Scott Jurek AT: Another Day, Another State

UDSJAT Promo

UD athlete Scott Jurek continues his mission of breaking the FKT on the Appalachian Trail. Averaging over 50 miles per day, Scott is advancing ahead of record pace to the northern terminus of the AT at Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

Scott reaches the state of Connecticut.

Scott reaches the state of Connecticut.

Last week, Scott passed through Connecticut and Massachusetts. He passed over the highest point in Massachusetts on June 28th, Mt. Greylock, at 3491’.  He is now about to reach Vermont. The Vermont sections of the AT are known to be very muddy this time of year.

Scott and Jenny run across a bridge in Massachusetts.

Scott and Jenny run across a bridge in Massachusetts.

Scott gives an abundance of credit to his wife, Jenny, as well as his crew who are taking care of him, in reality, for 24 hours a day. Between food, logistics, aid, media, and administrative work, Jenny and the crew are doing an equivalent volume of work compared to Scott. There are running clothes to be washed and Body Bottles to be filled. They are awake before he is, and asleep after him. They work in rain and shine, night and day, ensuring that the journey moves as flawlessly as possible.

A sunset from Bear Mountain Road in Massachusetts.

A sunset from Bear Mountain Road in Massachusetts.

The weather during his approach to Vermont has been typical; lots of rain and storms. Scott had to navigate downed trees due to a severe thunderstorm earlier this week. These obstacles were accompanied by the occasional porcupine sighting.

Scott battles through the storms on his way to Vermont.

Scott battles through the storms on his way to Vermont.

Nonetheless, Scott’s persistence is carrying him forward to Katahdin, and we can’t wait to see the result of his relentless hard work. Be sure to keep up with the latest updates and news on Scott’s Facebook page.

Best,

-The UD Team

Adventures Near and Far: A UD Team Update

Ultimate Direction has been catching up with our athletes over the past week, and after chasing after them for some incredible updates we are a bit out of breath. From the elevation, to the sheer endurance, to the speed, our athletes have been posting some big accomplishments that we are excited to share.

-Scott Jurek has been on the 2,168 mile Appalachian Trail for the past 4+ weeks. His goal of 42 days, or 51.6 miles per day, will give him title of the FKT on the trail if he can complete it as planned. Jurek put the state of Connecticut behind him on June 25th.  His relentless forward progress has him well within reach of the FKT, which is held by Jennifer Pharr in a time of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes.

To follow along, check out his Facebook page for live tracking courtesy of Delorme GPS.

Scott hits the halfway point on the AT, with exactly 1,090.5 miles separating him from the start at Mt. Springer, Georgia, to the finish at Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Photo: Luis Escobar

Scott hits the halfway point on the AT, with exactly 1,090.5 miles separating him from the start at Mt. Springer, Georgia, to the finish at Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Photo: Luis Escobar

Scott pushes forward on the Appalachian Trail.  Photo: Luis Escobar

Scott pushes forward on the Appalachian Trail.
Photo: Luis Escobar

-Timothy Olson is competing in the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, a 119k race in Italy this coming weekend. Additionally, he will be hosting a Run Mindful Retreat in in August. This event is sure to be full of panoramic views on the trails, and knowledge on how to live your life to its fullest while immersed in nature. Check out his page http://www.timothyallenolson.com for more information.

-Michele Yates, Pam Smith, Gina Lucrezi, and Larisa Dannis will be taking on Western States 100 this weekend. Ethan Veneklasen will also be making a trip to WS to crew for Mike Wardian.

-Sage Canaday had a great performance at the iconic Comrades marathon earlier this month in Durban, South Africa. He placed 15th overall in a huge field of talent.

Sage Canaday at Comrades

Sage Canaday leads the way at the 2015 Comrades Marathon.

-Justin Simoni recently completed the Tour 14er, an unsupported bike ride to all the 14ers… accompanied by a run up each of them. The effort took him 34 days and 12 hours. This FKT story is seriously awesome- feel free to check out the story the UD blog, as well as http://longranger.justinsimoni.com/tour14er for Justin’s personal recollection. He also includes some great photos and data.

Justin Simoni lets out a victory cry after conquering all of Colorado's 14ers on the Tour 14er. He is pictured wearing the Fastpack 30.

