Hardrock 100 2016 Preview

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Hardrock 100 2016 in many respects is all about two returning champions, Kilian Jornet and Anna Frost.

Kilian has won the last two editions and in the process has set two course records, 22:41 in 2014 being the fastest. Many, me included, wonder why he is returning… I think it’s simple; he just loves the race and the course.

Kilian has done little running this year but I don’t think it will make much difference, he always pulls a great result out of the bag and I see no difference for 2016. Long races of 100 miles plus though are difficult to nail time and time again, so Kilian may have a below par or bad year? If he does, Xavier Thevenard may be one to take over the charge.

Xavier winning TNFUTMB

Xavier winning TNFUTMB

Xavier is the only runner to win CCC, TDS and UTMB – an impressive thing! However, he does blow hot and cold and can be quite unpredictable. In all honesty, he is most unpredictable when the pressure is on him. Although Hardrock is a key race, it doesn’t have the high media profile of races such as UTMB and therefore, Xavier may well have a great race.

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Jason Schlarb did Hardrock on skis over the winter and I think he will find running the race easier… He has all the potential to do well on this course as his 4th at UTMB has proven. As is always is the case, Jason will need the Hardrock gods on his side.

Jeff Browning has been on fire as of late and the 100 mile distance and the Hardrock course are made for him. However, he just made the podium at Western States! On the plus side, he will have had 19 days recovery post WSER and that is a good block of RnR. I don’t see Jeff beating an inform Kilian but if Kilian falters, watch this space!

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Nick Clark did the WSER and Hardrock double way back in 2011. At the time he was a beast who trounced 100 milers and intimidated those around him. Don’t get me wrong, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy! Nick has had a tough couple of years, directly attributable to the head-to-head with Ian Sharman going for the Grand Slam – Nick has never been the same since. Hardrock suits ‘Clarky’ though and I wouldn’t rule him out… I hope he finds some of that 2011 form when he placed 3rd and set the WSER/ Hardrock double record.

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson, Transvulcania La Palma 2013 ©iancorless.com

Timothy Olson leaves me with a question mark. The ‘American Tarzan’ (see here) has had a tough time in the last 12 to 24 months. Like so many runners, he nailed it, had huge success and then faded. Timmy loves to run and I actually think in many respects it contributed to his lack of form. He just got tired… ask Geoff Roes about this. I remember sitting on the beach in La Palma after Transvulcania a year or so back. Timmy had been on the island for a month and racked up the miles and hours, he couldn’t resist going out. When the race came, he didn’t have the energy to race. He then went to Hardrock and gritted out a suffer fest for a finish. But he has been quiet since and I am pleased about this. With luck he has recharged his batteries and he will toe the line fighting fit. I really do hope so – he could win it, no doubt.

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Joe Grant has a love affair with Hardrock and ultimately I do believe that Joe was made for this course. Despite solid results elsewhere, Hardrock is where Joe shines. His 2012 2nd place is still a career highlight. Can he do it again? Well the answer has to be yes, can he beat Kilian – no? But with the KJ factor removed, Joe could come up with something special. The only stumbling block may be that Joe only just got is HR100 place as he was on the waitlist.

Other contenders for the top 10 are Scott Jaime, Ben Lewis, Nick Coury and Ryan Kaiser amongst others. I also have a sneaky feeling that a certain Bryon Powell will do well this year. He has been committed and focused on the goal.

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Anna Frost is back. I did wonder if she would return but I guess, like Kilian, the Hardrock bug has taken hold. Last year Frosty had a head-to-head battle with Darcy Piceu and she came out on top not only with victory but a 2nd fastest time of 28:22. I do think that Anna is winding down her ‘racing’ days (not participation I must add) and running is becoming not only an extension of her life but a vehicle for other things. Post Transvulcania this year she said, ‘I can’t believe I ran THAT fast last year!’ Hardrock though is a different beast and I think it suits Frosty’s current mindset. She has been out on the course training and for me, and many others, she is the odds on favourite for victory.

Bethany Lewis has a great set of results at the 100 mile distance and at races that draw great parallels with Hardrock. Victory at Bear 100 and Wasatch 100. Recent exploits with FKT’s have had success and this is why Hardrock will suit her, it’s a big day out in the mountains and it’s one she will embrace.

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Emma Roca may well be the lady who stirs things up. This lady needs know introduction, she has been there and done it time and time again and her variety of results are impressive. Western States, UTMB, Leadville and so on and so on. Emma has every chance to win this race!

