A group of six of us headed down to Grand Canyon for a double crossing on October 22nd. In the caravan were Shad, Shane (down from Portland), Casey Flanagan, Matt Koppenheffer, Brett Dawson, and Mike from Seattle. There were three double crossing virgins on this trip (Casey, Matt, and Mike), Brett-3rd, Shane-2nd, Shad-7th.

Regathering at the 1.5 mile marker

We took the South Kaibab to North Kaibab and back route for this trip making a 42 mile out and back. We started around 6:15 am to avoid needed a headlamp from the start. It was a bit chilly when we began, but it warmed up fast once below the rim. The decent down S. Kaibab went pretty steady and we enjoyed the sunrise lighting up the colors of Grand Canyon.

Train of SMUTs

After enjoying the bridge over the Colorado we refilled at Phantom Ranch and headed uphill.

Casey on the Suspension Bridge

Snacking at Phantom Ranch
I was utterly astonished at the number of people coming down from the North Rim. We guessed that literally bus loads of people were herded over and completing a single crossing to the South Rim. Since I started going to Grand Canyon a few years ago the number of runners has increased steadily. However, this was way beyond anything I had ever seen.
In a way it was nice to see a large number of people getting out and enjoying nature; however, there were quite a few people that looked to be struggling. Additionally, at the North Rim there were several people attempting a double crossing that didn’t think they could make it back. As the popularity of running in Grand Canyon grows I think we may see more of this. People read about it in Runner’s World or some other magazine and think it would be neat to try not realizing it is a very difficult run and there are not aid stations to drop at.

Ahh….done ranting. Back to the adventure.

And Up…….
North Rim

It warmed up quite a bit as we descended back down. A couple of us had to slow it up a bit but Shane was thrilled to be running in warm weather again. Besides being long as hell the decent back to Phantom Ranch went smoothly and we ended up getting there in great time.

For the first time I finally remembered to bring a few bucks to buy some of the famous lemonade at Phantom Ranch. It was pretty darn good, but Shane and I also noticed they had Tecate also on the menu. We figured how often is it that you get to enjoy a beer in the middle of an adventure run in one of the Natural Wonders of the World and said ef it. I must admit it was one of the tastiest beers I’ve ever had.

We spent quite a bit of time hanging out and talking, and some rehydrating, and we started getting antsy to get going. We had pretty much all agreed it was a free for all on the way back up the South Rim. It is tough to stay together on that climb. Shane and I ended up heading up together, except for him outkicking me at the end.

Despite the beer and antics this ended up being my best time for a double crossing at just over 11 hours. Everyone did extremely well and everyone finished in under 13 hours which is great for a first time.

October 30th, 2011

Posted In: Grand Canyon, Rim to Rim to Rim, Uncategorized

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The Leona Divide 50 mile trail race was a focus race leading up to the Western States 100 in late June. I wanted to do well as a litmus test of where my fitness was with two months to go. I caught a lift with Josh and Casey which turned an otherwise miserable drive pleasant as we bitched about The Man.

Taking place in the Angeles National Forest with almost 40 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, the LD 50 is a scenic and enjoyable course. With 8900 feet of elevation gain/loss, it wasn’t easy; however, the terrain made for easy footing making the entire course runnable. Not having to watch out for rocks or roots made a much larger difference than I expected as well. It was somewhat cold at the start and windy, but I found a way to keep warm, boom boom.

Pre-Race with Yoli

The first 11 miles or so were mostly uphill on fire roads. I felt pretty good and was shocked to reach the first aid station, mile 8.5, in about 1:07. This was ahead of schedule a bit, but I knew there was plenty of racing left. After hitting the single track of the PCT, Pacific Crest Trail, the grade leveled out and I enjoyed chatting a bit with some fellow runners. The aid stations averaged four to five miles apart and I felt I was able to keep a pretty accurate mental note of my pace throughout. I kept reaching them ahead of schedule and was building quite a buffer for my hopeful sub nine hour finish.

Typical PCT view in the middle part of course

I almost gasped when I reached the aid station at the approximate half way point 3 hours 43 minutes into the race. “What the hell is going on here?” and “Did I stop my watch on accident?” kept running through my head but I tried to just focus on keeping the pace and staying up on calorie and fluid intake.

