Saturday, December 29, 2012

Utah Ultra - Best of 2012 - Male Ultra Runner of the Year

Over the next couple of weeks The MRC will be posting some nominees for various Utah ultra running categories. The idea is simple, recognize people in the Utah ultrarunning  community that have done something special or noteworthy. The rules are simple too, nominees must live in Utah and members of the MRC are excluded. This means Erik’s trailblazing completion of the Millwood 100 is  excluded as well as Jay’s 4 wins at the 50k, 50 and 100 mile distances.  We will have a widget on the sidebar where you can place your vote. Also please feel free to post in the  comments on anybody you feel we missed.  The MRC is Salt Lake City based so I am sure we are missing some great runners and races from other parts of the state. So what do the winners get in the various categories?  Well nothing more than maybe a pat on the back at the next race.

1. Jared Campbell
2. Karl Meltzer
3. Matt Hart
4. Robert Mueller
A total of 203 votes were cast with Jared receiving 56% of the vote, Karl 27%, Matt with 8% followed closely by Robert with 7%. Outstanding year by each one of you. Each one of these runners make Utah and the Wasatch Front that much better. Keep the bar high in 2013!

Utah Ultra - Best of 2012 - Male Ultra Runner of the Year

Jared Campbell managed to string together one of the most impressive ultrarunning seasons on record, not just for a runner from Utah but any ultra runner in the country. Forget Killian's Quest how about Jared’s Summer of Slog (his term). Not only did he complete all these amazing runs he did it with humor, style and grace. From posting about his lowest lows during Nolan’s 14, to letting Ben Lewis video him as he threw up at 14,000 ft during Hardrock, Jared is always reminding us why we're in this sport in the first place.

Jared Campbell’s 2012 results

  • Grandeur Peak 10x 21:30 (also raised money for Breath Utah)
  • Barkley Marathons 100 56:00 2nd
  • Hardrock 100 29:38 13th
  • Wasatch 100 23:07 5th
  • Millwood 100 34:20 (A route created by Jared, 2nd person to complete the course)

Matt Hart was healthy this year and it showed, getting his first 100 mile win at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100m in a time of 19:14, he also completed Nolans 14 with Jared Campbell in a time of 58:58, then topped off the season with a strong 3rd at the Bear 100 in a time of 19:29.  Matt has sold his beloved van and is actually living in a house so we’re hoping he sticks around for a while. If you get a chance to run with Matt do so, we guarantee you’ll have fun and learn something new.

Matt Hart’s 2012 results

  • Yakima Skyline Rim 50k 5:47 4th
  • Pocatello 50m 9:10 4th
  • Tahoe Rim 100m 19:14 1st
  • Nolan’s 14 58:58
  • Bear 100 19:29 3rd

Karl Meltzer claims he’s getting old and slow but nobody is buying it. In 2012 he proved again that  there are few that can match his combination of speed and endurance over a given season. We counted 6 100 mile finishes, with 3 wins for Karl this year, with his strongest showing at Run Rabbit Run 100 were he out ran some of the best runners in the country. Karl’s fastest 100 was Rocky Raccoon 100 in 14:17 and his slowest the Hardrock 100 in a time of 28:43, these times demonstrate  Karl’s amazing talent at running any 100 mile race extremely quick, be it the hardest 100 in the country to the flattest.

Karl Meltzer’s 2012 results

  • Rocky Raccoon 100 14:17 2nd
  • Red Hot 50k+ 4:19 3rd
  • Antelope Island 100 15:28 1st
  • Zane Grey 50 9:25 2nd
  • Pocatello 50 8:42 2nd
  • Hardrock 100 28:43 7th
  • RRR 100 19:16 1st
  • Grindstone 100 17:13 1st
  • Chimera 100 17:30 2nd

Robert Mueller didn’t have quite the season the other three nominees above had but the MRC decided to give some recognition to Robert  seeing that he is only 25 and ran a very fast breakout season.  He started off the year chasing Karl with a 2nd place at Antelope Island 100 in time of 17:00, then followed up with a very quick Bighorn 100 mile finish in 20:48 good enough for 4th place and the 15 fastest time on record. Robert then showed his climbing abilities and lung capacity in the Speedgoat 50k taking the top Utah spot; 12th place in a time of 6:08. Robert finished the season off with two hard 100 mile races the Leadville and the Wasatch Front  100 which he finished just under the 24 hour mark to claim his first Crimson Cheetah Buckle.