Two third places and one second certainly means that Darla Askew knows how to run and hike the HR100 course. In all honesty, she is likely to place somewhere between 2nd and 5th, it just depends on how the race pans out and how the top contenders run – victory is a possibility but unlikely.

Betsy Kalmeyer placed 2nd in 2014 but she would do well to repeat that with the ladies listed above. However, the contenders for the top 3 is always a small pool from which to take water, it only needs a slip and Betsy will be waiting.

Other ladies who will have an impact on the top 5 (top 10) are: Liz Bauer, Betsy Nye, Tina Ure and Megan Hicks.

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Race Website HERE

Course Description – ©hardrock100

The HARDROCK 100 is a mountain run that passes through some of the most beautiful and rugged mountains in the world.

The course is closed. That means that runners are required to follow the specified route.

Four legs, linking the Lake City, Ouray, Telluride, and Silverton areas. The finish is in Silverton, the same location as the start. The course is 100 miles long, has a cumulative vertical gain of 33,050 feet of climb and 33,050 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 66,100 feet, and takes place at an average elevation of about 11,000 feet. The high point is 14,048 feet.

This is a test of runners against the mountains. The course is on trails as much as possible. There are 13 aid stations; major aid stations will be located in the towns with less well-equipped aid stations in between. Runners are expected to be largely self-supporting between the towns.

This is not an orienteering event. We intend that you be able to concentrate primarily on running. However, remoteness, weather, animals, and people problems on the course make this problematic at best. We will mark the entire course before the run. However, long road sections and maintained trails may not be marked at all. Cross-country sections will be marked more intensely. We shall continue our trend over the past few years of less intense course marking with fewer flags along all course sections. The flags should be readily visible, even to those with red/green color blindness. The markers have reflective tags for night visibility. On some portions of the route we may place colored engineer tape. Chalk may be used to mark other sections, particularly roads in towns. Runners are responsible for knowing the prescribed course and following it whether or not markers are present.

The altitude range of this run (7,700 to 14,000+ feet) takes the runner through several climate zones. At the lower altitude, forests of aspen, pine, and spruce are common. Timberline is locally at about 11,800 feet, though this can vary greatly. Above timberline is alpine tundra and low vegetation interspersed with krummholz (low, stunted spruce, fir, and willow).

In the summer, animal life is abundant. You will almost certainly see elk in the high meadows, possibly with their young. Stay clear of elk: they can be ornery at times. Bears (black, not grizzlies) are present, though seldom seen. Mountain lions may also be encountered.

The run is a salute to the toughness and perseverance of the hardrock miners who lived and worked in the area.

Refer to the current Runners Manual for a full, accurate, and detailed course description.

Course Descriptions:

Order a copy of the Drake Mountain Map (official course map) from San Juan Mountains AssociationBuckskin Bookstore in Ouray, Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, or Rigs Adventure Coin Ridgway.
*Just the base map; does not include the Hardrock course specifically marked

Weather

The weather is a dominant factor for this run and can be at least as formidable as the terrain, remoteness, or high altitude. The run date is a compromise among competing weather factors. There is usually a period of a few days to weeks each year when the snow is generally gone, but the summer “monsoon” has not yet gotten into full swing – we’ve tried to hit this window. The usual “monsoon” pattern is a daily weather cycle, starting in the morning with blue skies. As the day warms up, thunderheads build up and around noon intense electrical thunderstorms may commence, continuing until late afternoon or evening, at which time the thunderstorms abate until the next morning.

The Colorado Mountain Club advises climbers in Colorado’s mountains to be off the peaks by noon. Since this may not fit in with your position on the course, you must use extreme caution. Always remember that the time limit is 48 hours. The long time limit is not only in recognition of the difficult terrain, but also allows runners to wait out thunderstorms or other life-threatening weather. You can hunker down in a valley for 2-4 hours and still finish; but, if you get fried by lightning your running career may end on the spot. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Take comfort in the fact that these thunderstorms are widespread. If you are pinned down, chances are that other runners are, too. Your position in the field will probably not change. Use the time wisely – eat, drink, stay warm, and rest. You will be able to run faster when the storm has passed. At the RD’s discretion, Aid Station Captains can hold runners if weather conditions are considered too dangerous and prevent runners from continuing if not carrying gear appropriate for conditions.

It is our general opinion that the first fatality we may have will be from lightning! Several runners in past years have had direct contact with lightning and there have been several more near misses. We would rather that there never be a fatality or injury. We will continually be giving you warnings, cautions, updates, and suggestions regarding the exposure you must face when attempting this run.

