Monday, August 31, 2009

What a week! Chrissy and Martin share their tale of adventure from the Transrockies Run

Chrissy and Martin have been kind enough to provide us with a detailed report about their once in a lifetime experience in finishing the Transrockies Run last week. So go grab a Fat Tire ale and kick back and enjoy:

So we flew into Denver, got picked up by a gore rep, Vicky, who was also picking up two other guys from Michigan - Marshall and Kyle - from Gazelle sports in Michigan. They were really cool and we had a good time driving out to Buena Vista, this cool mountain town that I would have never thought to go to in a million years. But there were mountain bikes everywhere and we were surrounded by desert mountains. We checked into our rooms and then into the event. They hooked us up with gear - we each got a large duffle that would hold all of our belongings for the next 6 days, a gore windstopper jacket, race shirt, aluminmum water bottle, timex titanium watch, nathan running waterbottle, lots of food bars and gels and salt pills, socks. We got our chip and number also.

We dumped all of that at our hotel and got dinner. Dinner was really good and they gave a presentation about the event and how it would go and how the last ones were. The event had 240+ teams of two from 6 countries. They gave us a briefing for the next day then went back to the hotel to get ready and go to sleep.

Day 1: We woke up, left our duffles for the race people to pick up and went to breakfast(I will not comment on food anymore. It was very good and plentiful - there were no complaints). Then we milled around waiting for the start at 10. 30 minutes prior to the race we beeped into the starting gate - every morning, you file into the start box 1 at a time. They check that you have all of the necessary race gear - jacket, hat that covers your ears, gloves, emergency blanket, first aid kit - then you arm your chip so that it starts a new split when you cross the starting line which makes a beep sound. We ran out of the town - less than a mile and then hit our first ascent into the mountain desert. This was big rock, not a ridiculous climb but 21 miles. Steep sections and steep rolling hills. Dirt and large rocks. Very daunting introduction to the race.

Every night, we had hot showers after the race. We would get our bag from the race crew and would find an empty tent. We had a clip on number tag that we would clip to the tent to show that it was claimed and to help us find it. We would unpack a bit, then go shower. After, there was a tent with free food and beer and a bunch of marketing things from Salomon and Gore - you could try to win jackets and packs and shoes every night. Dinner was at 5 pm. At 7 was the daily race presentation. First they would give out the category awards 3 deep then the overall stage winner for each category. Next, the sponsors would give a marketing promo, give out prizes. Then they would go over the next day's race - first the race director talked about the course, then the medical team would give a weather report, and highlight any medical items - hydration, blisters. Finally they would do a google earth flythrough of the course and hightlight anything necessary. Finally there were two slideshows for the day and a movie created from footage captured during the day. They would then let you know when the race would start - usually 8am, when breakfast started - usually 6-7:30.

Day 2: We started with 2.5 miles slight uphill on gravel road. Then hit mountain and very vertical - 1/2 was up through steep lush forest. It was very cold that day. About halfway way up, we passed above treeline on our ascent to 12,500 feet. We were going for a pass between 14,500ft peaks with snow in them. Then we started a descent to the finish - lower than the start for the day. It was very fast - first through the barren treeless section and then into steep twisty woods. Chrissy and I were flying and passing people. This leveled out and popped out into a beautiful, expansive valley meadow with a stream winding through the middle. We made a stream crossing almost waist deep and then had another 3 miles or so to the finish of the 10 mile leg.

That night we went to Leadville - where it rained. No fun. Day 3: We started from the town center just up the street from camp and walked to the start. It was a very cold morning. This was a 24-25 mile day with several big climbs. I remember endless pine forest. We both abandoned our trail shoes today. They were terrible. We both rocked the road racers from here out - Nike Lunar Racers for me and a pair of Asics racers and the Lunars for Chrissy - our feet thanked us profusely. The day warmed up and we did not go above treeline. We even crossed the continental divide. It was a very long day and was hard to stay fueled. We came out at Nova Guides where the 10th mountain division trained for WWII, way out in the middle of nowhere. I soaked in a very cold mountain stream after the race. It rained that night and then got extremely cold. The tent had ice on it.

