Sunday, November 20, 2016

RayMiller 30k: Splits ain't gonna suck themselves

This too can be yours.

Oh, you must feel betrayed by age
I'm reading from a later page
   You can't hear me at your stage...
Oscar Brown Jr

At the 2016 Ray Miller 30k start  today, I was chicked— yesterday. Waves of fine, talented women surged ahead and I was chill with all of it. Last time I'd done a 30k was probably 1987: the qualifier for the 1988 Catalina Marathon. Things were different then. 

Snapping off a Pro Log

But I was happy—I'd just recovered felony-function in my right arm. Six weeks earlier I'd skidded into an ER with a fractured upper-right humerus. As broken bones go, it was a stage 1 greenstick fracture: no bones sticking out of flesh, no cast or surgery. But it fucked up my life for the next 5 weeks. Hurt like hell, and all the rest. It was a replay of 2014's broken wrist.
More drugs, now.

The Self-Aggrandizing Dean Karnazes-grade Race Report Bullshit Here

I'd originally signed up for the RM50k. When things began to clear somewhat with my arm, I realized that 1] A 50k wasn't likely, and 2] 30k might be. Pulled the pre-race dropdown lever, and there it was. I hadn't done shit for mileage since April, and this exercise was strictly maintaining an even strain: no hot-dogging or red-lining. Just get to the finish in one piece. Shuffle-on!

The 30k is a popular sub-ultra trail-distance, and I witnessed a lot of hilarity out on the trail. Saw a cluster of Ragnarettes, resplendent in their finery going the wrong way on the Mugu Peak loop. Guess the signs and pink ribbons weren't lurid enough. 

Another dialog: Two girls were discussing the difference between kilometers and miles, and that ultras were all in Ks, probably to Euro-qualify. Then there was the business of 100-milers, but they weren't clear on where that came from. It was mystery, and one unlikely to be attempted anytime soon.

I hit the Hell-Hill Hub Aid Station the requisite Three Times [4.8, 11, 16], looted my fill, bullshitted with the delightful volunteers, and was finally blasted loose by Strava, The Implacable Mistress of Time, Space and SKT. 

On the way down to the finish was again passed by the Way More Talented; one fine young cannibal even complimenting my on my 4mph ultra-shuffle. Crossed the finish in 5:30-something, got my gong and mug. It was a beautiful day, did nothing fatal or stupid. I'll take it where I can find it.

Obligatory Brand-Ambassadork & Sponsor Quacking

None of this would have been possible were it not for D&L Holistic Industries, Stroka®™, SpoogeBuilder®™, God®™, the Pilates coach, the Academy, and all the little people in the 310. Be certain that if you have A Spiritual Crisis Of Faith®™, agonize over it on camera, then A Compelling Uplifting Resolution. We'll fix the music and overdubs in post. You'll adjust!


Monday, October 31, 2016

Drunk Ultras Are Not Cute

You're drunk, fuck off.
There's been an upsurge in recent years of running/drinking pairings. First Beer-Miles. Now this one Javelina 100 dip-shit has taken it to a hole-new level. Yeah, I wrote "hole". This is not cute, he is not cute, he's a drunken asshole. And he wants you to know it, as this was wild-posted on Facebook this past weekend.

Think about it. Eighteen beers at 33 miles, in daytime temps in the high 90s. A race-director's nightmare. Dumbfuck codes out, and guess who gets sued? Three guesses, first two don't count.

You're welcome. Don't say you weren't warned of oncoming attractions.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

AC100: Whole Lotto Love

Stay tuned for the U-Decide-When-U-Finish Buckle, new for 2017!
The Lottery for the 2017 Angeles Crest 100 kicked off on Monday, Aug 8, 2016. It only had 214 names, so race management put it on hold until Thurs, Aug 11. More names were added. 

The lottery software is reputedly LottoWare 404, and is based on the Random Rejection With RD Override Algorithm; conducted at a secure, undisclosed location somewhere in the world. 

By contrast, the Western States 100 Lottery is:
  1. a manual draw in front of a live audience, Placer HS, weekend after Thanksgiving. 
  2. Entry window: A week in November, several months after that year's race
  3. Pre-qualifications already in place
  4. New for 2017: a wait-list! Adapted from the Hardrock 100, its an idea that may have unforeseen consequences if it survives the harsh passage over the San Gabriel Mountains.
Of course, that's way too difficult for RD Ken Hamada to implement. 

There will also be 1 nominated entrant from each aid station captain, and medical staff. That last one is vague because how many med-staffers were there exactly? And of course, RD Ken Hamada picks at the last minute [no kidding!]. That one is never acknowledged publicly, which accounts for muted cries of WTF? from those left standing on the runway as the AC100-2017 gets airborne.

Of course everybody pays in immediately after they get picked. Then they get to sweat the qualifying run, and trail work. Which should be interesting for the Hong Kong, China and Switzerland entries.

Stay tuned, this should be interesting.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

SB100: Two Nights & A Daze

Pre-race go-go.
The Santa Barbara 100 asks a tough question: are you ready to run two nights and a day? This is what happens when the start is 6pm Friday night, concluding 36 hours later at 0600 Sunday morning.

The course is a lot tougher than the low-elevation would suggest, as it runs in the
east-west Transverse Range  instead of north-south. This means you spend the day running in a complete furnace. There is minimal coverage, very dry and even fewer water opportunities.

RD Robert Gilchrist has seemingly overcome a lot of bad PR regarding previously inadequate aid stations, awkward customer relations, and mobile dates. The aid stations I saw at the tail end were well-stocked, volunteers in good morale and attentive to the runner.

Pre-race popane lantern ‪Macgyver‬ hack. Needed a locknut, used a ‪Corona‬ bottle cap. Yes, I had time on my hands.

The Why I’m Here Part

I wasn’t there to do a peripatetic Aid Station QC, but rather to pace Jeanne, who was looking for a redemption 100 after her heat flameout at San Diego 100 a month ago.

Taking her considerable knowledge of the course, combined with a fierce determination to get the 100 done made it happen. I was to pace her the last ten miles. Had I been in better shape, there would’ve been more. Shit’s been deep the last four months.

I met her at the Falls Aid Station, the 10/90 mark. SB100 is an out & back, where I’d seen her at the start Friday evening around 830 pm. She hove into view around 1030pm Saturday. Given the scorching day, she looked tired, but in good order. She caloried up and we headed out.

More Recovered Memories

Heading up to the Cameusa Connector Trail, the whole business of pacing was getting a review. Don’t think I’ve paced at a hundred in almost 18 years. 
  • Rule 1: its her race. 
  • Rule 2: stay on task. 
  • Rule 3: Don’t be a dick.
She was moving with purpose. No mention of pace or speed here: shit like that is useless, and annoying. Watching the indifferent Garmin it was calling it as a 26-something mile on the initial climb. No pausing, shuffling, puking or other indicators of dire trouble.

The Cameusa Connector is a series of climbs, plateaus, dips and more climbing. About 3 miles in, it became open and scenic. By the the time we topped out at the 95mi Buckhorn Aid station, we were on an open ridge, pitch black with brilliant stars overhead.

Everything hurts now for her. I remembered the Jim O’Brien quote when I asked him on my ’96 AC100 if he had any ibuprofen: “Keep going. There’s nothing you can do about it”.

Jeanne sat down just as another runner collapsed into a chair with a blanket. I said “lets go, now”. She didnt need to be there any longer than it took for a cup of cream of broccoli soup. She got up, and out we went. There was no benefit in her getting locked up in a chair.

We made good time down to Upper Oso Campground. The afterburners kicked in when I said “hey! at this pace we’ll be at the finish in 40 minutes!” She’s all sprint to the finish—33:03 and done.

Now, Suggestions

The SB100 is now a known quantity of serious ass-kicking. For those out there who light farts and get laughs with “California Carpet Trails”, step up.

That said, its time now for a pre-qualifier to gate entrants. This is not a good first 100mi or 100k without due preparation.
A first-timer out on this course should have a legit 50mi qualifier in hand. There were people who’d gotten in over their heads with exposure and deyharation, and were hauled out on horseback by dedicated volunteers. 

Santa Barbara shows that there are opportunities for formidable ultra challenges in a low-elevation geography.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

AC100: Severe Challenges Ahead

The Angeles Crest, looking east from Mt Wilson
The Angeles Crest 100 is facing serious threats to its continued existence. Both are man-made. 

The AC100 had been given an informal pass though the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness by the USFS since 2011, because of their over-stressed/underfunded assets. Since 1996 the Race has contributed thousands of hours of trail work. This has been extremely important. Hal Winton, co-RD, has been the lead on all this. He's sat through more endless grinding meetings, then driven to remote areas, bucked chainsaws and deadfalls, and introduced hundreds of runners to trail-work.

The 2014 Monument decision merely opened up the whole mess for review.

Yes, the 1984 Granite Chief Wilderness decision affected the Western States 100, and they were able to grandfather the race in. Antonio Rossman was part of the legal team that made that happen. Was a phone-call put in to Reagan from his old friend Wendell Robie? Maybe. That would sure help. Reagan was indifferent to environment at best [see James Watt, Sec of the Interior, Walter Hodel], but was sociable to his friends.

Dominic Grossman’s petition is brave and necessary. Will it succeed? I don’t know.

  • AS OF JANUARY 15, 2013: To cross the first threshold and be searchable within, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days. To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days.
Those are long odds.

Did AC Race management [ie Ken Hamada] do his homework prior to this? Maybe. In 2011 I put together a full-color map/presentation chart [24x18] that the Race needed to have in Sen Boxer’s office. Originally it was a crappy b&w Xerox w Ken’s handwriting all over it. I got Ken to spend actual money to have this printed out at Kinkos and FedExed to Boxer’s Fresno office. I heard no more after that.

Now It It Gets Worse For The Race.

The Wilderness Act is specific, as Bryon Powell wrote in Running Times December 2009:
"The Wilderness Act severely restricts the use of designated lands, barring "commercial enterprises," permanent roads, and except as needed for the administration of the land, all temporary roads, the use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or mechanical transport, and any structure or installation within the area. It also provides guidance as to how the federal agencies should administer them: "These [wilderness areas] shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, [and] the preservation of their wilderness character.”

The Race is registered as a corporation. It is not a “community event” as named in Dominic’s petition. Yes, it has aspects of that, but no.

Now Lambert Timmermans has alleged that Ken underpaid the USFS by a lot.  Timmerman’s motives are mixed. For a moment he and Jean Ho were the nominated heirs to the AC100. They also had been providing chip-timing services via their company I’d call that a serious conflict-of-interest, but hey! Not my problem.

Early in 2015 Kenny shuffled the deck and fired both of them, elevating Jakob Herrmann up to Ass’t RD. As I had been fired as the Race Book Editor [1998-2014] in Oct 2014, I told them “Ken had me for lunch, then he had you for dinner”.

Prior to his departure Timmermans claims to have seen the books. Whether or not he can make that stick is another story.

There’s more, but its a side-show to the unfolding catastrophe.

Friday, June 24, 2016

AC100: It's A Man's Race, and Less

RD Ken Hamada has made clear that the AC100 is a "man's race". A sufficient number of men and women disagree.
The 2016 AC100 is bearing down on us less than 8 weeks out, and there are interesting scenarios building in three areas: procedural, legal, and 2017 entries.

The Procedural DIY

The Race was recently looking for qualified medical team. This used to be handled by Nick Nudell’s Ultra-Medical Team. Nick had begun to retool his business model to move in a different direction earlier this year. 

The timing of Nudell's withdrawal, notification were not known to me at the time of writing. The well-regarded John Emmons stepped up, and that problem has been solved

When Hamada fired Lambert Timmermans and Jean Ho as Assistant RDs [Oct 2015], he evidently deleted Negative Split Running’s timing service as well. The Race will supposedly be timed from Kenny’s phone w a scanner that will read the chip on the bib. 

It's a flying start already.

Oh Dear, Legal Drama! Which is the Official Facebook Page?

In 2009 I'd set up the original AC100 Facebook page. I was the Racebook editor, and it seemed like a good idea. The training runs/trail work dates could now be looked at directly, even if Race Mgmt didn't have it together to actually work with Facebook. You still had to email the beloved co-RD "Uncle" Hal Winton, who was wedded to his creaking mail account.

October 2014: Hamada fired me as RaceBook Editor/Social Media.The termination agreement stipulated Hamada was not to use any of my photos etc in the 2015 Racebook, which he ignored. He also slept thru the following 8 months until he realized that I was still their social-media editor, playing it straight. 

May 2015:
Hamada wrote me an angry email, demanding that I hand over the group. I didn’t want to give away what I’d built. I informed him that:
  • He could start his own group, which he did
  •  I’d changed the name of the Facebook group page to “Angeles Crest Runners Forum, later Angeles Crest UltraLandia”; and
  • specified that the group had no official ties to the AC100. Right up front. 
Angeles Crest UltraLandia Facebook cover art: Dead Man's Bench, 2015

UltraLandia group description, for those who bother to read these things.

The 2015 race book appeared, with many of my photos and maps still being used. I sent Hamada an invoice for the map usage ($500). He fired back with a demand for $1500--alleging improper use of the AC100 name without his permission 'all those years’, i.e. from 2009-2014.

In my reply I reminded him that: 

  • I'd set up the Facebook group because nobody else had the bright idea; and that I posted news, events and doings of the AC100 as the RaceBook editor
  • "Angeles Crest Runners Forum" is a generic name, not specifically referencing AC100
  • that an independent comment forum was desperately needed after his "catastrophically inept management decisions of the last year"
I then ran it past a lawyer and a paralegal, who cheerfully agreed with my points. In closing, told Hamada I didn't owe a nickel, and to pay up. Dead silence.

Kenny Shuffles The Deck

Autumn 2015: Ken surprises both Lambert and Jean Ho, presumptive RD heirs to the AC100, with news that they were fired. Jakob Herrmann had been promoted up from the web-guy to Asst RD. Parts is parts, evidently. In any case, its straight out of Shakespeare.

Meanwhile, the presumably official AC100 page steamed on, under the nominal guidance of Timmermans et alia. Following revelations that alleges fiscal irregularities, Hamada is now suing Lambert Timmermans in Small Claims Court [Alhambra CA], for allegedly violating intellectual copyright by using the name “Angeles Crest 100” on the Facebook page that Timmermans started [as Ass’t RD] after I'd told Hamada where to step off. 

The successor page, May 2015.
Now there is a third iteration: AC100 (official) Angeles Crest 100 presence. Characteristically, it’s a closed group, so the public cannot peer into the cryptic murky workings of the race. 
No, this is the real one!
In the midst of all this, there are rumors that Hamada has never registered “Angeles Crest 100” under any trademark or copyright.  So theoretically ANYONE could start up a 100 using that very name. There may be some weight of prior use here, so let’s not hold our breath. The Small Claims ruling may shed some light. More likely it will put a swift kick for somebody to hire a good intellectual-property [IP] lawyer. Who, remains to be seen.

Yes, You May Already Be A Winner

The latest development coming out of the Hamada Skunkworks is the Three-peat Lottery Bypass Strategy: every Aid Station captain can give away one spot to one of his volunteers, to bypass the lottery. Also, runners who’ve finished AC100 3x consecutively can bypass the lottery to support their efforts for the 10x consecutive finish.

The Lottery is as yet a vague, undefined process. There is no stated process of entry, verification, when and where the Lottery is drawn, accountability. Nothing. It’s chimerical.

By contrast,  the WSER100 process is:

  • Pre-qualified entrants, from a specific list of demanding races
  • a public Drawing, on a weekend, in front of a live audience.
Yes, only 8% of the 1400+ applicants will be drawn. Nobody’s gonna be happy. But goddamn, the WSER100 tries like hell to make it honest and accountable, however complicated and convoluted. All of which are lacking at the AC100.

In conclusion, for anyone who claims that all this is somehow “Drama”, I ask “why are you rushing to defend a process that is transparently dishonest?”

Monday, April 25, 2016

AC100 FAQ Flow Chart

This is the flowchart of your emotions while in the AC100 Vortex.
The average AC100 Entrant®™ will have many questions about the Race, in addition to the usual "where the fuck is Wrightwood?" This looted MC Escher artwork has been hacked to describe your emotional state upon entering the AC100 Vortex. Race Day is a slam-dunk bonerific snap after all this.

Study this carefully. Then memorize your possible Awards options. Get to the finish line 30 times, and you get The Ring To Rule Over Them All. Now that Jussi Hamaleinen DNF'd in 2015, after 26 or so finishes, there's no danger to Race Mgmt to cough up the money to make one of these for years to come.

Meanwhile, Back To Reality

The real AC100 FAQ flowchart is below. No, I didn't make this up after eating a weed-brownie. This was created by an engineer that they let work on airplanes. Big ones. That so far have not all fallen out of the sky, thanks to built-in redundancies.

Go ahead. Read the original, and weep.
Technological advances have made it possible for the RD to take your money faster, and ignore your pleas longer. You're welcome.

AC100 Awards: Decoded and Explained

This explains the inexplicable.

You think I'm making this up? From the AC100 Racebook.
The original AC100 Awards diagram didn't do this masterpiece justice. So now its described by a cryptic 3D graphic, and in a fancy frame. If you made the Two Minute Lottery Cutoff, and then make it past Cloudburst on Race day, you'll have 33 hours to ponder this. 

 AC100 RD Ken Hamada came up with this Awards structure decades ago. Nobody's ever been able to make sense of it. Unless you had a degree in advanced calculus, or had a lot of time left over from solving Mysteries of the Illuminati, chem-trails, Bermuda Triangle, whatever.

And no matter who you are, nobody rides for free.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sierra Kilo Tango: 9 Hours of Bungholio

Course profile map with cryptic hand gestures.


I was passed by the finest names in SoCal ultras at least once. It helps when you're running different races to get the full impact of major talent. What bites was that twenty years ago I ran the 50-mile in the same time as I lurched thru the 50k.

There was an astonishing number of polite people out on the course, who also included newbies trying on their first trail run ever. It was great seeing them trying and getting it. They got their money’s worth.

I met people last year that I completely forgot until this year, when they called me by name. Holy fucking shit—that’s a mind-slip. But they were chill, still dropping me like they owed me money.

Race Particulars

The course is a perverse T-shaped out-n-back that humps over several ridge lines in northern LA Co. Last year I tried on the 50-mi outing for size, and got pulled at 29 miles, taking the drop-down to a 50k. Yes, it used to be a loop, but that was when the world was young and long before the war.

This can be insanely runnable. With 50mi winning times in the low 6hr range, compared to the technical challenges of Red Rocks 50, it justifies the “Cali Carpet Trail” moniker. You just have to bring that game.

The weather was magnificent. Even if you were wearing black capris and tights like I saw a lot of newbies in, you weren’t dying. A day later and temperatures had jacked into the 90s up on the Divide.

The Older I Get The Faster I Was

This is where my tortured narrative comes in—like Tori Amos riding that piano bench wailing about lost love. My stride has gone to shit for speed. It needs help. This gave me more time to dream up this low-level comedy fever. Insert the #InspirationalMeme of your choice, sideways.

Dropping That Deuce

I’d been running with a nice guy who fervently hoped he’d never have to pinch a loaf out on the course. You haven’t lived until you’ve solved that problem. Which struck a lonely half-mile after the 21.666mi turnaround at San Francisquito Cyn Rd. I credit the dill pickle slice for rebalancing my saline-chi and solid food. As I was taking a spur off to make the magic, a well-intentioned woman advised me etc. I was about to go into full detail when she got it, and dropped the conversation. That done, I dropped a log that was so dry it had bark and branches on it. Try to unsee that.

Finishing Up

I knew my time was gonna be loose and hard to swallow. So why not spend some time with friends out there? Spent a fine moment with Howie Stern, who was doing yeoman work taking race photos. Did the old-school thing, popped a can of canned apricots and split it with him. Strava®™ didnt give a shit, so fuck them. They haven’t upped their race categories above 26.2 either.

I crossed the finish line a hero of my own creation. The only thing that got pulled this time was the pud of my shriveled ego. I'll adjust.

You know you want this. Start at UltraLandia.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

AC100: Solo Division Buckle!

Eventually all AC100 entrants will be in this category
The Solo Division was announced with great fanfare after the 2014 AC100 Race. When this concept was introduced, I saw text  suggesting strongly that solo runners would increase each year, and the non-solos would be correspondingly reduced, so that by 2020 it would all be Solo. Of course, then there would be no useless and annoying spectators, right? Boom! Problem solved!

Now the runner could compete under Pelican Bay Ultra Club Rules—and not take any aid from family, friends, groupies, or even people he or she owed money to. Doing so would be a lightning DQ.

The incentive for this that you could sign up an hour earlier than the regular scrum.

You think I'm shitting you, right? 

in the meantime I'm waiting to see how the AC100 Lottery is going to play out. I predict it will go something like this:
  • it will occur the Tuesday after close of Race
  • 10:35 AM
  • in a remote, unverifiable location somewhere between Wrightwood and Kennedy Meadows, CA
  •  no independent auditing or oversight to see how many names are in the draw
  • all results final, the end. But this is a traditional Kenny Hamada hallmark, to keep cherished traditions alive.
You get the idea. I foresee a time when there will be 300 treadmills set up in a warehouse out in Adelanto, CA. What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, April 01, 2016

AC100 Unveils New Buckles for 2017

The venerable Angeles Crest 100 has taken historic steps to advance into the front ranks of Legacy 100-mile races in the USA. New buckles were unveiled this morning to showcase the innovations in lottery and entrant management. The Race will go full-Lotto on Aug 8, 2016 "to allow more people to enter the race" according to website spokesbots.

AC100 401 K Division Buckle, to honor the estimated 60+ DNS for their heroic sacrifices
Race Director Ken Hamada celebrates his 30th year as the RD saying "I've outlasted all of the original race directors, so I must be doing something right. I'll live another thirty years thanks to my diet and sheer determination. If you can dream it, you can do it, just like Kim il-Sung"

The current race Awards structure will remain unchanged, despite repeated assaults by forces of reason and logic. "If you are 50, like Jussi was, you'll do well here."
AC100 2nd Lottery Sunrise Buckle for those who entered ahead of lottery cut off.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Screw High-Dollar Trailrunning Chow

Trail-dining at The Lounge, Boney at Chamberlain Trail jct. Boney Mt Wilderness. All better with the Eat-n-Tool.
I’m having recovered ultra-memories of what I ate and trained with before there were gels. Its only a matter of time before you discover that energy bars and gels are expensive and taste pretty bad. Since I’m not sponsored, I’m on my own for making this happen.

Running nutrition is Big Business. In 2012 alone, energy drinks and shots market sales totaled $12.5Bn. Energy bar sales jumped 71% between 2006-2011, hitting $1.7Bn by 2011.

We're seeing stuff that didn't exist ten years ago. Energy gels and
drink mixes make claims of absorbability, energy, and with all the sub-variants of vegan, gluten-free, etc. Taste ranges from OK to poisonous. As to the whole gluten-free thing: if you have celiac disease, its legit. Otherwise you’re an unpaid test-subject in a mass epidemiological study with unknown outcomes.
Go ahead, enjoy your gel. No, really!
You can pay high dollar for niche-market products, or you can walk into any supermarket in the US and get your calories cheaper, faster, and easier. The manufacturing infrastructure that supports the niche has been making consumer goods at a far greater quantity, more affordable, and available instantly—which is useful when you’re trail-bound at 0430 and Pricey Runner Boutique is closed.

Another problem in training and racing can be runaway salt-loading. Salt is important, period. But hidden salts in gels etc can pile up and cause gut problems. Getting back to basics can lighten that load.

Let’s go back to the future here.

  • DE-FIZZED COKE: Sugar, salt, caffeine in 2 oz jolts. Pack a 20oz bottle and hit on it at your leisure.
  • BEEF JERKY: Protein and salt in a chewy entertainment nugget. Trader Joe's varieties are tasty.
  • DRIED FRUIT: Dried mango and papaya are my current faves for their dense calories, again chewy. Look for the non-sulfur cured.
  • PUDDING CUPS: Vanilla, chocolate, tapioca. Applesauce works too.
  • CANNED FRUIT: Wet carbs that go down easy on those miserable hot days.
  • GRANOLA BARS: Mild taste, crunchy, with no pretense at protein etc.
  • GORP: Gorp, the acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts”. Make your own to suit. The fats and protein in nuts are good long burn, as opposed to the flameout tinder of simple carbs.

The Calorie-Counters out there are gonna be all “Dawg, gels have 25 more cals than X fruits etc per shot”. Probably. The margins are slight. If you’ve got the coin for it, go for it. The calories carried are to keep the engine ticking over until you get back to the car and can hit the refresh button. 

Here’s my go-to: in a huge-ass mixie-container:
  • 20+oz of cold horchata [Mexican rice drink, flavored with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg]
  • 2 scoops of whey protein powder
  • 1 scoop unsweetened chocolate powder
  • Shake it up!

Drink it up. Recovery starts at the finish line. Now you can smart calorie-load. Sorry, beer doesn’t count either. But WTF, that’s your call.

Bottom line: you get to figure out what works for you. I’ve trained with a variety of methods: Newbie Ignorant, CarboPlex w Mango nectar, CarboPlex w Gatorade, CarboPlex w water & salt caps for electrolytes. Now in my golden years I’m finding that a mix of wets and dry seems to work well.

Life just got a little better.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bandit 50k: Where’s My Benzo?

Bandit 50k II.I
Bandit 50k is a sleeper, tucked away in Simi Valley. Yeah, you're thinking "suburbia, ET, mommy-vans, etc". Hold up!

This race will shank the unwary. Its fucking serious shit out there. Not a speck of cover, no water— but its race day, so you’re covered. All the smug "Cali Carpet Trails" dicks need that Ventura County schooling. We were lucky— generally cool and breezy. Today it’s raining like a bitch, so all that slick rock would go greasy on you in your hypothermic state.

It starts and finishes in Corriganville Park, ex-Movie Ranch, which got its start in 1937. The sandstone boulder scenery is in countless movies and TV shows, that are now on Hulu etc. Enough ancient history, now I’m gonna bore you about my race.

All you fast fuckers ran away from me, as if you owed me money. I was at least 30 places behind the talent, and they smoothed out the trail for me. Thank you.

Ripped on technical trail and fire-roads, out the ass. There was a paved section where the course traversed the Upper Milfington subdivision, then turned up a canyon where the Star Wars aid-station [9/22mi] awaited. A long 6-mile out to the halfway aid station, then back took you through more nut-busting sustained climbs and drops.

At the top of one of the ridges I met up with four VCSD S&R dirt-bike riders.

“How ya doing?”
“Got waffle-prints on my dick, but otherwise OK”
“Well, GU’s not gonna help you here…”

The struggle is real.

At the top of Rocky Peaks trail the clouds lowered, and it began to drizzle. Glad I wasn’t out there in my 10k singlet. I dug deep into my appropriated narratives and synthetic voyeuristic cultic bullshit to get this fucker done.

Rounding the finish I saw that the Benzo I’d been promised by my sponsors [SKT®™, IguanaTrdz NRG-BRZ®™, SpoogeBuilder®™…. the pressure] had been repo’d. Nobody knew shit. I had to beg a ride out of there, stiff, smelling like vintage ass. 

Cutting to the chase— there's more here than meets the eye, and you might want to check it out next year. 


DFL means never having to say you're sorry.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

WTF Is A Long Training Run, Anyway?

AC100 2014: Dead Man's Bench, Mile 79
"Running for time, not distance" is an eternal lure for distance training. However, races are still measured in distance. Time on feet is important, but ya gotta get somewhere before cut-off. Otherwise this training modality is a self-deluding feedback loop. 

I found this out in 1986 when I ran my 1st LA Marathon, training out of Ardy Friedburg's "How to Run Your First Marathon". Years later it appeared on Amazon, and I reviewed it, as follows:

"How to Run Your First Marathon" is a cruel hoax in a breezy, fun, gosh-its-gonna-be-fun style. I bought this book in 1985, when I was training for my first marathon, Los Angeles 1986. It promised a bunch of things, namely "don't worry too much about distance, run for time". That is perfect barney-bait.

By the time I was at 20 miles, I'd begun to hate the day I'd imagined that the author knew what he was talking about. OK, I finished--walked the last 2-1/2 miles to a 3:55. After I was able to think about marathons again, I found Joe Henderson's "Run Long" book. It had everything this breezy pamphlet did not. I trained out of Henderson's until 1992, then ran with Jim O'Brien's track club at Cal Tech.

Subsequently I went on to finish over 25 marathons, before getting into ultras [50k on up to 100-miles]. I cannot in all honesty or good conscience recommend this book to anyone, unless its for dilettante voyeurism. It is ornamental, and worthless.

Full review here

Having gotten *that* out of the way, may I suggest that if you're going to do 100s [for instance], then "long runs" need to be:
  1. *at least* 25mi, probably no longer than 40mi
  2. back to back on weekends
  3. on the course if possible
  4. start & stop at different points, to see what your splits start looking like
  5. in a variety of weather conditions
  6. run sections backwards to see what the climbs/drops start looking like
You'll start to get a sense of what's required for a successful execution. Again, this is an optimal scenario. Mike Morton won WS100 in '97 without having trained on the course, but put in ass-kicking mileage in MD due to his job requirements.

In conclusion: do your homework. The 1993 WSER100 racebook famously noted that you could run 15mi daily, 6 days per week to get the mileage necessary to complete a 100. But you'd be the best 15mi runner at the starting line.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WS100 Buckle For Sale

Screenshot of my original Facebook post, for those who need pictures
t was bound to happen. The sport has "matured", if that's a proper term; to the point that sub-24 hr WS100 buckles are now being sold by their recipients on ebay. The first incident I heard of was a dealer selling one several years ago. It was recovered by the Western States 100, and it wasn't cheap.

Frankly, I'm startled. Yes, its his to do with as he pleases. He could lose it in a card game for that matter. But still. I was under the remarkably quaint impression you just didn't do this kind of thing.

Here's Jared Hazen's Facebook post: the ebay listing:
Jared's post: show me the money.
I caught a lot of flak for posting this.

I made it clear that yes, I understood that he could do what he wanted with it. That seemingly overshot many of my critics. Whatever. Twitter was especially fun, as a bunch of aliased weenie-boys hid behind their keyboards and were flinging poo. Also funny that "@SteeltownRunner" and "@DouchebagUltra" stats never showed up on But, I digress.

Here's the New Paradigm: Its All For Sale.
Any notion you might've had based on your early apprenticeship in The Halogen Era is irrelevant. The Age of Monetization has been here for a while. Now we're seeing the knock-on effects. This was the first time (to my recollection) that an actual recipient had tried to sell his buckle. Oh yeah, there was the Auburn/Foresthill/Foothill antique/estate dealer who had sold a WS100 buckle several years ago. For whom, and how he got it, who knows?

The market still rules. I doubt anyone will give more than $5 for that Rocky Raccoon, Graveyard 100, or whatever buckle. Unless Kilian Jornet got shot in it.

Now everybody in ultras gets to look at that buckle you're sporting and thinks "wonder which ebay auction that came from."

Update: Jan 31, 2016
Buckle sold for $519 to a private party. For someone "not attached to inanimate objects", well-played.
Update: June 27, 2016
Hazen had not been invited back to Western after this episode.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Plug-N-Play Dead Celebrity Facebook Post

Alas, we hardly knew ye.
Next time your favorite public personality dies on you, here’s your modular ready-to-go, customizable Facebook memoriam.

I [just heard/was told/found out] that my favorite [actor/musician/personage] had [died/passed away/was taken from us too soon]. Needless to say I’m [saddened/heartbroken/strangely relieved] that their lifelong struggles with [addiction issues/personal challenges/being an asshole] have finally been lifted.

I first [heard/saw/avoided] [insert celebrity variable-text here] when I was [13/22/a long time ago] at [Burning Man/Madison Square Garden/detention facility] and their [art/music/devil may care spirit] lives in me still.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Full-On Sausage Magic

Original photos by Jeanne Eby. Don't hold it against her.
Eventually I'll get around to saying something profound about holistic eating, being green, and all the rest. In the meantime, it was getting dark, clouds were rolling in, and rain was in the offing. A little dense protein goes a long way to keeping this boy from going into the weeds.