Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Minute Charitable Giving to Outdoor Organizations

SFCT and the Trails Alliance - Since 1993
Several of the organization that take care of our trails around town and in northern New Mexico are tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, meaning, that if you're looking for a few end-of-year tax deductions (or are just feeling generous) you ought to consider sending a few $$$ their way before end-of-day on the 31st.

The two organizations that (far and away) provide the most improvements and volunteer days on our trails are The Trails Alliance (the volunteer arm of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust), and the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society. Terrific groups that could use a Saturday of your time as well as your financial support. If you've used a trail in the Santa Fe area over the last 20 years, The Conservation Trust is who you want to give thanks and appreciation.

SFFTS - Since 2011
As far as the running community and support for running programs and events in and around Santa Fe, the most active organizations are the Santa Fe Striders, Girls on the Run, and WINGS of America. Most of the overflow revenue generated by the Striders is directed to the latter two organizations so you might consider just contributing to them directly.

Most of these folks are setup to accept funds electronically at the links below. Give them a boost and support the outdoors in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico:

  - Girls on the Run
  - Santa Fe Trails Alliance and the Santa Fe Conservation Trust
       (also supported by the Banff Film Festival, the La Tierra Torture, XTERRA Glorieta, 2nd Street Brewery)
  - Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (via membership)
  - WINGS of America
  - Santa Fe Watershed Association (manages the SF River)
  - Southwest Nordic Ski Club (nordic ski trails in Los Alamos)
  - The Santa Fe Striders (via the button below)

Related Posts:
 - The Santa Fe Rail Trail Re-Imagined
 - Winsor Trail Improvements

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Converting a Bicycle Into a Snowmobile

Rockin' fat bike through National Forest access
Over the last couple of years there has been this growing new product line in cycling of giant Fat Bikes. Or rather, bikes with giant wheels and adjusted gearing and components. I never quite got it. Thought maybe it was just some breaking-from-the-herd type of concept for the non-conformists, like the barefoot shoe thing.

Turns out it's a natural progression of what happens when a bunch of punk kid bmx'ers living up in Michigan's UP turn snow plowed parking lots into frozen half-pipes and freestyle courses, then turn their bike tires into studded ice-grippers, then turn snowmobile trails into winter bike trails.

Yoopers for the win. These guys are awesome.

Related Posts:
 - Winter Bike Descent - Rio en Medio
 - Ski Commuting British Columbia

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Joyeux Noël

Christmas willow tunnel
Holiday cheer fell from the sky on Sunday morning, brightening the llanos and cerros of northern New Mexico, just in time for Christmas.

Familiar trails take on a peaceful and intimate character, a marvelous example for us all.

A Merry Christmas eve, goodwill and good tidings to you and yours, and may you find yourself among loved ones, good friends, and the joyous spirit of the Holiday season.

The Arroyo Hondo with storm-socked foothills beyond

Happy winter spring

 - Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano, Xmas 2012

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Los Alamos - How Physicists Once Cleared a Ski Hill

Niels Bohr out on the hill, January 1945
I've been reading an interesting book about life in Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. There are several sections that talk about recreation and how the principal physicists and engineers would spend their time outside the labs and away from their calculations.

When the British contingent arrived in 1944 they brought with them most of the brightest minds who had fled the continent, included were nobel laureates Niels Bohr and Enrico Fermi, as well as (future laureate) Hans Bethe who were all big skiers. Sort of a precursor to the 10th Mountain Division men, who would return from the war and build European inspired ski hills across the U.S. Bohr and Bethe would skin up the hills, then free-heel back down, and actually got a few other non-skiers interested in doing the same.

By the winter of 1945 there was a need for a greater variety of ski slopes. Someone felt that Sawyers Hill southwest of town was a decent location (just west of the present day intersection of NM-4 and Hwy 501). Trees had to be cleared though, so skier and demolition expert George Kistiakowsky took it upon himself to clear the hill. He brought in his explosives team, the team who would ultimately be responsible for designing the proper charge for the world's first fission reaction weapons, and together they rounded up some detonation cords and C-4, wrapped the trees marked for clearing, and with one blast, cut them all to the ground. Fittingly, this was Los Alamos' first purpose-built ski hill.

The now widely used image of Bohr (above), went unseen until the 1950's since it was strictly classified who was involved with the Project, or who might have been jaunting around the hills of the Pajarito Plateau on skis during the winter of 1945.

