Trail Maniac Adventures

I am a trail runner, mountain biker, Wilderness First Responder, Coach, Trainer and over 15 years experience in the Physical Therapy setting
I am a trail runner, mountain biker, Race Director, Wilderness First Responder and hodgepodge

Cycle Torch Shark 500 review

Cycle Torch: Shark 500 review

I have been racing mountain bikes for a number of years, and I recently completed my first snow bike race the Fat Pursuit 60K  in Island Park, Idaho on 12/8/2016.  The temperature was a brutal -20° Fahrenheit at the start, with a warming trend during the day all the way up to a high of -5° throughout the day.  With the winter daylight only lasting 7 to 8 hours I needed a spare light just in case, plus the race required us to have a light on at all times for safety.  I didn’t want to break the bank so I opted for the Shark 500 from Cycle Torch, at $39.98 this light wound up being a steal. Not only did it come with multiple mounting options and a tail light, I was able to put switch the settings for longer battery life.  This light has most of the features that other higher priced light do including four different working modes:

         - High - 500 Lumens - 1.5 Hours

         - Medium - 250 Lumens - 3 Hours

         - Low - 50 Lumens - 15 Hours

         - Flash - 30+ hours

 

Usually, I would not recommend a 500-lumens light for off road use but in the snow on low this light worked just fine.  Typically the negative temperatures would have wreaked havoc on the battery life of a light.  At one point as the sun was going down I considered using my backup light (the Shark had been strobing for almost 12 hours), but I decided to stick with the Shark and charge it with my portable battery pack while I was riding.  Charging was very easy to do with the USB cord, and the light lasted another three hours.  At this price point I definitely plan on purchasing a few more Sharks just to have extra lights.  I also heard a rumor that Cycletorch is working on an 1000 Lumen light, this would be great for my next 100 mile Fat Bike adventure.

 

Pros:

·         Price

·         Size

·         Good construction

·         Able to charge light and use it with an external batterie pack

Cons:

 

·         Not quite bright enough for MTB racing (without snow to reflect)

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Mountain Fit

Mountain Fit

Mountain Fit

Climbing or trekking up a mountain requires the participant to be both physically and mentally fit. The Guardian reported in 2015 that after a series of accidents the Nepalese government changed the rules on climbing Everest so that only those with experience and in peak condition could attempt the summit. While this is an extreme example the same basics apply to regular mountain climbing and trekking. Thus, it is best to be prepared to ensure that your trip is completed safely.

Mountain climbing and trekking is like any other sport, there needs to be training and preparation involved to yield positive results. The cardiovascular requirements to reach the summit of a mountainous ranges is high and if a climber hasn’t conditioned himself it can lead to failure or injury. So climbers need to be in the same condition as professional athletes to safely attempt such a difficult feat.

Leading football website Betfair published an article entitled What it Takes by journalist Stephen Tudor, in it he documented the lengths football players have to go to be considered match fit. A mountain climber should also consider how far they are willing to go to be prepared. While the two sports are very different, they both are extremely demanding on the body and mind.

So with that in mind, in this article we will look at the training a climber should undertake to be able to climb safety and effectively.

Mosaic Adventures wrote a blog post on preparing for a trek to Everest base camp that focused on the cardiovascular training required. It stated that it is a huge advantage to workout and exercise during the off-season. Exercises such as biking and swimming are a great way to build up stamina and reduce the chances of injury.

Rick Davidson, CEO of Century 21 Real Estate, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal said that he found training vital to condition his body to carry a 75-pound pack of gear. He adapted his workouts to focus on strengthening his leg muscles, balance and his core muscles. To help his body prepare for the changes in altitude Davidson would do interval training and wear a heart rate monitor to evaluate his performance. Davidson also discussed his diet during a climb and offered some interesting tips. He told the paper that during a climb it is easy for climbers to lose their appetites. In order to combat this he packs comfort food such as pizza, chicken and gummy bears that help him maintain energy. He mentioned that at 10,000 feet the other climbers are “very jealous of my cheese pizza and chicken.”

