Friday, December 17, 2010

Some Serious Accomplishments

Just a small collection of awards from the past 4 ultra parties.   

Along with the fantastic skit many of you have viewed, a number of significant achievements were recognized on the evening of the ultra party.  Some I have chosen to leave out because, well, you have to be there to fully comprehend the madness.  

Gold Toe- Mel Bailey ( for completing all ten running's of the  Hagg Lake 50k )

Mel receiving her 10 year plaque
Mr Obscurity - Ben Benjamin ( running the most obscure 100 milers of 2010 )

Mr Boring - Erik Skaggs ( usually pertains to clothing choices, no hospital visits lets him take this one )

Too Damaged to Party - Eric Poole ( and to have kids too )

Longest Way - Tia Boddington ( Traveled to Morocco for the Marathon des Sables )

Bloodiest S.O.B. - Aaron Brian ( That's why they invented nip guards )

I've run everywhere - Shahid Ali ( 10 plus ultras in 2010 )

Under the Radar - Carly Koerner ( sub 24 at Western States )

Breakout award - Carly Koerner ( Western States 2010, literally not figuratively )

Pretty big inside joke, but relevant either way.

Gold Toe - Jenn Shelton ( fastest 10 miler in a monokini, also literally not figuratively ) 

Pacer of the Year - Jenn Shelton

Dead on Arrival - Neil Olsen ( Dutchman AS at Pine to Palm )

Fastest Family Woman - Dana DuVivier

Fastest Family Man - Neil Olsen

Gold Toe - Erik Skaggs

Biggest Asterisk of the Year - Erik Skaggs ( Flagline 50k ??? )

I wasn't at the finish with everyone but I think this is what it looked like.

Training Log - J.C. Callans

Traveling Beer Mile Trophy - Hal Koerner ( Still undefeated! )

Most Focus Beer Miler - Brad Noyz ( check the video )

Worst Judgment - Heidi Paine

Worst Blister - Annie Crispino-Taylor

Gold Toe - Timothy Olson

The Big Toe Award

Longest 100 Streak - Ben Benjamin

Gold Toe - Karolina Wyszynska  ( Skyline 50k, for wins people )

Running during Ramadan - Shahid Ali

Credit Card - Hal Koerner ( nuff said )

Didn't Get lost - Erin Keller

WTF award - Timothy Olson ( victories everywhere )

Virgin S.O.B. - Mike Sotos

Gold Toe - Hal Koerner

Injury of the Year - Darcy Kleiman 

Additionally, there were many awards that centered around the first annual running of the Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run.   Likewise, there is video of this circulating on youtube as well, however this announcement is more to let you know that registration is open for the 2011 event.  Yes, we will be running it again so ultrasignup.

This is the guy you'll be chasing!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ultra ROAST 2010

It's supposed to be a party, which it is, but it's quite apparent the evening has morphed into a roast for some.

I was not alone this year, as JC will attest (that's JC Callans - not the big JC)  but this piece will prove that there's less respect when you don't win Western States.

Just to clarify, in the video Rob is trying to convince me (Erik Skaggs, not Kyle) that he is worthy enough to pace me at WS 2011.   Tambien, Erik is trying to convince me not to fire him after alluding to my Forrest Gump likeness in parts of South America and the number of photos of me that adorn the store.  

Now there were a number of worthy awards this year and I hope this keeps you entertained until they are listed.  

Friday, December 03, 2010

Doing the Leg Work

Alright, alright, alright.   Here we are, San Francisco, CA for The North Face Enducance Challenge Championships.  If you are reading this blog on Friday then you are way too geeked out on the ultrarunning scene, and there are a lot of you. None however has dropped in more than Bryon Powell over at

He'll be tracking the race tomorrow as media liason for the TNF and more than likely a number of other running companies. He's done some great pre-race interviews over on his website so check that out as well.  Ashland is respresented WELL at this years race and it is going to be arguably the most competitive ultra (male/female) on US soil ever.

I ran on the course a couple of times this week and it's not as fast as previous years, but there have been a few changes or reroutes that may make up for lost time.   There's considerable mud out there and a high probability for rain tonight and tomorrow.  the pack should stay bunched for 20 miles and then it's anybodies guess. HA!