Justin Simoni lets out a victory cry after conquering all of Colorado’s 14ers on the Tour 14er. He is pictured wearing the Fastpack 30.

-Travis Macy recently released his book The Ultra Mindset, a book about living life, business, and success through the experiences of an endurance athlete. We highly recommend taking a look at it, as it is an insightful collection of lessons. Find more info at http://travismacy.wix.com/travismacy.

-Sarah Lavender Smith completed the San Francisco 24 Hour race, knocking out 115 miles for the win.

Sarah Lavender Smith at the Summer Solstice 24 hr.

Sarah Lavender Smith crosses the finish after 115 miles at the Summer Solstice 24 hour race

-Chantal Warriner took home a belt buckle from Bighorn 100 this past weekend after pushing across epic terrain and huge climbs.

Chantal Warriner at Bighorn 100

Chantal Warriner at the Bighorn 100, rocking the UD Jenny Vesta.

-Jeremy Wolf has been training for the Eiger Trail 100k. The race has 22k ft. of vertical, so he has been training by putting in some intense climbs on the Bitterroot mountains of Missoula.

Jeremy Wolf on the Bitteroot Mountains

Jeremy Wolf looks out over the Bitteroot Mountains in Missoula.

-Brandon Yonke raced Yankee Springs in Michigan and took 1st place in the 52 mile as well as 10k. He has since moved out to Boulder for the summer for a marketing internship at UD HQ.

Brandon Yonke at Yankee Springs.

Brandon Yonke takes on Yankee Springs 52 Mile in Michigan. He is pictured in the SJ Vest and UD hat.

-Josh Arthur placed 3rd at the US Skyrunner Quest for the Crest 50k a few weeks ago. He will be competing in the Power of Four 50k, another Skyrunner race in July. He’s also been chasing upness on Mt. Elbert and the Flatirons.

Josh Arthur at the 2nd flatiron

Josh Arthur at the top of the second flatiron in Boulder, CO.

UD is gearing up for Hardrock 100- we will be heading out to Silverton next week. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and say hi, and to cheer on all the athletes!

Do you have an adventure to share with UD? Leave a comment below!

Best of success on your endeavors!

– The UD Team

The Tour 14er: An Epic Bikepacking Adventure

Justin Simoni, endurance athlete extraordinaire, conquering one of the many mountain passes on his Tour 14er trip.

Justin Simoni, endurance athlete extraordinaire, conquering one of the many mountain passes on his Tour 14er.

UD Ambassador Justin Simoni, knows how to dream big.  Like, really big.  At a recent talk at Bent Gate Mountaineering in Golden, CO, Simoni (also known as The Long Ranger) shared with a wide-eyed crowd his story of conquering the Tour 14er last summer.  The personally inspired mission consisted of biking to and summiting all of the Colorado 14ers (53 of them officially, and a few others tacked on for “fun”) with no crew, no use of a motorized vehicle, and no outside aid.

Simoni would be attempting an FKT on the route too, aiming to dethrone Roy Benton from his 1995 record of 37 days, 12 hours.  Even to hit the Benton’s time, Simoni, a skilled mountain biker turned mountain runner, would need to summit 1.5 peaks each day.  Not so tough for an endurance athlete, right?  Well, on a route where trail heads could be separated by 175 miles of rocky, steep, and unpaved roads, and the athlete is to travel from one to the other in a self-propelled fashion (i.e. on a bike), the task grows more daunting.  Also, due to the unsupported nature of this challenge, Simoni would need to carry all of his gear with him for the duration of the trip.  From sleeping essentials to summit gear, a hydration pack to a headlamp, Simoni would divvy up the load between a custom-fit bikepacking bag and the Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest he’d wear on his back.

Simoni recounting his Tour experience to a full house at Bent Gate Mountaineering.

Simoni recounting his Tour to a full house at Bent Gate Mountaineering.

When asked about how his inspiration for this trip, Simoni stated “The idea came from a love of riding my bike and seeing where this beautiful machine can take me… For this particular trip I thought, “Let’s bike to all the Colorado 14ers!” I could do them in separate, smaller trips, but it would take literally years to do so. So, going light and fast and linking up everything made sense. I discovered there was already a record, so there was my baseline. Could I come close to that time? Who knew? Let’s find out! And away I went.”

