Saturday, May 29, 2010

Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Race

July 17th. See you there!

Check out some photos of the course here:

Quick Update:

On Wednesday I am flying back to California to pack and load up a PODS container. It will be tough to officially say goodbye to friends in Orange County, my home since 2005. Once that is finished, HotWheels and I will embark on a journey from Huntington Beach to our new "official" home town of Boulder, Colorado.

After spending 7 weeks in Boulder at 5400', I look forward to spending a few days breathing sea-level oxygen at the beach before commencing the mother of all multisport road trips. Our itinerary is not finalized, and may never be. That's half the fun! Any look at a map reveals nonstop mountain bike and trail running heaven between Southern California and Boulder. Some spots we are considering are Red Rocks, NV, Zion, Bryce, Moab, Fruita, Crested Butte, Vail, Winter Park, Breckenridge...Very tough to choose.

If anyone has strong opinions on trails we should hit on this road trip, please post in Comments!

My remaining 2010 race schedule is evolving but will have more mountain bike ultras, adventure races, and at least one ultramarathon that I need in order to throw my name in the hat for the 2011 Western States 100 lottery. The focus for me will mostly be on Colorado area races with a few excursions out west for long weekend events such as 24 hour adventure races. If team nuun-SportMulti is able to secure sponsorship, you may see us this winter at the World Championships/RAID BIMBACHE this October in Spain and/or the Abu Dhabi Adventure Race in December.

One thing that is certain is I am SUPER stoked to have recruited my freaky strong friend Slater Fletcher to join me and my adventure racing team nuun-SportMulti for the GoldRush 24 Hour Adventure Race in August. The team will also have Jen Segger and Cyril Jay-Rayon. This will be the first time this combination of athletes has raced together, and it looks like a good mix for a tough 24 hour race.

Lastly, I officially withdrew from Ironman Coeur d'Alene. It was a tough decision but the combination of moving across the country, recently overcoming some ankle tendonitis and being sick for a couple weeks with bronchitis and a sinus infection make it very difficult to achieve my aggressive goals for the race. I will surely do more Ironmans in the future, but only when my life situation is stable enough to allow me an uninterrupted block of a few months of training in all three sports. I know I have a "fast" (for me) race in me, and I look forward to proving it. Just not this year!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Manitou Springs Part II: The Incline + Pikes Peak Trail


While driving out to Manitou Springs on a quick trail recon mission, I was pleasantly shocked when I first saw the Incline trail from the highway. It seemed impossibly steep...

And it IS impossibly steep...with an AVERAGE grade of 41%...reaching 68% at the steepest. My mouth was watering. Grinning ear-to-ear, I rubbed my hands together with delight. It was even gnarlier than I had dreamed. My dreams were crushed before I could even crush them on the trail! That, my friends is some high-quality dream-crushing. A pre-emptive strike. A visual shot across the bow. You get the picture.

Matt Carpenter has reportedly run the Incline in a time of 18:30ish, perhaps faster. Team USA Olympic triathlon hopeful Mark Fretta holds the unofficial record, with a freaky-deaky 16:42. Apolo Anton Ohno says in THIS blog post that he uses the Incline as a special challenge in his training as well.

"Go out hard. When it hurts, speed up" is the motto of the Incline Club, the local ultrarunning/mountain running club.

The New York Times did a great article a while back on how athletes at training at the Olympic Training Center (15 minutes away) use the Incline:

Matt Carpenter rallies the Incline Club in his annual Call to Arms

Works better if you turn the music off. Bottom right of your screen...scroll down...yep. Right there

Once you hit the top of the Incline, you can connect to the amazing Barr Trail, which leads to the summit of Pikes Peak...

Here's a funny video of Matt Carpenter running up Pikes Peak, stopping at some of the well-known distance markers. Special random cameo at the end...

I will be back SOON to run the Incline and Pikes Peak. I cannot think of a better benchmark of mountain running ability and aerobic running fitness...

