Krissy Moehl: Why the Adventure Vesta is my Go-To Vest.

by Krissy Moehl

I keep my hydration quiver relatively small these days. The Ultra Vesta, the Adventure Vesta and 2 Fast Draw handhelds. Having these options and being able to mix and match is really all I need to choose from on my training runs from the Fishbowl (my condo in Fairhaven). I run out the door to the Interurban trail and within 2 miles I’m on single track accessing Chuckanut Mountain and beyond, depending on which hydration system I chose that morning.

All smiles during race time!

All smiles during race time!

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Travis Macy: San Juan Solstice 50 and the Scott Jurek 3.0

by Travis Macy
It dawned on me a couple of years ago that although I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of the world, I really haven’t spent enough time exploring and racing in my home state of Colorado.  My new, local ethic meshed well with the capabilities of my growing family, and we set our sites last spring on Lake City, which isn’t a city at all but, rather, a small, 1950s-like town south of Gunnison in the San Juan Mountains.

Lake City is the kind of place where kids roam free on bikes and people stop and talk.  Where summer is glorious and winter harsh.  Where mountains rise dramatically and moose browse on willows in river bottoms.  It’s the kind of place you go for hunting, fishing, jeeping, and family time.  Lake City, for the Macy Family, is the kind of place where life slows down and values are re-established.

Travis enjoying some skimo action. PC: Thomas Woodson

Travis enjoying some skimo action. PC: Thomas Woodson

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The Ultimate Direction Dirty 30

Miles and Miles of AMAZING SINGLE-TRACK TRAILS

Ultimate Direction Dirty 30

Imagine yourself running on single-track trails through aspen groves, lush green meadows, and thick pine forests. After navigating up steep rocky ridges your reward is a majestic view of snow-capped mountains as the Continental Divide is practically within reach. No need to imagine: The Ultimate Direction Dirty 30—and all the sweat, grit, and dirt—can be yours for the taking.

Jason Schlarb competing at the Ultimate Direction Dirty 30.

Jason Schlarb competing at the Ultimate Direction Dirty 30.

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Frost and Fire – A Quandary Adventure

by Brandon Yonke

As the new year approached, I knew I wanted to start the year up in thin air. I had freshly acquired a zero degree sleeping bag that needed to be  broken in; my urge to be in the mountains remains regardless of the how minuscule the temperature is. A drive to Breckenridge for a day of skiing doubled as an opportunity to summit Quandary, and I decided to take it. After a day of taking lifts to the top, and skiing down, I drove to the Quandary trailhead to switch it up in the morning; hike up, run down.

I arrived about 7:30pm after finally finding a gas station that hesitantly agreed to let me bum a refill of my 3 gallon water jug- an act which I had received some peculiar looks for. Later, as I stood in the trailhead parking lot, dividing  the water up into bottles, I chatted with a couple of skiiers who had just returned from the summit. Conditions sounded to be good, as reported online, though the clear night sky would surely be dropping the temperature.

I laid out a sleeping pad, blanket, and bag across my trunk in anticipation of a cold night, and tried to fall asleep much earlier than normal.
All night long, it was either me sweating, or the water bottles I was sleeping with… but never at the same time. I started off abnormally warm and layered down to get comfortable. Then around midnight, I was too cold and layered back up, while at the same time my water bottles began sweating. Either I kept them to the side in my sleeping bag and tried not to touch them, or I would have no liquid water. It was an uncomfortable night trying to find creative sleeping positions inside of a mummy bag while my breath crystallized to every surface of my vehicle.

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Prime mountain real estate.

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Aire Libre – Oaxaca Mexico

Aire Libre’s second great adventure, chronologically named AL-02: Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, took place in the heart of the Sierra Norte (North Sierra) in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The Sierra is also home to the Pueblos Mancomunados (Commonwealth of Villages), which is a circuit of 8 small towns that live within a shared communal system and also in close political and economic proximity. We passed through 6 of these communities.

On the first day, we departed Benito Juárez heading towards our first destination: La Nevería. We ran on a wide path with a general downward slope and after 12 kilometers or so we were entering the town limits.