Related Posts:
  - Nordic Skiing Guaje Canyon
  - Frijoles Canyon and Bandelier National Monument
  - Lummis Canyon and Bandelier National Monument

Friday, December 13, 2013

Taos Ski Valley Bought up by Wall St Financier

Some eye-popping news out of Taos. The Blake family has agreed in principal to sell the family owned business to a billionaire east coast hedge-fund fella.

Family patriarch Ernie Blake first scouted the valley and built out the ski resort in the 50's, modeling it after the ski villas in his native German Alps. To this day Taos is far and away the best ski experience in New Mexico - steepest terrain, charming european feel, professional alpine trained staff and ski-school, cozy old-world bars to end the day.  

A potential plus to the deal is the needed influx of capital to open terrain with another lift or two. One has to imagine that the new owner, Louis Bacon, has lined up some type of continuity agreement with the Blake family not to blanket the place with condos and soul-less real estate developments. The guy touts himself as a conservationist so perhaps he sees this venture as a rewarding personal interest rather than just another business model in need of streamlining and optimization.

Kachina Peak, the East Ridge and The Bavarian Lodge

 - Santa Fe New Mexican - Investor to buy Taos Ski Valley from Founding Family
 - NYTimes Dealbook - Bacon buys Taos Ski Resort

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fall/Winter Cross Country Season

Sending a hill of mud and snow with the world's best - World Cross 2013
It's cold nasty and grey outside which means it's the traditional cross country racing season. Not to be confused with cross country or nordic skiing - though that's a helluva lot of fun too - I mean European-style off-season off-road racing, barreling across muddy meadows, leaping through creek crossings, up-and-over hills, dodging past rocks and trees, bounding through snow, precursor-to-trail-running cross country. Marvelous stuff.

It may not be widely known, but the cross teams built by Coach Franklin down the road in Albuquerque are now firmly established as top-caliber D-1 collegiate programs. The UNM women swept their 6th straight conference title in November, while the UNM men ran to their 5th straight conference championship. Both teams ranked as high as top ten in national polls for part of the year, with the women ultimately running 10th at NCAA Cross Nationals helped out by two All-American finishes up front (Sammy Silva 12th and Charlotte Arter 18th). The men finished 11th overall, with Luke Caldwell earning All-American honors in 10th place and two local standouts scoring for the Lobos - Pat Zacharias (Abq Academy) ran second man in 53rd, and Sean Stam (Rio Rancho High) ran fifth man in 157th.

UNM women rolling in the new turquoise unis at D-1 Nationals
On the prep level, northern New Mexico boasts the best high school cross teams in the state in Robbie and Kathy Hipwoods' boys and girls teams of Los Alamos High. The boys squad defended last year's title with only two returning runners which is just crazy-talk. The northern Rio Grande Valley is also home to both 3A championship teams (Bruce Gomez' Taos squads) the girls 1A championship team (Jemez Valley), three individual champions and two runners-up. New Mexico doesn't have a history of awarding all-district or all-state honors to individuals but the one outlet that covers these races, Milesplit-NM, makes the effort to select an all-state prep team for both boys and girls. Pretty solid.

Defending US cross champ Chris Derrick
Across the pond, the Euros just held their European Cross Championships this last weekend, the 20th running of the event. Nine time champion Sergiy Lebid of Ukraine was in the field as he has been for each of the previous 19 championships. The guy is a serious baller. BALLER. I like to root for Ireland, or the lone fellow from Belgium, or Montenegro in this race. I also like to root for mud and snow. There are no flat manicured golf courses out on the Euro cross circuit, these folks mix it up, crush hills, and get dirty.

Most importantly, the US Cross Champs are coming to the rocky mountains this year (and next), specifically Boulder, CO, which happens to be a short 6hr drive up the road. The races are scheduled for February 15th. Along with the very deep field of current US distance pros, expect a fleet of CU alums and past all-Americans to attend the championship in front of an adoring home crowd (The CU men won their fourth NCAA title this year). I'm told that Boulder landed this race as part of a larger effort to bid on hosting a future World Cross Championships event, which would be kinda really badass. *head explodes*

Related Posts:
 - US Men Capture Silver at World Cross
 - 2013 Corrida de los Locos - Race Report

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quiet Happy Snow Running

A serene view in the Arroyo Chamiso - 12/5
Fluffy white snow is billowing down on the City of Holy Faith today. A very pleasant surprise. Another storm is scheduled to pass through this weekend bringing even more snow our way. If your skis aren't yet tuned and ready to throw in the truck you've got another day or two to get things squared away.