I however, have been laying low, in the city by the bay - thank you John Denver, trying my best to ignore the hype surrounding the event.  An OR photoshoot for The North Face on Tuesday was followed up by an amazing trip to the House of Air in the Presidio.  Some acrobatics with the TNF action sports team, had the owner of the place (a former TNF product manager) exclaiming, " these guys don't have to follow the rules," We followed with a sprightly game of dodge ball in which the endurance runner was able to show off some of his skills.

take it easy on the plantar.

Only for the big boys and girls.

Yesterday I headed over to San Leadro, the North Faces world headquarters for an athlete summit of the design variety.   I was joined by fellow teammates Jez Bragg, Lizzy Hawker and new addition Rory Bosio.  We looked at the Spring and Fall 2012 lines and I must say this company has come a long way in 4 years.  After which, I am now gonna taking a page from wikileaks, I was privy to a showing of an 8.5 oz branded trail shoe that will keep me grinning all of 2011.

So now we wait until the alarm rings at 3am tomorrow morning. Off to the headlands and another amazing race, can we wait another 24 to see who the champs are?

Still the man to beat, Uli Steidl

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lost and Found

So it's times like these when I think some good can actually come of this blog.

A dog, if you could call him that, has gone missing in the greater Ashland area.  Last seen in the high hills above Tolman Creek Rd,  Ribbit (you may be wondering who would ever name their dog that - it becomes even more wondrous when you're shouting it out at the top of you lungs like a giant frog) was keeping an eye on the mountain house this past Tuesday.  Known to stray from his keepers;

he is not known to be a runner so it is quite strange that he would have gone that far.  Thus I am asking the RVR community to keep an eye out for him.  You may hear his howl or yowl over and over again much like you would at any awards ceremony or in any retail store during business hours.

If you are going to go looking for him and need to call out his name remember who his owner is,  know that he only responds to his name in a shriek shrill and to something affectionate like "ribby roo."  If that doesn't work, use any obnoxious Adam Sandler voice to suit.

More likely seen with a bandana.

He is known to love eggnog, gingerbread cookies and his mama.  

Contact us on the blog or at the store 541-201-0014.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Lithia Loop Results