The adventure would be a rigorous one.  Looking at the stats, this trip consisted of:

Total Hike Mileage: 387.9 miles (624.265 km)

Total Hike Elevation: 154,727 feet (47,160.8 km)

Total Bike Mileage: 1,609.1 miles (2,589.6 km)

Total Bike Elevation: 151,335 feet (46,126.9 meters)

A virtual flyover of the course helps illustrate its magnitude.

The Long Ranger's Route

The Long Ranger’s Route

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Run Like A Mother…

If you haven’t checked out the Another Mother Runner books they are worth a read. Dimity and Sarah are hilarious and their banter about running, being mothers and life in general will put a smile on your face. They are funny, down to earth, busy moms that fit in workouts where and when they can.

Dimity - Another Mother Runner

Both ladies find time to write and tour the country going to running stores and races to encourage other mothers to get out for a run – making them Ultra Moms in our eyes! Ultimate Direction is proud to support the group and loves hearing their witty updates via their podcasts and social media posts. Take a gander at what they are up to. They also help put together training programs

Sarah - Another Mother Runner, Co author of Run Like a Mother

Recently they interviewed an Ultra Mom who completed the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim->

 

Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Handheld Has Landed!

Be one of only 300 people to get the UDXXX 30th Anniversary Handheld. Each handheld is numbered and unique making it truly a one of a kind. We used the excess Cuben Fiber Silnylon from our Signature Series packs for the pocket – which will fit most smart phones. We wanted to make something fun and unique to commemorate our time in the industry and my up-cycling some materials we were able to help lessen our impact on the environment, a small step but one we are proud of.

 

  • Medium volume pocket fits most smart phones
  • Cool Wick Air Mesh strap is soft to the touch, breathable and wicks moisture
  • Soft and thin chafe-free edge binding
  • Key fob and interior security divider
  • Adjustable hand tension strap
  • Up-cycled Cuben Fiber Silnylon material from our Signature Series Packs

Snag one of these Limited Edition Handhelds for yourself or get it as a gift. FYI – Father’s Day is just around the bend!

 

 

Travis Macy’s Book “The Ultra Mindset” Hits Shelves Today!

Travis Macy's Book- The Ultra Mindset

Travis Macy’s Book- The Ultra Mindset

As if being a successful ultrarunner, adventure racer, cyclist, coach, and teacher weren’t enough, UD Ambassador Travis Macy recently added the title of “author” to his resume.  The Colorado native, most famously known for his Leadman win, has spent years competing as an elite athlete around the globe while still balancing responsibilities as a husband, father, and busy academic professional.  Until this point, it’s been a mystery how one man could balance it all, but for our benefit, Macy has boiled down his recipe for success into eight simple principles, outlined in his new book, “The Ultra Mindset.” For a sneak peak at one of the chapters or to enter the Ultra Mindset ULTRA GIVEAWAY (which includes race entries and great prizes from UD and others), click HERE. Continue reading

Zola the Gypsy’s Annual Shoe Review!

APRIL 1 – 

It’s spring; time for our Annual Shoe Review! The Shoe Review is a time-honored tradition – every running publication always does Shoe Reviews, seemingly every other issue is a Shoe Review, so it’s time Zola did one too. We will use the same format all the other top-notch magazines use, but since shoe company’s don’t advertise with us we’re a little unsure what to base our awards on, so we’ll just make stuff up.

UD ZOLA SPEAKS - Holiday Gift GuideHOKA ONE ONE HUAKA

Overview

Who thought of these names anyway? How do you even pronounce it? “Hoka One One” probably means “stupid honky” in Polynesian.

The Hooka, Haka, Whacka – or whatever it’s called – is a nice green color, so it definitely scored high marks from our Review Panel of Leading Industry Experts, who like green. Their impressionable subconscious minds were also very impressed after seeing famous runners wearing this brand, the massive type font used on all the t-shirts, and the brand name being plastered everywhere.