Perhaps you're the type that doesn't get snow-happy, and are already pining for next year's trail running & racing schedule. I should now have one posted through the spring. One new event on the schedule is the Santa Fe Rando Fireball up on the ski slopes, part of the Colorado COSMIC series. Sounds pretty legit, glad they added us to their race series.

Related Posts:
- 2014 Trail Racing Calendar
- Charms of Winter Running
- Santa Fe's Arroyos
- I Heart Snow

View Arroyo de los Chamisos - Santa Fe in a larger map

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Power Rankings

Do you see? All the lights!?
Four day weekends are highly under-rated. I thoroughly enjoyed mine and will now rank all the marvelous stuff that happens when work is not on the calendar:
1. Green chile turkey stuffing
2. Cranberry sauce with candied orange
3. Christmas lights on the Plaza
4. Rosemary mashed potatoes
5. Early morning mtb on a snowy Rail Trail
6. Collecting firewood with the toddler
7. Huevos rancheros with friends
8. Some Megan McCarthy cop movie that was hilarious
9. Planning a winter yurt trip
10. Oatmeal cookies

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Mexico Ski Season Arrives Way Early

Neff Mountain Yurt
I've got a fair amount of snow in my yard as I write this, and Thanksgiving is still a couple of days away. A big Gobble-Gobble to the pernicious winds of recent drought. The higher elevation running/biking trails (above 8,500ft) which are generally snowed out by the first or second week of December are probably done till April. All area ski resorts will open this weekend (Pajarito excepted) and the free-heel crowd has been at it for the last couple weekends.
A couple of area winter guides have already published, including the NewMexican's Winterlife Magazine insert which came out three weeks back and November's winter layout in New Mexico Magazine. I mention these two specifically because I had a few quotes published which duly impressed my in-laws.

Whitney Dreier covers the snowshoeing and winter sport opportunities in northern New Mexico, noting the Chama Chile Ski Classic and the Mt Taylor Quadrathlon as the highlights of the winter calendar. Daniel Gibson writes about the growing network of in-state backcountry yurts. He profiles the Southwest Nordic hut system in Chama and Taos noting that rarely are the winter backcountry visits dangerous or do parties encounter epics due to weather. This made us laugh. But without the occasional turn of adversity what kind of stories are you going to tell at the next get together? Boring ones, and who wants that?

Fresh snow on Cumbres Pass
It bears mentioning that Enchanted Forest up in Red River built out two new yurts on their trail network for this season. Now that we have a small tyke with us, the backcountry options are not practical whereas the groomed track criss-crossing Enchanted Forest are a diamond in the haystack welcome alternative. Also un-mentioned in any of the stories I've read: Taos Ski Valley offers daycare for the kiddies. It ain't cheap, but there may be greater cost to sacrificing a decent winter snowpack than a few greenbacks. Winter memories are lasting.

 - Daniel Gibson writes a regular winter column in the SFNM Outdoors section - worth a follow
 - Whitney Dreier is an associate online editor at Outside, wrtiting about running & skiing - worth a follow
 - Enchanted Forest XC almost always has updates and upcoming events - worth a follow.

Related Posts:
 - Enchanted Forest XC Ski Trails
 - Neff Mountain Yurt - Chama
 - Bull of the Woods Yurt - Taos

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cobra Kai Sensei was a Dick

A friend's outstanding Halloween costume has sidetracked me into a three-week Karate Kid nostalgia loop. Why were the Cobra Kai kids so evil and how did they all end up at the same highschool? How did the sociopath sensei guy get a gig instructing impressionable minors? Why was there a proxy gang battle being fought between two damaged old war vets by their high school aged students? Why did Johnny suddenly transform from hardass-to-wuss after taking that crane kick to the face? Why was Pat Morita not in more movies when he was such an obvious badass? I don't know any of the answers here except that taken all together you get a stellar all-valley karate tournament montage and a bad-as-hell Halloween costume idea.

new video: first clip cut out early

Related Kick Ass Videos:
 - Rio en Medio winter descent
 - Jared Campbell runs/glissades Mt. Olympus
 - J.P. Auclair converts BC neighborhood to ski run

