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Showing posts from 2018

AC100: Wait List Of Glory

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Just when the AC100 is getting its act together, it reverts to form. 

Rene Dorantes won it in 2018. And here he is, #93 on the wait-list. Really?

The previous year's winner used to be invited/admitted into the next year's race. This used to be customary and automatic.Another quaint and delirious custom from a bygone epoch is now buried in a shallow grave.

Which begs the question: who's gonna get Bib #1? Again, this used to be worn by the previous year's champion. And the following 9 bibs were worn by other worthies of note. Things like this will be fun to note when they're assigned.

Think I'm kidding? See for yourself.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

UPDATE: Somebody got woke, on or around Jan 2 2019:


Revised Dec 31 1400hrs. Because I'm pissed.
Further updated Jan 5 2019, with some good news:

Invitational Ultras

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The Few, The Wowed, The ChosenSoon top-tier ultras will be invitationals. Demand, and instant online signups are driving this. The HardRock 100 is a conspicuous example. Their field is capped at 145, because of remote aid-station space/logistic constraints. Nobody is particularly happy with the lottery for whatever reason; full qualification details here

Solution: make it an Invitational. That removes the whole lottery/convoluted entry process/RD Sharpie Thing. Then the disgruntled can bitch about that too. Most ultra-lotteries are cryptic events anyway. Correct me if I'm wrong. 

Further down the list, change the qualifications. Like maybe have 2-5 qualifying 100s done before you enter the inner circle of elite 100s. Ditch the 100k or 50miler as a qualifier. It hasn't been 1986 for a long time now.
Flying Wait-List Standby So you didn't get in to your dream 100, now you're wait-listed. Great! Lets say you're 93rd at the venerable AC100. Based on prior years, that mig…

The Fire This Time

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These are the Days of the Expanding Fire.

Currently the entire western Santa Monica Mountains are either burned, or going to be burned.

Years of persistent drought, global warming weather have brought us here. Fires that used to be confined somewhat to autumn are now year-round.

A big hole has been blown into the SoCal ultra calendar. 
The Ray Miller 50/50/30 is cancelled.I'm expecting the Sean O'Brien 50/50/100k [Feb 2 2019] to follow suit. Race management has promised rollovers to next year. Backbone Trail 68 & 100, gone.Also cancelled this weekend was the No Name races that were slated to start/finish in Chesebro Cyn up in Agoura.

Just yesterday [Nov 12 2018] Rocky Peak and Corriganville burned, up in Simi Valley. 

Malibu was under mandatory evacuation. Any property up a winding canyon road is likely a goner. The Pacific Coast Hwy [PCH] was all four lanes southbound last week, to allow people to flee. 

Where to? What next?

CalFire is stretched to the limit. Year round. 

Where to…

End Times: AC100 Now On UltraSignUp

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Finally. Proof that the ice-caps are melting, Rapture, whatever. 
The Ultra World learned this afternoon that the venerable and creaky AC100 was now on Ultrasignup. This transition finally happened, long years after it had been suggested by parties irreverent and impertinent. 
RD Ken Hamada is famously cheap, and that somehow the idea that runners were going to pay a fee to effectively process their entry had gotten through to him. 
Assistant RD Jakob Herrmann simultaneously announced his departure, and has left Uncle Kenny's Kabin. Hermann didn't go into great detail, but its safe to surmise that enough was enough. Jakob had the patience for this kind of glass wall-climbing, but has decided to suffer better elsewhere. 
AC100 had already startled long-time observers several months ago by finally getting on board with a wait-list, paired with an entry open date in December, not the day after end of race, as previously. The lottery is still a joke, most likely Kenny's Sharpie, a…

What Is The Sound Of One Solo Clapping?

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The Solo Runner category in the current 100-mile race scene is bullshit, and should die immediately. Its unenforceable, and subject to gaming by the more clever out there. 

"Oh hey, I didn't really understand that part of the rules where it said a solo runner was Lonesome Me, with no crew or pacers, gosh..."
Somehow these people pass their DMV tests.

In theory it supposedly confers a registration advantage at the AC100, and reduces the number of cars out on the course and in aid stations. On the face of it, OK; because this is America, and every runner has 3 friends and 4 extra cars. But is a solo runner theoretically a nobody, with no casual admirers? 

