Monday, November 11, 2019

Sleep When You're Dead 12HR Night Adventure Race (9pm - 9am)

Red Feather Lakes, CO at the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch
Rocky Mountain Adventure Series

JZ and PWild, 2p Coed (Finished 2p Coed 2nd Place and 6th Overall)
Prerace meeting: 8:30pm
Weather: High in the 20’s overnight dropping to single digits, 60% chance of snow and wind gust up to 40mph.  Yikes! 
Preplanned:  Boiled water put in thermoses at Start/Finish and one in the Bin for T/A.  We had a jet boil but the wind was too crazy to heat anything up to eat.  Just keep moving……
The race format: “any order” and “nothing is mandatory”.  All points are optional and you have to get those points within the leg and use that mode of travel.  No going back to legs and getting points out of leg order.  And be back in 12 hours or you start to lose points.  “Create your own adventure”.  This is our favorite.   Bring on the Night! 
Our Plan:  
Prologue, Opening Trek, Bike to CP6-CP9, check time and proceed to other bike CPS or Bike to final trek, then to finish.  

What really happened....

The race started with a short Halloween themed prologue.  They had two persons from each team come forward to a large tangled web of string.  You had to find your team number on one end of the string, find the other end for the other teammate and tie the string to yourself.  Then when they said go you had to try and go up, under, over and thru to get the string un tangled without untying it to your teammate on the other end.   Was very challenging since you had other teams tangled in as well at the same time.  This brought out comic relief as people were crawling, going under picnic tables, over tree limbs, etc.  Taking about 5 minutes total to longer it was funny. 

Leg 1:  Trek
Retrieve CPs 1-5 in ANY order of Foot.  This section was awesome.  Cool night but lots of climbing that warmed you up fast.  We ended up taking off our rain coats and hats so that we didn't soak them with sweat as we knew the temps were going to drop after midnight and we needed dry gear.  We did well on this section.  Most teams, if not all went right to cp1 first and we decided to do 3, 5,2, 4, 1.  CP2 was Peak of Monster Mountain at 8059’.  We could feel the wind picking up…..  back to the S/F T/A 1 and punch in.  Off to change to bike gear and back to punch out at T/A 1.  But gear bin in truck to transport to T/A 2.    We drank some hot water to just warm up the core as it started to snow now. 
Leg 2:  Bike (We should re title this one to HIKE A BIKE, due to our navigation choice)  We took off out of the T/A 1 and took a short route choice, we thought thru the woods on the blue diamond trail as it looked like it intersected the road just up a short hill…..all we had to do was follow it north and it would hit the road.  Hike a bike straight up off the dirt road and across the small creek bridge covered in moss. (not traveled a lot)  It started to snow like blizzard straight sideways making it hard to focus with your headlamps.  It was white out conditions and it took all of us to keep our heads down and the snow out and keep the heat in.  Climb, climb, keep pushing….we would try to ride 20 feet and end up off our bikes again looking for the trail markers…..  Seemed liked we just keep going and going.  Then there it was!, no not the road but a building……what?  We shouldn’t have run into a building……  so we decided to regroup, go in the outhouse bathroom, and look at the map out of the wind and snow.  It didn;'t take long until "Remember when I said we should have just stayed north"…..well somehow the trail turned and went due northeast and now we were in the camp soaring eagle section of the course.  

Lesson re-learned, Follow your bearing, pretty rookie mistake.  Feet started to get cold from all the trekking in bike shoes, so we had to take a minute and change our socks, warm up a little and regroup.  This really put a damper on our spirit but we prevailed! 

