Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
                                                                                                                                                                            www.ponyexpress100.org

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Utah Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Utah.  Many rivers, streams, and creeks flow into it and there is only one outlet near my home, the Jordan River which flows to the Great Salt Lake.  Utah Lake is 12 miles across at its widest point and about 21 miles long.  This year the lake is at its 2nd lowest level in over 50 years because so much water was allowed to flow out of it during the summer for irrigation. The lake is very shallow with the maximum depth this year about 9 feet with the average less than 5 feet deep.

Each year hundreds of cyclists ride all the way around Utah Lake using a 100-mile route for a “century” ride.  There is no established trail that runs near the shores of the lake, so roads are used.  Most of the route around the lake is rural farm land with the exception of about ten miles on the east side through the Provo-Orem metropolitan area.

As far as I know, I’m the only person who has run all the way around it, with a route of about 85 miles.  I’ve run around it twice.  I looked forward to running around it again and with the low lake level, try some cross-country bushwhacking on the south end to reduce the miles. continue reading…

Crooked Road 24 hours

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I had the great privilege of running the Crooked Road 24-hour race in southwestern Virginia.  This race gets its name from a rich local music tradition in the area.  The Crooked Road ties together 19 counties and more than 50 towns where heritage music is celebrated year round.

I had never run a race in the South.  When Ultracentric in Texas was abruptly canceled, and all the registration fees pocketed by a “crooked RD”, I turned my attention to Crooked Rd 24-hours and was pleasantly delighted with the entire experience.  I highly recommend this race.  With fixed-time races like this, the objective is to run as many miles as you can during 24 hours. continue reading…

The journey to becoming an ultrarunner has many varied paths. I personally never dreamed to be a runner of any kind and in fact most of my life, pretty much despised running. But along these unexpected paths, running somehow evolved. This story is mostly for me, to look back and understand where I came from, but it also may be of interest to others as they too become an ultrarunner.  Perhaps this is my runner memoirs.  It is a attempt to bring together many of my experiences and lessons learned over the years. Recently updated (6/16)

Full book: downloadable PDF version to read off-line. 237 pages, 18 meg. 10,947 downloads to date.  

To be continued…

Kodiak 100

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I again ran Kodiak 100 which is in the San Bernardino Mountains at Big Bear Lake, California.  I ran the 100 last year and enjoyed it enough to return.  This is an easier mountain 100 and has about the same difficulty for me as Tahoe Rim 100.  But make no mistakes, there are a couple very tough sections of this race involving some long, difficult climbs.  The finishing rate is only about 65% which is pretty low, but typical for newer races that attract newer ultrarunners.

The course makes a complete loop around Big Bear Lake but you rarely see the lake because generally you run up in mountains over the ridge away from the lake.  The course involves about 17,500 feet of climbing.  What keeps its difficulty down are many miles of dirt roads and a few miles of pavement.  There are also plenty of miles of fun single track, most up on the Skyline trail.  I believe the course is a bit long.  My GPS measured the course at 102.6 miles. This year they reversed the course direction from last year, clockwise, presenting a nice inviting change.  I couldn’t use my counter-clockwise split times from last year. It would be a new experience.  I believe I enjoyed the clockwise direction of this year a bit more. continue reading…

Cascade Crest 100

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Cascade Crest 100-mile Endurance Run is held in the Cascade Mountains near Snoqualmie Summit, just an hour from Seattle Washington.  This was my fifth visit and I’ve always had an enjoyable time running this beautiful forest course.  The theme for the run is “Tall Trees, Tough Trails.”  The trees are amazing, there are long climbs (22,000 climbing feet total), but the trails aren’t too technical.  The race directors do a superb job with the race, keeping it relatively small with a family feel.

For my last visit here, In 2014, I didn’t finish the race.  I became sick during the night, and while I recovered after sitting for an hour, I lost interest and decided to quit.  I was determined to not let that happen again and wanted to finish this race for the 4th time. continue reading…

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The Uinta Mountain range is the highest in Utah. Much of it is protected by Wilderness area. I enjoy running up in the high Uintas because of its remoteness and rugged beauty.  Most hikers and runners who go to the Uintas, only go to the heavily traffic areas, the Mirror Lake area on the far west end, or Henry Fork in order to summit Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah.  However, they are missing much more beautiful sections, better trails, and more interesting peaks that are usually only seen by backpackers, horseback riders, and determined fisherman.

In the Uintas, now and then, I experience one of those very special days when I have an intense connection with the trail, wilderness and nature.  This past Saturday was one of those amazing days.  The weather was perfect and beauty around me was stunning. I had the trail all to myself and the solitude was so peaceful.  I was disappointed when it ended. continue reading…

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As ultra and trail running becomes more popular year after year I am alarmed about a lack of respect for the mountain by many of these new trail runners. For centuries, mountains and their summits have been recognized as sacred places yet many of these young trail runners seem to think of them only as their personal playgrounds.

Some think nothing about throwing trash around the trails and purposely leaving stuff in clear sight on the high summits. Things left behind include an alarming practice of leaving “calling cards” on summits to somehow claim them and show friends that they have concurred the summit.  Others are leaving prizes, gifts, or drinks to be claimed by friends later on. Others take videos of various comical antics on summits including tossing boulders off them.  All this bothers me, but when challenged by a majority of the running community, the attitude by these few is “we can do whatever we want.”  It is just sad to see a growing disrespect for these amazing mountains by those who don’t respect the practice of “leave no trace,” or don’t value the sacred feelings others have for these mountain peaks. continue reading…

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I DO NOT agree with this common statement

Even more fun than running 100-mile races for me is doing solo adventure runs. My first long solo adventure run was in 2002, to Kings Peak in Utah. Over the years I gained more and more experience and learned how to run with minimal weight on my back, but enough food and emergency items to keep me out of trouble. I’ve now run thousands of miles solo in the back country in Utah and Arizona. I’ll routinely do runs of 50K to 50 miles and at times up to 100 miles.

I’ve been criticized for going out alone for such long distances. But those who know me understand that I’m actually very conservative as it comes to safety.

One year a local road runner who experienced the Grand Canyon for the first time was so excited about the experience that he scheduled a large group run for a Grand Canyon R2R2R in the heat of June, inviting anyone interested, including people he never had met before. Dozens of first-time Grand Canyon runners expressed interest. I was very vocal about how dangerous this was at that time of the year and how improper it was to organize group runs with strangers into dangerous areas. I had read and followed very closely all the canyon rescues and deaths from heat exposure. That runner and his friends slammed me on social media. Eventually someone informed the NPS authorities. Thankfully this large event never took place and soon the NPS started to require permits for these type of group runs.

The vast majority of my runs involve routes and trails where I know, where I can run into people, so I’m rarely really alone. I know my limits and take what I think are reasonable precautions. On certain runs I’ll take a rented satellite phone or a SPOT tracker. Other things are taken like signal devices, fire starters, and emergency blankets.

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