Prepare for any amount of snow! We could even have snowfall just before the run. In 1992 we went back to Handies Peak in August, just a month after the run, and found six inches of new snow on the ground! In 1997 we had an ice and snowstorm during the run. Remember, there have been avalanche fatalities in Colorado in every month of the year except September.

Speedgoat 50k Preview – The Ladies Field

SpeedgoatMy preview of the race and the men’s field can be viewed HERE, today, it’s the ladies!

The ladies field at Speedgoat doesn’t have the depth of the men’s field but a couple of names stand out. First and foremost is the name, Ruby Muir. Now our Southern Hemisphere followers will be smiling at the prospect at what this Vibram clad runner can do in Utah. She blazed a trail at Tarawera earlier this year and many of us think, me included, that several men will need to be looking over shoulders to ensure that this lady doesn’t come flying past. For me, she is the outright favourite for the win even though she has never raced in the US before. Having spoken to friends of mine who know her, they have all confirmed, she the most naturally gifted runner out on the trail.

Kerrie Bruxvoort placed second at Speedgoat last year and although she didn’t have a great day at Western States recently, I can’t help but think she will try to put that record straight in Utah

A win at UTMF in Japan does mean that Krissy Moehl has some great fitness. Nobody doubts the experience and caliber of this lady but she is more like Francesca Canepa, I see this race being a little too short and too fast. She will doubt figure up front but not top of the podium.

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Francesca Canepa from Italy, also Vibram sponsored (and Montura) will becoming into this race tired, very tired. She must be… she won Ronda dels Cims, went to Wales for the World Trail Champs, she was second at Ice Trail Tarentaise and then just last weekend won the 100km Eiger Trail. Francesca is super talented on long, tough and technical terrain, I just can’t help but think that Speedgoat will be too short and not technical enough.

Jodee Adams Moore is a winner and loves the shorter distances. She will enjoy the 50km distance, the only question will come in regard to the altitude.

A real interesting name to toe the line is Danelle Ballengee. Think back to 2006, Danelle fell of a cliff had a near death experience. It makes for a fascinating read, Google it! She is an experienced Skyrunner and as Skyrunning President, Marino Giacometti says, ‘Danelle has raced in Skyrunning events for over a decade, she is quite a lady’. Danelle may not figure at the very front of the race but it’s great to see her mix it up.

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Emma Roca adds to the European contingent. Third place at TNF UTMB in 2012 plus a list of results the length of my arm, does mean that Emma will mix it up with the ladies at the front.

Joelle Vaught dropped at Western States but she is a top quality runner. A great run at Speedgoat will al depend on what happened at Western States and if she has recovered.

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Karine Sanson from France probably wont contest the podium but it’s great to have another European, along with Francesca taking part. Karineplaced top ten at Ice Trail recently and also figured in the top ten at Transvulcania. Without doubt she can make a similar placing here.

Finally, Anita Ortiz, Speedgoat winner from 2008 will return. She has quite a pedigree but it is almost impossible to say what her current form is like. She has been a US Mountain Running Champion several times, won Western States and she has also won Pikes Peak, so, she has a great mix of endurance, speed and altitude adaptation; she may be a surprise on the day!

Ones to watch: Alicia Shay, Julie Bryan and Bethany Lewis

Links:

Speedgoat 50k HERE

Skyrunning HERE

A Wild and Wet Cavalls del Vent

ultraRUNNING March 2013

 

A Wild and Wet Cavalls del Vent

story and photos by Ian Corless

It always amazes me how a small town can be transformed into a bustling and thriving race headquarters in the space of 24 hours. I had arrived at Baga in the Spanish Pyrenees a couple of days ahead of the ultra Skyrunning Cavalls del Vent. A race billed as potentially one of the races of the year.

Not for the first time in 2012, the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) and Salomon had pulled together an incredible field of elite runners to take part; Anton Krupicka, Tofol Castanyer, Miguel Heras, Philipp Reiter, Joe Grant, Terry Conway, Dakota Jones and of course, the mountain man himself, Kilian Jornet. The women’s race had equally impressive status but not the depth. Ultimately it would come down to a head-to-head battle between local legend Nuria Picas, Anna Frost (Frosty), Emelie Forsberg and Emma Roca.

In the days before the race I was fortunate to hang out with the runners, get out on the course and experience what it’s like to chase Kilian up a mountain… Unpleasant! The combination of altitude, ascent and technical terrain meant that this Brit had his hands on his knees and his lungs on the floor. But would I change anything? Of course not!