Day 4: This leg went from Nova Guides to Red Cliff. We started from Nova Guides and ran into the mountains. It wsa the now familiar M.O. of 2.5ish miles then boom - a mountain. This was a crazy climb. Just short of the 10 miler on Tuesday but it was steeper. We hit this beautiful forest with steep switchbacks. Then maybe 1500M from the top it got ridiculously steep. I mean unrunnable steep. We popped above treeline and then had a top-of-the world lush grassy field run. This went on over a mile and then we started our descent. Very steep fast endless doubletrack switchbacks. This seemd to go on for miles before it leveled out a bit and we raced a stream, crossing it several times. It was deep in places and cold but refreshing. We finished with 2.5 miles of downhill dirt road in the town. Total distance was ~14 miles.

We camped in Nova Guides again because this town did not have a place for us to stay but we came back and started the next day exactly where we finished. That night it did not rain but was even colder.

Day 5: Redcliff to Vail. This was another 24-25 mile leg. We climed for 10 miles and it was relentless. Through doubletrack flanked with forest and stream and expansive sunny meadows. On the way up we went through beautiful forest singletrack. It was cool and damp and somewhat rooty with few rocks. There were steep uphill and downhill stretches and some flat undulating sections. We came out into a huge meadow where we crossed into the Vail back bowls area on our way to the second climb of the day for another 1000M. From here it was an endless descent. It was about 5.5 miles to the first checkpoint of switchbacks through pine forests. Then another 4.7 miles down into the Vail ski area before dropping into this amazing tight steep downhill singletrack trail into the finsish in the Vail resort. Dean Karnazes was out that day because he cracked 3 ribs in a fall several days before. Owwwwch. Check out his blog about it and the times that he ran injured - amazing. Nonetheless, his team was out. I had a fall but nothing major. Very tight with toe-grabbing roots. We had a steak dinner. Oh, did I mention that the food was really good?

Day 6: Vail to Beaver Creek. 21-23 miles. We climed immediately into these beautiful aspens that were so dense that they blocked out the sun overhead. Switchbacks into the cool forest with waist high underbrush then into a slow undulating climb to the first peak of the day. We started a slow descent from the peak to the first checkpoint then down steeply into what Chrissy and I refer to as the dream run. We were in a very close singletrack trail of tall grasses and flowers - the path seemed to be only inches wide. It was very steep and fast. We ran next to a shallow ravine with rocks and trees and a brook. The mountain went up steeply on both sides. We were flying down the mountain with butterflys flapping around us. There were a few hurdle style jumps across small streams. We popped out into a town called Avon after 4 miles or so of this. There was a brief run through the town and then up a mountain into the Beaver Creek resort for the last climb of 1000M followed by several hundred meters of descent into the finish. The finish climb was tough after so many miles. We then started the final descent which went across a wide ski slope then would dive into the woods, make a switchback turn then pop bac out onto the slope. This continued several times.

Chrissy and I were making our last switchback on the slope before the finish and were about to pop back into the woods for the last time. I was leading Chrissy by about 20-30 feet and was maybe 50 feet from the woods. Just then I saw a black bear popped out of the woods on the trail in front of me. I froze and yelled to Chrissy to freeze and to the people on a switchback on the road to the finish. Just as we were about to make it, we saw maybe 100 feet ahead of us two more black bears right in the turn eating. We stopped and they looked at us. As soon as they looked back to their food and we backed away and cut the course again and finished with a gaggle of the other runners near us all yelling "BEARS!". Thankfully, we did not get DQed. But in truth, the distance we cut was less than the time we spent frozen.

We've also got a couple videos to share below. The first is from a day with a section of stream crossings. We did this on day 4. 14 Miles. We started out and then hit this stupidly-vertical climb(almost hands and knees steep). We found out later that even the pros were walking this part. They would watch each other and the second a flattish stretch occurred, they would start sprinting again. Must have been crazy.

However, after the peak, it was this 2 part descent. The first was on a steep section of dirt rocky double track for maybe 4 miles. Then it leveled out a bit and we kept crossing over this stream which finished with a 2.5 mile section of road and then the finish.

So in closing, we can definitely say this race was intense. It was like 3 weeks of intensity packed into 6 days. I realized at one point during the run that I had absolutely not a single thought in my head at times, hours into the runs I could barely remember where we had even started from. It had everything you'd want in this kind of event: interesting friendly people, good food, amazing running, excitement and danger. Totally. Awesome. Thanks for reading.

