Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inov-8 OROC 280 Demo

Earlier this week Greg, Erik, Peter and I ventured out for an early morning run on the BoSho trail. The previous day had been sunny and warm, and the overnight temperature had barely dropped below freezing resulting in conditions that were downright treacherous. Anticipating a slip and slide run we all showed up with what we thought would be the ideal footwear; I in my Hardrocks with sheet metal screws, Erik in YakTrax, Greg in a pair of Altra Lone Peaks, and Peter in the new Inov-8 OROC 280s

We all watched in amazement as Peter negotiated the ice and snow better than all of us. Attributing his grace, briskness and ability to remain upright solely to his shoes – I asked if I could borrow the OROCs…

Today I gave the shoes a demo. I first started out with several ½ mile loops around the snow-packed and glazed road in my subdivision. The carbide steel spikes provided just the right amount of traction to both climb without slipping and run downhill with confidence.

Then it was off to the Solitude Nordic Center snowshoe trail where the deep lugs performed admirably in the soft snow. The OROC 280s are an amazing snow shoe. Better on snow and ice than anything I have run in before. Curious as to how they would perform on asphalt I decided to try running a bit on the road. As I might have expected, they felt like the footwear equivalent of driving on the freeway at 75 mph with studded snow tires – sloppy, washy and noisy. Hey, but these are designed for snow and ice – not asphalt.

I found the uppers comfortable, I liked the material choice for the laces (more of a cord than a lace so they don’t freeze up), and found the 6mm drop to be just right for me. And, they are a cool looking shoe! Run in the snow a lot? Consider a pair of the OROC-280s for your shoe quiver - I am....

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grandeur Fun Run May 12

The Grandeur Fun Run will be held Saturday May 12. Check out the sidebar for all the info. The way the snowpack is looking so far, we could hold it in March and there will be less snow than last year.
Last year a small fundraiser for the Granite Education Foundation was held in conjunction with the run. Over $500 was raised with all the proceeds being used to buy materials to make blankets for over 1000 Christmas bags given to under privileged children in the Granite School District.
The format will be the same this year and you can read the details in the side bar or contact me with any questions.

See you in a few months!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breaking: Jay Aldous Wins Best Male Age Group Performance

Just announced by Ultrarunning magazine! Jay was picked by the panel of judges as turning in the Best Age Group Performance of the Year for his amazing world age group record run at the Desert Solstice in December.
Way to go Jay, you deserve it.
Congratulations to Dave Mackey and Ellie Greenwood for taking home Ultrarunner of the year honors, well deserved for both of them. Read about the rest over at the Ultrarunning site.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ben Lomond...Almost

As I ran along the shoreline trail, I realized that I had planned to run with Scott. It was 6 AM, and we were to meet at 5. I pulled my phone out of the pack and started to frantically text an apology. My heart raced as I woke up from my dream and realized that it was only 2:30 AM. As I fell back to sleep, I checked the alarm clock to make sure that I would have enough time to have an espresso before our 5 AM rendez-vous at Pioneer park.

The plan was to drive to Ogden and run up Ben Lomond. Snow covered the ground and roads. A “plan B” was beyond imagination at 5 AM, so we headed to the North Ogden Trailhead on a snowy I-15 that was slick enough to have a state trooper slide off the road.

It was dark and cold but we left the wamth of the car. The trail was blanketed with a few inches of powder which covered glassy ice. Scott brought along Yaktraxs for both of us, but we could have used ice skates in spots.

We climbed the first set of switch backs in the the dark as snow sparkled in our headlamps. The hope was that we would have a break in the clouds and snow before we reached the summit. Scott and I both packed cameras in search of a capturing a break in the clouds summit photo. Not only would we not get a break in the clouds, but the knee to waist deep snow drifts led to my planting my thinly covered hands in the snow enough times that I had a hard time handling the camera. Hard gusts of wind on the last ridge before the summit were enough that I didn’t even bust out the old-lady argument to push for a last ditch effort to reach the peak. We were underdressed. The wind was fierce. The footing alternated from slippery to knee deep drifts. Our adventure was done. With little prospect of clearing clouds we snapped a few photos with numb fingers and made our way back down.


Looking back at Ben Lomond in the clouds.

The run down was fun if a little treacherous (Scott scored a few category 1’s). A little more than 10 miles with some good trudging through the snow was enough. This is a great run, unfortunately, we arrived one day too late. As we drove down the canyon the clouds started to break. We paused to take a photo of the peak. It was still in the clouds. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Birth of a Mountain Runner

I recently received some photos that reminded of some good times in the mountains. The photos are digital copies of old negatives, so while the quality isn't the best, the memories help me remember that whileI didn't fully appreciate it at the time, I loved being in, and running in, high places.

Beginnings of a Mountain Runner
While living in Santiago, Chile in my mid twenties, the Andes mountains had a pull that was irresistable. While the weeks kept me busy in the city, the presence of those 14,000 foot peaks ( Cerro El Plomo being the tallest visible peak at 17,783 ft) looming up from the valley floor kept me daydreaming of weekend excursions exploring the lakes, hot pots, canyons and glaciers found within the Cajon de Maipo- the most accessible canyon heading east towards Argentina.

Santiago with the Andes in background

No personal transportaion made getting there an adventure of it's own, but we managed to hitch hike, then grab a local bus, then at the end of the line, hitch hike some more on huge dumptrucks carrying plaster from the Yeso (plaster) mines high up the canyon. The drivers got bored on those long slow trips up and down the canyon and were happy to pick up a few gringos for some company and converstion.

Erik, Joanna and Jerry sucking wind at 12,000 feet. Embalse de Yeso in the background

It's been 15 years since I left Chile, but one day I'll make it back. I'll go for a real run in the Andes, make it to the southern portions that I never visited, and of course, I'll sign up for the Ultramarathon de Los Andes, an 80k romp through the foothills of Santiago.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Salt Flats 100 2012 - Call for Volunteers

For those folks who live along the Wasatch Front, the Salt Flats 100 is both a great race to run and perhaps volunteer at. The landscape is surreal and just being out in the West Desert in the springtime is a treat. Vince Romney had a successful first year event in 2011 - and is looking to expand the field to 50 runners in 2012. So check out the Salt Flats 100 website and email Vince if either you'd like to run, or would be interested in volunteering. There are still a couple of aid stations that need staffing. Hope to see you there....