Monthly Archives: January 2016

RRR – Ride & Run & Ride

About a year ago, I read an interesting article written by Ellie Greenwood about being “self-propelled“. It immediately caught my attention as I typically try my best to use my bike/bus/train/legs to move myself in my daily errands.

I had been living car-free until several years ago. I saved a ton of money and hassle but I have to admit that some tasks required more organizations and time.

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100
Back in college, Manu and I coming back from the grocery store. He had the great idea of using duct tape and a broom to be able to carry back all the groceries. 2009

While I would prefer not to own any car, it would not be possible to accomplish all of our family activities without it (we do the groceries by bike as a family from time to time though!). That being said, as a family of 3, we try to limit our car usage to a minimum and as a matter of fact, we haven’t driven our van for several weeks now as we keep it for our adventure runs, camping and road trips.

As I always try to explore new trails, I sometimes feel guilty of driving 100+ miles to run 20-30 miles and I try to limit my trips as I don’t want to end up spending more time sitting in my car than actually running. But as I easily get bored of the running routes around our home, I use my bike to reach local trails.

Today, I explain how to combine a weekend long run without the use of any car. I will take the bike as the transportation mode but one could use the bus/Rollerblades…etc.

  • First, you need to plan how you will carry all your belongings on the bike and while running. If you have access to a locker, of course that is the best case but as I usually run in the wilderness, there is no such thing available

I usually make sure to have the following items (see on the photo below) :

  1. A backpack to carry my nutrition/fluid and my bike gear.
  2. 2 locks : A very robust one to lock my bike and a smaller one acting as a theft-deterrent for my helmet.
  3. A small toolkit. In case you get a flat or other mechanical issue (I plan on doing a dedicated post soon on my recommendation for what to carry in a toolkit)
  4. A cell phone in case you’re not able to ride your bike back due to a major mechanical failure or simply if you don’t find your bike when you finish your run!
  • Your bike: the crappier it looks, the better it is. Indeed, a crappy bike can be a great theft-deterrent. I used to have an old mountain bike on which I would only perform the basic maintenance. I used it for grocery shopping and mainly short commutes. I owned it for 15+ years until I donated it to a family member so he could commute to work.
  • You need to make sure that you can lock your bike close to the trailhead. A tree can work but an appropriate bike rack is the best.

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Riding my bike not only allows me to reach my trailhead without spending any money on gas, it also provides a great warm-up as well as a good recovery after my run.

Go ahead and move car-free !

Do you already practice car-free activities ? How do you blend this lifestyle into your daily life ? What other advantages do you see by doing do ?

Pot Pourri Videos (Part 1)

Among the years, I have discovered numerous free videos that have provided me inspiration and motivation whenever it was before an important workout or even a race. I have gathered my favorite ones and created a pot pourri that you can find below. Enjoy!

And…..I am always looking for more! Do you have any videos to share ? Feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below!

Running:

Super Marathon du Mont-Blanc or the first unofficial UTMB.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlo2uj_super-marathon-mt-blanc-1987_sport

 

Kilian’s Quest (4 seasons). A must see as well as all the other Salomon videos.

 

Curiosity

 

Endurance (Sebastien Chaigneau). His “Get ready for” show is also very interesting.

 

Endurance (Haile Gebrselassie)

 

The ingenuous choice (A. Krupicka)

 

Cycling :

Going AWOL on the Transcontinental race

 

Ride of my life

 

We are traffic

 

 

Climbing :

Opera vertical. For sure, the first very inspirational video I watched. Not just because of climbing but also for Edlinger’s lifestyle (no surprise I have a van like him!). The dude was also trail running !

SufferFest 1. How to combine cycling and climbing

 

Negative Trace

You are probably familiar with the “Leave No Trace” ethic. It’s one thing to be responsible for any trash you bring into the wilderness but I find it also very important to practice “Negative Trace”. In other words, to pick up trash that others may have left by accident or on purpose.