No two treks are the same and each will throw up different challenges for your body to face. RMI Guides writes that the best way to prepare is to set goals at the beginning of your training program. These include evaluating the fitness required for the climb by asking yourself questions such as: how many days does the climb take? What type of terrain and climbing will you encounter? To what altitudes will you climb? How heavy a pack will you carry? Answering these questions long before you set out will allow you to be in the best possible shape come the expedition or trek.

Your training for the trek or climb should begin as soon as you book your trip and even before. Coley Gentzel of the American Alpine Institute wrote that it is best to combine indoor gym and cardio exercises with outdoor activities. His gym-training program is a full body workout that focuses on compound moves such as bench presses, pull-ups and squats. He puts an emphasis on outdoor training, as “it’s no big secret that climbing is the best training for climbing.” He recommends hiking and rock climbing as two of the best preparations.

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Gear Review: UP2 by Jawbone

U2 by Jawbone. 
Super simple fitness tracker.
What does it do?
Up2 tracks your movement and can sync with other apps like strava or my fitness pal. With its smart coach function it guides you to your goals. But that's not all, this slim sleek device also tracks your sleep patterns (I loved this function ) giving you advise on how to improve your sleep. All of this information is synced via Bluetooth to your smartphone where you download the Up app. 
Who should use this product? 
I personally think that everyone could benefit from this handy little device. Especially if you are wanting to improve fitness and health.
Pros:
Easy to use
Small
Price (about $100)
Cons:
The wrist band was cumbersome.
Not a 100% accurate (not that I would expect that )

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What have I done??

What have I done??

Is a 100 miles too far to run?

I hear this question asked quite frequently “how can that possibly be good for my health?”  I personally do not know the answer to this, but I am hoping on June 18, 2016 that I can run 100 miles, and stay healthy of course.  I feel like a lot of people think I am a seasoned ultra-runner, but really I’m still a greenhorn, I’m quite new at all of this ultra-running stuff.  In fact, I have only been a runner since 2007, and I didn’t do my first trail run until 2011.  I didn’t run in high school or college, or even in my 20s or 30s.  I did start racing mountain bikes in the early 90s, and I’ve spent most of my life hunting and fishing.  In middle school and high school I was the weirdo who would ride my bike 7 miles to school (I avoided near death experiences with logging trucks on a daily basis). I would race home after school (up a 2.5 mile long hill) and try to beat the bus to my scheduled stop in front of the house.  Some days I was victorious and other days I could see the kids pointing fingers and laughing at me because I was weird.  After several years of racing my mountain bike in the Wild Rockies series, I stopped in 1999 because of a skiing injury that required 2-two inch long screws in my left knee.  My orthopedic surgeon told me that I wouldn’t be able to run, but I could bike all I wanted. 

Why did I choose a 100 mile trail running event?  Running a hundred mile trail run is a tough concept to grasp for me, yet runners do this all the time.  Actually the 200 mile distance is the new race for some ultra-runners.  I just read an article that the 200 mile-distance has a higher completion rate than the 100 mile-distance.  So how do I get my head wrapped around this distance? I actually felt the same way when I first tackled the Ironman distance, the concept just seems so huge to me. I chose Bryce 100 miler for my first 100 miler.  

The first thing that helped me was to break my pace down in my head, if I average a 15 min per mile pace for 24 hours, that’s just a fast hike!  I signed up for a 100 mile race because I’m excited about the challenge. It’s more than just physical, it’s a mental challenge as well.  What is my body capable of?  Do we ever push our bodies to their absolute limit?  I personally don’t think I ever have.  I have experienced the highs and lows of emotions during training and during a race itself, but never over this distance and never for this length of time.  I want to see how I’m going to handle the situation and how I can problem-solve to accomplish my goal.  

