Monday, July 28, 2008

DART-nuun Gorge Games Photos

At the finish line in Hood River:

Below are links to shots of Team DART-nuun en route to our
1st place finish.

Monday, July 21, 2008

DART-nuun takes 1st Place at Gorge Games!

Ridiculous picture, even funnier since it was taken by Mari while we were running at a good clip!

We managed to get some separation early and maintained our lead throughout this brutal and navigationally challenging race course.

This is two wins in two weekends for me, and 6 adventure racing wins in a row with my
team DART-nuun. I'm taking a break this weekend! Heading to Chicago with HotWheels for my cousin Conrad's wedding.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sean, Glenn, Mari and Ryan say THANK YOU to all of our 2008 sponsors!

This was a course that put our bodies-and our sponsors' products-to the test!

nuun and Vitargo S2 kept me fueled throughout the race, with the occasional Gu for a quick blast. I did not bonk! nuun and Vitargo S2 has kept me "Bonk-Proof" all year long. The new larger nuun tablets are perfect for putting into your hydration pack, such as a Hydrapak or Camelbak. This makes hydration and electrolyte balance a no-brainer. As usual, I carried my Vitargo in two water bottles at all times on my backpack. When we hit a natural spring in the middle of the 9 hour trekking leg, I was able to refill my bottles with the Vitargo I carried in small ziplock bags. Each bottle kept me fueled for 2 hours, and the water and nuun in my Hydrapak bladder in my Gregory racing pack kept me hydrated. Perfect.

Our new Turner Flux mountain bikes, decked out with trick FSA components, Manitou forks with easy lockout, Hayes Disc brakes, Crank Brothers Egg beater pedals, and sticky Michelin tires worked flawlessly on the diverse Pacific Northwest terrain. Hopefully you will see us on our bikes duringthe FOX SPORTS TV coverage of the Gorge Games next month...(air dates coming soon).

Our amazing EPIC carbon wing blade paddles and Northwest Kayaks triple had us lapping most of the field during the opening paddling leg on the Columbia river.

Our VASQUE shoes and Teko socks kept our feet happy and blister free. I don't remember feeling any hotspots during this race. That is a FIRST for me, and my first race wearing the Vasque Aether Tech/Teko sock combination, with SOLE custom footbeds.
Anyone who does trail running or adventure racing knows this is critical.

Our Rudy Project glasses kept our eyes on the trail-and checkpoints. I noticed during this race that the lenses are very scratch-resistant! Several times I was smacked in the face and glasses with branches or flying rocks while running, trekking, or riding. I didn't take a "header" during this race but my Rudy Projet helmet is as good as new, halfway through a packed Adventure Racing and mountain biker racing schedule.

Our Light & Motion STELLA-180 lights were a God-send during the opening bike leg, which took us from 9:30pm to midnight. DART-nuun was the only team to hit every checkpoint AND finish the leg before the midnight cutoff/beginning of the trekking leg. I'd like to think that being able to actually SEE the terrain features and checkpoints helped us out! We also used our L&M Stella lights during the trekking section, using our L&M head straps. What a difference! I will not race with a 'normal' headlamp again during a 24 hour adventure race.

They stayed in transition this time with the warm and dry conditions, but we had our super light and bombproof Arc'teryx jackets and pants ready to go if needed.

Lastly, we could not get home with all of our gear without THULE racks for our cars!

See you at the next race in the Series race, the Big Blue Kit Carson 24 Hour Adventure Race September 13-14th.

Thanks for tuning in!

DART-nuun Adventure Racing Team

Monday, July 14, 2008

Next Stop for DART-nuun: Gorge Games!

This weekend will be a major test for Team DART-nuun. We are headed to Hood River, Oregon for the 2008 Gorge Games 24 hour adventure race. Hood River is one of my favorite stops on the adventure racing circuit, nestled on the Columbia River downslope from beautiful Mt. Hood. I have raced here in the past, and have visited many times for training outings when I lived in Seattle. Hood River is truly one of the most unique spots in America, and perhaps the best place to live for a multisport athlete. You have Mt. Hood, the Columbia River (home of the best windsurfing or kite surfing on Earth), endless trail running and mountain biking trails, and most importantly Full Sail Ale brewery!