Chamberas XC Race a Success on All Levels

Despite the fact that Mother Nature was not cooperating, the 7th Annual Thomas Chamberas 6K XC Race was a rousing success this year, with record entries, record times and a record donation for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

First off, a huge thank you to the team of volunteers this year, coming out in the rain to help at registration, course marshalling, course set up and take down, water stop detail and all the other things required to make this race such a success. We really would be up a creek without such a crack team of experienced volunteers who know where they need to be and when.

Secondly, a massive thanks to all the runners that came out. We had about 160 finishers, and even more registrants so the numbers were as good as we've ever had. We had everything from Olympic athletes to first-time XC racers, from kids under 10 to folks over 70! It really is a "people's race" and we want to keep it that way. Open to any and all.

In terms of performance, we have to highlight the stunning run from the top two men. Olympic triathlete and BAA runner Jarrod Shoemaker showed up and just flew across the mud and puddles to set a mind-boggling course record of 17:27. And matching Jarrod nearly stride for stride was second-place finisher Brian Harvey in an equally impressive 17:29. As the person who designed this course and ran it in the morning to see all the puddles out there, I am simply dumbfounded by that pace--astonished. Also impressive in the men's race was the GBTC team taking places 3-6 all in very fast times, especially given the conditions.

The women's race was also very close at the finish, with Esther Erb outkicking Amelia Bishop for the win by a hair in an outstanding 21:15.

On the team front, huge thanks to GBTC, MVS, SISU Project, Naval Academy Prep,and all the others that brought members out.

I'd also like to highlight our 70-plus finishers John Parker and Jonathan MacKenzie, both finishing under 33 minutes on a rainy tough course!

And of course, thank you to our sponsors including: Adidas, Mizuno, La Sportiva, Reebok, Sporthill, Asics, CitySports, Marathon Sports, Darn Tough Vermont, Welch's, and all the others I may have forgotten. Also thanks to the organizers of the USATF-NE XC Series and the Eastern New England Trail Race Series for including our race in their series.

Photos available here, courtesy of the mighty Jim Rhoades.

Friday, August 28, 2009

They did it!

Chrissy and Martin finished the final leg of the TransRockies Run today. CONGRATS!!!!They finished 33rd in their division, putting in close to 30 HOURS OF RUNNING in six days!!! Holy freaking cow! Amazing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chrissy and Martin pick it up in stage 5

Their strategy of starting easy and picking it up is working perfectly. Today, Chrissy and Martin, aka Team Gore/City Sports, started their leg in 35-degree temps and finished a long 24 mile stage with more than 4000 feet of climb in just under 6 hours in 32nd place in their division. Their performance pushes them up to 35th in the general classification now with just one more stage to go!! Tomorrow it's a 21 mile stage with another 4600 feet of climbing from Vail to the finish in Beaver Creek! Bring it home guys!

NETT-Banana finshes sixth place at Lynn Woods Relay

A rag-tag group of NETT runners took a few teams by surprise on Wednesday night by finishing sixth place overall in the Lynn Woods XC Relay.

Big Ben Winther took the NETT squad out and mixed it up with some of the faster runners in the field to put Crazy Dave in good position to pass a bunch of teams. By the time Janos Mako took off on the third leg NETT was in the top 5 teams. The Hungarian Land Shark gobbled up ground despite having a great-white-sized chunk missing from his leg and held a great position before passing it off to the world's fastest poet populist, Jean Dany Joachim. JD turned on the jets to bring us home in a solid 6th place overall.

To put this team's accomplishment in perspective: Had Ben and Dave been a couple years older (the four-man team's combined age is 165, averaging well above 40), this squad could easily have walked away with the master's team title this year.

On a historical note, this marks the seventh straight year that NETT has fieled a team in the Lynn Woods Relay, dating all the way back to 2002, when the Banana first reared its yellow head. Despite the stress of getting to the start on time it is a great event and one NETT plans to support for a long time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

They're through stage 4!!

Chrissy and Martin tackled a 14-mile stage today in 3:51, good for 34th in their division and sit 37th in the open mixed division for the race so far. While it was a relatively short and net downhill stage, the photos show there was some stream crossings and at 11,000 feet, nothing seems easy.