I have drafted up a conservative training plan for myself, with the first 12 weeks mostly working on base-building and most importantly CORE/HIP STRENGTH!  I feel most people think that if they are training for 100 mile race they need to run an insane amount of miles per week. I don’t believe this at all.  I think training for a 100 miler is about time management (let’s face it all that training is stressful for your family), corrective exercises and of course the mental game we all play with ourselves.  Don’t let the negative demons in your head.  Yes Bryce Canyon is at elevation, but every other runner there will be dealing with the same issues that I am!  My longest mileage weeks will actually peak at about 90 miles during week 20.  I like to tell myself that its quality miles over quantity of miles. Right now I have two more weeks of base building before all of the crazy training starts, but so far I am injury free, I’m not burned out and my initial excitement over this adventure is still strong!  That may change of course, but for now I am so excited about this crazy 100 mile adventure!  Bryce Canyon 2016 or BUST!  Stay tuned and I will post another blog in a few weeks for anyone who might find my training interesting. 

 If you are interested in what corrective exercise I am using, click this link for my YouTube videos

 

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Moab Trail Marathon Race Report and my experience:

Moab Trail Marathon Race Report and my experience:

 

November, 2014:

Last year around this time I received a message from J. Colt about a trail marathon he had just completed.  J and Lori were going back in 2015 for Lori’s birthday, and he thought that Kelly and I would love this race.  Heck ya, I love a challenging race! 

November 2015:

Kelly and I intended to take a week long camping vacation in the Moab area sightseeing, mountain biking, and we would finish with the Moab Trail Marathon. Unfortunately Kelly had a big trial come up at work and was not able to take the time off.  I invited Scott Rudy to make the trip with me and explore the area on the way.  Scott had committed to helping his daughter, so obviously Dave and Scott’s Big Adventure was not going to happen.  (Next time)!  I thought about making the trip solo, but that didn’t really sound appealing.  Fortunately, I got lucky and J and Lori invited me to travel with them. What a fun trip that was!  Side note- if you plan on traveling from Spokane/CDA to Moab don't be in a hurry, this is a long ass drive (about 14 hours).  J. and Lori picked me up at 4:00 am Thursday morning and we arrived in Moab Thursday evening about 9:00 pm.  We took a blood oath after Salt Lake that we were not stopping again until we reached the Moab Brewery, so things got a little ugly in the car and the word “hangry” took on a new meaning.  FYI-since you are in the heart of Mormon country here are a few things you should keep in mind.....most places close early (Moab Brewery closes at 10:00 pm) and the State of Utah only allows 3.2 ABV beer on tap...so order your beer in the can - I had the Jonny's IPA and it was delicious.  And let’s see what else…..well actually that’s probably all you need to know.  The scenery is beautiful and you should bring your own beer. 

We checked in to our hotel at the Comfort Suites (I highly recommend this place).  It is a fairly new hotel, very spacious and very clean.  Friday we went site seeing at Canyonlands National Park and WOW, you should go to Canyonlands!

Race Day: 

To ease our morning stress we woke up early, unfortunately the entire town of Moab was without power that morning (I feel there was a conspiracy somewhere).  My recommendation is if you are travelling for a race and you absolutely cannot survive a race start without coffee, prepare for the worst.  I personally know that Kelly would have been devastated had she been along.  She feels that our awesome Aeropress should be available in a purse-size model (hmmm maybe I should contact them).  I’m sure most of you can sympathize with J., Lori and I about how stressful it was to start a race with no coffee so I won’t go into huge detail here.  I will say it sucked and leave it at that.

We had another mishap on the way to the start line, but we still made it in time for me to run the mile up to the start line (seriously with 1,500 participants there is not much parking so plan accordingly).  It didn’t help that my wave had started 2 minutes early, but this was fine as the race uses chip timing, and I was able to just jump in. 

