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.