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New York City Marathon 2013

The big marathon in NYC this last Sunday unofficially closed the year's running season. It was a big race on the men's side with legit representation from several quarters of the marathoning world. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya was back to defend his title and course record and the way in which he re-defined how to run New York; Olympic and World Champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda was there to show that he can compete in the up-tempo style of a World Major and no doubt because of a large appearance fee; London Marathon Champ and World Champ 4th place finisher Tsagaye Kebede of Ethiopa was there for a shot at the World Major Marathon (WMM) title and the $500,000 in prize money that comes with it, which was Kiprotich's to lose; Yuki Kawachi of Japan was there to rep Japan and his celebrity back home as well as to bounce back from a poor showing in Moscow; 2009 NYC champion and Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi was there to rep the U.S. and add an old school vibe to the race.

Mutai runs alone out front - his Adidas Adios Boost chart the way
Well, Mutai ran away with it like a complete boss, in 2hrs 8min. Kebede claimed the WMM title with a runner-up finish and the day's big payday. Meb had a rough go of it but powered home out of respect for the race, and out of respect for those who endured greater suffering in Boston this year and in the path of Hurricane Sandy in NYC and surrounding areas last year.

Don't care for how the results played out?, let's compare these runners with different criteria, such as the shoes they're wearing. This genius slideshow will allow you to do just that - Mutai still comes up on top. Three adidas in the top five. Can't lose running in Adidas, just ask Frank Shorter. The Kenyan contingent chasing him home (plus Kebede in 2nd) are nearly all in Nike Zoom Streaks, poor choice fellas. The Italian runner in tenth breaks things up with his Diadoras. Kawachi is in what look like some old school Tiger Asics. The Americans are in Brooks. Runner-up in the shoe competition goes to the American in Adidas that pipped Meb and his Skechers. Third place to the guy in Adidas running 2hr 11min in seventh without socks.

So where were the New Mexico runners at? Only kidding, we had a flotilla of runners out there chasing folks down First Avenue and into the Bronx. The NM contingent was lead by Raul Manzanarez of Abiquiu who finished in 2hr 44min (Raul was up front in 2011 but faded in Central Park where I caught him - not up in huhr!). Santa Fe High coach Peter Graham was in there mixing it up a day after both his prep squads punched their ticket for state, as was Vilma Ruiz, Sandra Wechsler, Amy Gordon, and former Lobo All-American Ruth Senior. A listing of all 43 New Mexico finishers and their results can be found here (the direct link to the list of NMexican finishers is breaking; key in 'NM' in the state-field for yourself and viola).

Related Posts:
 - New York Marathon Race Report - 2011

View New York City Marathon - Five Boroughs New York in a larger map

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trail Improvements on Winsor and Galisteo Basin

There was a slowdown in visible trail construction around town this year but that's not to mean that our trails were just lying unloved. The Santa Fe Fat Tire Society and the Santa Fe Trails Alliance continue to add to our existing recreation trail network with trail-work days, volunteer training, and now bridge construction. At least two new bridges went up on the Winsor Trail this Fall (at Borrego and lower Winsor), and one existing bridge saw improvements. If you've volunteered with the SF Trails Alliance you'll recognize some of the tools in the video below. If you participated in last October's IMBA World Summit you'll recognize the red shirts.

There's at least one more month of riding (and running) left before snow settles in on the higher sections of the mountains, so there's time to get one last ride in on Winsor and check out the new work.

from Santa Fe Fat Tire Society (Brent Bonwell) on Vimeo

Prepping the bridge work
New crossing on lower Winsor - completed
Sawing logs on upper Winsor. USFS certification is required to cut and remove
deadfall in the National Forest. These two have that. 

Kicking man-sized logs to the trail side like a boss(es)

Sheehan fending off an early winter, taking trail work to the next level

Recent Fall improvements included:
  - Needed work on the La Piedra Trail switchbacks to bring them back into shape
  - New 1mi-2mi section of trail in the Galisteo Basin Preserve
  - Clean up and improvements at La Tierra after Septembers flooding and erosion

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

30th Annual Duke City Marathon - Oct. 2013

The Duke City Marathon took place a week ago Sunday. It was the 30th year of the event which is a milestone even beside the round numbers since it connects all the way back to the tail-end of the running boom. Duke City is quite a bit smaller than it was in the late eighties when we were all growing up, but it remains the largest marathon in the state with approximately 450 annual finishers, and the largest half marathon with approximately 1,200 runners, give or take a dozen runners each year in either race. Roughly 3,000 individual finishers in aggregate when adding in the 5K/10K runners, second in size only to the Run for the Zoo each spring.