1 King Max 2:41:24 30
2 Mendoza Mario 2:47:04 24
3 Tribbia John 2:47:55 28
4 Mitchell Brad 2:52:17 40
5 Rozendaal Alan 2:53:34 40
6 Schupp Andrew 2:55:32 30
7 Olson Tim 2:55:32 27
8 Christoff Peter 2:57:27 28
9 Diboun Yassine 2:58:42 32
10 Olsen Neil 2:59:31 43
11 Dunham Dave 3:03:25 46
12 McMillan Greg 3:03:57 41
13 Lewthold John 3:04:52 42
14 Osterhaus Eron 3:05:20 35
15 Curran Paul 3:06:42 35
16 Van Orden Tim 3:08:03 42
17 Dunlap Scott 3:09:00 41
18 Browning Jeff 3:09:56 39
19 McClure Chris 3:11:03 31
20 Merrifield Lawrence 3:14:31 42
21 Couillard John 3:16:20 29
22 Emerson William 3:17:01 46
23 Coury Jamil 3:17:20 25
24 Caba Katie 3:23:12 39
25 Caba Jeff 3:23:15 40
26 Wirtz Joel 3:24:24 36
27 Coury Nick 3:25:40 23
28 Hecht Grey 3:27:07 38
29 Crosby-Helms Devon 3:28:36 28
30 Boulanger Guy 3:28:57 49
31 Schranz Eric 3:29:31 35
32 Farr Leonard 3:29:45 46
33 Clark Joseph 3:30:34 49
34 May Richard 3:31:32 43
35 Morris Karalee 3:32:10 32
36 Woodhouse Roxanne 3:33:17 47
37 Ragsdale Todd 3:33:47 41
38 Shweisguth Melissa 3:34:07 36
39 Daut Stephen 3:34:32 37
40 Glatt Nicolas 3:35:37 27
41 Park Luanne 3:35:42 50
42 Stringer Michael 3:40:09 36
43 Ahern Kelly 3:43:03 26
44 Arvizo Jamie 3:43:11 32
45 Fralich CB 3:45:58 38
46 Gwaltney Ryan 3:46:59 34
47 Town David 3:49:42 32
48 McDonald Mike 3:51:42 31
49 Kirby Stephen 3:52:23 55
50 Hendrickson Rob 3:52:30 33
51 Flattley Isaac 3:53:02 36
52 Abraham Larry 3:54:16 60
53 Black Steve 3:54:18 37
54 Raber Laura 3:54:34 32
55 Jordan David 3:55:50 40
56 Hacker Becky 3:56:00 43
57 O'Dell Krista 3:56:44 29
58 Jacobs James 3:58:50 43
59 Taylor Tom 3:59:13 31
60 Bolz Darrin 4:00:37 43
61 Wedin Colleen 4:00:45 40
62 Cooper Lance 4:01:14 35
63 Harris Victor 4:02:37 53
64 Duffy Rebecca 4:03:44 28
65 Ross Mike 4:03:54 27
66 Whelden Bradley 4:05:07 33
67 Marre Adam 4:05:08 32
68 Hazel Felicia 4:05:57 47
69 Swanson Marcus 4:07:15 53
70 Shanks Douglas 4:07:17 44
71 Marks Joshua 4:07:47 35
72 Barness Desiree 4:07:55 28
73 Robbins Allison 4:07:59 31
74 Bywater David 4:08:24 38
75 McCallum Bailey 4:08:42 32
76 Gray Alton 4:08:58 47
77 McKee Shawn 4:09:10 29
78 Meyer Elena 4:10:37 47
79 Plummer Meredith 4:10:57 39
80 Jack Jeff 4:11:01 33
81 Lai Lip 4:12:49 49
82 Ries Phoenix 4:12:51 49
83 Bruce Megan 4:13:18 37
84 Mock Larry 4:13:51 50
85 Zosel Kristin 4:14:06 36
86 McBride William 4:14:33 28
87 Semanski Derek 4:14:38 38
88 Godwin Steve 4:16:26 47
89 Hearn Christian 4;17:51 48
90 Ahle Thomas 4:19:15 61
91 Dunlap Lawrence 4:19:46 68
92 Jackson Chris 4:20:49 39
93 Schaefer John 4:21:53 28
94 Richmond Mike 4:23:39 52
95 Kirkendall Kali 4:25:10 28
96 Boe Jennifer 4:25:41 48
97 Oliphant James 4:25:58 47
98 White David 4:26:08 66
99 Hanselman-Gree Erika 4:26:25 39
100 Magin Richard 4:26:34 64
101 Crispino-Taylor Anne 4:26:37 53
102 Truitt Stacie 4:28:34 35
103 Callans Jen  4:30:31 38
104 Dean Lisa 4:30:54 40
105 Sherbow Mark 4:32:47 51
106 Lotts John 4:33:16 47
107 Thompson Kimberly 4:33:37 37
108 Brown Shawn 4:35:20 36
109 Mason Gabriel 4:35:46 34
110 Ure Tina 4:35:58 51
111 Dungan Chuck 4:36:13 39
112 Hecker Sherry 4:36:56 39
113 Lowry Mathew 4:38:16 35
114 Lori Beth 4:38:32 49
115 Barnett Crissy 4:40:16 54
116 Ryan Matthew 4:42:00 36
117 Africa Michele 4:42:11 38
118 McLaughlin Paul 4:43:38 46
119 Jensen Kristina 4:43:40 38
120 Fadness Julie 4:44:16 50
121 Kremer Gina 4:45:21 30
122 Harris Brian 4:45:58 56
123 Kluge John 4:48:25 51
124 Leutzinger Richard 4:48:49 71
125 Hennessey Carolyn 4:50:03 44
126 Bournias Nickie 4:50:11 34
127 Brown Rachael 4:50:12 41
128 Wewerka Ben 4:50:32 34
129 Fox Eric 4:51:21 43
130 Arnold Randy 4:51:49 47
131 Wiesen Josh  4:52:15 29
132 Gettman Andrew 4:53:22 30
133 King Kara 4:53:52 34
134 Lacouture Brain 4:54:40 31
135 Bieg James 4:55:30 62
136 Chung Mina 4:57:37 41
137 Krivak-Tetley Flora 4:57:39 30
138 Beck Lyle 5:00:20 40
139 McClain Laura 5:02:54 44
140 Kovtunovich Marilyn 5:03:31 64
141 Mosley Sharon 5:03:34 48
142 Dempsey Pattie 5:05:54 50
143 Bodington Tia 5:06:23 54
144 McLaughlin Stefanie 5:08:55 44
145 Landon Brooke 5:09:59 30
146 Lopez Harvey 5:11:02 48
147 Proulx Jeffrey 5:12:30 42
148 Johnson Kimberly 5:12:31 28
149 Eagles Breanne 5:12:46 31
150 Ali Shahid 5:12:46 25
151 Mauldin Bruce 5:15:51 63
152 Hinzmann Chris 5:18:13 51
153 Enser Sabrina 5:18:46 29
154 Davalon Tatiana 5:21:53 46
155 DeLuca MaryEllen 5:22:05 52
156 Sniffen Carl 5:22:06 58
157 Thompson Marco 5:23:02 19
158 Wood  George 5:29:21 46
159 Noyes Monique 5:30:02 35
160 Hyland Michael 5:31:12 50
161 Reckard Rob 5:31:58 39
162 Perry Bess 5:33:45 28
163 Chang Victor 5:33:48 41
164 Cowdery Bob 5:34:12 66
165 Enser Andy 5:37:39 30
166 Benjamin Ben 5:38:59 63
167 Newell Matt  5:47:39 34
168 Thaler Steve 5:48:10 39
169 Fish Peter 5:48:45 74
170 Pascoal Bart 6:02:23 39
171 Emerson Joseph 6:20:00 67