Ok, so we need to leave this building and go do NORTH and we should hit the road.  Right?  Right!  Ok, back out in the blizzard.  At least we were able to ride from the building to the gate we had to climb over to the road on our bikes.  Finally!  The road, so now we had to decide what to do.  We didn’t have time to go way north due to the conditions.  So we decided to get CP6 and CP7 and then go straight to TA 2/3(not getting 8-17).  We passed a few teams that had flat tires and were walking…..bummer. 
Leg 3:  TA 2/3….was just a gate road entrance.  No shelter from the snow and wind.  So we grabbed our Bin and got on the other side of the volunteer car to try and block some of the cold wind as it was single digits at this point WITHOUT wind chill.  Sat down on the plastic we had to change to our trekking shoes.  We didn’t want anything else in our bin but the HOT WATER.  We drank to warm our core again and hurried to move on.  Keep moving, it’s the only way to stay warm.  This trekking section was a area that was not like the first trek.  This was very windy prairie, open, windy, rocky, and windy, with ups and downs in the wind and the snow covered the trails so you really had to watch where to go.  We got CP21 and CP18.  Leaving CP 19 & 20) CP18 was a grave and jay played a trick on my and said “it looks like its dug up” yelling down to me, I said   “what? In a freaked out voice as its close to Halloween!” and he said “just kidding".  My water had frozen and I had to rely on JZ’s to drink.  The trick of blowing the water back down your hose was a new one to me.  As we took the road back to the T/A 2/3 to our bikes the sun started to come up, we thought this be a warming feeling but it just seemed to feel colder.  The bar mitts on our bikes saved our fingers.  It wasn’t till this point in the race that we started to get REALLY cold.  Temps just kept dropping the whole race. 
Leg 4:  Bike to CP22 and to finish.  My bike chain decided to freeze and would let me change gears.  So riding a single speed and that S*&cks, lol.   Jay was afraid if I tried to change gears while riding it would break the chain and we would be walking back.   At one point we switched bikes, jay worked on my chain got it free and then rode my bike….keep in mind hes 6’2 and im 5’6 and he looked like a clown on a small bike ……but we got it moving again.    Back to the finish, we were done, its hard to keep eating as well when all your food if frozen.  But we made it.  What an amazing race night in the woods.  Good times and thank you Katie and the Boy Scouts!

Post Race:  We had a small breakfast burrito when we finished, thank you Katie's Mom. We had about an hour to wrap up event so we went to change out of our cold cloths.  That was nice!  We returned and did a lot of talking and chatting with other racers.  We enjoyed the going around the room and hearing how others got into this awesome sport.  We look forward to seeing them again and building the Colorado and beyond AR family. Congrats to all the first timers, stellar job. 

Thank you Katie, Nic and matthew and all the volunteers.  And for the photos!!!  It was really nice to see Katie at the finish and the photographer to catch the emotion of our frozen faces. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Quarry Mountain Quest 6HR AR, Steamboat, Colorado by Athena Adventures/361 Adventures

1st Quarry MTN Quest 6HR Adventure Race
Steamboat Colorado
June 2019
by Athena Adventures/361 Adventures

Team Lupine Racing 
2P Coed
Jason Zorilla and Paula Pearson

Very excited to be a part of one of our old AR friends athena and 361 races to grace the Rocky Mountains. We took on the Quarry HR AR as a good "getting" back into it. June in the Mountains can bring any type of weather and it did, hot temps, rain, hail, lighting and more hot sun. This race was a fundraiser to support the Routt County Search and Rescue.  

Normally this race would have taken on a very different face. Due to weather in Colorado.  This year we were met with Epic high snow pack run off which Nix'ed the tube/paddle section which was very understandable.  We scouted out the section of water the night before and was like "wow".   Athena was on top of communication on this and said they would let all teams know options the morning of.  We brought our gear just in case.  

The race started at 10 with prerace at 930.  What we get to sleep in?  This felt odd, but great!  Arriving at 8:15 we staged our bikes at the central TA, gear bin and went to find bathrooms.  Seemed pretty calm compared to other races.  The park was full of softball games going on and all kinds of activity as well in the heart of Steamboat along the river.  

We received our maps at 8:30 and the planning began.  Rules of Travel, Clue Sheet, Passport, Emerald Mt Trail Network and Local Topo Trail Map at 1:16,000.  See maps below.  Navigating between each map made it challenging as well as they were not oriented to each other.  (see North Arrows drawn in by JZ)  The Paddle section was now a trek.   