Naturally, the big pre-race story in the Albuquerque Journal centered on Santa Fean Chris Chavez - because he’s raced every Duke City marathon ever run. That’s a thirty year streak. Damn impressive considering most marathoners are in a perpetual state of injury or injury maintenance, not to mention the Fall wedding season, vacations, work demands, etc. Think of all the obstacles to run that he somehow dodged or painfully accommodated the afternoon after running. There’s usually a handful of runners who amass streaks like this for a given race, but for Duke City, Chris is the only one. In his spare time, he patched together a nineteen year streak up at Pikes Peak dating back to '95, not just for the Sunday marathon but most years it included the double - the Ascent on Saturday (13.1mi) followed by the Marathon distance on Sunday. All of that is just ridiculous. He’s the only Big Tesuque runner still competing who ran in the inaugural race back in 1985 (twenty-nine years ago), and he's also the race director for the spring Amanda Lynne Byrne memorial races up in Pecos. Know who my go-to guy is for obscure questions about champion New Mexico runners from decades past? Chris. The guy knows everything.

Chris running out Albuquerque's Bosque Trail,
courtesy of Greg Sorber and the Abq Journal
Ok, so Chris is a badass and gets the lead pre-race Sports story in the Journal the day before the 30th edition of Duke City. Also buried in the article were quotes from Santa Fe’s Vinnie Kelley who talks about how Chris trains in the hills on the Upper Winsor and the Nambe watershed and how hard it is to string together thirty straight marathons and how Chris and himself have trained together on occasion over the years. So how’d Vin run in Sunday’s marathon?, only a 3hr 18min finish at altitude, to win the 60yr age group by thirty minutes. That’s an automatic qualifying time for any race in the country other than the Olympic Trials. Way to hammer Vin.

Lots of other nortenos in the race fields though I don't know them all well enough for a spotlight. Cordova's Senovio Torres took the men's 55-59 age group by thirteen minutes, 3hr 25min; and former Lobo and Santa Fean Shawna Winnegar dispatched the half marathon field to win by four minutes; 1hr 21min. Smokin' fast.

Related Posts:
 - Big Tesuque Trail Run Recap - 2013
  - La Luz Trail Run Recap - 2013
  - Pikes Peak Ascent - Race Report

View Duke City Marathon - Albuquerque, NM in a larger map

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fever of Unknown Origin

Interesting story about a different kind of suffering:

Came down with a bad fever earlier this month. It sorta blinked in and out for a couple days, made me have to scratch my start for Big Tesuque which was upsetting. By day five I was in the ER certain that I had the plague. They told me I was badly dehydrated.

Later that week I was back in the hospital for a battery of blood tests. All came back negative, including influenza. In fact, according to every test they ran I was in perfect health except for my temperature which had spiked over 104deg. They packed ice bags on me and found me a room for the evening.

Apparently you treat an illness caused by virus with advil and ice packs, which is just as bad as it sounds. I had the Desert Babe administering the advil and thermometer and ice, so that was a big plus. Silver lining in the ordeal was that what I had wasn't contagious. The fever and virus ran its course and my white blood cells eventually reigned supreme. End tally was three weeks of lying in bed half-mad with a raging illness thinking about how I could badly use a life insurance policy. Good times.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

High Desert Dirt Turns Three

This week is the third anniversary of the writing-mapping-sporting project we hastily named HighDesertDirt. Started it up September 30, 2010 as a procrastinating diversion from CPA study work. At the time I had been inspired by a few online posts I'd come across written by Jacob Waltz over at santafetrailrunner (now on hiatus). Turns out there were other folks on the trails.

'I could do that', I thought.

'I could write dozens of stories about where I run and what I see. With a few interesting writeups this might even net me the occasional free beer!' There was little to no downside to this idea.

