Friday, September 30, 2011

Montrail "A New Direction"

On Friday September 16th, the day before the Steamboat 50, I stepped up to the Montrail table to get a look at the shoes they had on display. With Montrail being the official title sponsor of the Montrail UltraCup, which takes place across the entire country, you'd think they'd send their most knowledgable and conversational employees to these events to represent their brand. Unfortunately, this was not the first time that I would be disappointed or surprised by Montrail (2006 Rebranding Process) or would it be the first time I was disappointed in a conversation with shoe reps at a major ultra-race (See July 2009 "The North Face").

The Story
So I steeped up to the table during the pre-race festivities at the Steamboat 50 and asked the Montrail Rep "What does the Hardrock look like these days?" I asked this question because the Montrail Hardrock, to this day, was my all time favorite shoe to run ultra-marathons in. After Columbia bought the brand in 2006, they altered the construction of the shoe so immensely that one could almost not even call it the same name anymore. The re-design was awful and unfortunately, with that came a mass exodus of runners who no longer found the desire to wear the shoe. So I asked what they looked like these days and the response was, "We don't actually make that shoe anymore. Our company has taken a new direction and we make more "running shoes" now." This puzzled me.. so I asked, "if it wasn't a running shoe, then what was it?" His response was, "It was a hiking shoe and we don't do hiking anymore. We now offer great running shoes with cushioning and support. Its a new direction."...that was it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A30 Interview: Aaron Kissler

As we continue to get closer to this years Adventure 30 Expedition (Slickrock 100), we thought it would be fun to interview a different kind of ultra-person this time around. It's very seldom in our sport that you read interviews with people other than the front-runners; and it's even more seldom to read an interview with the race director. As we head into this years inaugural Slickrock 100, Human Potential took a moment to talk with race director Aaron Kissler about the upcoming event and a little bit about the current/changing culture of Ultra-Running.

Sherpa John (SJ): Aaron, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about the upcoming Slickrock 100 in Moab , UT. We know that as race day approaches, your free time is becoming more and more limited so again, thanks for the time and we're really looking forward to the race.
Aaron Kissler (AK): Thank you for your awesome idea to interview race directors, it has been done before, but not often.

Monday, September 26, 2011

RR: 2011 Steamboat 50 Mile

September 17, 2011
Steamboat 50 Miler - Run Rabbit Run
50 Miles - Steamboat Springs, CO
“In our lives there is bound to come some pain, surely as there are storms and falling rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun.” ~Unknown

I had just put my video camera down after having recorded a segment for the video blog. I was talking about how much I enjoy camping before a race. I had nestled into my sleeping bag and watched a rented movie on my ipad. Alone and cold at a campground in town, enjoying the benefits of off-season camping. At 11:30pm I remember falling asleep to the sound of torrential rain pounding hard against the top of my tent... it would rain all night.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In the past few months, I've taken a few stabs at relaying my personal musings in regards to the differences in East vs. West Coast Ultra Cultures. I've really tried my best to investigate my on-going thoughts and feelings in regards to the differences in culture and a lot of that investigation has helped foster a few theories on why the cultures are so different as well as a few solutions to the issue that I hope my new West Coast brethren wouldn't mind adopting to make the culture here more welcoming and enjoyable for all. Of course, you read that last sentence an it sounds like I'm on the attack of West Coast ultra-peeps. This is not the case. I'm merely hoping to find ways to mesh the culture that is so small to begin with, yet ever growing, and is under the constant attack of non-believers and worry-warts.

My Theories

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Steamboat 50 Miler = DNF

This past Saturday I ran in the 5th Annual Steamboat 50 Mile Run, also known as Run Rabbit Run. First, I want to tell you how incredible a race this is. It's grass roots all the way. Put on by runners, for runners and proceeds benefit 3 different charitable organizations. The heart and soul that is poured into that race, is unmatched in any other west coast event I've yet to attend. My hat goes off to the race organizers and the 88 brave volunteers who braved the elements with smiles on their faces to help each and ever runner.