This morning, when getting ready to go on my run, I found the trailhead covered with trash. Within less than 5 minutes, everything was picked up and packed in my shoebox. As I always try to encourage anyone to do the same, I think we can all improve our “outdoor” experience by doing a small contribution.

Not convinced ? Think of it as an additional strength session when you squat to pick up that dirty ole’ can.

2015 Highlights

As 2016 is here, it’s time to look in the mirror and review the good moments and accomplishments of 2015. Below is a highlight of some of the different adventures and races that I completed last year.

Vortex 10K

I started the year with a victory at a local 10K trail race, nothing better to test and validate my training!  Great way to start off the year.

Official Results

 

“6 peaks” or the first “AdventuRun” of the year.

In 2014, during a run in the gorge, a friend shared with me a running project called 6 peaks. This route crosses the eastern part of the gorge and goes on top of the 6 prominent peaks. Starting at the base of Mt Defiance, it ends at the famous Eagle Creek trailhead and travels through beautiful trails, including the PCT, in the higher part of the gorge.
This route immediately caught my attention and I added it to my “TODO” list.

After some planning, Joe and I completed the run on May 2nd 2015.
Originally created by a runner aka “The Beast”, this route boasts 42 miles and +12,377/-12,324 ft of elevation gain/loss.

I have committed myself in doing the “9 peaks” route (I added 3 peaks to it) as a confidence training run pre HardRock100… if I ever get selected from the lottery (0/2  so far).

For the full story, see the photo album here.
GPS Track available here (42.3 miles, +- 12,360 ft elevation gain/loss)

 

Ride on Hwy 20

In May, my wife ran the Sun Mountain 50K. This presented the opportunity for me to do my long run in the area and spend some time exploring the North Cascades. Unfortunately, the snow level was too high to do it.

Instead, I rode the beautiful section of road between Mazama, WA and NewHalem, WA.  The weather was not in my favor for the first half of the ride. The clouds were hanging low and I did not have the views I had came for.  However, when the clouds did clear I was not disappointed.

I definitely will return to the North Cascades to run! There is a lot  to discover there.

GPS Track (61 miles, +4,686/-6,216 ft elevation gain/loss)

 

Tilly Jane Shelter family backpacking

For those who are not familiar with this gem, Mt Hood has an A-frame cabin/ hut that is located on the NE side of the mountain at around 5700′  (more details here ).  We hiked in via the Polallie Ridge trail and stayed one night. The hike is perfect if you have kids as it is only 3.3 miles and 2000 ft gain.

The hut has no electricity or water and was a great way to spend the weekend unplugged with the family.

GPS Track

Coldwater peak – Mt Margaret

Another trail system I had wanted to discover was the north side of Mt St Helens. My wife and I took the opportunity to explore the area with some friends (Matthew and Jameson).

Alpine and scenic, the trails offer beautiful views of the blast zone.

GPS Track (20 miles, 4500ft elevation gain/loss)

 

San Juan Solstice 50M

My first focus race of the year. I had been wanting to discover the San Juan Mountains (Colorado) for years and this race was a great opportunity to do so as well as exploring part of the HardRock course (Cataract Gulch).

It’s hard to be well tapered and rested when visiting this region. I literally had to limit myself in the number of hours I would hike the days prior the race.

The high snow levels of 2015 made the race direction hesitate until the very last week whether we would run an alternate course. I was fortunate that we ran the normal course. It is a tough but very beautiful race at altitude.

Official Results (65th overall)

 

Mt Adams “single push”

When I moved to Oregon 4 years ago, I immediately wanted to climb several of the local volcanoes and I started with Mt Adams. At that time, I did it in 2 days and bivouacked at Lunch counter. This year, I wanted to test myself and do it in one day or “single-push”. It was an incredible adventure and I actually did it in 5h30 (car to car) !

GPS track (12 miles, 7750 ft elevation gain/loss)

 

Valjouffrey

 At the end of July, I came back to my home country to celebrate my Mother’s 60-th birthday. We stayed several days in a nice hut and enjoyed the beauty of the Alps. I already knew the region but had to opportunity to explore even more and finish-up my training for my next race.