I pushed a bit harder after reaching the top of a tough climb around mile 34. It was a bit tough on this narrow downhill section being an out and back course as we had to dodge runners coming from the other direction. Trail courtesy here is mutual but usually it is easier for people going uphill to lean to the side a bit. One lady was pretty lost in here music and I couldn’t slow down and I almost knocked her down the ravine. From then on I started calling out “heads up” and avoided any catastrophes.

I slowed down quite a bit going uphill out of the mile 42 aid station. The spring in my legs was fading to a noodle, but eventually I got to the apex and only had about 2 steep downhill miles to the finish. I saw the runner that had been right behind me since about mile 38 gaining some ground just before the finish. I didn’t really care that much if he passed me. All the same though I sprinted it in and crossed the line in 7 hours 28 minutes. I was pretty wrecked, but elated to have beat my previous best 50 mile time by 2 hours 15 minutes. I placed in the top 10 our of 232 finishers too. Amazing how much better the beers and pizza tasted after having such a good race.

It was also great to see a bunch of California running friends there at Leona as well as the Las Vegas SMUT runners that made it down.

May 7th, 2011

Posted In: ultra marathon, Uncategorized

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I went down to Grand Canyon this last weekend, Saturday April 2nd, for my sixth Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim. This was sort of hastily planned and ended up being a solo trip. Unfortunately, I remembered everything except for a camera. This ended up being a bummer because the conditions were significantly different from previous trips being early in the season and such a high snowfall year. Instead, I’ve included a few photos from some previous trips and will describe some differences.

This was first time I actually began the run in the light. I knew I’d have around 13 hours of light and didn’t see taking more than 12 hours. At least this is what I rationalized when I said F/U to the 3:45 alarm I had set and snoozed it for another hour. This ended up being wonderful and was able to enjoy the beauty of the Canyon right from the start.

I reached the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch in just over an hour. Heading out I noticed how strongly Bright Angel Creek was flowing. Normally, creek is a pretty accurate description for it; however, being a warm early Spring day the flow was off the hook.

As an example, below is a picture of place where we cross the creek taken from last November. This time I waded knee-deep upriver about 15 feet from where I was sitting in this picture. The rock I was sitting on in this picture was well below the torrent.

At this location water was cascading down and I got drenched from the downpour each direction. Luckily it was warm because ice here would have been a show stopper.

Speaking of show stoppers, I had quite a surprise when I reached the ranger house about half way up the North Rim. I didn’t even bother checking conditions because I knew water would be off at the top where snow was still almost 3 feet deep.

What I didn’t even consider was the possibility of water being off at the ranger house. I sat there for a good long while considering turning around but really didn’t want to. In the end, I decided to just take water out of the creek. I wasn’t too worried about any critters, but all the same I really didn’t want to drink any more than I had to. As a consequence, I was pretty dehydrated when I got back to Phantom Ranch and sat there for a good while and pounded almost 60 ounces of water like I was in a chugging contest.

I felt refreshed and pretty strong heading back up South Kaibab Trail. I ran significantly more of this stretch than I had before. I think feeling so good helped me enjoy the experience more. Instead of being completely trashed and being fixated on getting the hell out of the damn hole, I just lost myself in the Canyon’s majesty and beauty.

Before this trip I was wondering if I’d be bored with the Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim. In fact, the opposite ended up being the case. I sort of wish I didn’t have another race in a few weeks so I could go back. The amazing trail, challenge, and scenery was just what I needed.

Above all, there is something that sets Grand Canyon apart from any other race or adventure I’ve done. For me, the scale of the upper canyon and  ancient rock in the inner gorge acts like a sink that drains away malaise and frustration which I had in abundance before this trip.  One can’t help but feel pretty insignificant in Grand Canyon and even the heaviest weight seem rather petty afterwards.

April 4th, 2011

Posted In: Grand Canyon, Uncategorized

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Holy crap it has been a while since I’ve posted anything. Hadn’t realized it had been so long. I’ve been keeping busy with work, school, and, of course, running. I have had itchy feet, figuratively speaking, recently and have been wanting to get out of town for a few weeks now. I had a few options but decided to head down to Phoenix for the Mesquite Canyon 50k. As a bonus, my friend and coach Ian Torrence was also going so at least I’d know a one person in addition to the several acquaintances I know from the Phoenix area that I figured would more than likely be running as well.

