Sunday, November 9, 2008

Universal Sole Rock N Sole 5.25 mile trail race

Today was the Universal Sole Rock N Sole trail race held in Cook County's Schiller Woods along the banks of the Des Plaines under the O'Hare landing path.

I'll write more later including my battle to not finish last male (succeeded)

Results are here:

Photo's are here:

One of me is here:

Photos copyright of Bill Thom and (unless listed over wise)

Lakefront 50k - or DNF

As the title shows I dropped out of the Chicago Lakefront 50k held November 1st on Chicago's south lakefront. I did manage two of the three loops for a total of 20.86 miles. That is the furthest distance I gone in 8.5 years and with my lack of training a nice surprise.

I'll add more to this report soon but race results for the 50k and the 50m plus a link to some photos are at

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Signed up for

On Monday I signed up for the Lakefront 50k As of a lunch time today (14th of Oct) there was only 4 spots out of 200 left for the 50k with the 50 miler selling out weeks ago. I am not really fully trained for the 50k but will be mixing in running and walking and see how it goes. I'll be happy to get to two loops for a good training run and then think about that last loop. As I said yes to helping at a 15k the next day that last loop might not happen. Most of all I'll get to see some of my local favorite ultra buddies running along the beautiful Chicago lakefront. The view from the south side is probably the best view of the city IMHO.

Monday, August 4, 2008

24-9: Crewing a 24 hour MTB event

Sometime in 2007 I must have told my friend Chris Strout about a 24 hour mountain bike race in Wisconsin called 24 hours of 9 mile ( because he totally blames me for him doing this race; twice now!! OK I can accept the blame. Back in 2007 Chris asked me to crew for him at 24-9 but it was the very weekend I returned from crewing at Badwater ( This year I also went to Badwater but that 135 mile ultra running marathon was 2 weeks earlier so I had to accept Chris invite/orders/request/bribe.

Laura dropped me off on Friday at his parents home to meet up with Debbie and Rich plus Chris' wife Kim + Sprout (Kim's sister Kari was arriving Saturday). We all traveled up to Wausau WI in their minivan which was packed with camping gear and race supplies. Surprisingly the drive to get to the race site was only 4 hours. Chris had been on site for while setting up the pit area right by the race finish line (primo) and had also rode the trails with his World Bicycle Relief team mate Brad Majors. Also sharing the pit area was Siren Bicycle rider Todd Carpenter whose bike Chris was also riding and also local racer Scott Cole. We spent some time hanging out at the SRAM pit area located near the start line before Chris had to pick up his race pack (bike number, paperwork, race T-shirt, goody bag). Then we headed to a local restaurant for dinner before retiring for the night at a nearby hotel.

Up next day bright and early to get to the venue early. Minivan and car was unloaded of supplies and Chris' bikes removed from their night storage. At 9.15 am all racers had to attend a race talk meeting which was conveniently located by the finish line area so we got to hear the race details. Chris racked his bike in the staging area, did some last moment race get ready things and joined the riders on the start line for the 10:07am start.

24-9 was to start "Le Mans" style meaning all the riders had to run a 400 meter or more loop back to the start area to pick up their bikes. This is done to break up the packs of bikers. Chris was lined up at the front of the start line next to six time world champ Chris Eatough. Soon they were off all running as hard as they could. Being used to seeing running races it was a tad funny seeing helmet and lycra clad bikers out for a run!!

Each rider (or team) had to do as many 14.25 mile loops during the course of their 12 or 24 hour event with the rider/team covering the most loops/distance winning the race and/or division. Chris described the course as very technical and rocky in places. I was surprised to see the lead guy complete the first lap in around 56 minutes although later found out the first loop cut off the first section of single track for a wider multi track section to not cause bottlenecks at the start. Being in pit row by the finish area we had a great view of the action. Most of everyone’s first 3-5 loops were done at fairly consistent time but then folks start to get lapped and slow down. Chris was taking feeds at the pit area each loop but after about 4 loops asked if we could supply an extra feed at the 10 mile point on the course where Red Bud road cross the course. Luckily for us this was only half a mile away so about 15-20 minutes before Chris was expected at that point Rich and I would hike over to meet Chris. On our first journey over we went through the Red Bud aid station which was party central with loud music, grilling, beers, wood craving and a roaring fire. The riders would go past this on every loops, Rich and I on the other hand found a different trail which was actually a tad shorter. I think I hiked 8-9 miles during the race just on Chris’ feed. Rich would hand off a fresh bottle of water or Gatorade and I’d watch for where Chris tossed the empties. Brad’s only crew person, ultra runner, Dennis was on the same plan and as Chris and Brad rode some loops together we were on the same feed schedule giving Dennis and I time to chat about ultrarunning.
At night all racers had to have lights (2 working units to be carried). Chris had one on his bike and a helmet one. Brad preferred just a helmet unit. It was amazing seeing the lights going along the trails through the trees especially on some of the winding single track sections. During the night Chris began to slow down and lap 11 was a tough close to 2 hour loop. He was hurting and didn’t really want to go back out but after chatting with us crew headed out. End of that 14 miles he was still hurting and decided to take a long which with a tent nap and some chair time turned into a almost 6 hour loop. Awaking from his slumber Chris got on his bike rode up and down the pit lane and declared he was ready by requesting 2 drink bottles and some Gu/food. Brad was around the pit area so off they went together. I think much to their and our amazement Chris and Brad pulled out another 3 loops (43 miles) for a great finish. Everyone was so proud of their achievements. Brad finished 7th overall with 18 laps and Chris 12th with 15 laps – not bad for with a 3 hour nap time. Others in the pit area did great. Scott finished on the podium with a 5th place finish 19 laps and Todd got in 18 laps finishing just behind Brad based on time finishing for a 8th place finish. Overall winner was Chris Eatough in a close fought race (until last lap)
All that was left was braking down the pit area, loading up the cars and heading to the nearest restraint for food and Starbucks. Chris and I then drove to Madison area where both exhausted we checked into a Holiday Inn Express for a good nights sleep and both felt much more smarter the next day. A massive storm delayed are leaving for Chicagoland but we both got home in the end with Chris dropping me in Naperville and then he headed for the north shore himself