Me thinks this is the way it was played out.  I'll be going over a few results and some more notations and results boards but will update as necessary. 

Once again a big thank you to Montrail, USATF, The Peerless, Chozu, Starbucks (yes that Starbucks,) Basement Ink, Renee and Russ Rickert, Timothy Olson Massage, Eric Dinger, Maya Nereburg , Krista Olson, Mercy Ray, Daniel Hough, Kelly Lange, Sara Vaile, The Stemples, Erik Skaggs, Leland Fulton, Pete Walstrom, Brian Devore, Mel Bailey, Eric Poole, Carissa Gullikson, Tim Turk, Rob Cain, Matt Thomas, John Price, Melissa Shweisguth, Holly for sticking to the store, Chris Rennaker, Darcy Kleiman, Richard Bolt and the countless others I'm forgetting. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Lithia Loop Trail Marathon

Ashland, Oregon, November 1, 2010 – Entries have begun to pour in for the 3rd annual Lithia Loop Trail Marathon. For the second straight year this race doubles as the USATF Trail Marathon Championship with 6,000 dollars in prize money to be awarded to the top 5 open male and female competitors as well as the top 3 male and female masters finishers.  

The race is run on a mixture of trail and dirt road with 2 miles of pavement that sends as well as welcomes runners through beautiful Lithia Park located in downtown Ashland, Oregon.   There are 6 fully stocked aid stations along a course that climbs over 4,000ft and descends as much to the finish.  

Previous champions Max King (pictured above) and Jeff Caba are returning from Bend, Oregon to take a shot at the prize money.  King is coming off a 2:15:34 showing at the Baltimore Marathon and looks to take down another USATF Trail Championship banner to add to his string of victories in 2010.  

Returning contestants include John Tribbia from Boulder, Colorado, Yassine Diboun and Andrew Schupp from Portland, Oregon as well as 100k National Champion Timothy Olson from Ashland, Oregon.  

Greg McMillan returns as Masters Champion from 2009 but will be running from the start to elude Tim Van Orden and Dave Dunham from New England.   Richard Bolt from Portland leads a group of Oregonians ready to keep the medals in house.  

Fresh off her 6:28:44 at the USATF 50 Mile Championship at the Tussey Mountainback 50, Devon Crosby-Helms returns to gain the top spot that eluded her here last year as does Katie Caba from Bend, runner up in 2008.  