From the Gorge Game site:

Each July, droves of windsurfers, kayakers, mountain bikers, kiteboarders and adventure seekers of all kinds flock to Hood River to compete in The Gorge Games, a week-long adventure sports festival. Thousands more come to watch the athletes as they kayak over 25 foot waterfalls, mountain bike for 24 hours and launch gravity-defying aerials with their windsurfing boards and kiteboards.

The Gorge Games, which began in 1994, are the Pacific Northwest’s premier outdoor sporting attraction. Every July, the games bring world-class athletes to the Columbia Gorge’s intense rivers, pristine forests and mountain peaks

This year's Gorge Games adventure race promises to challenge the strongest teams with paddling into extreme wind, brutal climbing on foot and mountain bike from sea level to over 6,000 feet of elevation, and tricky navigation. If we are to keep our win streak intact, we will need a flawless race. We know going into this race that we will have to dig deep, but after our experience at Baja Travesia we know we are capable of handling Epic Suffering. In addition, this year's Gorge Games will be televized on Fox Sports Net, broadcast to up to 84 million households.

We're showing up in peak condition, with the best equipment and sponsors, and the best navigator in the field...

That's right! Glenn Rogers recently won the ROGAINE National Championships in New York. ROGAINEs are 24 hour wilderness orienteering events. Glenn's partner in the race was Matt Hayes, who competes for another top Pacific Northewst adventure racing team, MerGeo.

The squad for Gorge Games, as well as the upcoming Kit Carson Big Blue 24 Hour Adventure Race and the Moab Xstream Expedition Adventure Race will be Sean Clancy, Glenn Rogers, Mari Chandler, and Ryan Van Gorder. We are competing in the Checkpoint Tracker national circuit, hoping to accrue enough points to win the series.


We hope to be fresh enough at the Gorge Games finish line to enjoy a nice Full Sail Pale Ail and jump in the river for a swim. Unfortunately, at the Baja Travesia in March that was not the case. Although we won the race, we were, um, shattered at the finish line...

Here are some BEFORE and AFTER photos from the Baja can see how 75 hours of nonstop racing through across the Baja penninsula shattered us. To my knowledge, there are no photos in existence of Mari Chandler ever being shattered, except maybe in her professional running days with the Nike Farm Team. That doesn't count. Ryan Van Gorder was 'shattered' when he was airlifted out of Primal Quest Utah in 2006 with severe heatstroke, but that wasn't a laughing matter. RVG, we need some other embarassing photos of you please. ASAP would be great. Thanks.


(packing the caravan to Mexico in the San Diego Yacht Club parking lot)

(Glenn, we're not done yet! We have a 5 mile beach run to the finish in Ensenada)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

1st Place at Scout 12 Hour Adventure Race

Team along with support crew and Christian's daughter.

We (Team overcame some nav miscues and a broken wheel skewer to cross the finish line in 1st place. Our winning time was approximately 5hrs30 minutes.

The race headquarters was the historic Camp Josepho Boy Scout in the Topanga State Park. We started at 4am on Saturday with a tricky 4-checkpoint orienteering course, then launched into a bike ride up the backbone trail to the "Hub".

From the Hub we put on our running shoes and hit CPs at Trippett, Musch, Eagle Rock, and other Backbone trail spots, taking a few navigation risks. Race organizer Jared did a great job of incorporating some route choices into the course. Go the long way with less climbing? Go the short way up a long, steep hill? It wasn't always obvious.

During this time we traded the lead with friends Team Aetna, as well as a Boy Scout team (apparently very fit!) who live nearby and train exclusively on the course. All three of our teams took different routes to reach CP 5, near Trippet. Interestingly, we all arrived at CP 5 at exactly the same time! The race for 1st was on...