So I logged in and started writing about trails and beer and running, sometimes biking, other times skiing. Readers seemed to like the maps, so I started mapping a lot of the places I'd adventure to (not the super-secret stuff though). Race reports were (and continue to be) the most popular content so I find room for that and link it back to other content. I've met loads of interesting like-minded people, learned to code in html, found Twitter, and now see the Matrix of linked outdoors interest in Santa Fe. The complimentary beer may never materialize, but far better, I had the chance to meet Tony Sandoval, a huge hero of mine. And one writeup even led to a letter and signed photo that arrived from Joan Benoit, The beer equivalent of this is much more than I could drink.

A very rewarding experience so far. There are many more stories and trails out there. Gotta get out and get after it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Santa Fe's First Snow of the Season - 2013

The Sangre de Cristos above town,
Monday September 23, 2013 - courtesy of Luis Sanchez Saturno
After a rather dramatic electrical storm Sunday night, most of northern New Mexico woke up to see our high mountains with a wintry coat of white fluffy cold stuff. It was only a dusting, but excited anticipation for the winter season has begun in garages across the mountain west, where stowed ski gear has sat quietly for months.

The first snowfall Team Dirt saw this year was actually back in August. The peaks above Telluride, CO saw snow on Aug. 10th. No joke.

Webcams at Taos Ski Valley yesterday showed snow over its ski runs and the Wheeler ridge towering to the east. The webcam at Ski Santa Fe is fogged over, because, who knows.  I want to like you Ski Santa Fe but you make it hard sometimes.

A cool photo album of the storm and snowfall across the mountain west can be found here (firsttracksonline).
Al's Run, Taos Ski Valley - 9/23/13
Snow capped Wheeler Peak high country east of Taos - 9/23/13
Telluride, CO looking toward Yankee Boy
and Imogene Passes - August 10, 2013

Related Posts:
    - Santa Fe's First Snow 2012 - Nov. 16th
    - Santa Fe's First Snow 2011 - Sep. 10th
    - Santa Fe's First Snow 2010 - Nov. 10th

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon

Been working on a write-up of last Sunday's Buffalo Thunder Half - but, ahh, slow going. The writing that is, not the racing. To compress the wait folks may want to checkout Will Webber's race profile in Monday's New Mexican.

What's amazing is that last year's course record of 1hr 3min plus was destroyed by the new men's champ Nelson Oyugi. The course is net downhill but 7,000ft of altitude is not an insignificant factor, especially over 13 miles. That is smokin' fast. Like near-world elite fast.

The entertainment arrives when Will describes NM trail running legend Steve Gachupin - delivering general commentary at the finish line to whomever is listening - that Oyugi's performance and record aren't really all that strong. Not compared to the old days anyway.

Aaaaahhhhh, okay.

Coach Gachupin is an all-timer. He's also a a terrific story-teller and regular provider of comedic gold as Will's story can attest. I laughed out loud more than once reading this.

BTH 2013 - Race results here

Related Posts:
  - 2014 Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon
  - A Brief Meeting with Billy Mills (and Steve Gachupin, 2012)
  - Santa Fe's Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon  (2011)

View Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon in a larger map

Saturday, September 14, 2013

RAIN! - New Mexico River Levels Spike Upwards of 30 Times Average Flows

Lots of rain in New Mexico this week. How much? So much I can weed my yard without a trowel. A really cool novelty. Seriously though, it's so much rain that just about every drainage, rivulet, rito, creek, and river were bursting at the seams. Yay rain!

I don't have cool photos to post because my phone doesn't work well in the pouring rain, but I do have some cool graphs of the recorded water flows in the area via storm gauges. The information comes from the USGS water data website for New Mexico. Another great source to follow the storm has been Twitter, tag #nmwx (NM weather).

Here's the Santa Fe River (above the reservoirs). As can be seen the river has been running at a flow of 1.5 cubic feet per second (cfs) this Fall. The historical average for this time of year is 2.5cfs. Well, river discharge rocketed up to 170cfs last night and is at 140cfs as of Saturday morning. Up 100 fold. Think of the Rio Grande flowing through the gorge on the drive up to Taos. Near Embudo there the river has been running at around 250cfs the last several years. The Santa Fe Watershed approached that for a brief period last night.

Here's a view of the Rito Frijoles in Bandelier as a measure of the storm's intensity during the week. The Pajarito Plateau received rain in excess of 4" in places, half the year's average in a two day period. The canyon flashed from less than 1cfs to 1,000cfs. Four times the general flow of the Rio Grande near Embudo. That and the crests in the graph below are why Bandelier was closed yesterday and today.

