Showing posts from 2015

Lance Armstrong Panics UltraLandia!

Lance Armstrong wins a fat-ass trail race! Circle the wagons, Mabel! Lock and load the PowerBars!!

Hold up here. 35k is not an ultra, its a sub-marathon of 21.748 miles. Furthermore, its a Fat-Ass, which used to mean "no fee, no aid, no whining". No telling what it means now. He's got a way to go yet.

Armstrong was a rip-roaring bastard to Floyd Landis, Greg LeMonde, and anyone that stood in his way. To have him compete in a sport with weak/non-existent doping protocols [because most races can't afford it] is pure parasitism.
That said, over the years there have been flurries of excitement as various tri-geeks strap on a 50k with great fanfare, then quietly disappear after their first 50mi flameout. As Bill Rogers commented on a 1994 CBS "Eye On Sports" Leadville 100 feature: "Its 12+hours, and most of the runners aren't even half done yet. In an Ironman, most would be heading for the finish by now"

Red Rocks 50: The Dropdown Was The Upgrade

Red Rocks 50's first 12mi out n back was like taking Salma Hayek out on a date and getting an ice cream cone. The next section was where she rips off her human face revealing a ravenous crocodile.

The third section down to Romero Cyn turnaround is where she eats you. Slowly. And thats what I avoided when I took the late downgrade to the fat-n-girthy 36mi “50k” at Mile 23.

We all started with good intentions etc, and gradually the more-talented pulled rapidly away from me. No bullshit story from the Late Halogen Epoch was gonna keep them down on the farm once they’d seen Hokas.

I didn't have the game needed that day. Period. More on that, in a bit.
The Dirtbaggers held their usual Beer Mile, and it was astonishing to see people pounding down cans of whatever swill and bust out the mile. I totally leave that to the experts. No doubt it helped many the next day. They all passed me too. 
FINALLY THE BEGINNINGThe half-marathon, full M, 50-mile, and the newly added 5…

Ray Miller 50k: Inwardly I'm Smiling

After yesterday's Ray Miller 50k, I've only got two stiff legs. I've achieved a certain level of accomplishment when I heard shouts of "show us your balls!" seconds from the finish. But that was after I’d hurt the vert, run my own race, and had a great day; well in the future after the rosy-finger dawn rose over the whine-dork sea.

The race is one of a cluster run that day at Pt Mugu State Park: 30k, 50k, 50 miles and 100k. Something for everybody, and if getting like worked hard, RD Keira Henninger will deliver, in spades. The 50k course is a lopsided 3-leaf clover and stem, in an approximate clockwise direction. If it was run counter clockwise, it would easily add 2 hours to the average finish. Keira has other things to do besides wait on your sorry ass, so be grateful. I was very glad I didn’t strap on the 50-miler. This will have to wait for a later date. Meanwhile, here's a diagram and chart—weird science.
I’ll spare you, gentle reader, the usual broccoli …

Lost Hunters W Rebar Hiking Poles

The best Lost Hunter Story of 2014 was a father/son combo, about 1.5 miles below the Mt Wilson summit on the Kenyon Devore Trail. Dad was carrying both .30cal deer rifles. Son was splayed out on the trail. They'd started that morning from Short Cut Saddle on Hwy 2, which was 9+mi away. Taken a wrong turn, etc. Hoping to call a friend at the top for a ride. That's when I noticed that their hiking poles were 4' sections of #8 rebar.

Kodiak 50k: BearBak'd To The Max

THE RACEThe Kodiak 100 Ultras are set in the Big Bear region of the San Bernardino Mts, elevations from 6-10,00’. 
The races are the 100mi, 50mi, and 2 50k variants: Front [first 50k] and Back [last 50k]. I opted for the Back 50k, which I’ll refer to as the Kodiak BearBak’d Rear 50k, strictly for its aspects of intimate punishment and acquaintance. You’ll get your mountain-money’s worth here. Mountains, dry mountains. Take note.

The Kodiak is still fine-tuning itself. Its an old-school ultra— with minimal markings, and necessary aid-stations with lean but adequate offerings. If you’re looking for your first Care Bear Ultra, with strawberries, vegan-chow, gluten-free what-the-fuck ever nosh; look elsewhere. Get ready to spend a lot of time out there by yourself. Its that good.
This shit is tough, and you’ll get served. Ditto any notions of conquering the course, which is a persistent delusion. Go in under-prepared, and this is your fate; try getting along with it instead.
The weather …

AC100: The Once And Future Race

[updated 8/17/15, 10/20/15]

Registration for the  2016 Angeles Crest 100 opened and closed in less than 10 minutes Monday, Aug 3. The 2016 Race is Aug 6-7 2016. This is a winning plan for filling a parking lot, but fatal for a legacy 100 like AC.

There's only one reason—its all about the money. Let's look at the moving parts.