 

The course starts up a canyon/ creek drainage and gradually climbs up through sand.  You will spend a lot of time stepping up on rock ledges and dancing through loose rocks, so I highly recommend you consider a training plan specifically designed for this race ( I will have one available soon).  You start at 4,000' elevation (next to the Colorado River) and run about 4 miles up to Kane Creek with about 750' of elevation gain.  There you can open your legs a bit and make up some time. Enjoy it, because you will start walking around mile 7.  In addition to stepping up on rock ledges, this race also features large drop offs, including sliding on your butt, about mile 7ish. jumping off of ledges (4 feet in some spots), running through narrow crevices, and a nice little 3 mile obstacle course at the end of the race.  The 2nd aid station also features beer, I didn’t have any but I felt this was a nice gesture considering where we were.  After the 2nd aid station there’s a pretty tough downhill, then you get a nice road to run a little out and back up a creek drainage to the 3rd aid station (make sure you fill up your water because it’s pretty hot and dry by now).  This is where you start the 2 mile climb up scorched earth hill. This climb is runnable until the last mile and it gets pretty steep. I personally didn't run it as I wanted to save my legs for the rest to come.

After you make it to the top you will get to run some more and you can loosen up your legs.  Enjoy this because it doesn’t last long and you will most likely be back to walking. The trail turns very technical here and you really need to watch your footing on the slick rock.  Once you start descending into the canyon, you will come to a very narrow crevasse (I had to walk sideways and I still scraped my front and back).  Oh also another side note about Moab, well actually about any race anywhere.  If you have ever felt like you needed to wear white running shorts or white spandex, just don’t.  After we had to slide down the trail on our butts the runner ahead of me, well I don’t know how to put this gently so I will stick with that advice, just don’t ever wear white running shorts or white spandex. 


After this descent you are now at about mile 21 and wow there’s the finish line – unfortunately seeing the finish line and crossing the finish line are two different things.  You will then run past the finish line and do a last little 3 mile out and back section.  This is where the race directors and I parted ways with our thought process.  This is the part where you get to run an obstacle course, yes between miles 22 and 26, the race directors felt that you needed to climb up ladders, climb a rope run through 2 sandy culverts, and make 2 seriously steep climbs.  You will actually not get to run again until the last 50 feet when you can run underneath the finish arch.  (I’m kidding I actually loved this part, I just like to pretend that I’m funny). 

So that’s my race report for the Moab Trail Marathon, I will definitely be back next year as Lori and Kelly have unfinished business with this race, and I fell in love with the scenery in Moab.  When I get to the finish line next year I will enjoy the soup and awesome quesadillas that the race offers, and of course I will be bringing my own beer with me to wash it all down because well we are in Moab!  Don’t expect a PR on this course as this course is a CHALLENGE. 

Difficulty: 9/10
Beauty:9/10
Diversity: 9/10
Aid stations: 9/10
Post race party: 4/10
Destination: 9/10

 

 

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Bonding over our Mutual Hatred of Smoke!

Bonding over our Mutual Hatred of Smoke!

We all have many reasons to dislike this smoke that has taken over our beautiful town.  The fires are putting our beloved woods and our loved ones in danger.  While it feels selfish, one of my biggest complaints is the effect this smoke has on my everyday life.  I am a busy person and I like to keep my weekends filled with running, biking, exploring new trails, and wishing I had more time (you’ll notice I didn’t put house projects in here).  When the air quality is this bad it really screws up my plans for the great outdoors.  This last weekend I actually felt depressed, I ate too much and I didn’t know what to do with my downtime, so I caught up on Netflix (my winter indulgence).

 

I did try to make this weekend a bit more positive and I actually walked around Tubbs Hill instead of running it on Sunday, after I mowed the lawn of course!  But like everyone else I am still dying to exercise…. the Weather channel is advising:  EVERYONE SHOULD AVOID HEAVY WORK OR EXERCISE OUTDOORS. At first I did not take this advice, and after we went for a run at English Point on Saturday, I had to stop after my first loop.  Kelly and I both experienced burning throat and lungs and our eyes felt gritty and awful.  We had hoped that the clear skies over Hayden meant better air quality, but no such luck. 

Sunday the air quality was even worse, and that’s when we decided to hike Tubbs Hill. It was fine, but I REALLY want to run or bike, anything to work up a good sweat.  This hike actually wound up being fun as we had time to chat and I wrote notes to myself all during the hike.  I also thought this would be a good chance to talk about preventative/corrective exercises that all runners like to neglect.

This is what I would recommend to do when the weather is too bad for outdoor sweetness.