The average age of our Expert Industry Leading Panel Review is 63 years old, all of whom have had at least one knee operation, so they also appreciated the maximum cushioning of this shoe.

It thus earns our coveted Shoe of the Year Award! The fact that Hoka was purchased by Deckers, who is throwing huge amounts of money at the sport and sent Zola a free ticket to visit their testing facility in the south of France, has nothing to do with winning the Award.

What our Testers Say:

I.M. Tookool, from Poughkeepsie, NY says,Studio portrait of young man

“Uh, yeah, thanks for the free shoes man, I really needed some new kicks. I couldn’t figure out how to tie the laces, they already seemed tied together with a little plastic thing-a-ma-bob, but that’s OK.”

Who this shoe is best for:

Old men; overweight people; trend-followers.

SALOMON S-LAB LOL-d9-Plus

Overview

A great shoe with absolutely impeccable credentials, the S-LAB LOL-d9-Plus is very similar to the S-LAB J/K-p5 and the S-LAB CYA-8p, as well as the S-LAB WTF, and replaces the popular S-LAB OMG, and the S-LAB TMI-69 which was only sold in 13 countries, but not this one, except in certain states, and only during June.

Our Testers loved this shoe, praising it’s affiliation with the most famous runner in the world, it’s extremely technical and completely incoherent naming system, the association with all things french, and the incredible video’s of running the Matterhorn taken from a helicopter. The only drawback noted was that its blinding red color caused their wives to throw it in the trash when they weren’t looking.

The Salomon S-LAB LOL-d9-Plus was an easy winner of our “Hope They Advertise With Us Next Year” Award.

What our Testers Say:

Gandalf1Rickey Gale, from Lake Wobegon, MN says,

“I’ve looked everywhere, but I can’t find this shoe; I don’t know what happened to it. I hope they send me another pair, and hey, could you send me some lycra tights too?”

Who this shoe is best for:

Europhiles; attending techno-raves; older guys trying to pick up younger women.

LA SPORTIVA HELIOS

Overview

La Sportiva took a bold new direction with this model, widening the toe box so it fits normal feet instead of only Italian super-models who have had their little toes surgically removed.

Another bold innovation are the shape of the lugs on the outsole; instead of the usual weird little squares, triangles, and other complex geometric shapes all the other company’s use that have nothing to do with function, Sportiva shaped their lugs like waves. This was so intriguing, the Helios is the only shoe of the entire Test we actually put on and tried. The waves worked well walking to the local bar, and would probably work really well on a trail. Sportiva has trademarked a name for these waves, but I can’t remember what it is, and don’t feel like reading the hangtag to find out, so you’ll just have to figure that out yourself.

What our Testers say:

michael-j-fox-movies-and-films-and-filmography-u5Luke Warm from Malibu, CA says,

“I love the black color, the yellow highlights, and the sticky rubber on those waves; it’s really rad at my skateboard park.”

Who this shoe is best for:

People who run rocky technical trails, as long as the rocks are smooth and rounded, because after all these years there still is no rock protection plate, which is why it won the “Close, but no Cigar” Award.

NEW BALANCE MT 100

Overview

The MT 100 is an update from the MT 110, which is an update from the MT 101, but not the MT1010, and which has nothing in common with any of them, except they were designed by their famous runner, who actually doesn’t wear them.

Thus, the MT 100 wins our Best New Update, Sort-Of, Award!

Our Testers gave high praise for the name of the shoe, which is the only name out of the entire Test they could remember, and for the conservative earth-tone color scheme, designed at the exclusive Boston prep school the company owners daughters attend.

What our Testers Say:

Art Majors, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn says,jesus-was-a-hipster

“I was using these way before they became cool. I loved the 101; it was great. I hated the 110; the worst shoe in the world. Oh wait, I can’t remember, maybe it the other way around.”

Who this shoe is best for:

Hipsters; runners who weigh less than 125 lbs; biking to Starbucks on a fixie.

ADIDAS TRAIL RESPONSE 87

Overview

The 87th version of this venerable shoe has the same great features it’s had for the past 35 years, and thus would have won our coveted Shoe of the Year Award, except we were so sick of still seeing it we just couldn’t deal with it.