This was the second year for the race put on by Aravapai Running so I knew it would be managed well and at a good venue. As it turned out, this ended up being one of my favorite races I have done. The location was at White Tanks Regional Park just outside of Phoenix. This is the second regional park, in addition to Mcdowell Park and the Pemberton 50k, I have ran a race at in Maricopa County and I have to say they are pretty impressive. The diversity of trails and beautiful scenery provides Phoenix residents with every kind of training possible save altitude training. And that is available only a couple of hours away in Flagstaff.

About 90 runners started the 50k in addition to those running the other distances that started later in the day. My goal for this day was to just run a solid long run without killing myself as to not jeopardize training for upcoming goal races. Knowing the course was pretty hard and with zero taper coming in I didn’t even wear a watch and just tried to enjoy the day.

The first eight miles or so was pretty uneventful passing through mild climbs surrounded by desert sagebrush and giant saguaro cacti. We then descended a steep canyon that can aptly be referred to as gnarly. Soon after the ground leveled off I saw a runner going the wrong way. I then noticed he had a number on and I then realized I would soon be climbing back up that steep nasty little canyon. “That figures,” I said under my breath as he ran by.

The rest of the day went pretty well besides getting a bit dehydrated at one point. Another notable section of the course passed through a canyon that made the one earlier look like a piece of cake. This “trail” reminded me more of my canyoneering days than trail running. I kept my mood light though and laughed at how sinister it was for the race directors to put this section so late in the race. I finished strongly and crossed the line in 5:35. A pretty solid time for me given the effort and difficulty of the course.

I would definitely recommend this event to anybody wanting a challenging early season race. It had every kind of terrain from flat groomed trail to runnable climbs to technical, bordering on dangerous, descents. Additionally, the operation was first-rate with excellent aid stations and course markings. Finally, the good company, competition,  and many fine-looking women at the event was like icing on the cake.

March 19th, 2011

Posted In: Mesquite Canyon 50K, ultra marathon, Uncategorized

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(reposted from smut blog)

What a beautiful day we had for this year’s version of the Red Rock Fat Ass. 41 runners started out and most finished. SMUT was represented extremely well and we all had a good time, at least for the majority of the day. Josh, Shane, Shad, Brad, Eric, Dana, Peggy, Tami, Kathy, Paula, Barbara, and Amy came out and Casey Harney swept the course.

Everyone was all smiles at the Willow Springs picnic area where Britta, Karen, and Flanigan ran the aid station. The race really began here on the difficult 4.5-5 mile climb up Rocky Gap Road. The road was extremely washed out from recent storms and we encountered mud, rocks, ice, and snow on the way to Red Rock Summit. 

Josh led the whole way
Shane Leaving Willow
Barbara and Amy leading the Dirty Girls
Tami
Brad smiling as always
Dana all smiles before Rock Gap Road
Kathy before the spill
Shad on return to Willow
Peggy working hard

The climb and descent of Rocky Gap Road took its toll on most of us. Probably none more than Kathy who took a nasty looking spill and wisely called it a day when she got down. It was pretty cool to be have this out and back to be able to see and cheer on all the familiar faces.

It turned out knowing the course turned out to be vital. The actual course was just shy of 23 miles but many did at least one more if not several more miles. At the finish line it was pretty hilarious to see people coming in from every direction imaginable. Brian Tinder from Flagstaff set the record and found a way to fit in a true trail marathon. Josh Brimhall found him hitchhiking on the road when coming back from grabbing some lunch. 

Finishing times are not that important in a Fat Ass event. However, several SMUTs had some strong runs (Josh 3:08, Shane 3:24, Shad 3:32, Eric 3:39?, Brad?, Peggy 4:45ish?) The dirty girls (Dana, Paula, Barbara, Amy, and Tami) stuck together the whole day and kept each other going. They definitely got the time on their feet award and really enjoyed the day.
Albeit a changed course and different feel, I think we kept the spirit of the Fat Ass. Lost runners, beer at the finish line, and above all getting together with like minded people who love the outdoors. Thanks to everyone for coming out. We all appreciate Britta, Karen, and Flanigan for helping at the aid station. Finally, special thanks to Red Rock Running Company and Ian Torrence for all the work that went into making the race happen.
Shad with race director Ian Torrence
Eric finishing well
The dirty girls rolling on in
Barbara, Amy, and Dana
Tami dug deep to finish
Shane and Brian Tinder
Frida providing some entertainment
Post race 40 yard dash against Clara
Paula at the finish
All in and accounted for