·         Head to the gym, maybe cross train on weight or take a spin class or yoga class

·         Jeremy Dye made this little video of the top 5 exercises that all runners need to do.

 

·         Do nothing! I’m serious!  Read a book, take a walk with your significant other, see a movie or get caught up on house work, well don’t go overboard with that last one!  Honestly though, don’t beat yourself up for taking it easy.

 

As much as I hate it downtime is a good thing and everyone needs a little downtime every now and then.   

Just one more thing, if your free on Friday 8/28/15 stop by The Local Deli for their fundraiser to help out local fire fighting efforts.

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Balance

Balance

Balance

You may or may not have heard about an awesome little fat ass run we had last weekend: Seven Summits/MTB vs. Trail runners.  This is a little 48 mile adventure with 10,000 feet of elevation gain/loss, yes you read that correctly!  Last year I was invited to mountain bike this course with some friends, and as I was pushing my bike up the summits, I kept thinking this is stupid, I could run this faster!  My plan this year was to make this little adventure my first 50 mile(ish) trail run.  Sadly I did not finish, but I had a ton of fun and I learned a lot about myself!  As my lovely wife says: respect the 50 miler!

Let me give you a little description about this route.  Runners and mountain bikers climb seven different summits: West Canfield, East Canfield, Huckleberry Mountain, Spades Mountain, North Chilco and finally Bernard Peak.  Individually these peaks aren’t extreme, but the route I planned included some of the most technical sections in the Canfield trail system. Needless to say the first 12 miles were tough, so tough that I actually heard one mountain biker scream at the trail.

 

I dropped out at mile 25 with some pretty severe hip pain-I have no idea why I had hip pain.  Maybe I wasn’t recovered from last weekend’s adventure? I do know that I plan to finish a 50 miler, last weekend was not my time though.  I also know that in order to achieve this goal I need to find balance in my life! Currently I work full time at Physio One and I operate Trail Maniacs (about 20- 40 hours a week depending on races).  I am also (thanks to my wife) on the board for Evergreen East and I volunteer with Fleet Feet Coeur d’Alene’s trail run group.  I have a loving wife (she actually doesn’t take up any time at all and I actually couldn’t do any of this without her), and then of course I love to run. 

 

If you do the math I just don’t have much time for any quality training.  Really though who does?  Aren’t all endurance athletes in this same boat, balancing family time and training time?  It truly is all about balance and priorities, and of course respecting the distance!  As a coach and personal trainer you would think I would know better.  I didn’t put in the proper training for Seven Summits and I got the time that I deserved.  After reflecting on the last few months of training though, I think that maybe I didn’t want this bad enough.  Relying on base miles (instead of slowly increasing mileage per week) just doesn’t cut it.  I neglected high mileage weeks, core exercises and glute exercises, and I suffered.

I do want to say that meeting the amazing people that I have met through Trail Maniacs is an inspiration to me.  After the race I was talking with a runner, Marv, and I asked him if he was retired because of his training runs that I see on Strava.  His response was “heck no, I work 12 hour days in construction.”  It’s people like Marv, and the rest of you that inspire me.  So back to balance… I need to take my training back to the basics: core work, base building, find my mojo, balance work and Trail Maniacs, and spend time with family.  Here’s my plan:

  1.   Schedule training time.
  2.  Schedule down time.
  3.  Share my goals with Kelly (so we are on the same page)
  4.  Stop blaming my busy life as an excuse (No excuses… Just solutions!)

I would like to close with a few thoughts about the race between trail runners and mountain bikers. I have to say that the mountain bikers won; however in my mind if everyone had done the exact same course, trail runners would have won (specifically Heath Wiltse)!  I’m not saying this to start any drama with anyone, that’s just my personal opinion!  This was an unmarked fat ass course, and we all had different adventures out there.  That’s what a fat ass run is all about. 

 

Great job to everyone who participated and I can’t thank you enough for all of your support!  

See you next year, maybe we should make it a true 50 miles????  