Robert Mueller’s 2012 results

  • Antelope Island 100 17:00 2nd
  • BoSho  Marathon 4:13 7th
  • Bighorn 100 20:48 4th
  • Millcreek 50k 6:41 6th (the only runner to chug a beer at Elbow Fork)
  • Speedgoat 50K 6:08 12th
  • Leadville 100 23:08 36th
  • Wasatch Front 100 23:55 14th

Monday, December 24, 2012

Utah Ultra - Best of 2012 - Female Ultra Runner of the Year

Over the next couple of weeks The MRC will be posting some nominees for various Utah ultra running categories. The idea is simple, recognize people in the Utah ultrarunning  community that have done something special or noteworthy. The rules are simple too, nominees must live in Utah and members of the MRC are excluded. This means Erik’s trailblazing completion of the Millwood 100 is  excluded as well as Jay’s 4 wins at the 50k, 50 and 100 mile distances.  We will have a widget on the sidebar where you can place your vote. Also please feel free to post in the  comments on anybody you feel we missed.  The MRC is Salt Lake City based so I am sure we are missing some great runners and races from other parts of the state. So what do the winners get in the various categories?  We’ll nothing more than maybe a pat on the back at the next race.

1. Sarah Evans McCloskey
2. Amie Blackham
3. Bethany Lewis

Wow! A total of 336 votes were cast with Sarah getting 48% of the vote, Amie 43% and Bethany with 12%. Congratulations to each of you for an outstanding year, can't wait to see how 2013 goes.

Ladies first so we will start with Female Utah Ultrarunner of the year:

Amie Blackham completed 9 ultra trail races in 2012, she took first place in two of those races,  Corner Canyon 25K and Bighorn 50. She placed in the top 10 in all of but two of the races, the highly competitive Speedgoat 50k and the early season Moab Red Hot 50k+. Most impressive were her solid 100 milers; Wasatch in 26:09 backed up by another very solid run at the Bear 100 in a time of 24:51. I don’t know Amie but happened to run in to her and Seth Hales just  a few days ago as they were completing a 20 mile run consisting of Wire, Van Cott, Unkle combo, watch out for Amie in 2013.

Amie’s 2012 results (all results Gender)
  • Red Hot 50k+ 5:43 12th place
  • Antelope Island 50 8:16 4th
  • Squaw Peak 50 10:28 2nd
  • Bighorn 50 9:35 1st
  • Millcreek 50k 8:31 3rd
  • Speedgoat 50k 8:19 13th
  • Corner Canyon 25k 2:35 1st
  • WasatchFront 100  26:09 3rd
  • Bear 100 24:51 4th

Sarah Evans McCloskey racked up another impressive year of races, 8 in total that I could find. Sarah also mentioned that she finished a solo fast pack of the John Muir trail this summer. Not only is Sarah fast and consistent in her running she has to be the happiest runner at any given race.  Sarah had a super impressive finish to her running season with a 24:42 at Wasatch followed by a 23:32 at the Bear,I am sure a sub 24 at Wasatch is a real possibility  for Sarah in the future.

Sarah’s 2012 results (all results Gender)

  • Antelope Island 50 8:25 5th
  • Zion 100 23:09 2nd
  • Pocatello 50 10:50 2nd
  • San Juan 50 10:52 3rd
  • Logan Peak 28m 5:03 1st
  • Speedgoat 50k 6:58 3rd
  • Wasatch 100 24:42 2nd
  • Bear 100 23:32 3rd

Bethany Lewis the fastest female ultrarunner in the state? I can’t think of anybody faster at the 50k or 50 mile distance. For a lady with only 10 listing on Ultra Signup she has shocked and awed the ultrarunning community with her amazing speed and much like her husband Ben her ability to run with the best ultra runners in the country without showing any signs or symptoms that this is abnormal or special. I like Bethany’s style, no blog post or interviews, she lets the results talk for her.