January 9th, 2011

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The Evolution Valley 100k is not well known outside the running community of the Owens Valley. I first heard of it when I did the Bishop High Sierra 50k, my first race, a few years ago. 55 miles self supported through some of the most beautiful areas of the Sierras sounded right up my alley, although well out of my league at the time. This summer I felt I had the experience and endurance to complete it. Usually this route is done in a horseshoe, but I decided to make it a true loop leaving and ending from my campsite. This ended up adding about 14 miles to the round trip totaling a convenient 69 miles. I left with the following items in my small pack:

arms sleeves, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, gloves, warm hat, visor, 14 gels, salt pills, iodine and neutralizer, Nuun, a couple packs of Starbucks Via, a large cookie, and 3 cheesy rolls.

I left my campsite at 4am August Friday the 13th. Returned at about 4:30 Saturday the 14th. I was on the traditional route for about 20.5 hours with 4 miserable hours along the roads linking the trails. This was a great adventure and I tried to take my time and enjoyed it very much. Most hikers I ran into couldn’t believe how I got so far out there with so little. Many were doing to the same loop, but in 5-7 days. On the final decent just after midnight from Bishop Pass I ran into a group of people just starting the same loop but in the opposite direction. Amazingly I knew one of them, the ever lovely Catra Corbett who in addition to her sexy punk look, is a hard core ultrarunner/thru hiker. It was pretty funny seeing them close to the end of my adventure and the beginning of theirs.

I took quite a few photos and there are too many to insert so here is a link to album.

http://picasaweb.google.com/tradshad/EvolutionLoop?authkey=Gv1sRgCNzLupuajNbWWw&feat=directlink

Map of trail

Map of Loop

August 15th, 2010

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Last night I decided to take a day trip over to Death Valley for a little trail running and some sightseeing. I’ve been through DEVA a few times and hiked Telescope Peak once, but not much besides that. I figured this would be a nice getaway without spending much money and better than sticking around home all day. Upon entering the park I pulled into Zabriskie Point. I grabbed the camera and did a short 3 mile loop.

This strange contraption ended up being for a music video shoot

Typical view to the south of Zabriskie Point

View across Badwater to the Panamint Mtns. Telescope and Wildrose Peaks in Background

Salt deposits embedded in mudstone.

After Zabriskie Point I went to the Furnace Creek Visitors Center and walked around a little bit before heading North to Titus Canyon. I was unsure of travelling the 3 mile gravel road leading up to the mouth of the canyon so I just ran it. I decided against running up the slot canyon because it is a popular 4×4 road. There was a hiking path headed along the escarpment so I took that instead and found some pretty flowers and rock formations.

Mouth of Titus Canyon

I couldn’t believe this dead ass looking plant was still blooming

Small but pretty purple flowers growing out of the gravel

Cool Caves

Natural Throne

I just liked this rock and plant

Lizard

I thought this plant growing right out of the crack was pretty cool too.

After travelling a little over a mile my stomach started to growl so I ran the 4+ miles back to the car and headed up to Beatty. There is a pretty good Mexican joint in Beatty and I was craving their fajitas. Additionally, there is this wicked hot Romanian girl that was working there last summer so I was hoping she would be there as an extra treat. On the way out of DEVA I passed a bunch of bicyclists on both sides of the road. Apparently there was a 100 mile bike race, Hell’s Gate Hundred, going on today. There were a lot of…well relatively large for spandex cyclists riding the race. There were quite of few people on those low rider recliner bikes too. Just before getting to Beatty I saw one of those eliptical bikes with no other than Dean Karnazes riding it. I have to say I was actually embarrassed for Dean. I’m all for someone whoring a product to make money, but it was sad to see. Luckily the hot Romanian was working that day so the fajitas tasted all the better. After packing down enough shrimp, chicken, and steak for two I had an ice cream just so I could look at her a little longer. All in all, not a bad day.

