Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Isolation


Almost 4 years have passed now since I first met Randy and Quinn on Mount Agamenticus in Southern Maine. Prior to that meeting, I had never met a blind hiker, though had heard stories of a few in existence. They were largely elusive in nature to say the least. It has been an immense pleasure to get to know Randy over these years and to watch hime develop and ultimately flourish as your every day peak-bagger. When I first met Randy, I wrote a trip report of my own titled "Seeing Is Believing." Everytime I hike with Randy, I try to bring some new folks along so they can indeed see it, and believe it, that a blind man and his dog are legitimately tackling each and every Four-Thousdand Footer in New Hampshire.
I've done the 48, a few rounds now actually. I attempted to hike them all in one winter and came a few peaks short in the final week. I know a small part of the struggles, both mental and physical that Randy is taking on in his quest to complete the 48. Certainly winter hiking comes with perks. The rocks and roots are largely filled in by deep sticky maritime snows. Summer offers challenges some would say unimaginable for this team. And yet, they soldier on. The rocks and roots are all there. So are the raging stream crossings of an unusually wet spring and summer, mud pits of various and sometimes surprising depths adorn the trails, and the bugs are as bad as they've ever been.

Monday, July 15, 2013

RR: North Fork 50K

June 29, 2013
North Fork 50K
Pine, CO
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North Fork, a race run in Central Colorado on trails notorious for being hot. A majority of the race traverses through some old burn area terrain in Pine, CO. Wildfires that happened nearly 20 years ago, and the vegetation is rally only just starting to come around again. I've heard enough about this race to get me up the hill to check it out. I was on the fence for awhile.. do I run the 50K or the 50 Mile? 3 Weeks out from the Vermont 100, I decided the 50K would make a great last test before the big race.

My goal, as always, was to finish. A sub 6 hours finish would be great.. but setting a new PR for 50K would be the perfect day. I needed a good race for my confidence heading into Vermont. I'm all ready worrying about if I trained enough. Did I run enough miles? Did I do enough climbing? Am I ready? Questions I haven't asked in a long time, which is good because it means I'm scared. I respect the sport, I respect these distances. Standing on the starting line, I was feeling all warm inside. Once again, I had made a great choice. Here was a race that was old school to the core. There was no inflatable start/finish line. My shirt had no sponsor's littered all over it. It was as grass roots as it gets. The race is directed by an ultra-runner, all of the aid stations were manned by ultra-runners.. this was a race for ultra runners.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gear Review: Balega Socks

Balega Enduro 2 Quarter socks with Drynamix
MSRP: $11
Produced in Cape Town South Africa
Distributed from Hickory, NC
Company Website
Product Page

I had been e-mailing an old friend of mine about outdoor business issues here in Colorado a few months back, when I noticed her signature at the bottom of her e-mail had changed. I noticed the new company she worked for, called Balega, and checked out the website. Socks.. When it comes to adventuring in the outdoors, there is a rather important saying, "Your heels are your wheels." Therefore, we never can check out too many brands to determine what will work for us, and take care of us, the best.

So I asked her if she wouldn't mind kicking me a pair of socks. I specifically asked for a pair of Balega Enduro 2 Quart socks as they sounded closest to the Darn Tough's I've been wearing, every day, since 2008. She gladly sent me a few pairs, free of charge, to check them out. There was no catch, I didn't even promise a review. But I feel I'd be cheating my readers if I didn't tell you about them.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Interview: 100 Head/Heart/Feet


This July in the Green Mountains of Vermont, a very special documentary is being filmed. 100: Head/Heart/Feet chronicles the drama of Zac Wieluns, an ultra-runner from Maine and a member of The Trail Monsters running club. Zac has failed to finish Vermont in his previous two attempts, and is hoping the third time’s the charm.
The film is being produced by Hammer and Saw Films of Colchester, VT. Michael Mooney is Co-Director and Producer of the film, along with Associate Producer and Ultra-Runner Ben Watts. I have the high privilege of interviewing these two about the film and ways in which our running community can help them out.
(Don’t forget to check out a sneak-peak of the film by viewing the trailer at the bottom of this interview. Also, the film’s producers need your support to make this event happen. You can offer your support byCLICKING HERE.)