Monday, October 30, 2006

Trail Maintenance, Meeting, Blue Springs Trail Run

Saturday, some of us Trail Nerds went to WyCo park to do some trail maintenance & clean-up. We're hosting a trail race there on Nov 11th, and we wanted to get the trails in shape for the event. It's always hard work, but we always have a good time, as well. Good Ben brought donuts, and I had orange juice and coffee available to all takers.

After our 4-hour trail maintenance session, we headed to Shawnee Mission Park to go to a meeting about the future of SM Park and the trails in the park. We had a decent showing of trailrunners at the meeting to let them know our trailrunning needs. We will attend all future planning meetings. We have a chance to positively affect the future of the entire park system, regarding unpaved options open for us, the mountain bikers, hikers, adventure racers, and equestrian users. Cool, huh?

Trail Nerds at the 7 am Start
A few Trail Nerds at the 7 am Start.
Photo by Dick Ross.

Sunday, October 29th was the day for the Blue Springs 50/50/26.2/13.1 trail runs. The weather was perfect (if not unseasonably warm), and there was a gaggle of Trail Nerds at the race; each of them were doing one of the 4 different distances offered. I took the early 6 a.m. marathon starting time, to give my son and I a fighting chance to get to the Chiefs game and still have time to tailgate. He slept in the car while I was running...he had worked until midnight, and gone to sleep after 2 a.m. My legs felt a little dead during the whole race, (probably from just having run in a 50-miler two weeks ago). I just took it easy and had a fun time socializing and cheering-on other runners. In the end, I scratched-out a 4-hr, 27-minute marathon-distance "training run." I had a cool-looking shirt and one of Lou Joline's hand-crafted funky medals to show for my efforts, also.

The shirt.
(A Dick Ross photo)

About the shirt: Lou used a larger-version of the design from the Kansas City Trail Series shirt (that Jason Crosby designed). It looks great on a light blue tee-shirt! He will use the same design on a long-sleeve tee-shirt for the 50-kilometer "Dude, where's the trail" run. Hint: register early to guarantee yourself a shirt. Website
Click Here for Dick Ross' photos of the event.

Gary, Shane & Paul
Gary, Shane, and Paul.
(A Dick Ross photo)

Lance Calvert
Lance Calvert
(A Dick Ross photo)

Jacque wins some Schwag
Jacque wins some Race Schwag
(A Dick Ross photo)

Rick Mayo cruises
Rick Mayo on "cruise control"
(A Dick Ross photo)

More Nerds
Trail Nerds recovering after the race.
(A Dick Ross photo)

Group "Training Run" at Kill Creek Park

On Sunday, Oct 22, we had a group "Training Run" at Kill Creek Park. We called the event the "Fall Fell" trail run. Twenty-one trailrunners (and one dog) showed up to run in 3 different pace groups. We ran for 6.7 miles. We had a heck of a good time on a fair-weather Fall day. The Autumn colors were almost at their zenith. Afterward, we gave away some freebies from the Trail Nerds stash of goodies. Every runner there scored something (if they stuck around)...from 9-LED flashlights to packets of GU.

Our main interest was to educate folks about what a nice park Kill Creek is. Next year, we may have a full-blown trail race at this lovely venue.

Some of the participants in our fun little training run.
Photo by Good Ben Reeves.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chris Cross 10k Trail Run

Saturday, while some Trail Nerds were out at the Heartland 50 and 100 miler, other Trail Nerds were out at Clinton Lake getting in some 5k and 10k action. This was the 1st annual Chris Cross Trail race and was held in conjunction with the Chris Cross Cyclo Cross races immediately following the trail run. Michael Goodwin of the Kansas Trails Council was on hand to help out Cowtown Cycling and Multisport Marketing who hosted the event.
There were ~43 runners in the 5k and 10k combined and the weather was beautiful. At 29 degrees, it was a chilly fall morning, but race time temps in the upper 30s to lower 40s helped folks warm up as they pushed through the technical trails of Clinton Lake.
Dave Wakefield smoked through the rocky and hilly 10k course in 40 mins and 55 seconds while Brian Bumgardner made light work of the 5k course in just under 22 and a half minutes. Female winners, Nha-Trang Truang (5k), and Emily Horn (10k) made a strong showing as well. Lou Joline of the KC Track Club used this as a little training run and finished all smiles as usual.
Several other Trail Nerds took home hardware for wins in their age group.