April 3rd, 2010

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Things have been going pretty well lately. I haven’t updated this site in quite some time because, frankly, I was bored with it. I have preferred to microblog on Twitter and Facebook which is quicker and easier. Having said that, microblogging has its limitations. In particular, one can’t really say much in 140 characters and this doesn’t go very far in describing an experience. So I’m going to try to do a better job at keeping this site up to date.

So here is a quick update on what’s been going on lately. In the beginning of January I ran the Red Rock Fat Ass 50k. This year only six people entered the RRFA although all finished the race. Unfortunately, this is quite different from years passed when turn out was high and the race attracted elite runners like Josh Brimhall and Ian Torrence. Fortunately for me, no elite runners showed up so I ended up winning the race. More importantly, I bested my time from last year by 20 minutes.

In February I ran the Pemberton 50k for the second consecutive year. I ran faster than last year; however, I was a bit dissapointed in this performance. At the time I was still dealing with some plantar fasciitis issues which slowed me down, but I couldn’t help be feel a bit unsatisfied. A couple weeks before this race I started working with Ian Torrence as a running coach. Not coming from a running background I didn’t really feel I had a good training plan and usually decided on my daily run about 10 minutes before I started.  Ian has run over 150 ultramarathons, 49 wins, and is extremely well regarded in the community. So far this has been going great. It’s nice to have a plan in place and the varying workouts have been paying off.

Last week I ran a local 50k in Bootleg Canyon which is about 15 minutes outside of Las Vegas. I was a bit apprehensive about paying to run where I run every weekend, but it was also difficult to pass up a race where I didn’t have to travel. At least I didn’t have to worry about getting lost. This race ended up being my first DNF, did not finish. Everything was going pretty well. I had completed two 12.5 mile loops and only had another 6 mile loop to go. I was actually feeling pretty good and was making decent time, 4h 25min for 25 miles, but I just didn’t feel like running any more that day. I didn’t see any moral victory in covering the same ground for the third time that day and I was bored. For me, this race was more of a training run in getting ready for a 50 mile race, Zane Grey, later this month so it wasn’t any big loss anyway.

Besides that there isn’t too much to report. I think I’ll be taking a day trip to either Zion or Death Valley pretty soon so I’m going to force myself to keep my promise to updating more regularly.

April 3rd, 2010

Posted In: Fat Ass 50k, Pemberton 50k Trail Run, Uncategorized

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Everything has been going reasonably well lately.  I’m doing well in all my classes and everything is going well with work.  My running training has been going particularly well.  So far this year I’ve knocked off over two and a half hours from my 50k best time.  More recently I’ve been doing longer runs on the weekends as well as speed work during the week.

Despite all this, I’ve felt a little down lately.  It’s not that anything bad has happened or that I’m really depressed.  I’d say malaise more accurately describes my attitude.  Stress about what to do with working out my schedule with work and school may have something to do with this sentiment; however, I think more than anything I have been craving adventure.  I’ve had the feeling of the world enclosing around me like the walls of that trash compactor  in the Death Star from Star Wars.  After my friend Bruce and I postponed a hike we had planned for Saturday, I called a local ultra runner, Casey, about coming along on his Grand Canyon rim-rim-rim run.  Since he was going alone he was glad for the company.  

Friday afternoon we drove over to Williams Arizona which is about an hour outside of the park.  When we arrived there was a fair amount of snow and it was freezing outside.  This was a little worrysome to say the least.  The South Rim was another 1000 feet higher in elevation and, therefore, about 5 degrees colder, Oi Vey.  Moreover, when we got to the North Rim the weather could be even worse.  We kept positive about the run but realized there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to do it.  

We woke up at 2:30 a.m. and were on the road by 3:00 a.m.  We saw three huge elk along the roadside and luckily they decided to not dart in front of us because Casey didn’t see them until I pointed and said “holy shit”.  The weather really started looking bad as we entered the park.  Later we both admitted we would have turned around and went home right there if either of us were alone.  The wind was whipping snow flurries across the road and we were shocked by the cold as we got out.  All our gear was ready so all we had to do was grab our packs and get going.  This was a good thing because I was freezing my but off and may have bailed if I had time to think about it.