24-9 was an amazing event with some amazing performance with some amazing racers and their amazing crew.

Now where can I get some night lights for my Gary Fisher?

Race photos to follow:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Badwater 2008 - My crewing return

This year I had the great pleasure to be able to crew for Kelvin Marshall from Queensland Australia at the 2008 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon. Pleased to say Kelvin finished in 40 hours and 23 minutes for a placing of 33 out of 82 starters and was the first finisher from the 6am wave start. I'll write a long race report in the days ahead but some of my many photos are posted from before, during and after the race (blog seems to dictate the order posted!!)

Two photos "borrowed" from the Badwater site (copyright AdventureCorps photos by Anna Bolden and Wendy Barth)

My photos (or some of them)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nike Night for Chicago Marathon

I was invited to attend a special Nike event to celebrate Nike signing on as the footwear and apparel "sponsor" for the Chicago Marathon who are replacing New Balance. My friend's, Lynne, daughter in law works for Nike in their Chicago office.

Other than the Nike promo in the email I received via Lynne neither of us really knew what to expect but in the end it was a nicely done evening.

After walking from my office in the far west loop we arrived at Chicagos' Field Museum to see a big white tent and a finish line staging area including timing clocks and finish line banners. The Chicago Niketown store was holding their weekly training run from the store which this week was to end at the Field Museum. Apparently none of the runners knew what was going to happen at the end of their run.

Lynne and I walked around chatting to folks we knew from the Chicago Marathon office, Nike office, local RDs and race announcers, owners and staff from Fleet Feet Chicago and Running Away, various local running coaches etc. The big white tent was set up with a small stage with chairs and mics, a couple food and drink stations and Johnny Mars from WXRT spinning disks , who is a runner himself. Dave the PA announcer gave us updates of the runners headed to the Field Museum. Nike had also got a number of volunteers to play finish line fans. Of course as the first runners approached the heavens opened again. All the runners were decked out in Nike Commit to Run T shirts and many looked surprised at what was greeting them.

After the last runner was home the evening started inside the tent. A short promo video was played then Dave introduced a couple executives from Nike who gave speeches, then the marathon RD Cary Pinowski and finally Nike athlete and USA Olympian Abdi Abdirahman who was "interviewed" and did a QA session.

The Marathon also "raffled" off to the Niketown runners 10 slots in the "sold out" race. All the runners were then bussed back to Nike Town. This ended up being a nice evening despite the rain. Thanks Lynne and Amy for the invite.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Clinton Lake 30....well 10

Today was the 2nd Clinton Lake 30 held at Clinton Lake State Park near Dewitt IL which is sort mid way between Bloomington and Champaign. The race is put on by the good folks at
Second Wind Running Club with help from the Buffalo Trail Tribe (Buffaloooooooo).

Last year the race was very muddy due to a down pour the day before which left streams of water and mud and very slippery condition. This year the trails were basically dry with only a few sections of mud and a few slippery hills. Parts where frozen which in later loops likely turned to mud not that I was to find out.....

Yes hills. Illinois is not known for hills and on the drive to this park past acres of flat farmland you would not think hills were there. But they are.

Getting ahead of myself here.

I left home for the 3 hour drive to Clinton Lake arriving around 6am and one of the first to arrive. Chris the RD allows for a 7am early start to encourage folks to try the race, to try trail running and/or a trail ultra. Picked up my race packet including yet another fine running shirt this time in bright red plus my lucky bib number 13. Chatted to Chris and Jeff Riddle plus the IL-DNR guy - all three plus Second Wind and the Buffalo have made this event happen.