At the AC100 this is Panic Level DefCon 2. Runners got a multi-signature contract form, pretty much like buying a house. You swore that you know all the rules, you read the rules, understand the rules. Got that Adventure Pass, Crew Parking Pass? Don't give aid out on the road [because there's 12 miles of asphalt butt-…

BigFoot 40: The Abbreviated Pilgrimage

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I finished BigFoot 40 in style—behind the wheel of a Buick Regal, driving three other woebegone 28mile DNFs like myself. It was a far cry from my race morning start that ended at Windy Ridge 27.79666 miles later. 

My first shameless thought on dropping was "how the fuck do I get out of here?"
Yeah, me love ultras long time, but I was a drowned rat looking for a lifeboat. Fortunately, I said this to Ryan Good who offered me his Buick Regal to drive to the finish. He was going to pace a friend for the last 15+miles and that saved him a long-ass stinky-butt drive to get his car. 

Let it be noted for all the city types that driving in rural Washington involves hours, the roads are curvy, and prone to sinks, sags, waves, and potholes as occur in a dynamic geology and weather. 
Prologue-Jamming The day started well enough, but once the preliminaries had been replaced by lava boulder fields my shit-summer training made itself known in lethargic slowness. Past that and back into trees I…

AC100 & the Out of Towners

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What is a solo runner? And who is an out of towner? Both questions got worked during the recent 2018 AC100.

Observers noted that ostensibly solo runner and eventual women's winner Darcy Piceu seemingly had a crew. Then it transpired that RD Ken Hamada had approved a category switch for Ms Piceu several weeks before the race. Nobody else seemed to know. All the listings had her as SOLO. But no, Kenny is cryptic. 

The race book rules are specific, as follows, full text:

SOLO DIVISION RULES When accepted into the race in the Solo Division, a runner agrees to follow the above race rules plus an additional set of rules set forth for the separate division. All Solo division runners must sign the Solo Runner Agreement form at race check-in to confirm their knowledge and acceptance of the following rules. Violators will be disqualified from the race and may be banned from future runnings of the AC100. If you have any confusion about which division you are in, please consult the 2018 Entrants…

Rising Up, Dropping Down

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Drop-downs are a logical response of RDs not wanting to have people dropping at remote aid stations, putting a load onto a tight evacuation scenario. This is recent, and yes, I've used it. I'd rather walk my way out of a race-day gone bad than be stuck somewhere.

RD's really don't want to haul you out. If you do, you'll be riding on a pile of gear. They also don't want an expensive, bad publicity evacuation if things go really bad. This is another good reason not to have themed costume aid stations.

There's a widening talent spectrum in ultras. Its a logical outcome of the boom in the last 10 years. 

More people getting into it, and here are some indicators.
the widening gap between the super-talented and the mid to back of pack runnersthe rise of the drop-down option in racessocial media plays a role here. Its a fact, not a blame. People get all jizzed up, and then race day reality kicks in.The talent bell curve gets larger. More people in, and a wider partici…

Training Run 411

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Newbies don't understand training run etiquette. It's not exactly their fault for ignorance, so let's drop some knowledge-nuggets.

self-insert, self extracthave a workable exit-strategydon't be a martyrknow your limitationsWhat does this mean? Details follow: You are responsible for your own actions.You are responsible for knowing how you're going to get out of situations. You are not going to burden your pals with your misery. Unless they truly enjoy that shit, you'll be running by yourself.If you insist on being a martyr for the greater glory of social media, go elsewhere. Seriously, nobody cares.I don't run at elite level, and the only place I'll realistically see the elite is at a finish line somewhere. They'll be seeing their grandchildren by the time I finish up. Then I can tell the kids what great studs their grands were when we started out.BTW: that pic is from August 1990. Once upon a time, all race finishes and training runs looked like this…

Playlist of the Damned

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So you're putting together a playlist for your Next Big Ultra. OK! This is part of the Enthusiasm For The Sport®™ that is so endearing.

I don't buy into it. Its one more piece of gear that will entangle, distract, and fuck you up. You also might miss an important sound cue from outside your bubble. Batteries, cable, playlist, BPM, and the unplanned mockery when those inspirational lyrics are the soundtrack to you doubled over, talking to the ants. 

