Hardrock 100: Who to Watch

Hardrock. The name speaks volumes about this race. Tough, rugged, and remote, this race is a defining moment in the career of any ultra runner. Held annually in early July in the mountain town of Silverton, CO, world class athletes from around the globe and their crew can easily double the small town population of roughly 600 residents. The town starts shaping into an ultra runner Mecca sometime in mid June as competitors arrive to scout the course and get acclimated for 14er Handies Peak, as well as the massive, exposed high country that averages 11,000′ for the entirety of the course.

Hardrock began in 1992 and had 18 finishers. David Horton and Nancy Hamilton were the first finishers of the race with times of 32:34 and 45:47, respectively. Twenty two years later, Hardrock boasts iconic performances, as well as stories of perseverance, grit, and resilience. Kilian Jornet and Diana Finkel now hold the course records of 22:41:43 and 27:18:24.

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Scott Jurek AT: Another Day, Another State


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.


-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!



Triple Trek pt2

10 o’clock at night, standing alone on the bank of the Colorado River in full flood stage.  Can I swim across?  Theoretically, yes.  Emotionally, no.  I conducted an inventory of my emotional reserves and made a rational decision:  I’m not going.  I measured, and my cajones weren’t big enough.

Span Bot

This trip I had brought a Space Blanket, so wrapped myself up in that and slept soundly, while learning that sleeping in a Space Blanket keeps you both remarkably warm and remarkably wet, becoming quickly soaked in your own perspiration.

Next morning I hiked upstream to allow for the fast current, eased myself into the brown water, and swam across with no incident, and without regretting the previous nights decision.  I busted butt up Red Lake Canyon (what lake?), across the various fins and valleys the Needles are renowned for, including the infamous Elephant Hill jeep road, reaching Squaw Flat Campground by mid-morning where I had a friend waiting for me with food supplies for the rest of the route.

Except instead of my friend, there was a note pinned to the campground sign which read: “You didn’t show up so I left.  Hope everything is OK.”

No food and 45 more miles to go wasn’t that OK. Kaput again. Busted.  Without further ado I put out my thumb and began the long hitchhike back to my car, pleased that I had extended the route, but also noticing that by failing at Spanish Bottom last year I got a direct boat ride back to the start, while failing at Squaw Flat meant it would take hours to hitch all the way around.  My second ride was pretty good though, peaceful because there was no radio in the car.  I asked why, and he explained he stole the car two days ago and had already sold the radio.


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Triple Trek

I pushed through the Tamarisk thicket on my hands and knees, being careful to avoid puncturing my air mattress, then waded out up to my waist in the cold, brown, swirling water, my shoes sticking in the mucky bottom, and while wearing a backpack, tried to get on my yellow inflatable mattress. It was an awkward moment. Peter and I had discussed practicing the technique in advance, but since Boulder had been cool and rainy, and we don’t like being cold, we skipped that part. So this was our first try – it was not going to be elegant no matter what – so nothing to do now but trust our plan, lunge up onto the mattress, and start paddling across the Green River.

We started as far upstream on Queen Anne Bottom as we could get, having first rappelled down a short cliff band, and were aiming for Millard Camp on the other side, after which the River pushed up against more cliffs, making an exit from the River impossible, and a much, much longer River trip probable.  I kept wondering how Peter was doing behind me, but never turned around – we really had to make that one exact spot – if he didn’t make it there was nothing I could do about it, and vice versa, so I looked toward my spot paddled for it. The Green was running 14,740 cfs, so I was “ferrying” – pointing myself slightly upstream in order to get as far across as possible while the strong current pushed us downriver. It was going to be close. The River turned left here and we were aiming for the right bank, so the water was moving much faster on this side – I paddled harder – hmm, really need to make this I thought, but the current was really strong now. A wedge of rock stuck out in the River, I figured there would be an eddy line behind it – yup, still 15’ from shore but the eddy line grabbed me just as I was being swept past the exit point – made it!

I scrambled onto the rocks, took off my pack, and looked for Peter. He was on the same line as me – he narrowly made the eddy line but recirculated twice before managing to get out, as his arm strength was too far gone.

Not too bad. Our plan worked. It was 10am on the first day of our planned 3 day, 100 mile trek in Canyonlands National Park.

16 River Gear

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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