The forecast for the race called for temps in the 60's with a 40% chance of showers. This is the weather I prepared for. Instead, we hovered around 40 degrees and it torrentially rained for over 8 hours with 40mph winds. Just when it could't have got any worse.. it did and the rain turned to snow. Temps dropped to near 30 degrees with white out conditions. Without proper clothing and gear on hand, I slowly began to freeze to death. With my hands having swelled to the size of baseballs, unable to grasp my hydration tube to drink let alone eat anything; my jaw only able to chatter yet not open wide enough to speak.. I knew my day might be over. But it was when my body began to dive into Flight over Fight that I decided to call it a day.

The whole story will be read in print this time, as my Flip Cam died... drowned.. in all the rain. I have no pictures, but a hell of a story to tell.

38 Miles in 9 Hours 59 Minutes.. and my day ended in Steamboat.

For the Local Newspaper Story.. CLICK HERE.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Race Preview: 2011 Steamboat 50 Miler

“He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion.” 
 Dag Hammarskj√∂ld, Markings

It's actually longer then 50 miles and comes complete with 7,759' of elevation gain. The first 6 miles of the race is a chest pounding 6.5 mile ascent of Steamboat Ski Area and just like that half of the days elevation gain is quickly taken care of. From there, runners enjoy crisp autumn air while running along a magnificent Northern Colorado Ridge line out to Rabbit Ears Pass and back. We'll even spend a bit of time above 10,000'.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flags On The Front Range

I don't think I need to tell any readers of this blog what transpired on September 11, 2001 and how the events of that day shaped our social landscape here in America. In the days following that horrible day, September 15th to be exact, a group of hikers climbed to the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Liberty to raise an American flag. Instantly, a hiker tradition was started in New Hampshire which has been known annually as Flags on the 48; an event where hikers make their way to the summit of New Hampshire's 48 Four-Thousand foot peaks as a display of solidarity. Since then, every year on the weekend closest to the September 11th Anniversary, the tradition has continued through the dedicated hikers who climb to the tops of these peaks. (

Thursday, September 8, 2011

GR: NEMO Mio & Tuo

Today on the Human Potential Video Blog (also available on our YouTube Channel), we are providing you with a gear review of NEMO Equipment's Mio 1 Person Tent and the Tuo Standard Sleeping Pad. We'll be showcasing how to assemble the tent and inflate the sleeping pad, taking a closer look at the features of each and then putting it all away.

Product Information
To learn more about NEMO Equipment you can visit their website HERE
To learn more about NEMO's Mio Tent sibling, The Moto 1P visit HERE
To learn more about NEMO's Tuo Standard visit HERE 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adventure 30: Moab 100

Thanks to all of those who voted during the month of August to help us decide what this years birthday adventure was going to be. It was a heated race where in the end it ended up a tie between The Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim and The Slickrock 100 in Moab Utah. The tiebreaker was based on other votes for 100+ mile adventures as well as the help of a little convincing from the Slickrock Race Directors.

With that, Sherpa John:Human Potential is proud to announce that this years Adventure 30 will be the Slickrock 100 Mile Endurance Run in Moab, UT on October 8-9, 2011.

I'll have 30 hours to run 100 miles over Moab's "Mars" landscape. I'm excited about the opportunity to run past spires, arches, towering monuments, slickrock, sand dunes, the Colorado River all the while gapping at the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The crew and pacers have all ready been assembled and we're ready to not only take on the task of another 100 miler, but to take on the task of providing you with a first hand account of the adventure on the Human Potential YouTube Channel.

If you're interested in being a part of our adventure, please contact Sherpa John at for more information on how you can help and be a part of Adventure 30!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hoka Hype

They were everywhere during the Leadville Trail 100. Or at least it felt like they were everywhere. I spotted at least a dozen runners on the LT100 course wearing a pair of Hoka's. I specifically remember early conversations around Mile 10. I was running in a herd of mid-pack runners, and of the 8 runners in front of me and the 8 behind me, two were wearing a pair of Hoka's. After some quick discussion, I discovered that none of these runners had actually worn the Hoka's in a 100 miler before. They laced these puppies up after only reading a bit of "online internet talk" and decided it was a novel idea.