 

AIRE LIBRE AL-02-16

 

We then moved in the direction of the third pueblo, called Latuvi and situated on top of a group of hills blessed with a privileged location right in the middle of the great valley surrounded by the Sierra Norte mountains. The trails we followed between La Nevería and Latuvi were amongst the most beautiful and fascinating we experienced during our whole journey. The variety of sights is hard to believe and is due naturally to the constant altitude change.

From Latuvi we were to depart for San Miguel Amatlán. The trail took us through the Canyon of the Phantom Trees (Cañón de los Árboles Fantasmas), a place that truly does justice to its mystic name. At 18 kilometers and including some steep uphill sections, this was the longest and toughest leg of the day.

 

AIRE LIBRE AL-02-94

 

Upon arrival at San Miguel Amatlán, we stopped there to spend the night in one of the eco-tourism centers operated by Sierra Norte Expediciones.

We suspected that the second day would be the most difficult, being that it would practically a whole day of running uphill until we reached the highest point of all of our journey. We climbed around 1,300 meters (4,265 ft) as we ran another wide path of around 30 kilometers, all the way to San Isidro Llano Grande, which stands on top of the mountain at roughly 3,000 meters (9,840 ft) above sea level. The forest community greeted us with more rain, fog and cold wind.

 

AIRE LIBRE AL-02-86

 

On the third day, we started towards our next goal: Cuajimoloyas, which is the most populous Pueblo Mancomunado, with around 800 inhabitants.

We set out once again into the trails, which luckily now took us on a downhill slope, and we then reached a well-known trail known was La Cucharilla. This fascinating section of the forest proved to the most enjoyable single track of our adventure.

After exiting the trailhead, we continued through sunflower fields up the foothills of another nearby mountain, until we again reached the town of Latuvi. We had our last break there, along with our last AL-02 meal.

Our last 15 kilometers would be especially challenging, as we would be closing the adventure with another 600-700 meter ascent (1900-2300 ft) that separated us from the well-known view point where we departed from in Benito Juárez. The same hanging bridge which marked our starting point awaited us for the grand finale of this epic journey.

 

district vision-1

 

The Pueblos Mancomunados represented an avalanche of emotions and sensorial stimuli. The people of these communities opened their hearts and their homes to us, genuinely offering the warmest of hospitality. The views around them made our hearts sing and moved our souls with their combination of raw beauty with absolute simplicity. We profoundly and strongly recommend that you visit this circuit the next time you’re in the mood for a holiday mixing Nature with some physical activity.

Check out the trip video to get a better look at the adventure. Click here!

The Nolans 14 – Nick Pedatella

“I’ve scouted the whole route except for the North side of La Plata, but that should be easy enough since it is all trail”

Some 40+ hours later as I was enjoying a midnight walk along the banks of Lake Creek – which is more of a river than a creek – my comment to Meghan Hicks as we started our respective Nolan’s 14 journeys seemed rather laughable. Clearly I had underestimated the difficulty of the challenge, especially in terms of nighttime navigation while at altitude and sleep deprived. After descending a rather questionable scree slope from the the summit of La Plata I was rather frustrated with my inability to find what is reportedly one of the best sections of trail along the entire route. However, my immediate concern was figuring out how to reach my crew at the La Plata trailhead who were probably wondering where I was since I should have arrived a few hours ago.

LaPlata Route Nick Pedatella Nolans 14

My descent route off of La Plata. Not even close to the real trail. Photo: 14ers.com

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Training While Traveling: by Heidi Kumm

When June rolled around I was excited for my summer gig, a job that had me road tripping around the Western US with the #yourlead van for three months. I was going to run all the trails + pile on the miles. With two big races scheduled for my fall I figured I would have no problem getting in my training. Little did I know how hard it is to fit running in with traveling!

Heidi headed out on the trail.

Heidi headed out on the trail.

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Wild Bruce Chase vs. The Bruce Trail: FKT

by: Chantal Warriner

18 Women from Ontario, Canada with One Goal

901.5 km / 563 Miles (with detours at time of relay)

Wild Bruce Chase logo

The Bruce Trail was built in the year 1960 and is known as Canada’s oldest trail. It also happens to be Canada’s longest marked footpath and provides access to the magnificent Niagara Escarpment. It is entirely built and maintained by volunteers who share a dream to secure the continuous conservation corridor that stretches along the escarpment from Tobermory to Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The trail attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts every year. It’s only logical that these hikers and runners would want to set end to end records. Isn’t that human nature?! There are men’s/women’s solo records, ladies team records and coed team records. Not forgetting the many others who share bragging rights.