Kilian had recently had a VO2Max test. He told me that he had consistently hit 89.5 and maxed at 92.

Kilian is not a runner, he is an Alpinist; a mountain man. Running is just one aspect of what he does.

The team hotel had a great atmosphere. Chatting, eating, relaxing and preparing for the challenge ahead. It is what I love about ultra running. The mutual respect, appreciation and a love for what we all do transcends competition; it’s a lifestyle.

Race day came and although it was grey, temperatures were mild. Rain was expected to arrive at 11:00 a.m. and although it would be persistent no storms had been predicted.

copyright Ian Corless

copyright Ian Corless

You can read the full article online at ultraRUNNING online HERE

The article is also available in the March 2013 edition of the magazine.

Cavalls del Vent Preview

IV edition of Ultra Cavalls del Vent, September 29th/30th

Total distance 84.2k Acc Altitude Change 12,180m Altitude Change 6098m

Bagà will reunite again this year the best trail running athletes of the world to celebrate the Ultra Cavalls del Vent (Salomon Nature Trails) race held in the national park Cadí-Moixero on the 29th of September.

The fourth edition of the Ultra Cavalls del Vent becomes a special date of the national and international calendar as one of the events of the Skyrunner World Series.

1000 entrants and 84.2 km of personal challenge, to test the limits of the body exceeding over 12,000 accumulated vertical meters in the privileged natural environment of the Cadi-Moixeró national park

The 2012 edition of the race is looking as though it may very well turn out to be an iconic race primarily for the inclusion of some key runners from Europe, the United States and New Zealand.

You can red the Skyrunning press release HERE

So who are the favourites?

MEN

**update 24th September Kilian Jornet now confirmed as a last minute entrant. This turns the race on it’s head a little and one has to say that despite such a quality field one can’t really bet against the ‘mountain master’. Only just last week he completed his Mont Blanc Crossing as part of his ‘Summits of my Life‘. With that ticked off as it were he obviously feels comfortable and content to race at Cavalls del Vent before heading out to Reunion Island to race against Joe Grant and Tony Krupicka at the Raid de le Reunion.

Tofol Castanyer fresh from victory at the CCC and a stunning time will certainly be one to beat on this course.

Miguel Heras has been plagued by injuries but only a couple of weeks ago placed 2nd at another mountainous Skyrunning event, Sentiero Grigne and therefore a return to form is certainly on it’s way.

Dakota Jones started off his Skyrunning account in fine form at Transvulcania La Palma. He raced Hardrock 100 with a top finish and he is now in Europe for several months. He was supporting friends at UTMB, he has been out running with Kilian Jornet and at Sentiero Grigne placed 4th overall behind Heras. The longer distance of Cavalls will suit Dakota and without a doubt he will be up at the front.

Joe Grant was second at Hardrock 100, loves the mountains, trains with Tony Krupicka and this course will suit him. However, he is planning on racing at Raid de Reunion (Diagonale des Fous) and he therefore may save a little for that.

Tony Krupicka like Joe Grant is also racing the Raid de Reunion and I was under the impression that he was running at Cavalls del Vent, however, he is not on the start list. Needless to say, if he is racing he will be up at the front. **update 24th September, Tony is now confirmed.

Philipp Reiter goes from strength to strength and performs well at every race he turns up at. He was up at the front at Trofeo Kima and just recently had a great win with Iker Karrera at the Transalpine. Philipp will be top five here!

Terry Conway is my rank outsider… needless to say I have an interest here. I was influential in getting Terry to the start line. It will no doubt be a baptism of fire. The altitude, the terrain and the field may well get to him, but, I think he will adapt and perform well. If he gets top 10 it will be an incredible result. His performance at the Lakeland 100 and beating his own course record by two hours means he is without doubt in form.

LADIES

Anna Frost can never ever be ruled out in a mountain race. However she has been injured and this is a comeback race. In true fashion though she has been out on the course training. She will go for the win, no doubt!

Nuria Picas is in fine form, always performs consistently and this is her home. She told me at Trofeo Kima that this was the A race for the year. Expect a real fight up at the front from Nuria.

Emelie Forsberg loves to run and she has all the ability needed to win this race. Her descending skills are superb and as she proved at Pikes Peak, if she is allowed some space she can push hard and take a win.

Emma Roca is local, placed top 3 at UTMB and will perform well here. On a good day she will be top 3 but in this field I see her placing just off the podium.

I will be Tweeting live from the race and uploading interviews, photos and audio as and when I can. Follow the race @talkultra or on Facebook HERE