Thursday, November 29, 2012

The North Face Endurance Challenge 2012 - A Perfect Storm Preview.

Staging for The North Face Endurance Challenge.

The temptation was too great to write this...

We are ultra-lucky that this little storm will ease up during the race after dumping 5 to 7 inches the previous three days. In my search for luck, I usually blog after my events. I always bring my camera to take pics and shoot video. I sometimes even write about it, but after the race. Well, not this time. No camera. Instead, I am gonna take a shot at being Gregordamas, and let everyone else blog after. I may do that too :-)

This time, I will write about what luck I see in the future. I see a perfect storm; a perfect storm that is saturating the mountains, hills, and trails of Northern California as I write; a perfect storm of the deepest field of elite ultra runners in the world to compete at the 50M distance; a perfect storm for Outdoor Apparel and Equipment Corporate Branding, UltraDropBags and Irunfar! May we all be perfectly lucky to finish safely while having fun out there.

In less than 48 hours, more than 2,000 runners will gather to race on trails in the amazing Marin Headlands and compete at 6 different distances from 5k to 50 miles.  Most ultra runners I have met over the years, have one race that is special to them - one that they run every year. In it's 6th year, I have not missed one. It was also my first. I choose to run the 50K so that I can enjoy the post race festivities and see most of the elite 50 milers compete and even finish while I enjoy an adult beverage. For those of you who know me, the pre and post race celebrations are a big part of why I run ultra's. Unfortunately, the storm is trying to play with my plan to face plant in the beer garden with my friends.

The luck is upon us, and as of now in the weather report shows a possibility of a break in the bad weather we are experiencing now. If you are running, please be prepared. This race will happen.

Yesterday, I did a final gear check in the 40 MPH down pour. All systems are go. Don't forget to re-check your gear too.

And, as the great Mountaineer, Richard Irvin said,

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear." 

True Dat!

In the men's race, the global ultra running community has recently (the past few years) been introduced to know about Sage Canaday and Leor Pantilat, your podium favorites. I know there are other names in this ultra-deep field including the defending champion, Mike Wolfe. But for this day, Sage and Leor will have the battle like Uli Steidl and Matt Carpenter did as the winners the first few years of this event back when it started in 2007 - The first "Money Grab" race!

Bryon Powell, Irunfar, respectfully calls Leor a wild card, holding nearly every 50K major trail course record in Northern California. I am here to tell you he is not a wildcard at the 50M distance, he is the favorite with the home field advantage. While most of us dream to see Max and Leor square off for a "50K death match", we will be happy to follow the competition via irunfar race coverage. Thanks Bryon! Sage is also a favorite to win. In fact, call it even. In their only 50M attempts, they set course records on very respectable courses. Leor does have a 6:01 course record on the Quicksilver 50M course that has over 8,500 feet of total gain. Sage on the other hand has the White River 50M course record (6:15) of similar elevation gain, but is much more technical.
Leor Pantilat with Adventure Running Buddy and Photographer, Joel Lanz.
Perfect Storm "the match up" meet perfect storm, "the storm". It will play a part. While Canaday has a few more long distance races under his belt, he does have bad weather training experience growing up in Oregon, living in Boulder, and racing at the snow and rain filled Chuckanut earlier this year. So does Pantilat.  With only one race over 50M in his race count, Leor has so many multi-day "time on feet" adventures that equal the 50 mile experience he is about to encounter. As we all know on the west coast, he is an "adventure runner", and has traversed and made ascents to most peaks in the High Sierras and Cascades in hot and cold climate conditions.  Leor and Sage will shine through the storm. My fingers are crossed for the both of you. GOOD LUCK!
Sage Canaday at Chuckanut 50K (His first Ultra) receiving 2nd place acknowledgement from Scott Jurek.

Now, for the Perfect Storm of business. Since the inception of this race, cash money millionaires have been blossoming in our sport. Okay, no millionaires  but our sport is becoming more and more about big business. The North Face, GU, HOKA One One, Injinji, Patagonia, Brooks, Mountain Hardware/Montrail, and Drymax being my favorites. But, let's also try to support the "little guy" this weekend and through the holiday season. Please send checks made out to me....just kidding.

Seriously, Bryon Powell is not getting huge sums to bring us his amazing coverage. Please contribute here so that he may continue to bring you the live coverage we crave.
Bryon Hunting Wabbits at Chuckanut earlier this year.

Bryon likes cake at Chuckanut post party. Thanks Krissy! That party ruled!