About 25 or so folks decided to start early at 7am rather than at 8am. Due to the bad Chicago area winter my training had been non existent although plenty of runners from Chicago and did train so was the winter really an excuse !! Chris said a few words and I think those that were nervous about running a trail ultra or this trail ultra where soon at easy. With that we were off and soon I found myself at the back although a few runners decided to hang with me for a little while before finally pulling away never to be seen again. Right away this race hits a nice hill up then straight down once on the trail. This caused a jam and that was with only a few stating early but this is part of ultra trail running. This year I was keen to run more of the trail and set at least a one loop PB. The trails were definitely more runnable but the many ups and downs would get to me mainly due to that lack of training. But hey the course is very scenic with lake or river views most the way and 95% single trail. The leaders who started an hour after me finally caught me around mile 7 or so. I pulled into the start area setting that loop PB finishing around 5 minutes quicker than my Thanksgiving loop and a full 3o minutes quicker than last year's Clinton Lake. CL is a tough course. I'd love to complete the race next year and if I can go into the winter in better shape with more mileage in my legs it might be doable. I think I could have done 2 loops but was due at the Shamrock Shuffle the next day and not forgetting the 3 hour drive home!! After finishing I found Kelly Roe who was crewing and pacing for Brian Gaines. We hung out for a while before she had to do her one loop and get Brian to his great finish.

Thank you Chris for putting on the event.

Saw many people I knew at the race and meet a few new faces, sure I'll miss some but there was Chris, Jeff, Brian, Kevin,Tony, Ellen, Christine, Don, Pat - all Buffaloes
Dennis, Kelly, Brian, Juli - all ChiAs or FOC

Photos courtesy of Kelly:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NIN XC ski race Arrowhead Wheaton IL

No I didn't do a Cross Country Ski race but I did go and watch one today. After a 3 mile run slogging through very snowy trails at Herrick forest preserve I headed next door to the Arrowhead golf course for the 16k Northern Illinois Nordic XC ski race. It was originaly scheduled a few weeks ago but this being Chicagoland the snow tends to come and go and naturally tends to disappear when needed. I think this was the first time since 2004 that race was actaully able to start locally. The groomer at Arrowhead (a Wheaton Park district golf course) had rolled and groomed an 8k trail for the skiers. Most would do two loops (16k) but there was also a one loop race and a kids race.

I arrived around 9.30 at the new club house where they have now included a ski shop room as the golf course is open for public XC ski during the winter. I wasn't racing and in fact have never been XC ski but now really want too. I have friends that do the Birkie every year and if you've seen XC racing at the winter Olympics the speed and action can be thrilling. Milling around the ski shop area near the finish line camera in hand I ran into Bill Thom. I never knew he skied but really I am not surprised. Bill is a great athlete that I know from ultra running. We chatted for a few minutes before he had to get ready for the race. Walked around watching racers wax their skis and taking photos. Loved the view of skis stuck and standing up in the snow. Heard a voice call my name and it was Bill Weidner. Bill is a long time friend of John Corrigan who I do event work for. Bill also has a great book out called "The Complete Guide To DuPage County Trails". My next run into was an Aussie triathlete, Mark Hauser, who I had not seen for a few years. Mark is often on the poduim at tri races and a great bloke.

The race was great. A fast start by the top guys and everyone pushing off behind them followed by a few late starters. Arrowhead had groomed the 8k course so it zig zag around the golf course and up and over hills. From the start line I went over to near the finish line and had great views in different directions. Through the first loop the lead guys were fast with two out in the lead. Sadly I didn't have time to see the end so after watching a few more racers finish their first of two loops I headed home.

Cross country ski racing appears to be a great sport. Guessing it pays to live in Wisconsin or Minnestoa for regular winter snow. Chicago can be hit or miss if you want snow. This year as been kinder to the local XC skiers although it has caused some icy days despite lots of snow (the Joilet XC ski race was cancelled a week after Arrowheads).

Rusty's race photos here:


The year ahead

My first post of the year and first since around Farmdale trail race time.

Been thinking about races to do in 2008. Those thoughts keep changing and well likely change plenty of times during the course of the year but I do know it will be another year of trail races , event work and volunteering. Below is my maybes for races and volunteering but stay tuned for changes and additions.

March 15 Rock Cut Trail 20k Rockford IL
March 29 Clinton Lake 30mile DeWitt IL
July 5 Pyschwyco 25/50k Kansas City KS
July 12-13 Keweenaw Trail Fest UP MI or
July 14-16 Badwater crew if anyone needs me
Aug 30 BLS F/X 12/24 12 hour
Sep 21 HOBO 25k Rockford IL
Oct 18 Farmdale 33 nr Peoria IL or
Oct 18 North Face 50k Madison WI
Nov 9 Rock N Sole 5m Schiller Woods Chicago IL
Dec 6 Tecumsech Marathon Bloomingdale IN

May 26 Xtreme Trail 12k Portage IN
May 31, July 19, Aug 2 Xterra Chicago Trail Palatine IL

April 12 Mad City 100k Madison WI
May 10 Ice Age Trail 50/50 La Grange (Kettle Moriane) WI
June 7-8 Kettle Moraine 100 La Grange (Kettle Moraine) WI

July 14-16 Badwater 135 Death Valley CA (crew??)
Aug 2-3 24-9mile 24 hour MTB Wausau WI crewing