Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Boulder Triple Crown

Just some snapshots from Sunday's run/hike up Green Mountain/Bear Mountain/South Boulder Peak today...

Connecting Boulder Mountain Parks' popular trio of 8'000 foot peaks (Green Mountain, Bear Peak & South Boulder Peak) is one of my favorite benchmark loops around Boulder, and packs a lot of action into a few hours. On a clear day you are rewarded with spectacular views. On a windy day you just try not to get blown off the mountain! When I'm fit, carrying a light pack this route takes around 3hrs. The last hour or so is mostly fast downhill running, which conditions your already-worked quadriceps perfectly. Runners always have a little extra motivation on solo efforts, knowing they share the trails with Bears & Mountain Lions.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Part II: Alpine Expedition Race: Switzerland

The first edition of The APEX Race, (Alpine Expedition Race) will take place in the heart of the Swiss Alps between May 24-29th Host venue is the beautiful and city of Interlaken, also know as the “Adventure Capital of Europe”. The APEX Race will challenge the world’s top endurance athletes and international adventure racing teams with a four-day, non-stop expedition race through the most scenic terrain in the world: the extreme Bernese Oberland. APEX is part of the international Adventure Racing World Series of expedition adventure races.

The Alpine Expedition Race is a non-stop expedition adventure race. The competing teams must find and visit a number of checkpoints in a predefined order along a designed course. During the course teams will have to utilize a number of different disciplines. The Apex Race is the longest non-stop endurance event in Switzerland.

The APEX Race facts:

Host Venue: Interlaken, Switzerland
Dates: May 24-29th 2011
Type: 4 day non-stop adventure race
Series: Adventure Racing World Series
Competitors: Teams of four, no support-crew allowed
Divisions: Premier division, only co-ed teams. Open division, all other teams
Elevation gain: 10’000 meters
Disciplines: Running, trekking, mountainbiking, paddling, rafting (together with guide), canyoning, paragliding (together with pilot)

During the race, the organization will stage team equipment at designated transition areas. There will be no optional checkpoints and no bonus checkpoints but the race course will include some important cut-offs times where slower teams will be re-routed to ensure they can reach the finish line by Sunday 29th.

The course will contain some demanding travel on snow up to 3000 meters altitude (weather permitting) and teams must be prepared for the possibility of cold alpine weather.

While the course is a mystery until just before start, the disciplines and approximate leg lengths have been revealed as:

LIVE coverage of the race, 24/7 will be available at http://www.theapexrace.com/Live/

While this of course is not one of the secret maps used in the race, this is the approximate area where they will be racing.

This is a REAL, traditional adventure race. No "optional CheckPoints". No "Rogaine Format" that allows teams to skip checkpoints. Teams lining up at the start will know they need to execute flawlessly in order to meet the cutoffs and finish the full course...let alone compete. You wanted to do the APEX? Then DO the Apex. Those who make it to the finish line will have EARNED IT.

Any race in Europe is guaranteed to have a strong, fast field. This adventure race, part of the Adventure Racing World Series, is no exception. The incredibly steep mountainous terrain around Interlaken will favor proven professional teams who can handle the elements, have 7-10+ years of experience in "big time" expeditions, know how to handle pressure, and can navigate flawlessly.

My pick for the winner? nuun-SportMulti

Big surprise, huh?

While I am jealous I am not racing with my teammates at this one, I can tell you that this combination has the perfect combination of fitness, skill, and experience. Oh yeah...and they have Mari Chandler. We still don't have a copy of her birth certificate, and I still think she might be an alien-human hybrid or a terminator from the future.

Joining Mari at Apex will be team veterans Ryan VanGorder, Matt Hayes, and uber-strong-special-guest-stuntman (and occasional teammate of mine) Kyle Peter. These guys have more experience and wins under their belt than almost any team in the world, and they are hungry to prove themselves on the world stage again.

It was nearly 10 years ago that I raced in Switzerland at the Discovery Channel Adventure Racing World Championship. Time flies!

I wouldn't bet against these guys!

Friday, May 20, 2011

What is Adventure Racing? Part 1: Patagonia

Perhaps the best example of true Expedition Adventure Racing today is the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race. There are many other fine examples I will get into over the next week, but none are as wild or challenging. More people have summited Everest than finished the WPER since 2004. Maybe that's why they call it "The Last Wild Race" .

There are a few races that I cannot wait to do in 2011-2012, but this one is at the top of the list.