Its even more annoying when you haul into an aid station, and whoever's in charge thinks you really want to hear Journey, or whatever at volume, because its a party. And everybody's in some costume [another story altogether]. Shit makes me crazy. I'm trying to think, get a grip, and a PA is drilling into my head. I've fled aid stations to get away from the noise and discovered my bottles were unfilled. 

Over the years I've relied on memory. Music emerged from deep tissues, and had something to say at that moment. He…

Ultra-Cheating

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Ultras have now matured so that people work at cheating on them. It's always something. I've suspected it in various 50ks, 50-milers, and a few 100-milers. Marathons had their wakeup with Rosie Ruiz, and her 1980 subway-assisted Boston Marathon win.

Cheating can occur in the following scenarios:
Races with interior loops, staffed by volunteers, with little or no help, and irregular contact with other volunteers running HAM and finish line dutiesLong stretches were people can get rides without scrutinyOut & back sections with no monitoring, or proof of completionWhere trails parallel paved or graded roadsCheating has always been rumored, but the rise in timing chip/Garminesque GPS tech watches has closed the gap. Provided the registered entrant is wearing the watch etc.  
This will percolate downwards into the sport. Time-testing will undoubtedly accompany drug-testing in marquee races. 
Race directors don't get a pass on this. Huh?
if they don't adequately monitor probl…

Curated Scrapings

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Change comes slowly if at all to the venerable Angeles Crest 100. 

In late 2017 the cryptic Delphic oracle spoke to Race Management as in a dream, and the revelation was that [you might want to sit down here], there was going to be a waiting list

For the 2019 Race.

Which will now be lotteried the weekend after the WSER100 Draw. Instead of the previous Post Apocalyptic Race Day Plus One Death Scrum. You now have 120 days to ponder an entry.

So for all those who got States-missed, here's your chance. You'll get to elbow your way past the newbies who are just now over their poison-oak fever-dreams in a completely inscrutable process.

Also: AC100 newcomer entrant Jim Walmsley of recent Lake Sonoma 50 win fame is listed as Bib #8. In years past the first 10 bibs were reserved for previous AC100 finishers of note. Perhaps race management thought he'd get lost in the crowd at the start, even though his credentials are solid. But hey! It'll be interesting to see if he actually do…

When life gave me lard, I made LardAid

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When life gave me lard, I made LardAid.

Ever wanted 3000 calories on tap, ready to burn 70 miles into that 100? Or do you know some kale-n-broccoli smoothie victim that just needs that extra something outta life? 

The answer is LardAid®™. Harvested from only the finest vintage ultra-talent, not the cheap filler from obese, sclerotic couch-dwellers. 

LardAid is available as injection, vape, or a topical application.

LardAid was first revealed by Obscure Mexican Mystic Dr Sevende Sandia in 2005. D&L Holistic Industries chemists isolated the unique properties, and have brought it to you, the conflicted ultra-gearhead. 

In full disclosure, here are some possible side-effects of LardAid:

Latent memories of Cuban cigarsRecollection of fart-jokesRemembering “Letters to Penthouse Editor”A sudden desire for single-malt ScotchKnowing the occult meaning of LS/MFT
After LardAid, I was striding up Horn-Dog Cyn in to the lowering cloud cover, a veritable swirling “Crullers In The Mist” scenario. Confi…

Missed Manners

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Periodically I'll go to an event's training run. Certainly not to establish World Dominance, but just to see who and what. This time we [yrs truly and my enigmatic unindicted co-conspirator "J"] ran the training loop backwards, to see some of the talent that had signed up for the upcoming race. My speed went off a cliff some time ago, and frankly, I'm past giving a shit. 

Here come the frontrunners. Oh boy! The gear, enthusiasm, fresh faces, and KOM FKTs blasting past you. You've got that GoPro Game Face you already imagine in a Thundering Ultra Movie About You. They hit the finish in record time, did the obligatory "aw shucks-gee whiz way-to-go-bro" moves, like in those movies, downloaded your Strokas by Cheezing the Garmin, and so on.

Then there are the dogged middle-packers, who seemed to be looking their first trail race in the face, going "holy shit, really?" Finally, there were several weary old-timers who were keeping a good pace, but…