Another amazing run, but it gets tough tomorrow. According to the web site, "the 5th day odf the 2009 GORE-TEX TransRockies Run is another long day out on the trails. Covering 23.5 miles with nearly 4500 feet of climbing, the runners face possibly their longest day or running of the race. They cross two passes above 11,500 feet and traverse the spectacular China Wall on the backside of Vail Mountain before desending steeply to finish in the village. In 2007, runners were snowed on during this stage but the forecast is far more benign in 2009."


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

They're through leg 3!

Well Chrissy and Martin (aka Team Gore City Sports) tackled perhaps the toughest leg of the Transrockies Challenge today,24 miles at an average of 10,000 feet elevation, with nearly 3000 feet of climbing. They finished in 6:03 and currently sit in 36th place in the mixed open division of the general classification! Keep it up guys!

Full results here.

And if you haven't checked out the amazing pics from the race, see them here.

Chrissy and Martin through two stages of the Transrockies Run

Great news! Chrissy Durden and Martin Bures have successfully completed the first two stages of the Transrockies Run out in Colorado. They finished stage two yesterday, a very hilly 10 mile leg, in 2:58, about 30th place out of 50 mixed teams in their division. In stage one, they were 37th place in their division in a 5:03 effort over a 20-mile leg., so their strategy of starting out conservative and moving up the ranks is paying off! Next up is a monster stage three, a 24-miler topping out well over 10,000 feet.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

NETT braves the heat at Moose on the Loose race

As we say here in Boston, it was a freakin' scorchah! (Translation: It was quite warm with high humidity). But several brave Mini Ponies toughed it out in 90+ degree heat at the Moose on the Loose 10 Mile trail race and relay on Sunday.

On the ladies side, our new friend Kristin Hall ran a very strong 1:14 to finish in the top 15 of a very competitive field. Mary Smith continued to show nothing really phases here (marathons, high heat, the home buying process, weddings with port-o-johns) and cracked the top 100 in 1:18, good for 22nd woman overall. Adrienne Cyrulik's race/DNF/race strategy is sure to be a hit with folks soon (call her the new Jeff Galloway!) as she came back after a short breather to finish 62nd woman. And perhaps most impressive was (and I know I'm not supposed to make a big deal...but) Jenn Lavatino looked simply effortless in floating along to a 1:40, smiling as she hurdled the heat stroke victims piling up in front of her.

On the men's side, Marshall Randolph took the "pain is temporary, pride is forever" motto to a new level and not only finished despite a nagging injury, but finished second in his age group in 1:14. Mr. Consistency Jack Burke teamed up with Mary towards the end and came in at 1:18, while Crazy Dave finished 5th overall in 1:01.

And in the relay division, our new pals Ian Finlayson and his wife Wendy teamed up for second place in the 2-person relay (a perfect solution for couples looking to race without requiring childcare coverage!)

So, while it was a very tough day to be running, it was a very fun event, and as always, it was made more fun with good company. Congrats to all.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Follow Chrissy and Martin on their Transrockies Run Trek!

Hey folks,

I just got an update from Chrissy and Martin, who are out in Colorado doing the TransRockies run.

Here's a note from Chrissy and I'll do my best to post any info about their run we get:

Hello from Colorado!

Tomorrow (thanks to GORE-TEX) Martin and I start the TransRockies Run in Colorado as Team City Sports/GORE-TEX! I am really excited and a bit nervous, but in all it should be an amazing experience!

For those of you who are wondering what the TransRockies Run is all about it is "America's premier trail running stage race. 6 Days, 113 miles, 18,000 feet of vertical. Fully Supported."
I've run a few marathons, a bunch of trail races, but nothing this wild, so wish me luck!

You can check out the following links for details, news and updates....

Hope you are all doing well!
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NETT Rocks and Socks at Bayside Triathlon

Another fantastic day at the multisport races for NETT. Here's Frank's report:

The Bayside Triathlon in beautiful Barrington, RI saw two new mini ponies contribute to NETT’s overall success in the FIRM Grand Prix Series.

