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Tagged ‘racing‘

SkiMo Race Report: The Father Dyer Postal Route

A century and a half ago, a minister by the name of John Lewis Dyer journeyed over 1000 miles by horse and by foot from Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. His mission was to teach the gospel to morally bereft inhabitants of the mining camps popping up across the state. Settling down in a mining town called Bucksin Joe, “Father Dyer,” as he became known, made frequent crossings of 13,100′ Mosquito Pass in order to spread the word of God and deliver mail to various locales. The route was rugged, dangerous, and often snow covered. Dyer became a frontier legend after nearly three decades of tirelessly traveling between camps and preaching.  Today, he is remembered foremost by an eponymous mountain in the Mosquito Range outside of Leadville (Dyer Mountain, 13,800′). Read on →

Skimo Racing Vertfest Alpental 2016: 1st Place

The forecast called for temperatures in the 40s. As the weekend approached, the weatherman started calling for one to two inches of rain. The freezing level was above the mountaintops. Conditions were perfect for skimo racing.

Ok. That’s a lie. As Taylor and I drove to Washington on Saturday and mountain biked in the rain, I thought strongly about bailing from the second Vertfest race at Alpental. Stupid me, I had preregistered for the race, which is for some reason the most expensive ninety minutes of skimo that I know of. I should have known better– when we raced here two years ago, it was also raining.

Still, there are only so many races in the PNW, so we decided to make a classic alpine maneuver and “go have a look”. Perhaps in terrible weather, and with much more attractive races beckoning from the rockies to those with flexible schedules, we might find ourselves the only ones there.

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Vertfest start, with yours truly center-punching it in white suit, orange helmet. (Image stolen shamelessly from Kurt Hicks Überguide).

Read on →

Skimo Racing Vertfest Mt Bachelor 2016: 2nd Place

Last weekend, Taylor and I drove to Central Oregon for the second skimo race of the short PNW season. Mt Bachelor hosts the smallest of the Vertfest races, but of the three (others: Brighton and Alpental) it has the most lighthearted vibe and fun atmosphere.

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Aaron, Me, and Tosch, getting ready to warm up under less-than-sunny skies. (Photo: Jesse Hambley)

I raced skimo here two years ago and surprised myself with a third place finish. Coming back this year, now with unflattering speed suit and real race skis, I wanted to win. The week before the race I felt well-trained and strong, but I also went backcountry skiing a bit too much. A couple of long days left my legs feeling a bit flat, and when race day rolled around, skimo psych wasn’t particularly high.

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Sprinting off the front after the start (Photo: Jeff Snyder)

Read on →

Kendall Mountain Run Recap

By mid July it was high time to put my summer training to the test. As chance would have it, my dad had notified me he’d be visiting Colorado with two friends to race the Kendall Mountain Run in Silverton on July 18th. He suggested I race as well–I’d get to see a new part of Colorado, eat good food and drink good beer (for free), race against some serious competition, and (most importantly!) get to spend time with my father. Read on →

Training Cadence for Skimo Racing

What separates fast skimo racers from slow skimo racers? Certainly equipment, technique, transitions, and fueling are all important considerations, but I propose that one simple metric sets fast racers apart from the rest: cadence.

In short, cadence is how many strides a racer takes per minute. It makes no measure of how long those strides might be. Cadence is a measure of pure turnover, and interestingly, one thing in common among all of the fastest racers is a fast cadence.

The fastest world cup skimo racers have a cadence of around 110-115 strides per minute. To make that more intuitive, they stride along to the snare-beats of The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” at 113 bpm.

(If The Clash annoys you too, try some Pretty Lights).

I’ve heard a few theories about why a faster cadence is good for you, but I can’t say that I agree with them. The easiest argument to make is that if I’m taking 10 more steps per minute, then over an hour, I’m 600 steps ahead. The problem is, this assumes that when you change your turnover, your stride length stays the same. It doesn’t; your stride gets shorter. If it stayed the same length, then the advice that I’m giving you now would be equivalent to saying if you just go faster, then you’ll go faster. Duh.

It's all about the stride length.

It’s all about the stride length.

It’s the change in stride length that is the important result of a faster cadence. Whether you shorten your stride and take more steps to maintain the same speed, or if you increase your cadence and have to modify to a shorter stride to avoid exploding, the result is the same: more steps, shorter steps. Read on →

The 2014 GoreTex Grand Traverse (Reverse)

For more than a week now, I’ve struggled against my keyboard to beat out a race report from the GoreTex Grand Traverse (GT), which Taylor and I raced on the night of march 28th and well into the day on the 29th. To encapsulate 15 hours of backcountry racing into a succinct blog post is nigh impossible given the spectral range of emotions and experiences that evolve and transpire during such a lengthy race. Nevertheless, inspired by a report from my friend and fellow racer Ethan Linck, I hope to bring you a few highlights. 