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Wow way under prepared

Wow way under prepared

I’m preparing for my first 50 miler this month (a little adventure I like to call the 7 Summits), and like all of us I am trying to balance training, work, play and family.  Since the month of August is a slow month for us (with the exception of two fat ass events and the Jackass hill climb); Kelly and I had decided to take the family camping this last weekend at Priest Lake.  I wanted to show them the natural rock waterslides at Lionhead.  I also needed to get a long run in and possibly scope out a route for a state park series race.  After I got our campsite set up at Luby Bay, I drove to the Northeast side of the lake to Lionhead State Park. My plan was to run a 14 to 16 mile route that I had mapped out. The route included running up a logging road and ATV trail to the Lookout Mountain Towers, and then run on some sweet singletrack back to the truck. I expected this to be difficult with about 5,000’ of elevation gain and loss. I was carrying 60 oz of water, two gels, a bar, and one of the Cliff baby food packets (my new favorite).  I started running at around 9:00 am and it was already getting hot!  The first section was just an easy up on the logging road and I did take an extra side trip to the trail head of Lion Creek water slides.  When I made it back to the actual old road to the summit I was pretty overheated, and at this point I had 6 miles of steep climbing (3,500’) left.  The majority of the route from here is exposed with some small creek crossings.  After about an hour of climbing I stopped to pee and I noticed that even though I was feeling fine, my pee was actually very dark (like amber ale dark).  I realized that I needed to increase my fluid intake but I had already finished the water I had, so I stopped at the next stream and refilled.  I still had a bit more climbing but I was soon at the top.

The tower at Lookout Mountain is amazing!  I decide I needed a little picnic up here, so I ate my bar and baby food (beet ginger flavor).  By now I only had 20 oz of water left (I figured that would be enough for the 5-6 mile trip back).  I was taking in the view and noticed a person in the lookout tower, so I asked if I could come up and check it out.  She invited me up and this is when I met Pam (didn’t ask her last name).  Pam works for the Forest Service and has been stationed at this lookout tower for over 25 years! She gave me some history about the area and fed me some water and Gatorade (looking back this probably saved me).  We chatted for about 30 to 40 minutes and while I was up here I also got a call from Kelly.  I told her that she would make it to camp before I would but I was having a great run.  I did tell Pam which way I was planning to take (just to be safe).  She informed me that the route I planned would be difficult because of some logging a few years back which made it difficult to find the trail when you crossed the FS road. I was feeling great and confident in my route so I continued on.

 

I fell apart around mile 12.  I was sick to my stomach and started throwing up, I got chills and leg cramps, and my thoughts were fuzzy.  This is when I was so happy I had spent the $$ for the Wilderness First Responder course I took this spring.  I was sure that I had heat exhaustion and dehydration.  I was running short on time, but I knew that if I found some shade and could keep down some water down (I had about 60 oz at this point) I would rally and could finish my run.  I did stop for a few minutes, but then I would start to cramp up so bad that I felt it was better to walk, so I kept walking. 

 

Eventually I came to the road that Pam drove up. At this point I found out the hard way that Pam was right, I could not find the trail due to the logging.  After numerous wrong trails I decided that even though it would be longer I should stay on the road, finally after 7 hours I reached my truck.  My GPS said 25 miles and 5600’ of elevation gain.  Let me tell you the drive back to the campsite sucked!  I was drinking water and holding it down, but it was so warm and the cramping was intense. After about 30 min of driving I got into cell service and contacted Kelly so she could stop worrying.

 Check out my Strava link: Wow way under prepared

 

Moral of the story: Always be prepared!

·         Tell someone where you are going and your plan. Also what to do if you don’t return. I spend so much time on the trails and I feel like I can handle anything, that’s just stupid!  Anyone can get lost or have something go wrong.  So tell someone, maybe a text message with a pin drop to show your starting location. Maybe use a buddy beacon (like in the my view ranger app).

·         Take a map or an app you can use on your phone (like the myviewranger app) and download the map for your phone.  Upgrade to the better maps (could save your life someday) and use your phone on airplane mode (saves battery).

·         Proper equipment! Water and filter (or purification drops), and extra food, plan on about 400 – 600 calories per hour.  I only had 600 calories for +7 hours (not even close to enough).  Also bring some electrolyte tablets or capsules.