Before breakfast each day, I had the pleasure to go out and run to the Col de la Vaurze and catch the sunrise with  my sister and brother-in-law. (GPS Track, 6 miles, 4100ft elevation gain/loss)

For the full story, see the photo album here

 

Standhope 60K

What a race and what a result! My first top 3 at an ultra-marathon. Exactly the type of race that suits me: A lot of elevation gain, technical terrain and altitude.

This race is probably my favorite one so far. It offers remote single track trails, scenic mountain views, challenging trails and screes, all of that at altitude with a great organization.

Official Results (3rd overall)

 

MtHood circumnavigation (Timberline Trail)

My wife and I  had planned to run this together for a long time… it’s a classic in the Pacific Northwest. Starting at Timberline lodge, we ran counter-clockwise mostly unsupported (Kudos to Matthew for making an aid station at the Top Spur trailhead).

It was a great adventure shared with some good friends (Matthew, Jameson and Joe). Unfortunately, we happened to run around Mt Hood the same exact day that the Washington fires happened. Definitely to do again on a sunny clear day!

GPS Track (41 miles, +10,303ft elevation gain/loss)

 

Wasatch 100

A great result for my 2nd 100-miler. I managed pretty well my race. I was happy that my mother traveled from France to cheer me on. With my wife and daughter, they were a PERFECT crew providing me with all the moral and material support possible.

The race was very well organized and I loved that it was a point-to-point course. As Jeff Browning wrote : “It’s hard, it’s technical, it’s relentless. 26,882′ of climbing and 26,131′ of downhill — 10,000′ of the descent coming in the last 23 miles! It’s brutal…and beautiful. Just my kind of course.” I loved Wasatch and it is also my kind of course. The only disappointment came from the fact that there were more gravel road sections than I expected. I think that running in the opposite direction would be better scenery wise, everybody would go through Brighton by day and enjoy the most scenic views of the entire course.

Official Results (37th overall)

 

3 Sisters Traverse

The surprise of the year came when I was asked to do the “3 Sisters Traverse” by a good friend of mine, Paul.

As we arrived on North Sister, the bad weather prevented us from continuing and running the whole route. We enjoyed an amazing weekend of running where we summited Broken Top and South Sister in the same day.

While I was not sure this would happen in 2015, finding the right partner and attempting the route was a great accomplishment. This project still remains on my list!

GPS Track (20 miles, 8,732ft elevation gain/loss)

For the full story, see the photo album here.

Elk-Kings Traverse

A tough race that I could do over and over.

It’s not always about the distance and this race is a great example: 15 miles and 6000ft of technical and exposed terrain.

With this race, GoBeyondRacing offers a well organized tough but rewarding event. I wish the region had more races like this one. The same organization used to put up the “Dog Moutain 10K” but the lack of participants didn’t encourage them to continue offer it. Too bad.

5th place and 20mins faster than 2013!

Official Results (5th overall)

Goat rocks

As Paul summed up the Goat Rocks really well : “A gem close to home”. It was definitely another region that I had put on my list of areas to discover and we were not disappointed. The trails offer views of the volcanoes, alpine lakes and wildlife encounters such as mountain goats.

We scouted a future *secret* project for which I will give more details this year.

For the full story, see the photo album here.

 

Silver Falls Marathon

I originally met my wife thanks to running when she was training for her first marathon in 2012: The Silver Falls marathon. A very low-key and well organized race in the beautiful Silver Falls State Park, it offers smooth single tracks through waterfalls and lush forests.

Jessica and I both ran it in 2012 and thought it would be nice to celebrate our 3 year anniversary by running the race again. Though she wanted to run the 50K, I registered to the marathon hoping to beat my time of 2012.

I finished 3rd overall and shaved off 35mins of my 2012 time! What a great way to end the year!

Official Results

Onto 2016!