There were 3 legs to the race.   Best part you could do them in ANY ORDER.  You had to get the points with in each leg only when you were on that leg.  Returning to TA after each section.  Once done with section you could not return.  
Pwild suggested and we agreed as a team to go on foot Leg 1(6 points): as we notice the bike leg was in the same section.  Getting to know the trails first may help us on the bike section later.   The Trek section took a little longer as we planned due to missing some early short cuts by going back and forth between maps.  Lots of trails, switchbacks and elevation.  It was a ski place after all.   We made some new trail buddies, 16 years old and just getting started in AR.  They were fun and said "we just want some new friends".    We said that's awesome!  See photo below of them on the course with us.  Great guys!  Hope to see them again in the future.

It was very hot and we went thru way more water than we thought we would.  In all our years in CO we have never seen Mosquitos like this year, not as bad as Wisconsin but bad.   Getting all CP's, 6 total and back to the TA.  On the way back we talked about doing the bike leg and then the trek(was paddle) but we notice we were doing well on foot and leg 5 had 5 points plus a bonus.  Bonus was the farthest point and a volunteer gave you a mental of physical challenge.  

Leg 3 (7+1 points): Trek in town we are doing!  In and out of the TA in 3 minutes just time to check in and get some water in packs.  This section started straight back up the Olympic ski Jump Mountain to the top of the main ski jump.  JZ helped PWILD climb by allowing her to hang on to his shorts from behind. We were just hoping they didnt fall down.  :)  This is were PWilds hot spot on her right foot came on.  Dealing with this for months now.  So it was jog and fast walk the rest of the race.  ARriving at the farthest point JZ took on the physical challenge, he had to stack 7 rocks straight up as fast as he could.  Bam!  Done, he was so fast even the volunteer was shocked. Side note: He like to do this as a hobby.  Off we went.  Getting all the points, the last point a storm started rolling in on our way back to the TA.  Like monsoon raining, JZ said you want to take cover?  PWild said "%$^#" it lets go we are already wet.  
Back in the TA most racers were under the pavilion.  We check in and JZ brought our bin to the shelter so we could get our bike gear on.  NO time to waste.  We thought we had the wrong tires to start but now we REALLY knew we had the wrong ones.  This was going to be a mud fest.  :)
Leg 2(5 points): We went for 2 points, maybe 3 if we had time of the bike section.  The storms were still raining hard on us and we headed out anyway.  Because that just what you do!  Got the first point then turned to climb higher and the black cloud above was loud with lighting and thunder.  Jay stopped on the trail and said we cant go out in the open prairie or we could be in danger of this lightening.....lets hunker down for a minute and see if it passes soon.....we waited.....waited, under a small bush like tree cover but not really, getting more wet.  We waited I bet 10 minutes and then took off, just in time to grab point number 2 & 3 and take the fire road STRAIGHT down behind the TA.  Slip and Slide the whole way!  DONE!

Came into the finish it stopped raining and we hugged and smiled it was over.  Great race for beginners and seasoned racers.  Well done, creative, positive atmosphere and still challenging all around.  We recommend this race to everyone!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

