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Late Season

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I've been idle the past month, running and hiking around 50km per week and not traveling very far from home.  It's been a good respite letting my body and mind focus on different things.  This past weekend was my final weekend in that mode before the upcoming winter and I wanted a quiet and peaceful trip.  I drove up to the Southern Sierra hoping to reach the summit of Mt. Whitney via the Main Trail with a night camping at Trail Camp at 12K ft.  I've summit Whitney nine times but never have I camped on the way up the eastside so it was to be a different experience.
There was a death on the Mountaineers Route this past Tuesday and predictably I got the "you might not return" spiel from a ranger at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center.  I started my 2-day backpack at 4pm at the desolate Whitney Portal.  I prefer the Mountaineers Route but not knowing the conditions as well as being alone I decided to stick to the easy and mindless trail.
After packing my (very) cold …

Final Sierra Weekend?

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Another opportunity to head out to the Sierra for a few days before winter chill? Most definitely.  A big storm was coming off the Pacific and hitting the central and northern Range of Light but sparing the southern end.  Instead of snow there were 30-50mph winds all weekend without fail but with fairly clear skies.  That allowed a Langley summit, amazingly only my second time up the "easiest" Sierra 14er but boy that frigid wind was piercing.  A stunning view of the Whitney region greeted me at the top and I hunkered down away from the wind long enough to not get frozen and down a bag of chips.  Down "Old" Army Pass and back to Horseshoe for another windy night by the fire.  It turns out most of the Sierra got dumped on with the hope of good things to come.  If this was my last weekend out there until next year then I'm happy I came out.  I've come to the realization I didn't backpack one night this year (although car camped a fair amount) and that is…

(Polar) Bear 100

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Satisfied and not satisfied.  That’s how I feel about my race.  29:52 was not indicative of my fitness, the training I put in, and just the general time I spent in the mountains.  But that’s what I earned.  Although my game plan was to manage the weather with clothes changes when possible, I wasn’t prepared (clothing-wise) for the last snowstorm just before midnight with sub-freezing temperatures (#4 on the day) at mile 75.  It turned out to be a costly mistake.  Arriving at Cowley Aid downright frigid, ice blocks for feet, I hunkered down in a canvas tent with a propane heater the size of a small TV, after initially leaving and turning back to the aid after .1 miles.  That intended short stay to get warm and feel my feet again turned into six hours.  I’m still not sure how that happened.  I guess I didn’t think I would warm up or the potential for hypothermia was real and it wasn't worth the risk.
Yet other runners persevered through that weather and it made me question my mount…

Final Sierra Weekends

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Weekends are now synonymous with leaving town.  It’s become natural to leave, as I just don’t want to be in LA Friday though Sunday if I can help it.  The more I leave on these weekends the more I want it to be permanent. 
Andy came along for the ride (not that he needed convincing) and we spent a nice weekend enjoying the final autumn days before Sierra Winter comes around.  I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would like in the Sierra this summer but other mountains called.  Time to make up for some of it.  As Andy was in taper mode (read: having nightmares) for his Big Backyard Ultra in Tennessee and I was still in recovery mode we planned to take the weekend slow.  We camped at Lake Sabrina Friday night and took in the palette of fall colors the aspen groves showed off.  The next morning we headed off on a mellow hike/run on the trails passing several lakes until basking in the warm rays of the sun at Hungry Packer Lake.  If only everyday could be like this.







After our 13.7 mi…

Missing - Part I

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It's been a long while since I posted anything.  Over a year in fact.  That seems to be the case with blogging and the like for some unknown reason with me.  However, I'm inspired to write again and to record my exploits with whomever is interested, even if it's just me.  It's hard to succinctly sum up what has happened in the last year without writing a few pages but I'll touch up on some of the more significant things (Part 1/2).
Shortly after AC100 last year, I spent several long weekends in the Sierra and climbed some peaks.  Namely, Mt. Tyndall (14er), Mt. Julius Caesar, and Red Slate Mountain.  Each one of those peaks offered new trails, x-country travel, and spectacular views.


 After the Sierra snows came I started rock climbing at an indoor gym close to my apartment in downtown, Stronghold Climbing.  I became mildly obsessed (as I seem to do with most things I get interested in) and started going 4 days/week, making friends, and venturing outdoors.  That …

Angeles Crest 100: 2015

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Hike the long climbs hard, run easy on the flats and downs. That was my strategy heading into my third Angeles Crest 100.  I knew I could hike hard and fast uphill all day, thanks to the time spent on my fourth John Muir Trail backpacking trip at the end of June.  Running and hiking in the San Juan's of Colorado for 9 days and pacing my friend, Chris Price, at Hardrock 100 didn’t hurt either.  Indeed, it helped establish my confidence heading into the 29th edition (my 3rd) of this historic local race. After sleepwalking my way to a 29:45 (my slowest time) finish at the 2014 AC100, the race stomped whatever confidence was left to be able to run these races well.  I could come up with a million excuses but the fact was I’ve always experienced big lows that have taken forever to get out of.  My belief was that it was simply not taking and digesting enough calories, so I went back to my tried and true method of GU gels and salt pills.  Thanks to the book “Waterlogged” by Tim Noakes I…