Bethany’s 2012 results (all results Gender)

  • Antelope Island 50 6:55! 1st (2nd overall)
  • Miwok 100km 10:49 2nd
  • San Juan Solstice 9:58 1st (4th fastest on record)
  • Northface 50 9th 7:20

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Maps page

Take a peek at the top and you will find a new page I added to the blog. I decided it's time to liberate some of the maps and beta from my hard drive to the trail enthusiasts that might enjoy them.

I started with a series of hand drawn maps for some of the "fun runs" we do here in the Wasatch and gradually I will add other types of maps, profiles and kml's as time permits. The hand drawn maps have also been added to the Wasalpstriders site since they pertain to those events.

If you have a request send it over in the comments and I will attempt to put something together.
Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blessing Way Results

Head on over to the Wasalpstriders blog to see the results from the Blessing Way.


Lap 1

Chasing down the brother

The little brother pulls ahead
After a wrong turn, they run together, a little mad

Greg heading back on lap 2

Rich, Jim, Roger

Out for another lap

The morning started out a brisk, but it was well worth an early start and chill to turn a few laps with friends, and exchange a few hugs and high fives as the temperature rose.  I was lucky enough to start with Rich McDonald and Jim Huffman.  We shared a few laps before I met up with Greg and then my wife and kids.  A "race" that is this flexible is pretty hard to find.    Blessing Way indeed.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Boston – Urban Adventure Run 2012

Erik, Greg, Christian, Jay and Peter

The selection criteria for an “Urban Adventure Run” destination are pretty simple: big city, best toured by foot, easily accessible trail running, and of course, good food! Past destinations have included New York City, Chicago, and Montreal. The 2012 destination – Boston!

This year’s adventure began with Christian's airport shuttle service ready for pickup in Erik’s driveway at 5AM.  Erik was nowhere to be seen. A few gentle beeps followed by a few solid slams on the horn produced nothing. A call to his cell phone went unanswered. The standard early morning run “5 minute rule” was followed and the group was off to the airport knowing that somehow, someway, Erik would show. As we queued up to board, Erik sauntered in, having overslept his alarm.  As we walked down the jetway, we saw Liz Gleason, on her way to a wedding in Maine.  She asked what race “the big dogs” were headed toward.  We explained the fall classic “Urban Adventure Run” and that we need not have a race as an excuse to run.  

Greg, Christian, Erik, and Peter arrived in Boston to meet Jay who had already arrived and set up our home base at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.  After settling in and sampling a Malbec, we walked to the Franklin Cafe, grateful to Erik as the designated walker who kept us from being victims of inebriated walking.  After an evening of safe walking and sightseeing in Boston, we retired to our small but efficient room at the Long Wharf anxious for the next morning's trail run.  

The Skyline Trail in the Blue Hills Reservation was easily accessible by the T (Boston’s subway system). Christian and Jay expertly navigated our way to the trailhead from the T.  The Skyline Trail had been recommended by Eric Hodge, a talented trail runner living in Boston. Eric had admonished us that the trail was technical and we should be prepared for some “ankle twisting terrain.” Eric’s beta was accurate – the Skyline Trail requires you to watch each and every foot placement, and has you constantly thinking, “I sure hope I don’t fall.”

As we followed reports of Salt Lake City getting its first major snow, we celebrated what we knew was likely one of our last snow-free running days of the year. We drank in the smell of the moist and decaying forest, savored the friction between shoe and rock, and we even took off our shirts to take in a few horizontal rays of sun that held the last remaining warmth of the season. Total mileage was about 20 miles (including running to/from the T) with 3,200 vertical. On our way back, we stopped at James Hook+ Co for a lobster roll and clam chowder, a sublime way to finish a run.  

Our city run on day two started out following the Freedom Trail to sights such as the Old North Church, Bunker Hill, the USS Constitution, and the site of the Boston Massacre.  We quickly realized that our collective American history knowledge was lacking and that our run would be a good opportunity to brush up on our history. Erroneous beliefs such as the USS Constitution playing a role in the Revolutionary War were replaced with life-altering factual knowledge such as the details of the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919 where 21 people were killed by a 3 to 8 foot high avalanche of molasses when a storage tank collapsed. We speculated that lives might have been saved if the victims had been wearing a MolassesLung. 