CHASIN' the Bone AR in WI by Rick Schnell

May 4, 2019 was just too nice a day for an Adventure Race.  Light winds, cool temps, no bugs, no rain, and clear skies.  Team Lupine meet  at the  St. Cloud recreation center in Wisconsin, just North of the Northern unit of the kettle Moraine State Forest. The race was the Chasin the Bone 9 hour Adventure race.  This was the 2nd race of the 2019 Wisconsin Adventure racing series, and Race directors Anthony Leiton and Mike Prucha were getting to be old hands at directing this race.  The race started at 9:00AM, with a short Mountain Bike ride to the paddle put-in on the Sheboygan river.  Located on the river, both upstream and down, were  checkpoints of varying values.  (two check points downstream were worth 1 and 2 points, and another, located upstream was worth 3 points)  Team Lupine members Dan Ziegler, Michele Ericsson,  myself, along with fill-in team member Andy Starsky loaded into canoes, and set off on a 8 mile paddle to collect the  3 checkpoints .  We also hooked up with Solo racer Jeff Everson, whom will be racing with us in a couple weeks (Rib Mountain Adventure Race).  Jeff stayed with us the remainder of the race.  Always nice to have another set of eyes on the map. After the paddle leg, which took us 1 hour 49 minutes,  we transitioned to Mountain bikes for a 7 mile road ride to TA2 at the Red Oaks Orienteering section in the North Kettle Moraine state Forest.  The woods are very topographically challenging, but we found the 11 controls with little difficulty, returning to the TA2 and setting off on a 5 mile road ride to the Greenbush area of the Northern Kettles.  At the TA3 we hit the Mountain bike trails for 9 miles on the Greenbush Mountain bike trails.  We completed this section exhausted, but with the 2nd fastest time.  Again now at TA3 we transitioned to the last orienteering section on the Greenbush maps. The maps and area that we were orienteering in are some of the best that Wisconsin has to offer.  If you ever get the opportunity to do an orienteering event here (Usually hosted by the Badger Orienteering club) I highly recommend it.  This area was sculptured by a glacier hundreds of thousands of years ago, and the woods are very clean and run-able.    We managed to locate 18 of the 24 controls (2hrs 24 minutes), before our self imposed time limit of 5PM made it necessary to return to the TA3.  We then quickly transitioned back to Mt.Bikes for the last 10 mile bike leg back to the finish in St.Cloud.  The team  finished at 5:41PM, with a total of 40 out of a possible 46 controls. 
So, when all was said and done, we finished in 2nd place in the Coed Elite division, 3rd overall.  We managed a qualifying spot in the USARA Nationals race in September down in North Carolina., Due to the fact the 1st place team racing the Chasin the Bone adventure race (Rib Mountain Racing team ) had already received the $400.00 sponsorship towards Nationals in an earlier race this year, that sponsorship rolled down to us.  That, and $100.00 cash for 2nd place finish in our division made a nice day even better. 

Thank you to Lupine Lights, Hammer Nutrition, Suunto, Zeal and Salomon!

Next up will be Rib Mountains 8 hour Adventure Challenge, the next race in the Wisconsin Adventure racing series.  Come out and Play with us!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim R2R2R by Eric Olsen

This is a recap of my Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (R2R2R) run on April 28th 2017. If you are not familiar with R2R2R, it is traversing from one rim of the canyon over to the other side and back, and in my case I would be doing this in one day. In total it is 40+ plus miles and gains 11,000 ft in vertical distance. There are a few different route choices, but mine was to start at the South Rim on the South Kaibab trail, to the North Rim on the North Kaibab and back up the South Kaibab (SK-NK-SK). This was the shorter of the route choices at 42 miles, but was steeper than going back up Bright Angel, which would have added 2.5 additional miles. There is also no water on the SK, which I will explain later.
Preparing for this run was no easy task and it was something I did not take lightly. This would be my longest pure run that did not involve a checkpoint. Prior to this, my longest run was only 20 miles, and I was looking to more than double that with a significant amount of vertical gain. The one thing I had on my side was my experience with long endurance events. I have done many multi-day adventure races and ROGAINE style orienteering events. However, despite that, I was still a little apprehensive on how well I would be able to handle this run. Mentally I knew I could do it, but I was more concerned about my physical ability. I did not want to be that guy being evacuated by helicopter, because in the canyon there are not a lot of options should something go wrong.
A great resource that I utilized for preparation was the ‘Grand Canyon R2R2R Run!’ group on FB. There was plenty of information from other people sharing their experiences. You can also find out about trail conditions, water availability, etc. I checked this page frequently, because there were trail closures on the North Kaibab due to a rock slide that occurred earlier in year. Trail repairs were being done which meant that the trail was closed from 8AM to 4:30PM daily. This posed quite the dilemma on a start time, in order to avoid being turnaround by the trail closure. Option B was to start at midnight to make it past the construction. This would mean running half of the run in darkness, which was not very appealing. Part of the experience of the R2R2R is the amazing scenery. But as luck would have it, the construction band was lifted just 2 days prior to the run. This meant sticking with plan A - a 4:30AM start time.
Sara and I arrived at the Grand Canyon on Thursday and completed all preparations for an early morning start. I laid out all of my gear and made some final decisions on whether or not the items were really necessary to carry. I wore a Salomon AdvSkin5 running vest, so space was at a premium. I counted up my calories to ensure I had enough for the run. I carried 3,200 calories in food. The remaining 1,000 calories would come from my Hammer Perpetuem. My vest holds a maximum of 2.5L of fluid. I opted to only fill the main 1.5L reservoir and only one of my .5L soft flasks in order to save some weight for my decent into the canyon, with plans to fill up the other .5L soft flask later in the run. I alternated between Hammer Heed and Fizz in order to change up my electrolyte intake. After packing up the vest and laying out my clothes, the only thing left to do was get some sleep.