What: Lithia Loop Trail Marathon

Where: Ashland, Oregon

Who: 200 entries as of 11/1/10

When: November 6th, 2010 8 am 

Ok, there's your press release for 2010.  I'm ecstatic when I say we have over 200 entrants so far and the course is on par for another fast finish.  It will be fast you know, and then you'll all be sad that it's over and you have to wait until next year.    

So that you don't feel too bad, Russ and Renee Rickert will be catering once again at the finish, their beautiful burritos and soup.   A big thank you to Montrail for leading the sponsoring this year as well as Chozu and the Peerless. Please patronize these sponsors as they help make all of this possible.   
I ran/walked the course today under sunny skies and 60-70 degree temps. It looks as though a mild front will be moving through Friday into Saturday with a small chance of precipitation but you all know that it does not rain on Lithia Loop Saturday.    

Registration/Packet Pick-Up is at  RVR on Friday, can't wait to see all of you!   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If it isn't Down Under

It's pretty far down and under.

The 3rd annual running of the Ultra Marathon De Los Andes took place Saturday October 16th in the foothills east of Santiago, Chile. The 50 mile distance was added to the 10k, 20k, 50k line up just last year   and American Leigh Schmidt won in just under 9 hours. It was apparent from that time and the caliber of runner that he is this wasn't going to be a cake walk.  There were a few Americans that ended up running this rendition of the ultimate distance and their story became filled with talk of night running, giant climbs, rocky terrain, and big time elevation.

The race began at 2 am on Saturday morning but we weren't sure there was going the be a start as we searched the streets and subdivisions of Santiago for the staging area.   We caravan'd with fellow Oregonian Sean Meissner and TNF athlete Sebastien Chaigneau wondering if they were just as nervous as we were leaving our fate to these drivers that were just about as familiar with the area as we were.  Eventually we made it, 15 minutes to sign in, grab bibs, fill water bottles, grab a space blanket and whistle, hit the bathroom, and smile for picture requests.

So we were off, heading through the jumbo arches complete with Trinitron Screen looping video of various races across the globe.  As we made our way through the first half mile, a band of runners decided to stray from the pace car and the smooth streets of La Dehesa to jump through a boarded, gated entrance to what seemed to be a park.  It was quite comical watching dozens of runners trying to squeeze through a grafitti laced barrier in an attempt to find the trail, meanwhile the driver up the road kept shouting "ven aca!" (come right here.) I continued down the dark road for a few more steps before making my way onto a double track trail that slowly began to ascend into the deserted surroundings.

I was trailed and quickly passed by a runner that I certainly didn't recognize but that I was sure was running of above his comfort zone.  It's easier in the US to know which runners are going out on pure adrenaline and those that are legitimate contenders for the distance, but on this day I knew it wasn't Sebastien and I should probably follow for a little while.   As the climb sputtered and spat so too did my companion and I decide it was time to push on through.  The course was adorned with copious TNF flagging and proved to be one of the best marked courses I have ever run, however running through that many ours of night it was sorely needed.  

I made my way up through the frosty air to what was to be our first summit and then back down near the start to complete a 20k loop that was probably a little too fast but the footing was nice and the anticipation of the foreign course lured me on.   Further on, I began to calm down and settled in to a nice pace as the course traversed the arid countryside, however it wasn't long until I found myself at checkpoint 3, some 31km into the race looking for my only drop bag.   Filling up on GU was imperative for the remainder of the event, having no idea of the effort that was going to be needed over the next 20km.

The next section of the race followed an old mine road that began to rise through the palisades that were beginning to glow in the night sky, not because of the impending dawn but rather due to the lingering snow that marked our arrival at elevation.   I could see now that I chase pack was following closely and I was doing my best to distance myself on the arduous climb.  I knew I had an eight or nine thousand foot summit summit on the horizon and I had to remind myself of my last long run with Erik nine or so days ago.  We had run from town to the Mt A outcroppings and beyond and this would be no different.  The headlamps faded for a while but as the road turned rocky and snowy my pursuers closed in.   Check point 5 was just below an alpine chute to a saddle with vistas of Santiago and the Andes.  It would prove to be one of the most spectacular sunrises ever as the suns rays suffused with the gasses of the industrious metropolis below to cast a glow over the ominous Andes we had just seemed to defeat. 