·         I like to pack a little zip lock bag with: a black garbage bag, rubber gloves, Band-Aids, 5 paper towel, Benadryl, emergency wind proof lighter, whistle and a multi-tool (just in case I need to chop off my arm LOL).

*** Should you have more? I don’t know that is up to you.  I have some survival training and I know I can survive in a trash bag over night and start a fire with what I have.

 

Gear Used:

·         Ultimate Direction AK vest ( the most versatile running vest I have ever used)

·         Pearl Izumi Trail M2

·         Mountain Hardware tank top

·         Pearl Izumi P.R.O shorts

·         Smartwool run socks.

·         Head sweats Trail Maniacs hat

 

·         Custom gators from Gunhild.

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My experience with Western States Endurance run 2015

My experience with Western States Endurance run 2015

I have been wanting to start a blog for some time now.  I have so many new adventures with all of our different trail running friends and family, and I get to run on so many new trails, I thought it would be fun to pass on my trail reports, race reports, photos, mileage reports, gear, etc.  I probably won’t ever get to interview any elite athletes or race winners, but that’s ok, this will be the everyday stories and adventures of a Trail Maniac.  First I have to say that I had my first article all written out a few months ago, but then my friend Gunhild Swanson asked my wife Kelly and I if we would be interested in crewing and being backup pacer for her attempt to be the oldest women to finish the Western States Endurance 100 race in under 30 hours. Who in their right mind would say no to that!  I hope you enjoy my little tale…. 

Initially Gunhild entered the WSER 100 lottery but she did not make it.  I know she was disappointed, but typical Gunhild, she was very pragmatic about missing the lottery.  Unbeknownst to us, WSER race director Craig Thornley was discussing her goal with one of the sponsors, and Scott and Judith Roberds with Microlumen gave Gunhild one of their sponsor entries.  When Gunhild and I first talked about her adventure at the beginning of this year, she talked about how much fun she had running on a 24 hour team with her grandson Turlan and her son Chris last year.  She and Turlan had run quite a few laps at night through Riverside State Park in Spokane, WA, and I think it was the highlight of her year.  She wanted to ask Chris and Turlan if they would pace her at WSER 100, and she asked if my wife Kelly and I would be interested in being her crew chief, backup pacer and driver.  Honestly I was over the moon for this and I really really hoped that I got to pace her!  Not that I didn’t want Chris and Turlan too, but man I badly wanted to pace her!  I will admit to being skeptical and worried about a 15 year old and a 70 year old women running on the Western States trail through the night (sorry Turlan, now that I know you I realize that you are wise beyond your years, and your unflagging optimism was invaluable).  A few months later Chris, Gunhild and I sat down for a planning session and started making travel plans.  The neat thing about our Trail Maniac family is that when Scott and Sandee Rudy found out about this, they wanted to come to California and cheer and crew for Gunhild as well.  Gunhild was ecstatic that they would take time off of work to come watch her, especially since Sandee was doing her first 50k the weekend before driving to California.  I said this many times over the weekend, but it does take a village to race a Nana.

For more about Gunhild’s running career, follow this link

 

We wanted to have plenty of time to hang out in Squaw Valley before the race, so we flew to Sacramento on Thursday (by the way thank you Kelly and Chris for throwing me under the bus with the drunk passenger who wanted to show me his video of him lighting weird stuff on fire, kathunk).  Gunhild insisted on putting us up in a hotel, I’m a Holiday Inn Express kind of guy myself and I just assume everyone else is too.  Gunhild pulled out all of the stops for her crew though, and she put us up at the Resort at Squaw Creek!  Wow this is what a 5-star resort looks like.  After we checked in we went to the village to look around at the race start and Chris and I wanted to sign up for the Montrail Challenge fun run, I’ll give Montrail credit, they do like a challenge.  Scott and Sandee arrived later that night and we all enjoyed dinner at the resort’s pub. 

We got up early on Friday and Chris, Scott and I started the 6k run with 2,900 feet of elevation gain t

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