Bryon pouring private reserve for Mackey at WS just after his finish. Shhhhh.

Also, Danny Messex, of Ultra Drop Bags has only 21 Ultra Running Drop Bags left for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc. Gifts.  Go here to purchase these customizable and thanks to Danny's pre-printed inserts and checklists, preparing drop bags was never easier. only $34.95

Thanks for visiting.

Let's have some fun!

Greg Lanctot

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 Leona Divide 50M - Tim Olson and Jorge Maravilla... and down the stretch they come!

I am ultra lucky to be able to attend so many great ultra running events... especially this year.
Leona Divide 2012
This week, the destination was Southern California, about 300 miles south of San Jose near Palm Dale/Lancaster California. Besides being the second to last chance to grab an automatic bid via Montrail Ultra Cup into Western States by finishing 1st or 2nd (or third if one of the top two finishers were in WS100), it was also going to be the Ultra Runners Racing League 3rd "Trial - Trail Challenge" between ultra running clubs Rogue Valley Runners of Oregon and Quicksilver Running Club of California. Previous battles took place at Chuckanut and Lake Sonoma. Team Bend (captained by Rod Bein), and RVR (captained by Hal Koerner) had won the previous two events. Fortunes would remain the same as RVR whooped QRC for a third straight time in a " 2 male/ 1 female, death match - straight time format".

(L to R) - Quicksilver RC, Scott Laberge, Clare Abram, Toshi Hosaka, Jean Pommier, Bree Lambert, Rogue Valley Runners Hayden Teachout, Jenn Shelton, Chris Rennaker, Tim Olson.
Before I get to the team results, I must share something with you.

Over the past 5 years I have met some of the most unselfish and passionate people - you ultra runners. I am so proud to be associated with true sportsmen and women in our sport. In this case, I am talking about Tim Olson. I found out in an emotional conversation with Jorge Maravilla at the finish, that Tim Olson got him to the 3rd place- a finish worthy of an automatic bid to Western States 100 for Jorge.
Jorge Maravilla being himself on Friday?  He has added a jump to his smile! (With Jean Pommier and Greg Lanctot)

What you see from Leona Divide blogs  and FB posts are smiling faces. What you see are results. What you don't see is is the act of a bond between runners that battled two weeks ago at Lake Sonoma 50M and battled together this week at Leona Divide 50M for each other. Unfortunately, Jason Wolfe, was the casualty between ultra bretheren Tim Olson and "Hip Hip Jorge" Maravilla. When I crossed the finish line (much slower than Tim and Jorge of course) Jorge told me he wouldn't have got that bid if it wasn't for Tim. Let's just say, for those that haven't met Tim, it should come to no ones surprise what a true gentleman he is.

So, it went down something like this...

Jorge was in third at the last aid station (mile 46.1). Tim was in fourth and charged fast through the aid station catching Maravilla and told Jorge "let's go". Out of that aid station, it was a 1/2 mile slight climb before a 3.4 mile or so downhill to the finish. They got going and saw Jason Wolfe (currently in 2nd) walking. They pushed together to pass him by the top. The rest you already read saw. Jorge to WS!

To Tim, I dedicate this blog to you. You are another reason why I love our sport so much.

To Jorge, have fun at WS. We are all happy for you.

Congratulations also goes out to Dylan Bowman (Winner and new course record holder ), Heather Fuhr (1st Female), and Ashley Nordell (2nd female). They will be joining Jorge at Western States in June!

Here's how the times played out in the URRL "Challenge #3":

Tim Olsen 6:07
Hayden Teachout 8:11
Jenn Shelton 8:35

Jean Pommier 7:07
Toshi Hosaka 7:44
Bree Lambert 8:46 and Clare Abram 8:43

Other QRC runners included myself, Scott Laberge, Nattu Natraj, and Karen Bonnett.

Thank you Keira Henninger and all the great people (especially Jimmy & Kate Freeman's SoCal Coyotes aid station) that made Leona Divide a great event.

If you would like to have your club or organization participate in our league, then please contact me (Greg Lanctot), Hal Koerner, or Jimmy Dean Freeman.

Next event is next week at Miwok 100K featuring:

Rogue Valley Runners
SoCal Coyotes
Tamalpa Runners
Quicksilver Running Club

Thanks for letting us play at your event!

Greg Lanctot

Some more pics below... video being edited....NOW!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chuckanut 50K - 2012 - Ultra Runners Racing League - Debut of the WHOOOOO?