Below the summit I could see Sebastien and Gustavo closing fast and I knew that the rocky terrain would put this Mt Blanc podium finisher on top of me quickly. What I didn't know is that Gustavo would pass both of us on the plush tundra just before the trail plunged another one to two thousand feet.  From here the trail was something remeniscent of Zane Grey and I watch the two runners that I had alluded for 5 hours vanish over the under the coming miles.  

As I ran for the final 19km I tried to remind myself that I was running strong all day and that although we had a long way down perhaps a few climbs still remained, I could catch up. With 6km to go they came back into view and I cowered in the shadows of the trail to not alert my competitors of my presence.  As the road opened up at 4km and dove down into the finish I was spotted, some 15 seconds back.  One last push and I was on the ground, my wary feet that had survived some of the nastiest trail in the western hemisphere succombed to ball bearing pebbles as my place was sealed.

7:32 minutes and I was done!  Less than 3 minutes separated the two winners and myself, the closest ultra finish ever for this traveled runner.  

Sebastien and I congratulate one another.

It was certainly a race!

Meanwhile another race was developing high above the cloud of the city. Carly, running in her first race abroad (not including Cananda) began to carve out her spot amongst the ultra runners in Chile. Worried about her placing, she had to ask the throngs of runners that began passing her as the elevation ascended, what race are you doing? As many replied that they were indeed in the 50km that merged with the 80km a sigh of relief cemented her standing as the 2nd place female and caused her feet to stride a little easier on the descent to the finish. A time of 11:03 was rewarded with a number of hours in the shade of night but as the morning wore on she found reserves to push through the atmospheric suns heat. At the awards ceremony which concluded over an hour after her finish she was still the latest female to concluded her day. 2nd place and in the money!

We all agreed it was one of the best events we have been to. From the course, to the volunteers, the fish line infrastructure, to the people running in all the events.  It fulfilled a once in a lifetime experience, but I can't wait to go back again sometime soon.

Carly just below the 9,000ft summit, 2600 meters?

Does that check read 100,000 dollars?

Another podium finish, for reals. 

Sebastien, Sean, Carly, Trinidad, and myself enjoy the Santiago sun and festivities.

Yes, my lifetime miles have taken me around the world, almost twice.

The Chileans favored the beard and adopted my title as the American Forrest Gump, hopefully that's the last word on that.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ladies are Living Large

Maria makes her way to the top of Mammoth Mountain, over 11.000 ft.

Sounds like an En Vogue song or maybe something from the Pretty Woman sountrack, which it may be, but actually it signifies the accomplishments of a couple of RVR's fairer competitors.  By fairer I hope you all don't find me to be gender biased but rather more on par with the World Banks assumption of the fairer sex; 

"Numerous behavioral studies have found women to be more trust-worthy and
public-spirited than men. These results suggest that women should be
particularly effective in promoting honest government. Consistent with this
hypothesis, we find that the greater the representation of women in parliament,
the lower the level of corruption. We find this association in a large cross-
section of countries; the result is robust to a wide range of specifications."

This is neither here nor there, I'm just looking for comments in the darn comment section.

So back to the action.  Maria Clementi in her RVR swan song, we'll be sad to see you leave Maria but we're gonna like watching you go (stole that from Jenn "I want my miles marked" Shelton,) took top honors at the Moeben Mammoth Ultra Marathon 50k.  Racers enjoyed a tremendous day with perfect weather and a challenging course with spectacular views and stunning scenery.  All entrants reached the top of the mountain at 11,053 feet to enjoy the 360-degree, awe-inspiring vista of the beautiful Eastern Sierra mountain range. Her time of 6:01:48 was super human considering the summit and climb on the course,  looks like all that BTI running paid off eh Maria?  She traveled to the race with the illustrious Jenn Shelton however the miles and course weren't marked enough to keep her from running adrift.  As the results show, "the racer strayed off the course but still enjoyed running at Mammoth Mountain. "

Karolina awaits the start of the Skyline Ridge 50k.

Meanwhile,  at the Skyline Ridge 50k Karolina Wyszynska cruised to her first victory as well in 5:47:10.  The course is within the Skyline Ridge, Long Ridge, and Russian Ridge Open Space Preserves just outside Palo Alto, CA. The majority of the course is along the Bay Area Ridge Trail with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Mountains. Runners traveled across expansive meadows, through dense forests, and around quiet Horseshoe Lake.  It sure beat a night of aid station work at the Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run, but those things always make us tougher right Karolina.   Up next, Western States 100?   

