Outdoor Retailer Trade Shows To Move

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently recommended that the Outdoor Retailer Shows, the two major events (for Summer and Winter) showcasing outdoor recreation gear, be moved from their location in Salt Lake City to a new city. This was in response to the governor of Utah’s policy that some public lands be sold off to private interests, and that the recent designation of Bears Ears as a National Monument be rescinded. The OIA and key outdoor company’s requested in a phone meeting with the Governor that the State of Utah be more supportive of public land, which he declined to do. A decision was then made to hold the 2017 Shows as scheduled, then look for a new location for the Outdoor Retailer Shows for 2018.

The Moonhouse

The Moonhouse

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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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FKT of the Year!

What was the coolest Fastest Known Time of 2016??

We compiled a list of nominees, recruited 21 experienced people to figure it all out, they voted, and the results are in!  Results with more info are also up at Ultrarunning.com, and all award photos are courtesy Ultrarunning Magazine.

Appropriately, there was no run-away winner – instead, the voting was close, as the voters valued different traits and qualities. Their comments were as perceptive and interesting as the FKT’s were amazing and laudable, so let’s see what runners did and also what the voters thought – – –

FEMALE FKTOY

#5 Joelle Vaught – Trans Zion, May 20

JoelleThis sweet set of trails totals 48 miles crossing beautiful Zion National Park, border to border. Joelle’s time of 8:26:09 bettered that of Krissy Moehl as well as Bethany Lewis before her.

Voters’ comments:

“Great time on a classic route, but only 6 minutes faster than previous FKT.”

“She put down a solid time besting Krissy’s stout time, and made my final vote because this route is more competitive than many others.”

“Joelle and Gina (Mt. Whitney FKT) did marvelously speedy routes on treasured paths, but those are too short to reward as the top picks.”

#4 Sue Johnston – 4,000ers Calendar Grid, January 1–December 26

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What is the best Fastest Known Time of 2016?

The “FKT” has arrived!  Runners all over the world now understand and use the term, and may expend more effort going for a Fastest Known Time than in a regular race.

So the time has come for a “Fastest Known Time of The Year” Award!  Following the long-standing Ultra Runner of the Year (“UROY”) awards that have recognized and celebrated the sport’s best since 1981, the FKTOY award will recognize the top FKT by a Female and by a Male. The purpose is to learn, appreciate, and be inspired by the accomplishments of others. No one actually wins anything – just the respect of their peers.

So a list of top candidates was created by Peter Bakwin from his FKT site, then a group of 21 experienced runners were recruited to vote … and after much deliberation, their votes decided it!  It was an amazing process.  The winners will be announced next week in Ultrarunning Magazine and on this blog, along with brief comments from the Voters as to why each was valued (Hint: they ALL were incredible, but two more so than the others :-)

So here is the list of candidates and what they did.  What do YOU think about these routes?  Which do YOU think should be the inaugural FKTOY?  Please post your Comments below.

FEMALE (all in chronological order)

Joelle Vaught – 5/20; Trans Zion; 48 mi; 8h, 26m, 9s – Sweet route crossing Zion NP on trails; previous FKT’s by Krissy Moehl and Bethany Lewis.

Amber Monforte – 7/22-26; John Muir Trail Unsupported; 222 mi; 4d, 1h, 13m – One of the mostly hotly-contested long trail routes. Only 5h 13m slower than Sue J’s 2007 Supported record.

Gina Lucrezi – 8/10; Mt Whitney (car-car); 22 mi; 5h, 29m, 22s – 6,000′ vert in 11mi to highest point in lower 48 states; first known attempt by a Woman.

Heather Anderson – 10/7-27; Arizona Trail Self-Supported; 800 mi; 19d, 17h, 9m – “Anish” now holds the Overall Self-Supported records for the AT, PCT, and the AZT.

Meghan Hicks – 9/9-11; Nolan’s 14; 100 mi; 59h, 36m – Open Course tagging 14 14ers; few trails, lots of navigation, tons of vert. Supported.

Sue Johnston – 1/1-12/26; 4000ers Calendar Grid; 3,159 mi; one year – All 48 New Hampshire 4,000′ summits every month for a year. Reported 3,159 mi, 993,970′ vert for the project (1,001,830′ for the year!), and hiking 205 days.
Yikes!  Stout stuff!  What about the guys?

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The Longs Peak Project (LPP)

By Peter Bakwin

Living in Boulder, as I have for most of my life, can be strange. Nearly everyone here, young and old alike, is insanely fit. Everyone has set some outlandish running or climbing goal for themselves, something to keep the sense of adventure alive and to expand their skills and experience. I myself have set many, and even achieved some, and this has been a lot of fun and very satisfying. These days, now that I’m receiving mailings from the AARP, I don’t go in all that much for goals or “projects”, preferring just to enjoy time out in mountains and on the trails without any particular aim. But, once in a while something still resonates inside my soul, a spark of an idea will come and I feel compelled to follow. This is intensely personal – I don’t care about setting marks, only about doing things that ignite my flame of curiosity and enthusiasm. Such has been the Longs Peak Project (LPP).

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Photo Courtesy: Kendrick Callaway

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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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