YogaSlackers' Race Videos from Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

T.S. Elliot

Focus your mind on what you CAN and WILL do in the moment...what is in front of you...even if it seems currently out of reach. Focus like a laser beam.

Don't go half-ass.

Go Full-Ass.

WHEN you fail, just keep trying harder. Your body, mind & spirit WILL adapt.

A lesson I have learned from many powerful LEADERS in the military, sport, martial arts & business is that if you never fail, you are kidding yourself and wasting your time. If you never fail, you aren't challenging yourself. Not even close.

Winners fail all the time, not because they become complacent but on the contrary they PUSH THEMSELVES beyond their limits until failure...repeatedly...alone or vs others. Those who remain consistent but in their comfort zone constitute mid-bell curve mediocre folks. Their "mediocre" may be another man's lifetime best, but deep down inside they know they are wimping out and wasting their potential. All to avoid pain, to stay comfortable.

When you lose the WILL to make yourself uncomfortable and enter the "pain cave" you have already consciously or unconsciously begun your slow pathetic regression. This applies to any area of your life. Trace back your last poor result to complacency, procrastination or avoidance of pain.

It is easy to fall into this trap, and it happens to EVERYONE at some point. Even Chuck Norris. Your mind will always beg to quit before your body. Every time you battle your demons and push further than you thought you could, you are recalibrating your limits as well as your perception of what is possible the next time around. Growth!

The choices we make when uncomfortable will determine our destiny and reveal our true character.

It is never too late to break the P A T T E R N...

"We are enriched by life's harshest moments...especially those of our own choosing"

-Mark Allen

Mark, AKA "The Grip of Death" is arguably the greatest triathlete of all time. At his athletic peak he "failed" 6x in a row, then WON the Hawaii Ironman 6x in a row. He dug DEEP in failure, even doing great damage to his body, and you better believe he dug even DEEPER in victory.

Richard "Mack" Machowicz, Navy SEAL and host of Future Weapons will break it down as succinctly as possible...this is someone who took cold showers for two years to 'deepen his toughness groove":

"You have to be unreasonable in that moment"

"Fear is the perception of an UNKNOWN Threshold"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dropping In: Aspen CrossFit

For work and for fun, I travel as often as possible. Since I prioritize exploring, training and experiencing "local culture" while on the road, I typically will hit the local trails or even downtown areas for a run or ride. Whenever possible I reach out to the local CrossFit boxes to ask about possible drop-in if they are not already packed.

After a short run in the Aspen snow and sleet today I joined an evening class at Aspen CrossFit. I was immediately impressed with the unique setup of the gym and the motivating, positive vibe.

Head Coach & Co-Owner Erik Larson started Aspen CrossFit just last year, and has more than doubled the size of the gym in a remarkably short period of time. Starting from scratch, he has leveraged his passion for learning and excellence along with very strong attention to detail (his "other job" is CPA) to create a unique training environment. One of Erik's goals was to work with kids in the community, and a local teen art student painted a massive outer-space themed logo mural on one of the walls.

When you walk into the gym, the first thing you notice is the bright green color and positive messages written on the walls. Quite a contrast to most other CrossFit boxes. As someone who has always been fond of basic, hardcore "dungeon gyms" blasting Pantera, I was surprised by how much I dug the clean and bright atmosphere of the place. You really would never expect it based on the exterior of the building's industrial triple white garage doors.

There is something about walking into an experience, a Story, not just a place. This 'vibe' is the holy grail of merchandisers and restauranteurs. You can't look anywhere in Aspen CrossFit without seeing a motivational quote from a Viking or Voltaire or about accountability or excellence.

Nothing except the basics will be found here. Home-made whiteboards. Local students made the jump boxes in Wood Shop. Nothing but the basics are here, but they are just organized & executed uncommonly well. Sound familiar?

After doing a long 7 minute AMRAP warmup (10 wall ball/10 situps/10 box jumps/10 mountain climbers) and short Mobility session with bands (that would be considered a "workout of the day" for some) the Workout of the Day was "Angie".

Windows Video

Mac Video

Angie is a tough workout for anyone at sea level. Angie is evil in Boulder at an elevation of 5430'. At 8,000', Angie is a psychotic vixen who mocks you while standing on your chest. Not much oxygen at 8,000'. Not enough for a full-throttle workout like Angie, anyway.

The following photographs were taken just before getting back on the road. Erik was generous with his time before and after the class and you can tell his passion is 100% genuine. If and when I open my own facility "one day" I will certainly apply some of the elements of Aspen CrossFit's ambiance....in a hardcore, dungon type way of course!

Check it out: