Showing posts from 2016

RayMiller 30k: Splits ain't gonna suck themselves

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 LogBut 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.

The Self-Aggrandizing Dean Karnazes-grade Race Report Bullshit HereI'd originally signed up for the RM50k. When things began to clear somewhat with my arm, I realized that 1] A 50k wasn't like…

Drunk Ultras Are Not Cute

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.

AC100: Whole Lotto Love

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:
a manual draw in front of a live audience, Placer HS, weekend after Thanksgiving. Entry window: A week in November, several months after that year's racePre-qualifications already in placeNew 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 …

SB100: Two Nights & A Daze

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.
The Why I’m Here PartI 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 …

AC100: Severe Challenges Ahead

The Angeles Crest 100 is facingserious 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 …

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

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 DIYThe Race was recently looking for qualified medical team. This used to be handled by Nick Nudell’s Ultra-Medical Team. Nickhad begun toretool 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 2009I'd set up the original AC100 Facebook page. I was the Racebook editor, and it seemed li…

AC100 FAQ Flow Chart

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.

Technological advances have made it possible for the RD to take your money faster, and ignore your pleas …

AC100 Awards: Decoded and Explained

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.

Sierra Kilo Tango: 9 Hours of Bungholio

Wonderfulistic. 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 ParticularsThe 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 i…

AC100: Solo Division Buckle!

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 Race10:35 AMin a remote, unverifiable location somewhere between Wrightwood and Kennedy Meadows, CA no independent auditing or oversight to see…

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 willgo full-Lotto on Aug 8, 2016 "to allow more people to enter the race" according to website spokesbots.

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."

Screw High-Dollar Trailrunning Chow

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.
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 infrastru…

Bandit 50k: Where’s My Benzo?

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 c…

WTF Is A Long Training Run, Anyway?

"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 wa…

WS100 Buckle For Sale

Screenshot of my original Facebook post, for those who need pictures

It 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:

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. 


Twitter was especially fun, as a bunch of aliased weenie-boys hid behind their keyboards and were flinging poo. Also funny that "@SteeltownRunner" and …

Plug-N-Play Dead Celebrity Facebook Post

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.

Full-On Sausage Magic

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.