Like last year, I am happy to be supported by HoneyStinger for all my outdoor endeavors and be part of the hive.
If you don’t know HoneyStinger, check them out ! It is a Colorado-based company making healthy and nutritious food for any type of activities. They are not only tasty but also offer all natural sports nutrition with organic and gluten free options. Adults and kids love it!
Another weekend in Central Oregon where I chose, as a final long training run for the upcoming Volcanic50, the classic loop around Three Fingered Jack (3FJ).
While the classic loop goes around the 7,841ft mountain taking the PCT on the West side until Wasco Lake and goes back to the Santiam Pass Trailhead via Trail #4014, I decided to change it a bit.
Starting at the Pacific Crest Trailhead – Santiam Pass, I headed North on the PCT. After several miles, I got off the PCT and started climbing up towards 3FJ. Right before the crawl, I slipped my climbing shoes on as I wanted to go see what the final pitch looks like and maybe go at the top. The crawl was airy and great caution must be made here as well as the sections around it (multiple deaths and accidents have been reported). I arrived at the bottom of the last pitch. The views are terrific from here and while going up it didn’t seem to hard (5.4 climbing grade), I decided to stop here as I didn’t feel like climbing down it without a rope would be safe.
After going down the Crawl and putting back my running shoes, I ran down to go back on the PCT. From there, I ran North to Wasco Lake enjoying beautiful views of Mt Jefferson and 3FJ overlooking Canyon Creek Meadows.
This run offers several opportunities to refill water (Wasco Lake, Canyon Creek, Booth Lake, Square Lake) and I took advantage of it as it was very dry, hot and exposed. From Wasco Lake, I headed to the east saddle of 3FJ via the beautiful and fresh Canyon Creek meadow instead of taking the #4014 heading to Jack Lake as the classic loop does.
My modified loop (Yellow) vs the classic route (Purple)
From here, people usually hike down the way they came and head back to Jack Lake. As for me, I had found several reports and tracks of hikers going down south following a creek. As a matter of fact, when I arrived at 3FJ saddle, several women were coming up the south side. As they confirmed to me, they mainly followed the creek up. One of her having done this part 5 times, I was confident I would be able to go down this way as well. And I did! But this part was mainly bushwacking though thick brush and a lot of downed trees. I eventually met the #4014 trail, and accelerated to make up for the lost time.
I passed Booth Lake, Square Lake (it’s not square at all!) and arrived back at the trailhead where my wife picked me up in time for some kayak time and swim time at Big Lake before sunset.
if I were to do it again, I would still go up the saddle as the canyon creek meadow and the east saddle were my favorite parts. However, because of the bushwacking part and tree hoping, I would skip going down south and would run back to canyon creek meadow and Jack Lake to join the trail #4014 that the classic loop takes.
Last Saturday, I opened my 2016 racing season with the Smith Rock Ascent. I ran the first edition in 2013 and immediately put it as one of my favorite local race. It is held in the beautiful Smith Rock State Park (Central Oregon) mostly known for being the birthplace of American sport climbing (Sport-climbing in the US? no wonder several French climbers played a biginfluence!)
Over the years, they have added a “4miler” and a “50K” but the 15-miler (≈ 3000ft elevation gain) remains my favorite as it suits exactly my type of running: It’s steep, exposed, fast and includes some technical parts. It consists of a lollipop course starting and finishing at the park entrance and going at the top of Gray Butte.
The views are beautiful (one can see the cascade volcanoes from Mt Hood to Mt Bachelor), the weather is usually sunny and warm at this time of the year and the organization is great.
3 years after, I wanted to participate again, see my overall improvements since then and enjoy some good competition as this race seems to attract fast runners. Both in my training and racing, I’ve always made sure to establish benchmarks in order to measure my improvements. It’s easy to run year after year and not necessarily notice the improvements/regression. As I like to train with purpose, I believe having such benchmarks help me not only validating my training, but also assessing and adjusting it if no progression is made.
This year, I’m proud and glad to use HoneyStinger as my endurance fuel: It’s natural, organic and honey-based.
Honey has many health benefits and is also known to be a great fuel for endurance exercise (Source : ACSM). It is even found in ancient history during the Greek Olympics with the “Honey Tokens” and Mead.
Simple, nutritious and tasty, what can I ask more ?
As shown below, I usually have different flavors and texture as I like to vary the type of fuel I use within a run/race.
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.
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) :
A backpack to carry my nutrition/fluid and my bike gear.
2 locks : A very robust one to lock my bike and a smaller one acting as a theft-deterrent for my helmet.
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)
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.
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 ?