Tina completed her first triathlon of the season and more impressively her first ever ocean swim. The salt water must have treated her well because she had a solid swim followed by her usual strong bike and fast run to finish things.

Chelsea (NETT by affiliation with FKMSC) is an incredible swimmer and proved so with the 3rd fastest swim time of the day; in just 700y she was 3 ½ minutes faster than Frank! Her bike and run skills are pretty darn good as well so she won her age-group by a solid margin and placed high up overall.

Eri did a one-two punch following his Wild Cat performance up with another strong performance. And keep in mind when you scan the results that Eri swims sans wetsuit. Eri has earned a ton of points for NETT in the GP series. Lots of potential in that powerhouse.

Finally, I had a descent race myself – missing top 10 overall and top 3 in my age-group by mere seconds. Putting on socks adds about 10-15 seconds to your transition time and that may just make the difference between 3rd and 5th place. On the flip side I have no blisters to report. More disappointing (and somewhat embarrassing) is the fact that I went off course on the swim leg resulting in a significant time loss. I have to be happy with my run split though so all in all as I said a descent race.

Results have not been posted as of Sunday night but they will be here:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update on FIRM points for NETT

Quick update from Frank KJ:
With the phenomenal performances at Lowell and Wildcat this pas weekend, NETT raked in another 29 points in the Series to further cement our 3rd place. Paul, Martin and Eri all took maximum points and Karyn took the second highest possible points. Very impressive. You can find all the numbers here:

This coming Saturday there is another GP race. This time it is in beautiful Barrington, RI and the swim is in Narrangansett Bay. Not that I have anything against swimming in Merrimack River (just happens to be so that I never have) but nothing compares to an ocean swim; feels more like a real triathlon somehow. Anyway, as of now we have two NETT people entered but the more the merrier so please check out the race at I know Rhode Island may sound far away but it is actually not much further than the Old Colony race.

Go Mini Ponies!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Adrienne takes second at Dam Trail Race

Back in July, Adrienne was referring to the Blue Hills race as that "damn" race. But a month later, she's happily reporting a solid second place finish at the Dam Trail Race in Oxford this weekend. Here's her report:

"The race was good, cool and dry in the morning. It was a long race so I ran conservatively and didn’t know exactly my placing until someone told me I was third woman (I had passed 1 or 2 in the first couple of miles). I could see myself catching the 2nd woman but didn’t push it because it looked like she was slowing down (she looked more like a soccer player and had a running “lumber”). At the first water stop she stopped and I kept going and the distance became significant. We had to go through 2 mud puddles up to our ankles and one wide stream crossing and it was technical in spots. I felt good and came in 2nd in 1:32, but there were 7 minutes between me and the 1st place woman. My time overall wasn’t outstanding but it’s hard to judge in the trails. Overall I placed 20th out of 113."

Congrats Adrienne!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

NETT swarms the Merrimack at Lowell Triathlons

NETT had a very strong showing at the Lowell YMCA Olympic Distance and Wild Cat Sprint Triathlon.

From Karyn Eminem:
NETT had a great morning at the two different Lowell triathlons. Paul Miller (my adopted brother) came 2nd overall in Wildcat Sprint (with an amazing time of 50:41);
and Eri came 6th in his age group (1:04); and I came 5th in the Old Lady category (but 2nd in the run!) with an overall time of 1:13.
Martin came 6th overall in the Olympic distance (1:53:14), looking very strong! And Bogie finished in a respectable 2:23 (admitting that he hasn't really been in the water yet this year). Very fun morning, and Frank (who has had more than a week of stomach flu) was on hand to cheer everyone on.

And from Martin:
So it was a pretty nice day out there for a triathlon. The weather gave us some cool temperatures which was nice. There was a strong NETT showing today - Bruce, Eri, Frank, Paul and Karyn MM. Frank was spectating and Bruce had a last minute injury seconds prior to the start. I did the international distance and Eri, Paul and Karyn did the sprint. I got out for a strong start to avoid getting smacked around and was able to ride that to 4th out of the water. Again, the bike leg was my nemesis but my average pace is improving and I dropped some good time. I opened it up on the run and was able to chase-down a good number of the people who went by me on the bike leg, which was also good enough for the fastest run leg. I ended up 6th overall and 2nd in my age group.

Congrats to all! Another great showing.