The alarm went off at 3:00AM, leaving time to eat a decent sized breakfast and drive over to the nearest picnic area to the trail head. The picnic area was a ½ mile away, so it was a good warm-up for the legs before the leg-hammerfest began. We arrived at the trail head at about 4:30AM as planned. However, after a bathroom stop and few photo opportunities, the official start time was 4:42AM. This is coincidentally the same time I was born, but was completely unrelated.

The conditions could not have been any more perfect. It was never too cold nor too hot, and it never rained. The temperature at the rim was in the low 40’s at the start, so I wore a thin jacket, but it quickly came off just a few miles in. I never wore it again. The temperatures continued to remain cool for most of the ascent up the North Kaibab. It only ever really got warm on the way back when I was in the lower part of the canyon, but even still there was a nice breeze that kept me cool.
My approach was to break up the run into 7 mile segments. This is basically the distance between available water stops - Phantom Ranch and Cottonwood Campground. The first 7 miles is pretty much all downhill until you reach Phantom Ranch and then it is an uphill for the remaining 14 miles until you top out at the North Rim. Granted the climb between Phantom Ranch and Cottonwood is gradual, but it gets much steeper after Cottonwood.

By the time we reached Phantom Ranch, I had not had much to drink. I checked my bladder and knew I had enough to make it to Cottonwood. I snapped a couple pics and we ran on. This is when Sara took off. This was always expected as she is the stronger runner. We were together but on our own journeys. When I made it Cottonwood I was just about out of water. I refilled my bladder and soft flask and kept moving. There would be one more water stop before the North Rim at Manzanita. The water at the North Rim was still off for the season, so this meant I would have to make it up to the North Rim and back to Manzanita before I could get more water (10.8 miles). Topping off was imperative as the steepest climb was yet to come. I did opt not to fill my second soft flask, which turnout to be ok.

One of the amazing things about the GC is that there is no shortage of awesome scenery. It really keeps your mind occupied and makes the suffering a little more enjoyable. The ascent up the North Kaibab is no exception. Once past Manzanita you get a view to Roaring Springs, a gorgeous, raging waterfall. There are also some towering rock formations that seem as tall as skyscrapers. Running on a Friday in early spring, trail traffic was light, so I got to enjoy most of these views alone. Personally I take more pleasure in viewing nature alone rather than with groups of people.

It took me 2 hours to get from Manzanita (Pump House Residence) to reach the North Rim. I arrived in just over 6 hours. I was stunned that I had made it there as fast as I did. It was such a confidence boost and my energy level shot up. I thought to myself that I might be able to actually do this in 12 hours, which is a lot shorter than I had originally planned. However, in order to do it, I knew I had to hustle. Sparing little time, I turned around and started to head back. The upside was it was going to be downhill for the next 14 miles. Going uphill and downhill uses totally different muscles, so it was a nice reprieve to be going downhill again after a long uphill.

