It’s 2016 which means we have new pairs of speedy legs to add to our team. At Ultimate Direction we look for athletes that exude the UD lifestyle, have outstanding personalities, and who of course love the product!
Our new cast and crew includes: Krissy Moehl, Nikki Kimball, Ashley Erba, Jessie Young, Devon Yanko, Kristina Pattison, and Hillary Allen.
Krissy Moehl is a veteran in the ultra scene, running her first ultra back in 1999. Since then she has raced over 100 ultras (winning 55) and has just penned her first book: Running Your First Ultra.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ashley Erba is new to the sport of ultras, but has been on fire, lighting it up at about every race she enters. Since 2014, Ashley has 6 50k wins, and was donned the North American Continental Skyrunning Ultra Champion in 2015.
Hillary Allen is another young gun who was bitten by the ultra bug. She goes by the name Hillygoat so you can imagine that climbing and descending are like second nature to her. One of Hillary’s early season adventures includes a trip to Haiti where she will literally run across the country.
Jessie Young is Ultimate Direction’s first female Skimo athlete. This Aspen native started out as snowboarder, but eventually traded the board for skis. This seems to have been a wise choice since she was crowned the 2015 USA Ski Mountaineering Champion in both the individual and team divisions.
Devon Yanko not only tears it up on the trail and road, but also in her bakery M. H. Bread and Butter in San Anselmo. Most recently, Devon just punch her ticket to Western States Endurance Run by winning the Sean O’Brien 100k.
Missoula’s Kristina Pattison another ultra and trail running addict. This past time USFS Smokejumper is now a Doctor of Physical Therapy and certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. When not helping others achieve a greater quality of life, she is out on the trails achieving her own.
Lastly the renowned Nikki Kimball, is our final female addition to the UD line up. Nikki has been in the ultra scene for quite some time, and is one of the most decorated female ultra runners alive. In 2015 she completed her 10th Western States Endurance Run finish, with her finishes being within the top 10 spots.
To dig a little deeper for insight, thoughts, and motivations, we decided to do a little Q&A with the ladies.
UD: 1) Why Ultimate Direction? What is it about their products that made joining the team a no-brainer?
DY: Ultimate Direction has the ultimate arsenal of products for all my adventures and racing. Smartly designed, excellent fit.
KM: Function. Products that work and a design team that is willing to tweak and innovate to make the best packs for runners.
AE: What first drew me to Ultimate Direction was actually the kicker cap on their 20oz water bottles. The UD 20oz handheld bottle was the first product I tried and I loved it because I could easily open, drink, and close the kicker cap without bashing in my own teeth or spilling water all over myself. As my adventures got longer and more strenuous, I found myself in need of some new gear. I tried the Jenny Ultra Vesta and was sold. It was the first pack I had worn that didn’t bounce, chafe, or have straps cinched so tight that the tails flew behind me like streamers as I ran. With a staff of incredibly seasoned athletes bringing insights from countless fields in outdoor adventuring and products that fully reflect that, joining the UD team was an absolute no-brainer!
UD: 2) What is your draw to the outdoors? How did you first fall in love with playing outside?
HA:I fell in love with the outdoors as a little girl. My parents couldn’t keep me inside. I’ve always loved the mountains and the sense of aw and belonging I get when I’m in them. Mountain running was a logical step for me once I finally started running about 3 years ago.
KP: Outside is where I feel my best and the most at ease. I grew up in the desert full of unique creatures, plants, and rocks to capture my imagination, and our family vacations were camping trips in the mountains. I’ve always felt a joyful compulsion to escape and explore new territory. Running for me is essentially playtime.
NK: I grew up in a tiny VT town with my nearest neighbor well out of sight. The quickest routes to friend’s homes was usually through the woods rather than via road. So I had practical reason to be both outside and in the woods from an early age. Given that our little group of friends knew the woods well, it just made sense to make the woods our playground. We built forts, designed luge-track like sledding courses along the steepest driveways, and basically spent dawn to dusk outside whenever able.
UD: 3) Most exciting moment you’ve ever had out on the trail?
DY: My husband proposed while out on a trail run. That was a huge highlight.
AE: The most exciting moments on the trail for me are often the ones where I’m not actually on a ‘trail.’ There is something for me about cresting a remote ridgeline or peak and looking out over untouched high country that excites and wows me in a way I cannot describe. Being up in the mountains without a crowd of people is magical every single time and it is in those moments that the excitement hits a chord for me more than during any races or training specific runs I’ve had to date.
