Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Torrence! Where have you been?

August was a busy month and September will be no different.  However, there is a brief pause in the action. With that, let's go down to the field and get a recap of the month that was.

August 2, 2014 - Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

Oh sure, this 100 mile story is long, almost as long as the race itself, but let's not go there.  Join me on the trail sometime and we can discuss.  I'm just psyched that I'm a 2014 Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run finisher.

In Wrightwood, Hal Winton points the way to Altadena for the 2014 finishers, all 92 of us.

On top of Baden-Powell.

Just running, for now.

Emily Harrison readying my pack at Vincent Gap.

Up and away.  Grinding into a climb I had forgotten about since my last AC100 outing...Mt. Williamson.

Andy Roth (pacer, crew and philosopher) suggests that my nap at Chantry has been long enough.

Emily concurs and dons her pacing vest.  It's time to catch that elusive 20th wind.

Crossing the line with Boise's Pearl Izumi athlete Tony Huff.  After 28+ hours, my 5th AC100 finish.

Larry Gassan's proper finish line photo.

August 12, 2014 - PepsiCo TransRockies Run 6-Day

Is there anything that compares to six days and 120 miles of racing in the Colorado Rockies?  Trust me...the magic wears off on, like, day four or five.  Six days of racing on steep trails at altitude wears you down.  Enter the PepsiCo TransRockies Run.  My second go at the event (2011 with Mr. Timothy Allen Olson), Emily's first...

This was cool for many reasons, but the biggest was:  Running six days with my confidante Emily Harrison.  Here we are finishing stage two over Hope Pass.

Storm clouds brewing over camp and Leadville, CO.

The final minutes before stage three which began on Harrison Street in downtown Leady.

The start of stage four.  From Camp Hale to Red Cliff and...

...Mangos!  IPA's and a breakfast burrito with fellow McMillan Running Coaches Jacob Puzey and Emily Harrison.

Getting stage five into Vail, CO done well.

Finishing stage six in Beaver Creek, CO.  Winners of the Team Open Mixed Division and losing the overall team title by a mere 12 seconds to Magdalena Boulet and Caitlin Smith.

Collecting the leaders jerseys one last time with second place Open Mixed Team Amber Monforte and Ryan Weibel.

Ran into freshly crowned Leadville Trail 100 Mile winner and fellow Flagstaffian Rob Krar at the awards banquet.

Thanks to Carey Martin for capturing me on Hope Pass.  Just an awesome photo!

August 23, 2014 - Gaspin In The Aspen 15K/5K/Kids Kilo

Nope, not racing this time.  I switched gears for the rest of August and pulled on my race directing breeches.  Gaspin In The Aspen was up first.  A special thanks to Kristin Wilson for the Gaspin race day shots you're witnessing below.

What can be said?  New Flagstaff arrival Andrew Benford smashes the Gaspin' course record and finishes in 51:31.

Emily Harrison successfully defends her 2013 title in 2014 and breaks her old CR and finishes in 58:26 and 5th overall.

True single track.

adidas Gazelle Trey Nash churns under the aspens.

300 runners strong...an excellent Gaspin' showing.

This is what it's all about.

Yurt aid station crew Justin Lutick and Chris Rennaker keep runners moving.

Jacob Puzey and Benford (wearing his prize Babbitt Ranch Pendleton blanket) at the finish line.

Runners, wearing their new Gaspin shirts, prepare for the course.

So freaking psyched this guy showed up.  2:11 marathoner and second American finisher at this year's Boston Marathon, Nick Arciniaga.

The start of the Kids Kilo.

August 31, 2014 - Arizona Trail Association North Rim Half Marathon and Tator Tot Trot

On to places far more remote and races much lower key.  However, when word gets out this event will surely grow leaps and bounds.

Five miles from Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim entrance station is where the Arizona Trail Association North Rim Half Marathon and Tator Tot Trot begins.  It skirts the east rim and travels across some of the gorgeous sections of the Arizona Trail.  Here Matt Nelsen (AZ Trail Association's Executive Director) and I give last minute instructions to a small but hardy crew.

Aid station volunteer wildlife.

Runners catching a drink at aid station one.

9000', aspen and fir trees.

A lucky rainbow seen from the east rim.

The winners of the seven mile "fun run."

Posing with our final and 15th place finisher Richard Vogt.

Start and finish line scenery.

Your Moment of Zen

Some of my favorite peeps and supporters framed by the remote and awe inspiring Ruby Mountains of Nevada.  My father, Emily, Lilly, Bee and Zoroaster.  You bet we could all fit into one pick-up truck!



Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 Moab's Alpine to Slickrock 50 Mile: A Trip From Clouds to Furnace

When Grassroots Events race directors Justin Ricks and Chris Martinez told me they were moving the date of their Moab's Alpine to Slickrock 50 Mile from September to July I shuddered.  I had run this event two times previous (see my 2012 report here), however I'd spent three years living in Moab and knew that July was not the best time to dance too long in this southeastern Utah desert.  Temperatures would easily top triple digits and tree and cloud cover would be at a rare premium.  Initially I balked at the idea of starting an event that was already hard enough.  With 10,000' of gain in its first 28 miles amongst the sky-scraping La Sal Mountains followed by a 22-mile knee jarring descent into Moab's Slickrock Trailhead, I knew the added heat component would certainly add another dimension of difficulty.  Then I "warmed" to the idea.  Why not challenge myself, test my early race day pacing, and fluid and nutrition intake in some of the toughest conditions imaginable:  rugged and sometimes indiscernible trail, oxygen deprived altitude and 104 degree desert heat.

Here's a video teaser of the race from 2012.



Just like the other old and new events on their race calendar, Grassroots Events did a stellar job of presenting MAS as a professionally orchestrated, yet low-key race.  Thanks fellas!  Yes, some runners were caught in hail, rain and thunderstorms, some stepped in cow patties and others missed critical turns and added miles to their day.  This is a tough event and has truly earned its "mini-Hardrock" moniker.  Per usual...some photos from race day!  Cheers!

Headlamps were needed for the 5am start, but once the sun rose Bryon Powell caught this low-light shot of me covering some of the early mile scree fields.

Again, a Bryon Powell photo of my back side crossing some of the high alpine meadows.  Where's the trail?

Coming into the first crew accessible aid station at Oowah Lake (mile 16).  Emily Harrison captured this moment and would also crew me through the long, warm day.  Thanks for getting me in and out of aid stations fast Em!

Coming into the Warner Lake aid station at mile 25.  Photo by Harrison.

Looking into Miners Basin and the course's final descent.  Photo by Chris Martinez.

Speaking of descents...Miners Basin Road is all quads (mile 32).  Harrison's photo.

A view from the Porcupine Rim (mile 35).  Photo by Martinez

More awesome views from the course as we descend into Moab.  Photo by Martinez.

The final 7 miles on the Sand Flats Road.  100+ degrees and clearly exposed to the sun. (photo from Matt Hart)

The guy I chased all day.  The 2014 MAS winner Matt Hart.  Photo by Meghan Hicks.

Crossing the finish line for a third year in 10 hours and 18 seconds.  Photo by Hicks.

The final strides and final stages of baking.  Photo by Harrison.

Your Moment of Zen

Oh how I wished I could have had access to this watery fun in the final 20 miles!