On May 5th, 2016, a friend of mine emailed me about this “once in a lifetime opportunity to set a Bruce Trail ladies relay record”. The email was very motivating. It stated things like “YOU could be a Bruce Trail Record holder!; Are you in? Will you break the record with us??” How could anyone say no to that, right?!. Needless to say, the team was built and runners committed very quickly.

The fastest known time (FKT) for the ladies relay we were trying to break was reported at 5 days, 17 hours and 56 minutes. Our team, named Wild Bruce Chase, was hungry to break the record. The organizer of the event, Erin Dasher, Ontario’s 5 Peaks Race Director, had tirelessly planned and meticulously detailed the logistics of the end to end continuous relay event.

With almost 70 legs ranging from 5 to 15 miles, each runner spent hours researching their routes and maps in order to efficiently run the terrain and perform exchanges without a hitch. Team members also ran group and route specific training runs to prepare. This preparation, in addition to fitness and generous resources highly influenced the outcome of this richly rewarding adventure.

Less than two short months later, we began on July 1st, 2016. There’s something to be said about beginning such an epic attempt on our national Canadian holiday ­ Canada Day. We were feeling patriotic, confident but also nervous to see how the long weekend was going to be executed. If you’re picturing a beautiful morning of blue skies, birds tweeting and a big orange sun cresting the horizon, you couldn’t be more wrong. Our relay began at 5 am on July 1st, but the 1st of our 18 courageous ladies started the relay and 400m into the leg, it began to treacherously downpour! We began the 563 Mile Fastest Known Time attempt and our runner couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of her. Great!! It got real, real fast!! Gulp.

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Jen Segger: Running Canada’s Iconic West Coast Trail

IMG_4862Remote on Vancouver Island hides one of Canada’s most incredible treasures.   For decades, people from around the world have come to hike the rugged and challenging West Coast Trail, one of 3 parts of the Pacific Rim National Parks System, originally called The Dominion Lifesaving Trail. It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the rugged coastline. Today, the 75km trail stretching between Bamfield and Port Renfrew is maintained by Parks Canada. In order to preserve the balance of visitor use and the environment, a permit to use the trail is required and merely obtaining one is difficult, as reservations sell out fast. Continue reading

Justin Simoni: The Sub 48 hour Dirty 350 Run and Cycling Adventure

3:00am is a pretty early time to wake up for any sort of activity, but today was the Golden Gate Dirty 30! 2016 would be my second running of this race. My first was last year which was also my first sanctioned trail running ultra. That’s a funny sentence to write; I’ve done so many self-supported style FKT challenges, I’m not exactly new to all of this, I’ve just been a little more underground with my events. I’ve found though that the Golden Gate Dirty 30 gave me a great goal to hit for getting into the running form I needed for other challenges later in the year, like Nolans 14.

Except this year, I had injured myself while bouldering. One evening last December, I tried a tricky dyno move to a far-reaching hold. I swung out onto it with a bit too much, let’s say: passion, and found myself swinging right off, and landing a little disorganized and crumpled. Crunch! A bad high ankle sprain, followed by some peroneal issues further down the road really changed my Winter training goals. I didn’t think too much of it when it happened: I even ran the few miles home that very night. But the pain persisted, so running hard was out, but hiking (in time) seemed fine and cycling caused me no pain at all. So, this past Winter I’ve focused a lot of my time outdoors cycling, even doing a few overnighters and a few quick trips to the local Front Range 14ers.

By late Spring, the ankle still wasn’t 100%, but I still wanted to run the Dirty 30, even though my goal of being competitive – and at the very least beat my time from last year by a good margin (I was hoping by 30 minutes) was out. What to do? Why not ride to the event, run at a pace I thought was sustainable given my touchy ankle, then ride home? My cycling fitness seemed pretty good, so let’s make this more interesting: if I was to run a 50k, why not stretch the ride into a complementary 300km – and since I’m sort of in the area, let’s summit a 14er: Mt. Evans! Evans conveniently has a road to the summit that just opened. My kind of trip!

The Route.

The Route.

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