We hope that all your summer racing plans and training are going well. We are excited for this year's version of the Vaquero races in August. Thanks to Christian Johnson we have a new map and a new profile for your viewing/planning pleasure. Check them out on the menu bar on the right. Also, if I told you that I would roll over your entry for this fall please remind me who you are and we'll get you signed up and ready to roll.
I have made the comment more than once that the winters in Wyoming are bearable. Its just the fact that spring never seems to get here. Now is the time of year when we are in the winter doldrums. Leave the valley in any direction and you can see (and better yet run) dirt, grass, and trees. The snow has gone to pot, microspikes or showshoes are out because its too sloppy and the only option is to run the roads. In anticipation for the long snow season I vowed to take up some winter sports. I did get out and ski a couple of times and already I cannot keep up with my 9 year old son. scratch. I went on an epic nordic ski/ice fishing trip in the Tetons with my brother in law and his buddy. The tired legs and sleep deprivation felt like old friends. I just kept thinking, "Why do we keep interrupting this awesome trip to drill holes in the ice and fish?" I did spend hours on my fatbike and actually raced the Pugsly this winter at the Togwotee Winter Classic. I had a blast and I'm already scheming on how to get my hands on a carbon fiber race bike for next season. As the first trail race of the season looms on the horizon I'm excitedly looking ahead to many more adventures, albeit the more dirty, dusty, warmer kind. Plans this summer include the following:
Gorge Waterfalls 50k
Teton super traverse
Peak Bagging FTK attempt with Luke Nelson
High Sierra Route
Having so much winter here and spending more time adventurthoning in the cold has piqued my interest in winter adventure races both on foot and bike. We'll see what happens, heaven knows next winter is almost here. If this one ever leaves....
The 9th annual Vaquero Loco races will take place on Saturday, August 10. The 50k will start at 6 a.m. @ Cottonwood Lake and the 25k will start at 8:30 a.m. @ the Intermittent Spring Parking Lot up Swift Creek Canyon. We are working on maps and a website to better inform you of the festivities.
Registration will open tomorrow night @ Midnight and is open to 200 runners combined for the two races.
November is a funny time of year for ultrarunners. It may be the only time of year when we are not entirely united and immersed in training, racing, and pacing. Some of us are racing on fumes (a.k.a. NF50), others are taking a break, and other are already started on next year's races and goals. November is the home of "stashies at nashies" and "Movember"- most of us need little excuse for a little slovenliness.
I myself have been trying to make some training/race/adventure plans for next year and spending some serious time growing my face mullet much to the shagrin of my wife. I keep trying to convince her that in winter will eventually arrive and my lack of facial hygiene is a survival tool. In moments of weakness I bolster my resolve by reading the quips on thebeardly.com
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! And may all your ultra-lottery and beard dreams come true!
Shortly after the Bear I still had a racing itch that needed scratching so I contacted my Patagonia teammate Clark Zealand about going back east to participate in the 30th running of the Mt. Masochist 50 near Lynchburg, Va. I had some points accrued for a ticket and my sister Taya, who lives in the DC area was gracious enough to shuttle me around and crew during the race. Before I knew it I was on the plane and headed back for one last race before shutting it down for the winter. Fortunately Hurricane Sandy didn't delay any of my travels and I made all my connections. I arrived at Reagan Thursday evening and Taya and Jon took me to their favorite Chinese restaurant. Their specialty is roast duck and it was spectacular.
The next morning Taya and I began the drive down to Lynchburg. On the way we stopped at Manassas to visit the battle grounds and see the visitors center. It was my first visit to anything Civil War and I was amazed at the reverence it inspired. Eventually after our traditional pre-race stop at 5 guys we made it to Lynchburg. After a little trouble we found the pre race meeting. It was good to see Clark, AJW, Krissy,my Patagonia teammates and Mark, and George who were there on behalf of Patagonia and Patagonia footwear.
The morning of the race we followed the buses out to the start and at 6:30 a.m. we headed out in the dark. I knew that the course was runnable and would be fast but I had been trying to convince myself that I would take it easy the first half of the race and then move up. Perhaps it was my extended "taper" or maybe it was the huge drop in altitude but I quickly found myself with the lead group of Gary Robbins, Chris Reed, Eric Grossman, Frank Gonzalez, and Brian Schmidt.
It was cool and I was running through most of the early aid stations. I carried a flask of Kona Mocha EFS liquid shot and a 26 oz. Ultraspire Isomeric Race filled with Fruit Punch EFS. I knew were moving well and it felt very easy. After about 15 miles Chris and I fell off the pace a bit, but even then through 1/2 way we were on CR pace, and the others weren't even in sight! About mile 30 my wheels really started to come off. I simply wasn't used to "running" so much in a race. My back and hamstrings reminded me of my neglect as I climbed up to run "the loop." I knew at this point that we were finally leaving the fire roads and getting to the good stuff. It turned out to be even better than I thought:) Due to Sandy there was snow on this part of the course. This allowed me to use some different muscle groups and allowed me to slip, slide, and even hike a bit. Mid-loop there was an out and back section. Just before I reached the junction, Gary came tearing down hill towards me. I asked him if I was headed the right direction and he assured me that it was the out and back section. He had missed the junction and added a few miles to his day...
