Monday, September 24, 2012

Moab's Alpine to Slickrock 50 Mile

After a two year hiatus race director and good friend Chris Martinez (who also brings you the Moab Red Hot 33K and 55K in February) brought back his Alpine to Slickrock 50 Mile.  When asked to describe the course ultrarunner extraordinaire Roch Horton quipped, "It's like a baby Hardrock."  With 12,000' of total gain, a net loss, two passes over 11,000', and trail pitches that leave you gasping for breath and your hands on your knees you'll be thankful that 50 miles is the order of the day instead of a full 100.  Starting fields are low for this event (31 starters this year), but once the word gets out the registration list is bound to grow.  It's a race not to be missed...a classic for sure!

The setting for the newly revived Moab Alpine to Slickrock (MAS) 50 Mile.  12,000' peaks, golden aspen, alpine lakes, and Moab's crimson slickrock.

The La Sal Mountains as seen from Arches National Park (photo courtesy of  The MAS 50 Mile course wraps around these peaks and then finishes among the sandstone on the outskirts of Moab, Utah.

The race's first climb on the Pack Creek Trail (~ mile 5).  (photo by Chris Gerber)

Melissa Beaury (the women's winner) on the Squaw Springs Trail (~mile 12).

Aspen along Geyser Pass Road (~ mile 13).

The author on the single track through Moonlight Meadows at 10,000' and mile 20.

The steep climb to Burro Pass (11,000') near mile 23.

The welcoming waters of Warner Lake; the half-way point. (photo by Guy Schmickle)

The descent towards Moab on the Porcupine Rim Trail with the La Sals in the background, near mile 34.  (photo by Nathan Telschow)

Rock hoodoos along the Sand Flats Road, still descending towards Moab (~ mile 37).

On the Sand Flats Road a few miles from the finish line.  One can now get an excellent sense of just how far we have travelled.  Alpine to slickrock...

The finish line setting.

Win number 51 and Leadville redemption.  Not gonna felt good!

Torrence and Beaury chat about the day's race at the finish line.  Full race results can be found here.

Your Moment of Zen

It's a common jest among ultrarunners that after having a bad race or workout we vow to give up our running shoes for greener pastures, like speed Jenga, co-ed naked badminton, or beer pong.  I definitely gave this some thought after Leadville.  I experimented with HAHHA (High Altitude Hula Hooping Association).  Here I am with Angela Gavelli and Brian Tinder and soon found that, yes, my hips still do gyrate, but it wasn't easy.  Gonna stick to running for a while longer.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Running with Jureker

Keep Doing the Hard Things

Scott Jurek and the author at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Your Ultra-Training Bag of Tricks: The Difficult Art of Peaking

For most, it's the most difficult part of training.  The final weeks before your event, depending on what you do, can either drive you mad or ruin your race.  Take it from me, it doesn't have to be so bad.  Learn of some helpful tips in my column over here on