What our Testers Say:

Dot Matrix, of Why, AZ says,hipster-girl-by-katekillet

“I have bought every version of this shoe ever made. That was back in ’86, or maybe ’89, the year I almost won a race, in my age group. I could run an 8 minute mile back then. Yeah, those were the good old days. Did I ever tell you about the time I …”

Who this shoe is best for:

People who have pinned all their old race bibs onto the backside of their bedroom door.

VIBRAM 5-FINGERS

Overview

Yes, they still make these, even after settling a lawsuit in 2014 for 3.75 million dollars. Fortunately, after selling gazillions prior to that, they could afford it. The 5-Fingers is one of the most famous shoes in the world, having been the poster child for the “minimalist” movement, even though none of the proponents of minimalism ever wore them.

We thus Award the 5-Finger the “Probably Should Update Award”.

What our Testers Say:

Hugh Donit, of Cool, CA says,Gollum.1

“I have been continuously injured for the past 5 years, but I’m absolutely positive that if I keep wearing these, they will cure my injuries, which started when I bought these 5 years ago.”

Who this shoe is best for:

Orthopedic Surgeons; people who ride recumbent bikes.

ASICS 2120

Overview

This is the running shoe that started it all. This is the granddaddy. The icon, the gold standard, the crème de la crème, the example of how to make huge sums of money by having footwear made in Asian sweat shops for $15 and selling them to wealthy white Americans for $100; the shoe that had nothing going on except color updates every 6 months requiring dealers to discount their existing stock and purchase more; the shoe with the sweeping marketing claims that are vague enough to prevent lawsuits; the shoe model all other shoe company’s have tried to emulate.

Thus, the 2120 wins our Lifetime Achievement Award.

What our testers say:

Utar Lee Klewless, of Boring, OR says,Beer Commercial Guy

“What makes this shoe great are it’s features; the ‘RG-8 Platform Support’, ‘X-9J Arc Compound’ and of course the ‘Special Unilateral Cross-Diagonal Banding Structure’, all really help my running.”

Who this shoe is best for:

Retired shoe company execs living on their yacht in the Bahamas.

YOUR COMMENTS WELCOME

Please Post Comments; we need your valuable feedback.  We will use it to improve our testing methodology in subsequent Gear Reviews.

Transgrancanaria 125K+ (2015)

grand_trail_nublo-hd

Funny, that actually went about as well as I could’ve realistically hoped. TGC had been on my to-do list for a couple of years now. Friends’ descriptions intrigued me, and I found the surface-level details to be attractive: a route that logically traverses a geographic feature (the entire island!), travel to a foreign land, high-level competition, a long but still sub-100mi distance. Nevertheless, I barely made the trip due to a lingering shin twinge that left me woefully underprepared for so much running so early in the season. However, when my shin showed signs of affirmative health two weeks before race day, I put my faith in my consistent uphill skiing over the past two months and several reports that the track was steep and technical (i.e. giving me lots of hiking breaks), and began making some last-minute plans to race. Continue reading

Training for Barkley – Boulder to Winter Park As the Crow Flies

Guest UD Blogger: RunAroundaRoo’s Heidi Kumm about Jeremy Ebel’s Adventurous Training Run Over the Western Slope, essentially from Boulder to Winter Park as the crow flies!

Jermey Ebel - West Bound

Jermey Ebel – West Bound

There are a few reasons to head into the wilderness with a pack full of gear, a compass and a map but this particular trip had a very specific purpose – navigation and misery training for the Barkley Marathons.The Barkley Marathons is really just one race; a one of a kind 100 mile ultra meant to test your mental tenacity and technical skills.

In short, the race is set up rather sadistically – you receive a transposed course map to study the night before the race then head to your tent just waiting for the conch shell to blare your wake-up call. An hour later you’re at the start line of a race fewer than 20 people have completed even though hundreds have started, just waiting for the race director’s cigarette to burn out. Then you’re off, headed into the Tennessee brambles in search of a book where you’ll rip out one page to prove you found it. You get no GPS, no outside help, no aid stations as you navigate from one book to another, for a total of five loops if you’re lucky [?!] enough to complete the race. It is just you, your compass, your interpretation of the map and the razor sharp briars around you.

Continue reading