A couple of images of just what 1,000cfs looks like in one of our little ritos, from the Bandelier Natl Monument Facebook page:

The Rito Frijoles near the visitors' center - Friday morning,  Sep. 13, 2013

The Frijoles wanders into visitor parking and the picnic area - Friday morning, Sep 13, 2013

And here's a view of what the Rio Grande looked like after all the arroyos and ritos and rios emptied their cargo into the mother drainage. From 250cfs to 9,000cfs yesterday near San Felipe. This is below the Cochiti dam. In other words, the pulse of water would have been much higher were not for the catchment below Santa Fe. A section of the Pecos River down near Roswell was gauged in excess of 30,000cfs on Wednesday morning. The highest measured flow on the Pecos since the 1930s. Now that, is no joke people.

Related Posts:
  - Frijoles Canyon in Recovery
  - Bandelier National Monument and Lummis Canyon
  - Santa Fe's Arroyos

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Imogene Pass Trail Run - Results and Updates

This morning's start in Ouray - photo by Cindy Brown
An obligatory post for today's Imogene Pass Trail Run. Ouray to Telluride via mountain pass through the San Juans. 10mi and 5,000ft of climbing to the 13,000ft pass, 7 steep and crazy-scenic miles with 4,000 feet of descent into the town of Telluride.

There's some significant travel time involved in running this, and it always falls on Fiestas week (Que Viva!!), but this race really should be on every trail runner's list. Everything awesome about trail running taken up to eleven.

So, early results coming in. Flagstaff, AZ continues their dominance in this Four Corners epic - 2010 champ Jason Wolfe out of Flagstaff takes the men's overall in 2hr 17min 23sec, avenging last year's runner up finish and adding a new age-group course record. Flagstaff's Sara Wagner nails down her third consecutive title in 2:48:32, fourth in five years. The feed below ought to capture all Twitter traffic tagged with #imogenepassrun, it should filter race reports and uploaded images from those on the course today.

Full results are now posted

Imogene Pass
New Mexico representation in this year's field includes Santa Fe's Maryann Kos and Ben Fresquez,
Albuquerque's Mark Baker.

A run down on last year's top New Mexican finishers at Imogene below:

William Gardner, Abq, 35th O/A, 2hr 55min 26sec; Peter Falk, Abq, 52nd, 3:00:46; Antonio Lopez, Santa Fe, 65th, 3:07:17; Michael Starr, Abq, 73rd, 3:10:11; Tom Callahan, Santa Fe, 79th, 3:11:48.

On the women's side:  Molly Roberts, Abq, 20th O/A, 3:13:08; Katrin Silva, Las Vegas, 23rd, 3:16:19; Aimee Hoyt, Abq, 52nd, 3:29:43; Lindsey Gardner, Abq, 81st, 3:40:20; Elizabeth Lopez, Santa Fe, 82nd, 3:40:22.

Related Posts:
  - La Luz Trail Run - Results and Updates
  - Imogene Registration Opens (and Closes)
  - Imogene Pass 2011 Results

View Imogene Pass Trail Run - 17miles in a larger map

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Boston Marathon Registration - Demand is Going to be Strong

The Boston Athletic Association opens registration for the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday, September 9th. As in the previous two years, registration will be tiered - runners with qualifying times 20min+ below the age/gender standards will register first over Monday and Tuesday, registration will then open to qualifiers with times 10min+ below the age/gender standards on Wednesday, then to qualifiers with times 5min+ below the standards on Friday. Registration opens for all qualifying times on Monday Sep. 16th, assuming space remains, and will close for all registrants on Friday Sep. 20th.