Expanding my sense of the possible is the biggest kick that I get from prolonged endurance events, and the GT was a new high for me. I’m a new convert to prolonged endurance, having only run my first Ultramarathon last summer. Nevertheless, it’s an addicting feeling to line up for a new challenge and to wait for the gun on a race that’s longer than you’ve ever done before. More addicting still is the confidence that, regardless of the duration, you are strong enough to finish– that feels good.

skinning crested butte

Skinning into the beautiful mountains of Crested Butte, headed to the sanctuary of Gothic.

Read on →

Wasatch Powder Keg 2014

Packed for the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg

Nearly packed for the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg

I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City airport , waiting for a flight to Denver. My heart rate is chugging along at 86 bpm, and I’ve just downed 1400 calories in under 15 minutes. In spite of my bulging gut, I feel lean and worn in a deeply satisfying way that I have seldom been able to access. It’s 6:00 pm, and I’m waiting for my flight home from the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg (ISMF North American Skimo Championships).

With recent local success racing at Mt Bachelor, I was ready to have my ego destroyed at the Powderkeg. The race is the longest-running skimo event in the US, and this year it was chosen to be the North American Championships. That meant that in addition to the strong Wasatch crowd, a pack of Canadians, Coloradans and other far-flung speed suit types would be coming to downsize my opinion of my own fitness. Nevertheless, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump in and tangle with much better racers in three different race formats; sprint, individual, and teams races against the best on the continent.

Start corral for the individual race.

Start corral for the individual race.

Read on →

Vertfest Mt Bachelor Podium

After skin difficulties and some hard-won lessons at Alpental last week, I was both nervous and excited to get back on snow this weekend for the Subaru Vertfest Mt Bachelor race. The weather was amazing, with blue skies and a light breeze, and around 60 people turned out to race in the recreational and elite divisions.

The course was modified at the last minute to avoid travel to the top of Mt Bachelor, which had yet to open. Rather than climb all the way to the top of the mountain, the elite division instead completed two laps of the second and longer climb before booting the cinder cone and descending to the finish.

Vertfest Bachelor Course and Altitude Profile

Vertfest Bachelor Course and Altitude Profile

Read on →

Subaru Vertfest at Alpental

Alpental Vertfest

Dumping snow at Alpental. When it’s a powder day, I prefer to Skimo race.

Yesterday was the first SkiMo race of the season for me. To anyone in Colorado that must seem late, but to those of us thus-far confined to the Pacific Northwest, we’ve only just begun to have a snowpack, let alone to race in it. This is the first race that I’ve done since the Wasatch Powderkeg in 2012, and with such break, I figured there’d be some hiccups. Boy was that right.

The Subaru Vertfest left me feeling proud, if a little battered. The tricky skinning caused silly equipment failures, but I feel reasonably good about my fitness, and even better about fighting through the equipment issues to finish the race.

Stats

Vertfest is the largest SkiMo race in the PNW, with somewhere around 130 racers competing in a variety of categories. The course involves two climbs and two descents through the Alpental Ski area. The recreational division completes only the first climb, while the Race category does both. (Distances and vert below per my GPS measurement). Winning race-category time this year was 1:19:57.

Rec — 3.2 mi, 2640′    Race — 6.0 mi, 4500′

Subaru vertfest Alpental course map

Subaru Vertfest Alpental Course Map

Read on →

Wasatch Powder Keg Registration Now Open

wasatch powderkeg

Registration for the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg is now open!

The race will span three days on March 7th – 9th:
March 7 – Sprint Race $20 – one climb/booter/descent
March 8 – Individual Race $65 – 6500′, 10 miles
March 9 – Technical Teams Race $130/team – 8600′, 14 miles

 

Wasatch Powderkeg

Register Here   $140/person for all three!

 

In addition to being one of the longest-standing, best-organized, and most entertaining skimo races around, the Wasatch Powderkeg will be the ISMF North American Championships this year.

What does that mean?

It means that racers can score points for ISMF and USSMF standings by racing at Brighton,  so the race will draw the best talent around to race on Dry Wasatch Snow.

Additionally, the race will be the third stop on the OR Subaru Vertfest, and they’ll be putting on clinics and events to benefit the UAC.

Come race!