Bova's Bakery
"It has a whole apple in it."

Breakfast was grabbed along the way at Bova’s, a bakery operating continuously since 1932 in Boston’s North End.  “Do you have anything gluten-free?” asked Jay. “This is a bakery,” responded the baker in a Boston accent that effectively communicated, “that’s  a stupid question.” Baked delights pushing 1000 calories each fueled us onward.
Bunker Hill Monument (No Bathroom)
Charlestown Bridge
Paul Revere House

Old North Church

King's Chapel Burying Ground

MRC go to Harvard
Jay and Erik with the local ladies

After running through Boston Commons we ran west along the Charles River, over the Harvard Bridge and through the Campuses of MIT and Harvard. Erik, nursing an ankle injury nagging him since running the Millwood 100, followed along on a rented Hubway bike (from Boston’s amazing public bike rental system). For the rest of the day, whenever one of us shared a piece of knowledge or opinion, the joke became, “He knows that because he went to Harvard and MIT.” Next up was a visit to the Mapparium. Christian, our resident mapmaker and mapping authority, turned us on to this one-of-kind three-story glass globe that you view from the inside. Collective nods confirmed that the Mapparium was cool and definitely worth the visit. It was then back to the hotel, a final group lunch, and off to the airport for the trip home – where winter had arrived.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reflections on the Pony Express Trail

Riding the Pony Express Trail - Kansas

This Friday I’m running the Pony Express Trail 100. Running along the Pony Express Trail has special meaning for me in that back in 1989 Matt DeWaal and I bicycled the 2,024 length of the Pony Express trail: from Sacramento, CA to St. Joseph, MO in 10 days, the guaranteed delivery time of the original Pony Express.

A Section of the Original Trail - NV
The “Bicycle Express” as we referred to it was a grand adventure. We had spent the previous year researching the trail, securing sponsorship, and covering most of the trail in advance during numerous “recon trips.” We had a full support crew including a bike mechanic, dietitian, cook, historian, and drivers.  In the spirit of an original Pony Express rider, all Matt and I had to do was “ride.”

I’m not a particularly sentimental person. Much of the gear and memorabilia from the Bicycle Express has been sold at garage sales, repurposed, tossed, or misplaced over the years. Not a whole lot different from the original assets of the Pony Express enterprise. But, for some reason this past weekend I had an inkling to see what I still had and went in search of what I remembered to be a box of trail maps (more than 150 USGS maps if I remembered right), pictures and a diary. I believed that somewhere in the basement was a box of Bicycle Express “stuff.”

One of 10 Letters Carried from Sacramento to St. Joseph

I found the box and spent the next several hours reliving the memories. I’ll share a few with you…

Day-by-Day Progress:

Day 1 – 134 miles, Sacramento, CA to Genoa, NV
Day 2 – 189 miles, Austin, NV
Day 3 – 182 miles, Schellbourne Junction, NV
Day 4 – 149 miles, Simpson Springs, UT
Day 5 – 181 miles, Bear City, WY
Day 6 – 170 miles, South Pass City, WY
Day 7 – 188 miles, Glenrock, WY
Day 8 – 300 miles, Julesburg, CO
Day 9 – 263 miles, Hastings, NE
Day 10 – 208 miles, Seneca, KS
Day 11 – 78 miles, St. Joseph, MO

     - day #1 & day #11 began and ended respectively at noon

Some Miscellaneous Quotes from my Diary

Departing Old Sacramento
Day 1: “Best of Luck” admonished Peter Grande, Wells Fargo Agent as he handed us the mail (the 10 commerative letters we would carry the entire distance in a mochilla) precisely at 12:00 noon in front of the B.F. Hastings Building in Old Sacramento. Stashing the mail securely in the back of his jersey, Matt lead the way… heading east… on the Pony Express Trail.