JY: Part of what I love about Ski Mountaineering is that you get to blaze your own trail – and you don’t have to run downhill 🙂 With the light weight race skis and boots used in Ski Mountaineering Racing winter adventuring is lighter and faster than ever. I would say one of my most exciting recent adventures was a spring trip to the Weminuche Wilderness where my fiancé and I set up a base camp at the foot of the peaks and skied all four of the Chicago Basin 14ers in a day!
UD: 4) Worst moment you’ve ever had on the trail, and how you got through it?
KP: Recently, I let myself become hypothermic with numb hands and feet about two hours from the trailhead, near dark, on a 10-hour solo run in the wilderness. It was poor planning, and I was nearly out of water and food. I got down off the mountain as fast as possible, fumbled my phone and headlamp out, told my husband where I was, and ran! Truthfully, I jog-walked as fast as I could manage. I kept my thoughts focused on mountain lions. A sure bet for faster forward motion.
NK: In running last year’s Ultra Fiord race, we encountered poor trail marking, avalanches and rotten snow in a remote area without chance of rescue. At one terrifying point, about 9 runners found ourselves looking for the next trail marker. The race had just gone from a great adventure, to something truly dangerous. The group rallied together in a beautiful demonstration of teamwork, inside this very individual sport. At each trail marker, the group would disperse in multiple directions until one person found a marker and yelled. We would then re-assemble and repeat the exercise until we found the next aid station, after which the trail became, once again, quite safe and easy to follow.
AE: Ewww, my worst moment on the trail was probably this past September (2015) at The Rut 50k. I knew I was physically prepared to execute a great race, but only about 12miles in I realized that I had some serious rubbing going on inside my shoes. My breaking moment was when I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t physically able to run anymore due to the blisters that covered my entire arch on both feet. It was crushing because I had been banking on a top finish at The Rut to complete the US Skyrunning Series. There’s no point in dwelling on the bad moments though, so as much as possible I try to learn what I can from them, and then move the hell on 😛
UD: 5) Favorite food while doing your thing on the trail.
JY: I love eating real food out on the trail whenever possible, in the summer I try and keep some portables from the Feed Zone Cookbook on hand for my longer training days – rice cakes with eggs and bacon are one of my favorites.
KM: Avocados with salt remain a long standing staple.
NK: Bacon. ‘nuf said.
UD: 6) What is something that is unique and special about you that most people don’t know…and you are willing to share?
HA: I’m a nerd, I love science. I still have my insect collection from when I was a kid, I always wanted to be an entomologist.
DY: I have my masters in library science, making my original career a librarian, specifically children and young adult services in public libraries. I mean, you can image me leading storytime!
NK: I was a cook for many years in order to support my biathlon habit just after college. I now use that skill in hosting many dinner parties.
UD: 7) Favorite UD product…or the product you are most excited about.
HA: I love the new handhelds with the collapsable soft flasks. I’m also pretty excited to try out the new ski packs!
DY: Groove mono. Just the essentials!
JY: Most excited about the 18L SkiMo pack collection! It’s incredibly light yet very versatile.
UD: 8) If you could only share one piece of advice to other outdoor enthusiasts…what would it be?
HA: Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, try new things to bring you out of your comfort zone. Suffering is fun.
KP: Follow your heart and your passion will guide you.
JY: The faster you go the less gear you need! I grew up with the mentality of “always be prepared… for everything” and it has taken me a while to get used to the light and fast packing strategies of taking only what I am really going to need out there in the mountains.
DY: Be safe, be smart, be free and enjoy!
KM: Smile. Enjoy the journey. It is a gift to be able to make the decision to get out and explore the wilderness and challenge ourselves. Remember to enjoy it, even when it is tough.
NK:It depends on the sport. So I will generically say: Love your adventures, especially the ones that do not go as planned, for these are the days which keep us growing throughout our lives.
AE: Be true to your heart and find what makes you free.
Thanks to the ladies for sharing their thoughts and their personal insights! Hopefully some of their responses were able to inspire you to get out the door for a run, or jump start you to plan your next adventure.
Stay tuned to read a bit more about the new UD chicks, along with the entire UD team. Additional and updated bios soon to come. For product updates and news, check out our website or sign up to receive our newsletters.