I was ultra lucky to be able to spectate at Chuckanut 50K, all while being a fan of our sport - ultra running. Back in November, when Hal Koerner, Jimmy Dean Freeman, and I talked about creating a league for ultra racing, we all agreed that "having fun" was going to be the most important ingredient to our creation.

First of all, Thank you Krissy for letting us play in the 20th annual Chuckanut event!

I am going to get right to the winner of the URRL at Chuckanut 50K - 
TEAM BEND (Jeff Browning, Max King, Chase Parnell)
Scary resemblance to First Prize, right? - "The Browning Owl Bobblehead" - Photo by Jean Pommier
I believe the first words out of Jeff's mouth we're, "We own you Southern Oregon!" to this guy...
Hal replied, "We let you have it because the owl looked so much like you, Jeff"
Hal was presented with nice flowers from his team.

No seriously, Rogue Valley Runners we're presented the Mushroom with St. Paddy's bow-tie seen below next to Gangster Toshi Hosaka and yours truly. Third Prize to Quicksilver was a Snail with Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.

The other teams were:
Tamalpa Runners (Dave Mackey, Brett Rivers, and Katz/Wang/Polischuk) 
By the way congrats to Larissa and Brett who got engaged over the weekend too!
Rain City Ultra Running (Adam Hewey, Brian Morrison, Jon Robinson)

Getting warmed up for the start.

Other thanks goes out to Bryon Powell for letting myself and Toshi Hosaka's wifey (Judy) hang with him as we raced to cover the race: Bryon doing his thing while I shot video to make a little diddy.
Bryon Powell "tweeting" for all you to follow the excitement. We were at the base of Chinscraper waiting for leaders.

Judy heading back down Chinscraper.

Found myself on my Arse more than my feet on Chinscraper wearing these....
Love my Brooks Pure Flow on the snow.

I can't believe how much schwag that Krissy tossed out. Scott Jurek as Post-race Party MC was kickass! And, always good to see Tropical John Medinger, Lisa Henson, and Tia Bodington from UltraRunning Magazine.  
John Medinger and Jean Pommier

St Patrick and St Gregory

"Ultra Violets" I forgot their names, but know they worked their booty's off for Chuckanut.

Scott Presenting First Female to Ellie Greenwood.

Gary Gellin, Tim Olson, and Jean Pommier

Ellie Greenwood and I just taking our own pic. She had her cake and eats it too ;-)

RVR's Jenn Shelton and Hayden Teachout (His new nickname is "Titsout" because he ran his first Ultra without putting bandaids on his nipples and bled out. See video later)
Toshi and Judy on the dance floor.

Fashion Star League coming soon...

So much cake to eat...

The after party was a perfect ending to a perfect event. I was able to buy a new sweathshirt from Boundary Bay Brewery.
A Benefit for Ales! A perfect color for this Saint Patrick's Day Celebration
No need to give you turn by turn description or lead change recap, because that has been done. Put this on your list for next year.

Enter the URRL or Ultra Runners Racing League. Our vision is to have clubs, teams, organizations or groups from a certain locale race within a unique set of rules decided upon by the captains of each tam in a challenge. 2012 is about trying different scoring methods with "team challenges" at ultra marathon events on the west coast... for now. We hope to grow in all parts of North America. Drop us a line as lets get your club or team up and running with us. Next Races are Lake Sonoma 50M, Leona Divide 50M, Miwok 100K, and Western States 100M. 

So far we have 9 teams...
Rain City Ultra Running
Team Bend and Rogue Valley Runners
SoCal Coyotes, Tamalpa Runners, Quicksilver Running Club, Ultra Runner Podcast, SLO Runners, and San Diego Bad Rats.

The first challenge was offered up by Quicksilver Running Club to Rogue Valley Runners. Hal and I had decide to race 3 and score 3 based upon time scoring. His team was going to be Hal, Tim Olson, and Erik Skaggs. Oh $#&%! Nice friendly bet of crazy gifts and beers would be handed out after the race. Well, as we started communicating more, we now had Rod Bien's "Team Bend" added to the mix. Rod couldn't make the trip, so he sent Max King, Jeff Browning, and newbie Chase Parnell (Remember this name). With 9 teams made up of Elite runners, front runners, mid-packers, and finishers. Teams are encouraged to grow teams of runners that you not only want to run with but party with too!

Yours in good health,

Greg Lanctot