I started thinking about the upcoming milestones. By the time I would make it back to Manzanita I would have my first marathon, and midway between Cottonwood and Phantom Ranch I would have my first 50K. This only brought me more energy, so I just kept running. I stopped at Manzanita to fill up on some water, ate some food and I was back on the trail. I sailed right thru Cottonwood since I did not need any water. My next and last stop would be Phantom Ranch before my final ascent. The 7 miles between Cottonwood and Phantom felt long. I attribute this to the time crunch I put myself on. I wanted to give myself as much time to ascend back up South Kaibab as I could.
At Phantom Ranch I topped off my reservoir and both soft flasks. I saw a bathroom and went inside leaving the door open. This provided me with some shade as I situated my vest. Shortly after a woman arrived and waited in the doorway. I went about my business repacking my vest and chatted briefly with her not realizing I was in the women’s bathroom the whole time. Oops! I thought it was a little strange she was just standing there, but I thought she was just curious about what I was doing. This would be the first time carrying a full load of water, but I knew there was no more water stops until I reached the South Rim, and I knew it was going to be a long grind to the finish and the temperature was rising. It was a good thing that I did, because I did not have much left when I finished.
The start of my ascent up South Kaibab was strong. I was tired but felt good knowing I was close to finishing. However, the more I ascended, the more tired I became. I started eating and drinking just to keep my energy level up. I was starting to feel a little nauseous but I kept moving forward. I started sucking on a Gin-Gin (ginger candy). It seemed to help settle things. I was moving slow, but was making progress forward. I knew I could not stop if I wanted to have a chance to finish in 12 hours, and I never did stop. But I was just not moving fast enough to make it. I watched the time tick away on my watch as the 12 hour mark came and went. I knew I was close. I just had to keep going. I was a couple switchbacks away when I saw the top. At that point my adrenaline took over and literally sprinted up the remainder of the trail. I’m sure it wasn’t much of a sprint but it felt a lot faster than I was moving prior to that. I reached the South Rim in 12hr and 12mins. Although I missed the 12 hour mark, I was elated to be done and to have completed the run.

Overall, the R2R2R was an unforgettable experience. I was super pleased with how the day went. My body held up just fine. My Salomon Ultras and Hammer Swiftwick compression socks were a great combination. They kept my feet happy the whole time. I end up eating only half of my food for a total caloric intake of about 2,500 calories. It was tough but doable run. I thought the R2R2R might be a one-and-done type run, but I have a pretty good feeling I will be back for more.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grandpa made me a do it....100 Half Marathons

100 Half Marathons (5 Years), Half Marathon Club
Paula Elaine Pearson

Back in 2005 I decided to run a full marathon in honor of my grandpa Daasch that passed away suddenly and unexpected.  I decided I want to do “something BIG, and outdoorsy, for him” to celebrate his life and what he taught me growing up.  I was never a “active” person or even an athlete, my brother took care of that part.  I was a artist and band geek.  So researching things on line about how to train for a marathon and “how to even run” was way out of my comfort zone.  I remember not being able to even jog even down the block with out feeling like I was going to pass out and parts of my body rubbing raw against each other.  I thought several times to my self, this is awful, why would anyone run anywhere.  Let alone 26.2 miles straight!  

So I started looking at what marathon I wanted to do as this was going to be a ONE and DONE.  (so I thought at the time)  I wanted to do a marathon in a warm place and also give me time to train.  I pick Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in Jan 2006.  I did my run/walk/jogs.  I also thought it be a good idea to do a half to see how training was going but the Indy 500 had already sold out so I just said well…..thats OK, i just go straight to the Marathon. OUCH!

I picked a marathon because I wanted to do something physical and mental that my grandfather would think was cool.  You see, hes the one that introduced us kids to the outdoors.  He taught us to enjoy nature, how to skip rocks across the pond, catch frogs, catch lightening bugs, feed the ducks, ride horse back, pick and tend to the garden, ice skate and sledding, and riding bikes.  He did it all, even took all of us camping.  So an outdoors event that challenged the mind and body was a perfect way to celebrate him.  

The Disney Marathon….well I finished.  It was not easy, nor was I even trained and ready for it.  I learned a lot about running and for some reason did many more marathons after that.  

When we moved to colorado back in 2013 I decided I wanted to continue to honor him.  I set my goal out to run 100 half marathons in 3 years, well that was way too many in that time frame.   After I did 26 in one year, I decided I needed to cut back a little.  In Colorado you can do a half marathon every sat and sun pretty much all year, except Nov, Dec and Jan.  

So when I run, and not every run is a good one.  I talk to grandpa in my head A LOT.  You can see in photos that I carry a picture of him with me.  

Sometimes I think he talks back when the sun comes thru the trees and lands on my face, or when a few snow flakes land on my nose, or when I feel a gust of wind at my back pushing me up the hill.  All signs I know hes with me and saying “Good Job Punkin’”!   

So here’s to you grandpa, see you on the trails!  I love you and miss you every day.

Paula Elaine

*Some random photos, too many to post with 56/100 so far! :)