Once we were on the rocks and the snow people started dropping like flies and I began reeling people in. I was smelling the barn and was ready to be done. The last few miles I had the pleasure of running and chatting with Adam. We helped each other along and it made the end pass by quickly. The last couple of miles I tried to get him to come with me but his hip flexors were shot due to the snow. I rolled into the finish in 8:37 and change for 7th place. Adam rolled in about 90 seconds later.
Like always I had a great experience at one of Clark's events. It was nice to reconnect with some old friends and make some new ones. Thanks as always to my Sponsors, Black Diamond, Patagonia, and Patagonia Footwear, and my sister for crewing and refusing to join the pity party.
Patagonia SS Gamut Top
Patagonia 3" strider short
Patagonia Thermal Flyer Top (the hand mitts are awesome!)
Patagonia Evermore (Spring 2013)
Jenna the butterfly whisperer CREWing at the Bear 100
It's been a while since I have written a post. This last spring/summer have been super busy with many adventures that have taken me from Zion NP to the Black Hills, and San Diego to the Tetons. These adventures kicked my butt, humbled me, and kept the stoke high as I got ready to brave the dust and the fall colors of the Bear.
Heading into the race I felt great. It seemed like all my ducks were in a row and that I was ready to bust one out. I knew that I was fit enough to run 19 hrs. and knew that the field was deep and talented enough to pull me along.
Errol started the race with an "OK, lets go" and everyone just kind of stood and stared until he said "no, really, its time to race." My plan was to do the early miles easy. The 3k+ climb up and around Logan Peak was spent chatting with Hal, Matt, and the others in the lead pack. The morning was cool and I still had plenty of water when we hit the first aid station which I ran right through. The pace felt comfortable but the lead pack of 8 or 9 started to fragment a bit. I just kept reminding myself that the race didn't start until the Beaver Ski area and took my time to eat and hydrate as we descended to the Leatham aid station. Luke was waiting with a turkey slider and some ginger ale. He hot swapped my bottles and refilled my Alpha pack and sent me on my way. The leaders were pulling away a bit at this point but I knew that I would start reeling them in later in the race as I was still on course record pace and in 10th place. The trip through to Cowley was uneventful, minus the spectacular fall leaves and dodging a few ATVers. I suffered pretty bad over the next exposed section in between Right Hand Fork and Tony Grove lakes the last time I ran the race so I just focused on being positive. Luke kept me rolling in and out of the aid stations and Rocho stuffed my hat full of ice which helped keep me cool. Before I knew it I was greeted by my family at Temple Fork. It is always fun to have them out there and it gives me a boost. They swapped me out again and I walked with them to the highway before crossing and climbing up toward Tony Grove. The climb went quickly and I was feeling good. I was getting a lot of dirt in my shoes and had a hot spot starting on top of my left food but so far so good. I hit the lakes 40 minutes ahead of my splits from 2008 and I was still feeling pretty good. I took a little extra time to lube my hot spot and switch socks before I headed to Franklin Basin. It was on this leg I started to feel a bit pukey but nothing serious. Luke would be pacing me from 68 and I knew he was relishing the chance for some pay back.
On our first descent he asked what was up with my hydration bladder and the sloshing when I informed him that it wasn't my pack but my guts. He could hear them sloshing while running 10 ft. ahead. I had fallen behind somewhere and my body was starting to protest. A few mile later I started to dry heave while trying to run downhill and Luke kept encouraging me to keep it together. Finally I couldn't any longer and had what he described as a "violent" puke session. Feeling better I rode the post puke adrenalin as long as possible before starting to try to build my calories back. Unfortunately I never could really get it together. I couldn't really open up and run due to calorie loss. Luke kept me rolling through the aid stations. At each one I would check in and check out and just keep walking. Luke would fill my pack as I drank Coke and broth and we just kept slogging along. We moved into 5th when we passed James just before Beaver Creek. I hoped to move up but it didn't happen. I wasn't able to mount any sort of surge even though we kept moving along steadily. Luke started to smell the barn and I could tell he was losing patience with my mosey. The final descent into Fish Haven is always tough but at this point I was feeling a serious loss of will. Add the dust, the full moon, and something in my left eye and I had no depth perception. I gimped it to the bottom of the hill. Luckily I didn't crash and burn. On the last little uphill around the water tank I kicked a rock and took a digger. I just rolled to my back wondering what had happened. The last little section went quickly and it was a huge relief to finally get to the finish line. I finished in 20:43.31 for my fourth finish at the Bear in fifth. Hats off to the Chris, Nick, Matt, and Myc for handing it to me at the 2012 Bear. Thanks to my family, Luke, and my sponsors (Patagonia, Ultraspire, Black Diamond, First Endurance) for helping me with the goods that keep me going.
El Vaquero Loco 2011 - Thanks for making this year's race such a success. We will be looking on ways to make it possible for even more people to be involved next year-both runners and volunteers. We will be ready for registration a little earlier this year. Hopefully by January 1. Check back later for more information.
9th annual. Saturday, August 10th, 2013. Out and back course on nearly 100% singletrack. Beautiful vistas. Very tough and technical. It has been our experience that you run the 25k if you are not used to running technical trails at altitude.