Karolina receives the goods! 

To add a reminder, you can run with all the ladies on the Thursday night Ladies Group Run at 5:30 from the store.  They run for an hour on a mix of trails and roads.  Next week we'll be giving away a $100 gift certificate to the Blue Giraffe Spa so don't forget to join them.  Seriously.  

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Video Vault

We didn't need to dust these off but I wanted to share with you a couple recent accomplishments captured live and on film.  For those of you checking this out on you office computer I apologize, but there will be static blog up tomorrow.  Just turn down the volume! 

To keep you on your toes, I've got an RVR visor to the most timely answers to the following questions. Only one winner per video.

1.  In the CDR video, who is the handsome man in the white glasses?  Just kidding, what is the mislabeled info that accompanies the spot.

2. How many ultras had Timothy Olson run before his crushing of the P2P course?  

If you didn't know, now you know!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pine to Palm Recap (pretty long for author Hal)

Runners Advance! 

I got out of bed this morning, scratched my head and then thought about going back to bed, but not before I questioned the lingering ache on the side of my head.  It was until the last runner was accounted for, the awards were pronounced complete, runners were shuttled back to the start in Williams, Pioneer Hall had been cleaned and supplies put away that I finally made it home to find myself shutting my own front door on my face. One of the most exhausting yet rewarding weekends ever was finally put into the books and I hadn't slept but an hour since early, early Saturday morning.  It is no surprise to me that all of our runners and volunteers are probably still feeling the effect of last weekend as well.  Sure, not the conventional ache of running 100 miles or for hours and hours, depending on how the day went, but a sore noggin from just being plain spent.  Not too bad either way.

So some of you may be asking yourselves, did that blow to head help me to forget the tragic mishaps of the day, perhaps gray those glaring omissions a first year event seems to come complete with, we'll see.  Seriously, we needed this inaugural run to work out the kinks and yes there were a few but as I mentioned to a number of my participants, they might have not seemed so loud had the Siskiyous not been turned into an overnight rain forest.

Start of the gravy train

I want to thank everyone for making due with our accommodations in Williams.  I loved that we were able to camp (car camp for some) under clear skies the night before the event.   I was not happy to see 200 to 300 people try to fit into the grange kitchen and dining hall. Next year, we will usurp the Contra Dance night and have full availability of the upstairs hall and a lot more room.  It did bring us closer together didn't it, and at least we all didn't smell like we did after the race.  

As most of you know, the rain started shortly after the start at 6am.  That was the last I saw of you all fresh and dry.  It was the last time you knew what your feet were going to look like and I hope you have found a return to normalcy on that front.  I have to give a shout out to all my volunteers at the finish, Tonya Olsen and Darcy Kleiman and Med Director Kelly Lange for treating numerous cases of trench foot like real troopers.

Runners made their way to the first aid station via 6 miles of pavement and a lot more climbing.  I was happy to see the back of the packers moving very well on to the water only stop, I knew they were in for a treat on the single-track to 7000 feet but that was going to be a creep. A few fast fellas flew by the first turn and I think they may have been talking a little to much for even I saw the hanging ribbons from 100 yards away. They kept good spirits and tried to keep up with Timothy Olson and Neil Olsen who made their way to the Obrian AS in, well, record time.

Neil 0. and Lewis T. battled all day, looks like it eh. 

131 runners dealt with rain for a number of hours while temperatures remained moderate but as they traveled further, on through Carberry and Seattle Bar (unfortunately no liquor was on hand,  Craig???) distance and wind began to wear on everyone.  The Stemples and the Ruch CC teams dealt with a number of drops on this day despite having one of the best locations for an AS.  Runners began to doubt their RD's claims of milder weather in Southern Oregon and many were beaten back by the tragic elements of the day instead of the usual hardships of running 100 miles.  As I mentioned to many, the conditions they all faced could not have been worse and I have never seen so many tough competitors deal with so much for so long. You're on an edge in these types of events and to add a variable that no one could have prepared or trained for was certainly a tipping point.