This tiered registration system gives preference to faster qualifiers and creates a 'natural cut' when the maximum number of runners is reached. This cut can be faster than the official qualifying times, as in 2012 when the fields were capped a little more than two minutes below the qualifying marks. 2013 registration was more leisurely as the field did not fill until early October.
Update:  Seems that 4,000 runners registered on Day 1, with qualifying times 20min better than the standards. That's approx. one-sixth of the available entries for April's race. Uh-oh.
Update 2:  As of Thursday morning the field for time qualifiers is now half full with approx. 10,500 registrants confirmed. Runners World is reporting that 6,000 runners with qualifyng times 10min better than the standards signed up on Wednesday. 
Update 3:  As open enrollment began at 10am on Monday morning, 7,500 qualifiers quickly registered for the approx. 5,000 remaining bibs. Registration will remain open until this Friday for all runners who have met their qualifying times. Registrants will then be seeded fastest to slowest relative to their qualifying standard to determine those remaining 5,000 spots. I'm going to guess that cutoff will be between -3min and -4min. 
 And this year looks to be unique with the tragedy and drama of the 2013 played out over the media for weeks after last year's race. Several prior champions intend to run in a show of solidarity and in defiance of violence, Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit, Amby Burfoot, and on and on. For these reasons the BAA has increased the size of the field by 9,000 runners (36,000 are slated to run) to absorb some of the pent up demand and to allow for those that could not finish last year (some 5,000 runners) to have another go at it. After accounting for charity spots (~9,000) this leaves approx. 23,000 available spots on the starting line.

Just how much demand might there be? Observe the Google traffic from April tabulating individual searches for 'how to qualify for the Boston Marathon' (above). Over five times the usual interest. Did some portion of these folks get out, build their mileage, and nab a qualifying time? How many aged runners who had long sworn off running marathons decided that this year was different? It wouldn't take much to tip the usual stampede toward Boston to a torrent, and if so, the natural time cut that develops during qualifying registration week is going to disappoint some folks who otherwise thought they had done enough to make it to Patriot's Day in Hopkinton.

  - Boston Marathon Fills Up Slower than Predicted
  - Tragedy in Copley Square
  - Tracking New Mexican Runners at Boston
  - Boston!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Look Back at the Moscow World Championships

Kiprotich bringing the pain
Mad competition on the Moscow track last week. Some genius mind even developed a cellphone app so that nerds like me could follow the competition and real-time results during office coffee breaks or while traveling to a wedding in Telluride. Technology is something else.

You know what else is something else? Marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda who repeated his gold medal performance from London. Absolutely brilliant that the underdog of London who brought down all of team Kenya over the last 7km of the Olympic marathon, would return to Moscow only to dismantle all of team Ethiopa and one Kenyan challenger over the last 7km of the World Championships. That's the stuff of legend right there. I'd love to see him run New York. Team America was overmatched but ran bravely, running 13th, 27th, and 37th. The American women ran even better led by Olympic medalist Deena Kastor in 9th, teammates in 18th and 23rd.

Lap of honor for Mrs. Simpson (Go Buffs!)
We had solid performances in the distances but came up short for a podium spot. Galen Rupp ran to a 4th place in the 10,000m, Shalane Flanagan 8th in the women's final. Bernard Lagat ran to 6th in the 5,000m final, and we advanced all three of our 5,000m women's team into the final, led by Molly Huddle with finishes of 6th, 7th, and 12th. Evan Jager was a strong 5th in the Steeplechase one second off the medal hunt. It was the middle distances though where we finally broke through. A medal from each event - Nick Symmonds struck first with a silver in the 800m, followed by Jenny Simpson (Go Buffs!) with a silver in the 1500m, then Brenda Martinez with a bronze in the 800m, and finally Matt Centrowitz with silver in the 1500m. Simpson and Centrowitz were repeat medalists from the Deagu Championships in 2011. It's likely that Team USA even left two or three medals on the table with a few sub-par performances. Gonna be super strong over the next four years in Mid-D. Yay America, yay Rocky, yay stone-cold marathoners that run without fear.

Related Posts:
  - '12 Olympic Marathon Recap
  - '12 Olympic 1500m Recap
  - '12 US Indoor Track & Field Championships - Abq, NM

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Man's First Foray Into Cycling

Pistol Pete celebrated his first birthday earlier this month and one of his many gifts was a new bike helmet from mom and dad. Another was a sharp new bike-seat to cruise the bike paths and run errands with his father without the car or the jogging stroller. The seat clips on and off my different bikes. I can speak into his ear and point out dogs as we ride along, and I can hear him argle-bargle baby babble and ooh-and-aahhh as we pick up speed on the downhills. So awesome.

And now for some shameless pics of a ridiculously cute baby cyclist:

Peede and Dad rockin' the Acequia Trail

The helmet is an XS Giro model that we picked up at REI. The bike seat is an iBert safe-T seat, made and designed right here in the mountain west - Cody, WY.

View Acequia Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map


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