Who wants to join me?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Manitou Springs Road Trip: Part I...Garden of the Gods

Over the weekend HotWheels and I drove from Boulder down to the very cool (sits at 6500') mountain town of Manitou Springs. Our plan was to check out the Olympic Training Center, Garden of the Gods, Pike's Peak and the famous Incline and Barr trails. We also wanted some good maps and first-person beta on the best mountain bike trails in the area. The Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs area's running and mountain bike trails seem to be unanimously regarded as superior to Boulder's. The staff at Colorado Cyclist was very friendly and helpful in sharing maps and specific trail information...I cannot wait to get my Turner Flux down here!

Ever since I started adventure racing and focusing on ultra-endurance events in the mid-90s I have read about the Pike's Peak Ascent and Marathon (and Matt Carpenter's inhuman feats of endurance), the Barr trail, the Incline Club, and the town of Manitou Springs. I never thought it would take me this long to actually see it in person! I'm glad I finally made the trip. If you think these snapshots are spectacular, you should see it in person at sunset...or sunrise!

We were limited in time, so did not fit in any training on this afternoon. However, I look forward to coming back soon to test myself on these legendary trails...

Part 1: Garden of the Gods
Part 2: The Incline
Part 3: Olympic Training Center

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From the Vault: Half Dome Run, July 2007

Prior to this week, my last set of "from the vault" photos (a.k.a. disposable-film-camera shots that I randomly found and dusted off) were from a 1997 near-suicidal, life-changing canyoneering and waterfall-climbing expedition at a secret spot on north shore O'ahu, Hawai'i.

This week's set is from a bit safer, equally beautiful but still occasionally lethal tourist spot: Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

I had originally planned an epic long run that my friend Terri Schneider suggested: 40 miles of Cloud's Rest, Vogelsang, etc. but on my drive up (solo) to Yosemite circumstances changed and it turned out I would only have 10 hours or so before I had to return home. I slept in my car in the parking lot of Half Dome, and woke up early.

Unfortunately I did not wake up early enough, and there were dozens of eager tourist and hiker-types already on the trail. Since I wanted to beat them to the Cables, I ran up the trail, past the tourists, past the Vernal waterfall, up the steps, through Emerald Pool up to the dome. I don't remember my "split" but at or just under 2hrs rings a bell. The cables were a bit sketchy, and I vividly remember wondering how more people don't die here more often. Deep down inside I have some latent acrophobia, even after all these years of rock climbing, 600+ midnight foot rappels in 2004 Primal Quest and mountaineering.

It really is a life-or-death situation and folks of all ages seem to be OK with that. The photos below were taken with what must have been a cheapo disposable film camera. Perhaps the last time I ever used one? The end of an era! I have not been back since, but I look forward to returning soon to do my original Vogelsang-Cloud's Rest big 40 mile loop that my friend Terri Schneider recommended 3 years ago...

Monday, May 10, 2010

From The Vault: Primal Quest 2004: San Juan Islands/Cascade Mountains

Just for the heck-fire of it, I found these old photos and need a place to put them safely. Like HERE!

Primal Quest 2004 in Washington Started and Finished on Orcas island, but the meat of the race was 75 miles away in the Cascade Mountains where the running, trekking and mountainn bike navigation occurred between Darrington, Mt Baker and Bellingham. (Those were some long paddles...55 miles and 65-70 miles....not to mention the many miles of portaging). The race didn't go as planned for anyone. The tragedy of losing Nigel Aylott to a rockfall accident and trying to re-start the race mindset with hundreds of wilderness miles still to go was an experience that I will never, ever forget. I raced with Bev and Alan Abbs and Jeff Fuller.

After a week of racing, with a brief stop for a wake, the last thing you want to do is talk. That race was for Nigel!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chris Solinsky 26:59 10,000 AR

His last quarter melted my brain.

This is the definition of Dream Crushing.

Imagine the feeling...