Day 2: “I thought you ordered a tailwind,” yelled Matt against the gusting wind. “Maybe they lost my order.” I replied. An unspoken feeling of concern overcame us as we crept along at 7 mph pushing into the wind with only 150 miles behind us as the sun quickly set.

One of the Subaru Support Vehicles
Day 3: Both Matt and I looked at each other with that “What the hell?” expression. The red support vehicle was bouncing up and down as if in an overdramatized ad showing how exciting sex can be in the back of a Subaru. As we got closer we could see Joe (our trail historian) standing on the back floor, bent over at 90 degrees, with his back pressed up against the roof of the car, heaving his 200lb+ frame up and down. “What’s that about?” we asked our crew as we got closer. “We figured out that Joe could brace himself between the ceiling and the floor and press the floorboards back down after they get pushed up from when we high center.” (high centering on the deeply eroded double-track through NV and UT was an ongoing challenge for the support vehicles)

Note the Mochilla with Letters in the Jersey
Day 4: “Can’t we just pretend the trail went over there?” asked Matt pointing to the graded gravel road (the road Matt was referring to is the road that the PE 50/100 follows). Joe (our trail historian), sensing the sarcasm consoled Matt that the dried mud, pocked with the hoof prints of overgrazed cattle, would ONLY last three miles before the trail climbed out of the valley bottom. Three miles an hour later we had a new trail condition called “hoof holes” that went on the time-sucking blacklist with the likes of washboard, sand and mud.

Day 5: “Watch for the pipeline,” I told Matt, knowing that it would give us a clue as to our whereabouts. “How can I find a pipeline when I can’t even see five feet in front of me?” anguished Matt as he dragged his bike across the sagebrush covered hill. “Did you hear that?” “What?” I responded. “Shh, I think I heard a horn,” countered Matt. Sure enough, support crew to the rescue. Across the hill we saw the headlights of the Subaru as it broke its own trail across the hillside and guided us down to the river where we would camp.

A Rest Break at Hollenberg Ranch Station
Day 6: “I feel like I’m there,” said Matt as he carefully guided his bike through the deep wagon ruts that still exist. “This cold wind, the setting sun, the dirt we are riding on, and the overwhelming loneliness of this land are exactly the same as they were over a hundred years ago, “ he continued. I silently nodded to let Matt know I was listening, and slipped away into the fantasy of a Pony Express rider.

Day 8: “It’s the little things that get you through the day,” explained Matt as he dodged an Indian ambush staged by the support crew. And, I had found a new distraction. Crouching down low on my Scott aero bars I would capture unsuspecting livestock, cars and people into the sight created by a slight dimple in at the front-most end of the bar and… well… lay waste to’em.”

A Horse Escort into St. Joeseph
Day 11: The ultimate irony. After 9 days of focusing every minute on peddling as fast as possible, we now had to slow it down. Seventy-eight miles to St. Joe with a noon deadline to deliver the mail. “We only need to go 11.5 miles per hour according to my calculations,” said Matt. I sarcastically replied, “but what if the wind picks up and we have a tailwind? Will we really be able to go that slow?”

Some Interesting Stats
  • Avg Daily kcal intake – Jay 7,509, Matt 7,528
  • Avg Daily fluid intake (qt) – Jay 12.9, Matt 10.5
  • Weight  - Jay 132, no change. Matt 150, loss of 4 lbs
  • Bikes – 8 total (3 mtn, 3 road bikes, road tandem, mountain tandem)
  • Avg daily time on bike – 15hrs 38 min
Fort Churchill, NV - Riding the Mountain Tandem

Patee House, St. Joseph, MO - Eastern Terminus of the Pony Express Trail

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday Run in Utah

After Christian and I spent Friday night sleepless as a soigneur (crew) and domestique (pacer) at the Bear 100, we were not eager for an early start.  The initial idea was to run to the top of the Pfiefferhorn, but with a late start and other commitments, we settled for shorter run/hike up Maybird Gulch.  

Christian and Greg on a highway of a trail

Pfiefferhorn in the distance

Coming back down. 
Encounters with generous Utah wildlife.  Sunday morning... have a PBR! 
We all had a swig of PBR.  

Heading down through the fall colors.