mark Matyazic and Larry Davidson. I was able to do the ride on water, GenR8, and one Clif Bar, just to have something to *eat*. No simple sugars. No gels.

After last weekend's ride of the same course, this would be a perfect test of my fitness level and fueling. After a 90 minute easy warmup with Mark, I was able to hammer long pulls over the next 3.5 hours at Lactic Threshold using GenR8 as my fuel. Again, I have noticed that GenR8 not only gives you the feeling of having an IV drip-steady blood sugar-but also effects your perception of tiredness, thirst, and hunger. There isn't any.

I plan on bringing ziplock bags of GenR8 on all long rides moving forward. I can refill my bottles with water, and use my own fuel, rather than relying on gels or other sugar or maltodextrin-based fuels that may be available at races.

Sunday night, after working all day, I was able to run 3 hours in El Moro canyon, with about 3,000' of climbing, all at a low heart rate and pace. The run literally felt almost effortless. You might know what it feels like to run :45 minutes or an hour with an "effortless" sensation of floating. But 3 hours? Over rocky steep trails? I enjoyed every minute of it.

I started just before sunset, and was able to enjoy views of Orange County lights, the Santa Ana mountains, and a crimson and pink sunset over Catalina Island. Running through the dark with my barely sufficient Tikka XP headlamp, I tried to avoid the frogs hanging out on the trail. The recent rains have brought hoards of them to El Moro canyon, and their chorus was the only sound on this very quiet, perfect night.

I took just one bottle of water with a nuun caplet for the first 1.5 hrs, then a bottle of water mixed with GenR8 for the next 1.5 hrs. My energy was perfect the entire run. Now, the conditions were perfect: night time, temperatures around 60 degrees, cool ocean breeze. However it is interesting to note that I did an almost identical run last summer in 85 degree heat, and needed over 100 ounces of water and 3-4x more calories. Not this time.

This weekend gives me a great deal of confidence as I enter very specific preparation over the next 6 weeks for the Baja Travesia expedition adventure race. My goal is to arrive Supremely Ready to help my team (DART-nuun) win the race. A win will earn us a free entry to the Adventure Racing World Championships at the EcoMotion race in Brazil this summer...I have not done the World's since 2001 in Switzerland, and would sell a kidney to race in Brazil. Well, no not really, but I really would like to race in Brazil this year!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Endurance Sports Awards

On Saturday night I had the opportunity to attend the Endurance Sports Awards at Sea World San Diego as a guest of GenR8. The Endurance Sports Awards honor the year's most outstanding triathlete, runner, cyclist, and physically challenged athlete. Additionally, inductees of the Ironman Hall of Fame are announced at the ESAs. The Sea World venue keeps the ambiance fun and irreverent. After passing through the checkpoint/entry you are given a type of debit card that allows you to play some of the carnival type games. After failing in the ring toss, I was able to redeem myself by completely DOMINATING the hedgehog bopping game, winning an exquisite purple stuffed animal!
Some Orange County training partners in attendance were Mark Matyazic, iMichelle Barton, Scott White of Fleet Feet Laguna Niguel and Art Sosa.

From the ESA site:

..."It started small. A few hundred people gathered at a local San Diego Hotel to give awards to a few athletes and to honor Dave Scott as the first inductee into the Ironman Hall of Fame. Fifteen years later, the Competitor Magazine Endurance Sports Awards Gala has become something much, much more. Labeled "The Academy Awards of Endurance Sports" by Entertainment Tonight, the evening sells out with 600 attendees at spectacular Sea World. Those in attendance get to see the world's greatest endurance athletes up close and personal. Greg LeMond, Ron Kiefel, Davis Phinney, Alexi Grewal and Rebecca Twigg from cycling. Steve Scott, Rod Dixon, Alberto Salazar, Deena Kastor, Henry Rono, Billy Mills, Meb Keflezighi and Eamonn Coghlan from running. Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser, Mark Allen, Scott Tinley, Peter Reid, Heather Fuhr, Greg Welch and Natascha Badmann from triathlon.

Plus special awards to Sports Illustrated, Dateline and MTV for showcasing our sports to the world and to celebrities like Will Ferrell and David James Elliott for embracing the endurance sports lifestyle.There is a bond between the runner, the triathlete and the cyclist. While their equipment might be different, the dedication and effort it takes to succeed are exactly the same.The Competitor Magazine Endurance Sports Awards Gala was created to celebrate the accomplishments of these amazing athletes. It is an evening that is guaranteed to motivate and inspire. It is an evening you do not want to miss. "...

This year's honorees included:

Chris McCormack - Male Triathlete of the Year
Sam McGlone - Female Triathlete of the Year
Ryan Hall - Runner of the Year,
Conrad Stoltz - Xterra athlete of the Year,
Taylor Phinney-Cyclist of the Year.
Saul Raisin - Engines of Change Award
Triathlon Legend - Heather Fuhr
Thrive Award - (double amputee) Scott Riggsby

In attendance were names like Mark Allen, Paula Newby Frasier, Heather Fuhr, Scott Tinley, Kenny Souza, Paul Thomas, Navy SEAL, ultramarathoner and ultradistance triathlete David Goggins, and many others. During his speech, Chris McCormack mentioned that in high school he had a Mark Allen poster over his bed. I found this interesting because I had the same poster in my bedroom in high school! Unfortunately that's where the similarities end between "Macca" and yours truly. If you ever have the chance to attend the ESAs, do it!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday's Ride: Palm Springs

Saturday morning a nice contingent of Southern California adventure racers arrived at the bottom of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a massive brick workout...ride the 100 mile Tour de Palm Springs century route, then do the Cactus to Clouds hike, a climb from zero elevation up to the top of the Mt. San Jacinto tram at 8500'. I would only do the bike portion, as I had to skedaddle off to the Endurance Sports Awards in San Diego.

The Posse included DART-nuun teammate Cyril Jay Rayon, his girlfriend the speedy Sylvie Maracci, "People in Greenland know me" adventure racer and Captain of Team Feed the Machine Christian Burke, triathlete and speedy Feed the Machine team member Evan Burke, Bodacious Brazilian Botanist Tessa Roorda, and equestrienne/oversleeper/Ironman Arizona entry-regretter/adventure racer Kim Morse.

We rolled out into the headwinds blowing 20mph+ east at around 7:45. The first 1.5-2 hours or so we kept the group together, keeping an easy spin for everyone drafting behind the "engines" up front. As we approached the infamous Dillon road, a decision was made to break up the group into two groups: Sane and Insane. I led the Insane group.

The Insane group included Cyril and Evan. Small, but plenty crazy. The wind blowing us down Dillon Road had us averaging close to 30mph for over 30 miles. Any time we were on the flats we were over 30. A slight downhill had us spinning out the 53x12 at 40+....what a blast!

The last 2 hours took us through Indio and back to Palm Springs on a rather circuitous route. Mostly into the wind, our speed of course slowed considerably. The last 45 minutes had us spinning SRO as the lads knew they had a 5 hour hike up Mt. San Jacinto waiting at the finish line. Cactus to Clouds is a hard hike at any time. After a 100 mile ride, you have serious bragging rights. Add considerable snow above 6000', freezing temperatures, and navigating the perilous slope of the final approach to the tram in the dark, and you are in a very small club indeed.

This weekend I plan on going back to Palm Springs to ride the "official" Tour de Palm Springs course with Mark Matyazic and Larry Davidson. Hopefully, also tacking on the Cactus to Clouds route if I can convince someone to join me. Any takers?