With our headlamps and flashlights illuminating the trail in front of us we descended below the rim about 4:10 a.m.  Things started looking good for us almost immediately because we were protected from the wind below the canyon rim and we warmed quickly as we jogged.  The snow on the trail didn’t effect our footing at all.  However, we took it easy.  Hitting an icy spot and spilling over the edge would have ruined the day pretty quickly.  Before I knew it we were pulling into Indian Gardens 4.5 miles into the run.  We filled our bottles and set off again still in the dark.  I was in front and set a moderate pace taking advantage of smoother parts of the trail and slowed on more technical parts.  Casey said we were making good time.  Now I didn’t know Casey all that well.  I’ve met him a few times and we seemed to like each other well enough; however, I hadn’t exposed any of my idiosyncrasies to him.  I figured this was as good of a time as any and said we need to keep a good pace so Gollum (yes Gollum from Lord of the Rings) doesn’t get us.  I think he pretended not to hear me because there was dead silence after that.  

About thirty minutes after leaving Indian Gardens I turned off my headlamp.  Although the Sun wasn’t up I could see well enough to not trip and fall flat on my face.  We got to Phantom Ranch a little after 6:30.  The camp was lively as people  were lining up for breakfast.  We got our normal strange looks as we filled our bottles with water and powery substances and sucked on energy gels.  I guess my orange tie-dyed spandex gaiters didn’t help us either.  

The next couple of hours were pleasant.  We chatted, enjoyed the scenery, listened to the rush of Bright Angel Creek, and kept moving.  I was feeling great and knew I had plenty of fluid because I was urinating pretty often.  We filled up yet again at a water stop about 7 miles past Phantom Ranch and prepared ourselves for the death march up the North Rim.  We noticed the snow line was pretty low on the north side of the canyon and we were pretty sure we were going to encounter significant amounts of snow.  Indeed, we started seeing snow along and on the trail just after Roaring Springs which is still about 2500 feet below the North Rim.  We couldn’t really do anything else than keep going and turn around if things got too ridiculous.  The dusting of snow on the canyon walls was absolutely beautiful.  I decided last minute not to take my camera but I regretted this decision.  It would have been worth carrying the camera 48 miles just to get a few pictures up on the North Rim….sorry.

While we did encounter quite a bit of snow, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we feared.  I led the way and de-virginized the fresh snow on the trail.  (I’m pretty sure I heard it say daddy.)  The snow was about 8 inches deep in the worst areas but only a couple most everywhere.  This probably slowed us a bit and it seemed like forever before we finally reached the North Rim, our turn around point.  We didn’t stay long because we were getting cold not moving.  There was no water available anyway so there wasn’t much reason to linger.

As we descended the North Rim the footing was better than I had expected.  I picked up the pace a bit and my gangster theme music, that Eminem 8-mile song, played in my head.  Yes, I felt pretty tough.  As my gangsterosity passed, I only know a few lines of the song, we passed another group of crazy people marching up the North Rim on their own double traverse.  I stopped long enough to say hello and find out this group of six was from Tuscon.  Continuing on the snow was much slushier than it had been on the way up.  This made for some serious puddle stomping.  Pretty fun for a runner living in the Mohave Desert.  It got pretty slick in a few places and the drop off only a couple of feet away suddenly jumped to the forefront of my mind.

Soon enough the snow faded away.  I was feeling really good but Casey was having some foot problems.  This slowed him up a bit, but this was fine by me because it gave me an excuse to stop and enjoy the scenery.  The snow on the canyon walls was just so beautiful.  It was is the StayPuff Marshmellow Man exploded into a fine mist of marshmellow bliss all over the canyon walls.  Again I apologize for not having photos to share.  

Soon enough we were back at the water stop at the Pumphouse Residence.  Literally this is a little house once owned by a park worker and artist named by Bruce Aiken.  When he lived there his children would sometimes bring lemonaid to hikers passing by.  Growing up IN the Grand Canyon? unbelievable.  

By this time the ibuprofin Casey took was kicking in and our pace picked up significantly.  Amazingly, I had almost no soreness and was plenty well hydrated (By this time I had urinated about 11 times, pretty annoying).  The walls of the canyon gradually narrowed and we soon dropped below the Great Unconformity (distinct line where sandstone meets granite and metamorphic rock that represents 1.2 billion years missing from the geological record).  I pointed out my favorite rock.  It is at the end of one of the six foot bridges on the North Kaibab Trail.  It’s actually a slab of rock that rises about 30 feet and is 20 feet wide.  The verticle banding of this gniess (pronounced nice) rock is just amazing and we stopped briefly to admire it.  