The entry qualifications are laughable: finish one 50mi race before race day. Straight outta 1986. That's pure sucker bait, but I'll call it a swindle. Some ultra-bob does a flatland Care Bear 50 on carpeted trail somewhere, and he does not have a fucking clue what awaits for him in the San Gabriels. But he's "qualified".

There were 66 DNS [401k Division] in 2015
Out of 238 signups: 172 started, 98 finish, 74 dropped/missed cutoff/wtf ever. Sixty-six DNS is a spectacular achievement, out-pacing previous years averages of 25 or so. 2014 had 40. Do the math: 25-40 DNS every year means $10,000+ in pocket, no accounting etc. The roster…

Born To Run Ultras: Notes From The Blue Loop

For whatever reason, I seem to show up at BTR after some existential crisis. This year my taper started on March 2, when I found out my brother, while out on a training ride, had been been killed in by a careless driver in the UAE. See for yourself how all your #RunStrong memes hold up for you. So yeah, I did the 30-miler, crossed in 7-something, and am OK with it.
Obligatory Running Bullshit: News, Weather and SportsWeather was perfect for running, but harsh for all the hippies in their shorts and Luna sandals, who were shivering in the cold and damp of Thursday night rain. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were brisk, sunny and breezy—a far cry from the scorching heat of the past two years.

The 2015 BTR Ultras featured two new events that bracketed the extremes in human potential: 
The 0.0 Non-Run, and the 200-mile event. Over 60 people paid $40 to do nothing, noon Saturday. Laugh all you want, that paid for additional shitters for everybody. The 200 field of 17 kicked off on Thursday nig…

Leona Divide 50: The 34.99 Markdown Special

My sub-optimal 2015 Leona Divide 50 performance began with staying at a Motel 666 with hot-&-cold running hookers. The other was having half of my life collapse on my head a month earlier. I got both before charring the gnar, and hurting the vert.

The 0130 booming wakeup of “When Doves Cry” is a surefire performance-enhancement. Didn't fully hear the Barry White deep sub-bass later, but I'm sure it did its job. All this was covered in the Brecht-Weill operetta "Eine Kleinischen Fückshackke" of 1928, starring Ethyl Murmanskaya, but you weren't paying attention that day in class.
Pre-Race and Scenic CommentsThe Race Start was delayed while some guy droned on into a mike, probably being paid by the word. Meantime I got to check out all the current ultra-talent that was going to do better than me. Some bettie was all kitted out in a Spiderman gimp-suit, with holes in all the right places. And we were off.

The current race course is far more scenic than the one o…

My Favorite Ultra Things

Sunburn on noses and black flies that’ve bitten
Bottles run dry and woods that I’ve shit in,
Rattlers coiled up and ready to sing
These are a few of my favorite things

Comments on salt and trail-head poodles
Hairballs and GU-packs and DNFs that are noodled,
Lo-mileage coaches that fly on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Long tortured debates on mountain money,
Why LEDs and flashlights are so gosh-darn funny!
Early departures from motel bed-springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply channel my favorite Ultra things
And then I don't feel so bad

[originally written May 2005]

SOB50 Shades Of Clay

'All happy ultras are alike; each unhappy ultra is unhappy in its own way.'
Dr Sevende Sandia, obscure Mexican mystic Normally this story begins as One Man’s Challenge—the original plan of a 50-mile ShoppingKart Odyssey; and was thwarted when the cart did not leave the Gelson’s lot. And therein lies the story of redemption, and how the sport of ultrarunning was spared irreparable harm as a result. Read on. Or skip ahead to the fart jokes and trail porn further down.
PREQUEL to The Morning SkinnyThe Sean O’Brien 50 was my first 50-mile race since 1999, where I DNF’d at Leona Divide. On a wild notion I signed up for it, the course was the same one I’d first starting trail running on in 1990. Course begins and ends at Malibu Creek State Park—a 14mi stem with a 22mile loop through Zuma Cyn, then back to the barn. The 100k, 50k, and marathon were run with wave starts on variations of the overall course. Everybody got their money’s worth.

I’d soon find out what was right, and what was …

2014 In The Rearview Mirror

A year ago I was pulling out of a crash dive of injury and illness where I wasn't running at all. It also occurred to me that I took the wrong ten years off from ultras. No, I didn't wind up with cancer like one friend of mine. I just got served with reality.

By March, I was progressing well enough to hold down a 20-mile run—until I broke my left wrist in an airborne fall on a trail that ended with a loud SNAP. Thanks to Rainer and Dave, who splinted me, then drove my whiteout self to Huntington Memorial ER, where it got cast up. And to Catherine Schulz who was my advocate in the ER, who could talk doctor-talk with the ER MDs. Few are this lucky. Would've been nice if I could've washed that arm before it went into the cast, but it didn't go all rank on me.
Broken bones are completely new to me. My progress wasn't just set back by the 5 weeks in a cast—add another 5 weeks to what my conditioning was like before this all happened. Then imagine toeing the line at th…