Back to the bikes we left at the Hub, it was a fast and furious ride back to the Finish line, riding in 1st place. We were actually riding sections of the Backbone we had ridden once or twice per week all winter long. It was a nice reward for those cold, often wet Thursday night rides!

With just 2 miles before the finish line, our teammate Jeff Vicario's front skewer snapped, forcing him to carry his bike or run next to it all the way to the finish. Unfortunately, a good portion of the last two miles were some technical and narrow singletrack on tight, rutted switchbacks, which made that difficult. Jeff sucked it up and we were able to reach the finish with some good separation over 2nd place, who we could have sworn was right behind us! Apparently our knowledge of the trail paid off as a few of the turns and CPs were not so obvious.

This race was extremely well designed and thoughtfully organized by a highly motivated all-volunteer staff. The purpose of the Scout Adventure Race is to allow Boy Scouts, under the age of 18, to participate in a logistically and economically feasible real adventure race, mixing it up with adult teams. Some teams compete against the course, just to finish a new type of endurance and navigational challenge. Others have the goal of winning the overall title, beating all the adult teams.

Something as simple as a 12 hour adventure race can be a life-changing experience for many teenagers. When I was growing up, that might have been doing my first triathlon at age 15, running cross country and getting my ass kicked, or maybe getting lost on long bike rides, 2 or 3 hours away from home, without any food or water. Those "oh reallly" moments.

One of my favorite quotes by Mark Allen, the greatest triathlete of all time, is

"We are enriched by life's tough moments. Especially those of our own choosing".


That makes it 5 wins in a row in adventure races for me (knocking on wood), hopefully I can keep that streak going with my teammates at Gorge Games 24hr in Hood River, Oregon next weekend! We'll need a flawless race and some good luck to make that happen. With Mari recovering from Primal Quest and Glenn recovering from a falling rock injury to his quadriceps, we are going to need some serious luck!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Santa Monica Scout Adventure Race

A last-second decision, I am racing this weekend's Santa Monica SCOUT 12 Hour Adventure Race.

Since the race is being held on my "stomping grounds", I couldn't resist. Over the last year Christian, Tessa and I have logged hundreds of hours riding and running nearly every trail on the Backbone system of the Santa Monica mountains, day and night.

One of my original "A" races for 2008 was the ill-fated "Backbone Scramble" a 3 day multisport stage race connecting the Santa Monica Backbone trail from South to the northern tip, along with a 20 mile ocean paddle. Since that race never happened, the Scout race will be my Revenge race. I spent the winter and spring traininge extensively on this trail system, so hopefully some of that knowledge will be helpful in this adventure race.

The team will be ME, Christian Burke, Brazilian Tessa Roorda, and Jeff Vicario. Not sure what we'll call the team, since it's a mixture of DART-nuun and racers. DART the Machine? Feed nuun to the Machine?

Maybe just "nuun". Team is also sponsored by nuun. So you know we will be well-hydrated and won't cramp during the race. And it WILL be hot.

This will be a good hit-out before the Gorge Games 24 Hour Adventure Race in Oregon I am doing next weekend with my usual DART-nuun teammates, Glenn Rogers, Ryan Van Gorder, and Mari Chandler. The "hay is in the barn" and I feel supremely ready to help my team to victory in Hood River, Oregon.

The SCOUT race typically draws one of the biggest fields in adventure racing in California. We look forward to a challenging course and a fun day (and night) out on our favorite trails.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stumbling on Happiness...

5:45am, San Juan Traihead..Sean, Glen Redpath, iMichelle Barton, and Martin Brooks. Fresh as a daisy before running 18 miles and 4,000' of gain up and down the mountain.

Updates and photos to follow, but this epic training week has been a blast.
Long rides and runs with friends local and visiting from afar...Sharing the experience makes it so much more enjoyable and significant. Remember the time...?