We didn’t waste too much time back at Phantom Ranch.  I sort of wanted to stop in the store for a beer but I figured this probably wouldn’t have been the best idea since we still had 10 miles and a 5000 foot climb up the Bright Angel Trail.  Throughout the day I had been eating 1 gel pack about every 45 minutes.  This seemed to be working well because my energy was up and I felt good.  As we prepared to set out from Phantom Ranch I realized my calculations were incorrect.  More accurately I didn’t calculate the number of gels I needed I just grabbed a handful and threw them in my pack.  I wasn’t worried about it.  I planned on saving it for Indian Gardens and hoped my energy held up.

We jogged for a bit to the foot bridge over the Colorado River and on the trail parallel to it.  Once we started up the canyon, however, we sort of zoned out and powered up the trail.  We passed several hikers and reached Indian Gardens about 1h 40 min after leaving Phantom Ranch.  At this point we only had about 4.5 miles to go.  I downed my last gel I had been saving.  Casey offered me more but, of course, my pride wouldn’t allow it.  After 12 hours of eating nothing but powdered sports drink and gels I didn’t really feel like another one anyway.  Plus I still felt pretty good and knew I could suck it up for the final climb out.

I glanced my eyes off the trail long enough at the Three Mile Rest Stop to spot a mountain goat grazing.  This was pretty cool to see and the tourists freaked out when I pointed it out to them.  I don’t remember much of the rest of the trip.  My blood sugar level was probably pretty low.  Guess it could have had something to do with getting up at 2:30 am and running across Grand Canyon and back.  

A few yards below the end we ran (figuratively) across a guy who was planning on doing the double crossing the following day.  We relayed the water stops and where there was no water and assured him the snow wasn’t a problem.  We reached the trailhead 13 hours and 26 minutes after we started.  This was about an hour faster than my previous time.  It felt great ending in daylight and I was dumbfounded by how good I felt.  After my previous two double crossings I was pretty wrecked.  Guess all those extra miles and speed work lately are helping afterall.  We ate and got back to Vegas about 11pm.  I enjoyed one of my friend Shane’s homebrews when I got home which thouroughly put me to sleep.

April 7th, 2009

Posted In: Grand Canyon, Rim to Rim to Rim, ultra marathon, Uncategorized

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News for April 1, 2009

1)China looking to become world leader in “erectric” vehicles.  Makes a lot of sense.  They have the capital and industry to implement it quickly.  US companies are struggling to stay viable and catch up to Japanese in fuel mileage battle.  China is way too far behind in combustion/hybrid technology so they are just bypassing them.  Additionally, this is a good sign that China is serious about curbing it’s air pollution problem.  Drawback for China is that electric (sorry erectric) cars may not be the answer.  Power still has to be generated.  Plus the cost and inefficiency of the transmission is a problem.

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/business/global/02electric.html?hp

2)Don’t think Obama will be saying “I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul” as Bush did on first meeting with Putin.  I really hope we can find some common ground and stave the Cold War posturing that has been building over the last several years.

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/world/europe/02arms.html?ref=world

3)Major infiltration of computer of Dalai Lama’s network as well as 103 other countries.  This is scary stuff.  The article mentions that they aren’t certain it’s China; however, China has had documents that could have only come from this spy network while detaining people.  This network could even turn on cameras and microphones over the internet….I got to get me one of these.

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/technology/29spy.html?scp=2&sq=dalai%20lama%20spying&st=cse

4) Feel good story of the day

Livescience: http://www.livescience.com/animals/090331-rare-dolphins.html

5) Great article on how people are abandoning boats along coasts.  I can’t help but thinking that someone would take these for free instead of them being trashed.

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/business/01boats.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

6)Shamwow huckster beats up hooker.  The title is it’s own punchline.

The Smoking Gun: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0327092sham1.html

7)Miss Universe visits Gitmo? First, why the heck did she even go there.  Maybe they figured they’d bring her in as a sort of treat for all these years of injustice (not all innocent but we have to admit we locked up innocent people and tried to throw away key).  I’m guess the bad guys were conflicted…they wanted to kill this infidel, but would she be one of my 72 virgins?

Foxnews: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,511879,00.html

April 1st, 2009

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