Seattle Bar (mile 31)

Squaw Lakes loop, well worth it.

I made my way into Ruch to gather reinforcements for my Squaw Peak AS (mile 52.)  Chicken Soup was running as thin as a soggy 100 miler runners and waves of them were now strung out along the course, winding through ever less and less light.  By the time I checked in to Dutchman Peak AS (mile 65) Timothy Olson had already cruised through in 11ish hours.  Lewis Taylor had just made his way out along the Siskiyou Crest some 2 hours later and I had no idea of what was to transpire for just about everyone else.  Along the roads between the two pit stops I found myself shouting words of encouragement, assessing cut off times, talking with ambulance drivers and sheriffs ( a hunter had broken a hip ) as well as navigating around them on the muddy narrow road, picking up drops and dropping off donuts for at least 4 hours.

Walter Edwards makes his move.

I was glad I was there to witness so many of the feats it takes to pull one of these things off ( speaking of runners and volunteers ) but in hindsight I was also upset that the conditions forced me to be out there in a van allowing the remoteness of the course and what was left of pleasurable solitude to slip away, pun intended.  Many runners did not make it up the 2,000 foot climb to Dutchman that night but a number of them decided that they were going to trudge through, how could it get any worse.  I exclaimed to John Price (AS captain along with Rob Cain both of which are the S.O.B. RD's ) after the race that the surreal surroundings could only be characterized as Everest-esque.  25 -40 mph winds forced the numerous volunteers to move the AS during the afternoon to what was described as a better position.  The rain was sideways and turned to sleet numerous times during the evening.  The walls of the 7 Eazy-Up's lined back-to-back chattered through the night as folks warmed runners, cooked soup and hot chocolate, gave up their jackets and gloves to those in need and sent runners on their way to the comforts of lower ground in the coming miles.  When the clouds stopped rolling over the AS shelter it became clear I had the best possible people up there, I didn't think that many runners would've moved forward.  Many efforts went noticed, confirming my suspicion that runners are some of the most selfless compassionate people.

Carly Koerner atop Wagner Butte, she knew those flags were up there somewhere. She created the logo, website, worked all aspects of the race and even 2060 AS.  Bravo!

As the night and runners moved forward they found their oasis's at Lower Wrangle Spring and Wagner Gap.  The professionalism of the two outposts matched anything seen at Western States and were invaluable not only in experience but empathy.  Runners had worked so hard to get this stage of the race and somehow warm bellies and filled flasks were going to get them over Wagner Butte.

Timothy Olson arrives in fine fashion,  he pushed hard all day.

Wagner Butte is situated 5,000 feet above Ashland and only 10 or so miles by foot (yes or so.)  I imagine it seemed like another planet on race day and just as far away when the out and back single track turned into a scramble on the butte's precipice to gather participants pin flags ( proving their successful summit.)   As I sat at the finish for the 24 hour folks I couldn't find the words to express my emotions as the rain began to fall torrentialy, yet once again on the remaining survivors.  Was it too much to ask that they get at least one break, perhaps one vista on this lousy weekend, a peek at what will be next year?  All my thoughts were silenced though by the cheers and screams as finishers filed into Pioneer Hall some 100 miles from where they had begun.

Amy Sproston and Timothy Olson get the goods. 
Smiles were abundant at the awards ceremony and nary a drop of (insert 4 letter word.)

In the end, some 72 runners gathered in Ashland with buckles in hand. 18 to 34 hours is what it took them to complete an amazing feat that tested not only their training but their mettle.  59 others proved they were just as tough and will have an amazing adventure to remember for a lifetime.   I do wish that the weather was not what was remembered most about the event but rather what it took for runners and the rest to pull it off.  I ensure you that is what I will be talking about for years.

I still need to thank my sponsors; The North Face, GU, Black Diamond and Succeed.  All the volunteers another big thank you and to my medical director Kelly Lange as well as course marshal and volunteer/ham coordinator and all things in Williams, Ian Torrence.  To my folks for letting me run them ragged, I hope you come back next year.  INVALUABLE.

Win Goodbody's images.

Andy Atkinsons images.

The Mail Tribune article.

Melissa Williams photo of buckle, bib, and summit flags.  Nice work!