I've spoken with the LovelyHotWheels much over the last month about the idea of happiness. She is on a 32 day business trip to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Penang, Malaysia. She has had time to explore the cities, mountains and beaches but realized it was not as much fun alone, missing your loved ones. I recalled the quote from Into the Wild, on how "happiness is only real when shared". Of course, you don't need to move to the Alaskan wilderness and have an epiphany on your deathbed to realize this. Hopefully!

It's true. You can be satisfied with experiencing something fun or wonderful alone (insert inside Xian Burke joke/innuendo here) but compare that to sharing it with friends and loved ones. Personally I am convinced that the holy grail of happiness is sharing the richest experiences.

Stumbling on Happiness is a fantastic book on this topic, as is Dennis Prager's Happiness is a Serious Problem. Fascinating topic!

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL 18 mile run this morning on the San Juan Trail as the sun rose. I ran with Ultramarathon Studs Glen Redpath, Michelle Barton, and Martin Brooks. The San Juan Trail gains approximately 4,000' from the Hot Springs to Bluejay campgrounds. Luckily there is a fountain at BlueJay,so we were able to travel light, two bottles each. I easily could have slammed 4 bottles on the 1:49 to the top...or the 1:23 on the way down. The trail is not *THAT* technical or rocky as some make it out to be. It's my new favorite mountain run in Orange County.

The afternoon was a therapeutic but hard ocean swim with PEGGY aka Mark Matyazic (whose stress fracture is still healing...again), and a surfski paddle around Balboa Island from the Newport Aquatic Center.

Tomorrow morning is the dreaded HENSHAW LOOP ride, 110 miles of pain from Solana Beach inland to Lake Henshaw, past Mt. Palomar, and back. Riding with ubercyclists Loren Shaefer and Kurt Gensheimer. Good times.

Big training volume, big fun.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Here is one of my favorites...some British troops in Iraq made this video a few
years ago.

When facing challenging circumstances with no end in sight, you've got to maintain your sense of humor and stay tight with your friends. Hopefully you have some good ones. I am lucky in that regard.

My friends fighting or doing executive protection in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond are some of the funniest guys I know...and they happen to do adventure races and ultramarathons as well. Perfect examples. We would laugh our asses off on 134 mile bike rides around Oahu, long runs at Tantalus, paddles along the Oahu coastline around Koko head, you name it. Piss your pants laughing. Tear ab muscles laughing. I'm sure their sense of humor has come in handy in some very, very dark places.

Thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters doing some very miserable work for us in the sandbox this 4th of July!

My favorite quote from my friend Ed who is in Iraq frequently:

"When it gets under 100 degrees, I reach for a sweater".


Cheers to you Mike! Ed! Take care of yourselves guys, see you at another adventure race in the not-so-distant future.

Go There and Do It...Are you making excuses?

Don't Die Wondering.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DART-nuun 4th Place at Primal Quest!

Although DART-nuun crossed the finish line in 3rd place, behind NIKE and Merrell-Zanfel, the 4th Place team, BONES leapfrogged into 3rd place because they
hit an extra Optional checkpoint during the race, giving them a time credit. They crossed the finish line 20 minutes behind DART-nuun-after 548 miles of nonstop racing-but their 1hr time bonus was enough to secure 3rd.

Details and photos to follow.

Mari Chandler told me she will be ready to rock at the GORGE GAMES 24 hour adventure races in 2 weeks. As all of my readers know, Mari is my favorite teammate and I am almost positive she is an alien-human hybrid like they talked about on X Files. 548 miles of racing HARD, through the mountains, in the snow, above 9,000', and Mari says she feels fine. I'm glad she's on MY team.

4th Place at Primal Quest is a phenomenal result for any team. PQ is the biggest race in the world of adventure racing, our Super Bowl. Obviously the team was disappointed to lose 3rd in this fashion, but we have great respect for Nike, Merrell-Zanfel, and Bones. We will get a chance for a rematch at the World Championships in Brazil this November!

Plenty of videos over at,