Friday, May 31, 2013

Imogene Pass Registration Opens Tomorrow Morning

Mad scenery up in the San Juans
The unparalleled Imogene Pass routes from Ouray to Telluride over 17 glorious miles of Colorado high-country. It begins with a ten mile climb out of Ouray (elev. 7,810ft) to a high point of 13,120ft on Imogene Pass, followed by a technical seven mile 4,000ft descent into Telluride (8,820ft). There are time cutoffs to beat and the race has been halted on more than one occasion due to snow or lightning.

The race has a different feel to it then La Luz since it follows a road-cut, but the dramatic steeps, thin air, and technical footing is closely comparable. The panoramic views are something else. Outside Magazine recently tagged the race on its bucket list of trail runs. I'd agree. If there were one race I could line up for in the Four State Region it would be Imogene, which is one reason why I'm perpetually frustrated that I can't race it more regularly. September wedding season sabotage, what's a guy to do?

Race directors generally cap the field at something like 1,500+ and it fills by days end. Without a reminder to make tomorrow's registration signup, it will very likely come and go until next year. Registration opens at 6am MCT (Sat. June 1st), and generally fills by end-of-day if not by noon. The registration link will be available here - . It looks like the race directors have discontinued the bib transfer system this year which is always a challenge. In the past there were always several work-arounds if you were determined enough. Always remember - when in doubt, head higher.

Sold out in less than five hours (11am). Better luck next year!

Related Posts:
 - Imogene Pass 2011
 - La Luz Trail Run
 - 2013 Trail Racing Calendar

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

Santa Fe Century and the Gran Fondo

Gran Fondo - taking it up a notch
Santa Fe Run Around tomorrow morning. Waddup. Dropping miles on some sons.

We've already talked about all that - however - we get the double treat of having Sunday line up with the Santa Fe Century, the largest single-day cycling event in the state. The Century brings out something like 4,500 riders, a huge event. It's a must do if you have the day open, which I do not this year but I thought I'd discuss it all just the same.

Several of the local roadies and team-clubs have cobbled together the inaugural Gran Fondo de Santa Fe to run in tandem with this year's Century. The idea is to trial some racing at the front of the pack, and get an official clock on a few of the hard driving pelotons that you sometimes see out there. Great fun for those who want to see what it's like to be pulled along in a driving race pack, and unless you have friends to exchange pulls with and otherwise know what you're doing you may have the experience of getting blasted out the back into no-man's land. The extra charge is $10 which brings the whopping event fee total to $35. The $25 rider fee for the Century alone is probably the best event deal around.

Gran Fondo riders will have access to aid stations and other Century support. Riders are set to start at 630am sharp ahead of the other non-drafting, wheel pulling/sucking, attack-and-counter-attacking pack of 4,500 riders.

Update:  Gran Fondo results are up, and can be found here.

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe Century Ride Report (2011)
 - Area Road Biking Routes

View Santa Fe Century Bike Tour - 103mi. in a larger map

Sunday, May 12, 2013

35th Annual Santa Fe Run Around 5K/10K

Since 1979 - (that's a long time people)
Santa Fe Run Around, this Saturday May 18th:  It's not a trail, nor are there any climbs or steep descents  but if you're going to get out for one road race during the year this is the one I'd recommend. It starts and finishes on the Plaza and routes up along Alameda and Canyon roads beneath those lovely cottonwood trees and past all of those stately old homes and gardens.

The Run Around is the oldest continuous road race in northern New Mexico, so it carries a lot of its own history and prestige. Besides being a stellar race and an otherwise fine way to spend a Saturday morning in downtown Santa Fe, yours truly is indirectly involved with the race planning and a little more directly involved with the new event website we've put up. Pretty fierce, but that's how we do things up in huhr.

Come on out. Bring your friends. Mom and Dad can walk the 5K and enjoy the morning. Kids are invited to run the 1K afterward, cost is zero dollars. You may just see me and pistol Pete knocking out some stroller miles, be sure to give us a wave and say hello. Race registration for 5K and 10K runners 19-under is just $5 and includes a race-tee, how could a reasonable person turn that down? It can't be done, that would be ridiculous. So, we'll see you there.

Update:  Race results can be found here - 2013 Santa Fe Run Around

View Santa Fe Run Around - 5K/10K in a larger map

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Rewards of Training at Altitude

Santiago, Chile - at the foot of the Andes
Santa Fe sits at an elevation of 7,000ft which is a huge advantage if your playtime involves endurance sports. Now, it's widely known that training at altitude helps to over-develop the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, your capillaries will build out dense little oxygen carrying systems, and your resting heart-rate will impress friends and doctors. The average person in training will also produce mass quantities of oxygen carrying red blood cells to compensate for the lack of oxygen intake in each breath. Incidentally, the only other ways to spike your red blood cell count are through illegal means - by infusion (intravenously), or through the use of erythropoietin otherwise known as EPO, (think, Tour de France riders. Yes, all of them).

Having these advantages available to oneself in an endurance competition can be exhilarating. For example, when I travel to run low altitude marathons the difference in my pacing is approximately 20-25sec /mi. faster than what I could comfortably run here in Santa Fe. That's a lot over a 26mi race, and when the mile markers tick by I feel like I'm bending time as one does as they approach the speed of light. That time advantage is going to shrink for someone covering miles in a shorter interval, it may be larger for someone covering larger intervals. There are several variables in individuals and race conditions that can affect it one way or another.

Awesome brother blitzing through the streets of South America

I'm carrying forth on this topic so as to point to a recent performance that pulls this axiom to its extreme:  My fleet-footed brother Sean has been living and running around La Paz, Bolivia for the last six months and he recently competed in two marathons, four weeks apart. The first being the Maraton por La Paz (elev. 11,975ft), the second being the Maraton de Santiago (Chile, elev. 1,706ft). The guy powered through to a 4hr 6min finish in La Paz, a strong showing by any measure. His finish in Santiago was 3hr 21min, forty-five minutes faster. 100sec a mile faster than on the altiplano of Bolivia. !!! Good Lord !!!  And a 45min PR over a one month period, that has to be some kind of new alltime record. For crissakes, it doesn't feel right just typing those words in combination. For the purpose of visuals - on a track, a difference that large would amount to nearly lapping oneself at the end of each four-lap mile, twenty-six times in a row.

And that is my real world extreme example of what competing with or without oxygen looks like, as well as what competing with a maximum of red blood cells in an oxygen rich environment will do for your PR. My brother, ftw.

Related Posts:
 - First Annual Maraton por La Paz, Bolivia

View Maraton de Santiago, Chile in a larger map

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

La Luz Trail Run - Registration Window Opens

The La Luz Trail weaves up beneath the rock towers
of La Cueva Canyon
Lottery registration for La Luz opens today over at The window will shut next Tuesday at midnight. The race up the west face of the Sandias has a limit of 400 runners capped by the National Forest Service.

The race itself is scheduled for Sunday August 4th, and is the oldest trail race in New Mexico. It's also the most beastly, featuring a nearly 4600ft climb over 9.0miles. The net climbing value is actually greater because the trail dips after the first overlook at mile 4.5.

Several sections traverse rock slides and scree fields. The coup de grace is just below the finish where the trail kicks back to an incline steep enough to require a set of stairs. If it's your first race up La Luz, the sight of those stairs alone may be enough to break you.

Updated (8/4/13):  Unofficial La Luz race results and race day reports can be found here 

Related Posts:
 - NM Trail Racing Calendar
 - La Luz Trail Run - 2011

View La Luz Trail Run - Albuquerque, NM in a larger map


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