***Overall Male 5K Winner***

Brian Bumgardner 22:27

***Overall Female 5K Winner***

Nha-Trang Truang 28:15

***Overall Male 10K Winner***

David Wakefield 40:55

***Overall Female 10K Winner***

Emily Horn 54:31

Overall 5K Results:

#103 22:27 Brian Bumgardner Male 20-29

#104 23:19 Kevin Frits Male 20-29

#134 26:23 Rick Condray Male 20-29

#107 26:54 Jeff Arnaud Male 20-29

#108 27:08 Michael Cribbs Male 20-29

#132 28:15 Nha-Trang Truong Female 20-29

#105 31:21 Kelli Conway Female 20-29

#109 37:38 Tedra LaRonde Female 30-39

#100 40:08 Leann Cook Female 30-39

#101 40:08 Emma Shotton Female 30-39

#133 40:36 Anne Holmes Female 30-39

#102 41:42 Renee Ernst Male 40-49

#106 42:06 Karen Schneller Female 50-59

Overall 10K Results:

#842 40:55 David Wakefield Male 30-39

#882 42:15 Ashley Oelschlaeger Male 20-29

#841 43:25 Tyler Lathrop-Allen Male 30-39

#848 44:03 Michael Swords Male 40-49

#871 45:59 Greg Burger Male 40-49

#834 46:32 Lance Calvert Male 30-39

#849 47:26 Mike Classen Male 40-49

#836 47:31 Robert Brodrick Male 40-49

#878 49:44 Jasper Jeffers Male 30-39

#839 50:28 Steve Myers Male 30-39

#844 50:29 Stuart Johnson Male 40-49

#840 50:48 Joseph Kuchan Male 30-39

#880 50:54 Sam Holmes Male 40-49

#884 52:17 Mike Pearson Male 50-59

#838 52:44 Gene Wee Male 50-59

#835 53:41 Eric Tiffany Male 40-49

#873 54:28 Ryan Bolling Male 20-29

#875 54:31 Emily Horn Female 20-29

#876 56:16 Mark Horrigan Male 40-49

#847 56:38 Sarah Sinning Female 20-29

#883 1:01:32 Scott Petry Male 40-49

#837 1:01:42 Dennis Callahan Male 30-39

#874 1:01:45 Christopher Weber Male 20-29

#843 1:01:50 Deb Johnson Female 40-49

#881 1:03:40 Jeremy Bunch Male 30-39

#845 1:03:46 Matt Ernst Male 40-49

#846 1:06:53 Ellen Jensen Female 30-39

#877 1:07:01 Ashley Christman Female 20-29

#879 1:15:18 Ryan Tolley Male 20-29

#872 1:21:39 Lou Joline Male 60+

We even had someone from the barefoot running contingent show up and enjoy the trails. Barefoot Scott came out sporting some footies from Vibram.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Race Report: Heartland 50-Miler...50 Miles was just the Starting Point

Whew! What a weekend.

Last Tuesday, I finally decided to do the 50-mile Heartland "Spirit of the Prairie" run.
It was a last-minute decision. It was originally an idea that Raul Flores had put into my stupid head a week previously. I try to stay in (at least) 50-miler shape year-round, but I'm getting over a pretty severe injury from 7 weeks ago, so I wasn't sure how I'd do.

We headed down to Cassoday, Kansas on Friday at noon. It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive from Kansas City. We left in a convoy of two vehicles "loaded to the gills" with supplies...more on that later.

Raul and I got to race headquarters and registered for the race. We had the pleasure of meeting some new ultrarunners and running in to old buddies, as well. Fellow Trail Nerd Gabe Bevan was going to have this be his first 100-miler, and he looked ready for it. We hung around there and had the great pre-race supper fixin's hosted by the Kansas Ultrarunners' Society (KUS). We ate well, and then headed south 22 miles, to our motel stay.

We stopped at Walmart first, and picked up a couple of bags of Pepperidge Farms cookies. I had a keg of homebrewed India Pale Ale in the back of my vehicle, so I threw the tap on it, and Raul and I had a couple of pints of beer and a bag of cookies each to nibble on while we watched TV and got ready for an early sleep. Kyle Amos and his family showed up at the motel at about 7:30 p.m. Raul and I had "lights out" at 8:30, to try to sleep as much as we could before the 4 a.m. alarm setting.

We got up at 4, got ready, found a place with some coffee, and headed up the road eating bananas and cookies. We arrived back at the Cassoday starting line about 1/2 hour before the 6:00 a.m. start. It was about 39 or 40 degrees F. We would be running in dark conditions for at least an hour. The race started, and I quickly found my conservative first-half pace. I found several folks to talk to on the way out to the 50-mile turnaround. Many were doing the 100-miler, and they had a long way to go to their turnaround.

The course was on farm roads through tall grass prairie and ranch country in the middle of "Nowhere, Kansas." There were some hilly sections with long, 200-300 foot high hills, but everything was indeed "runnable." Talk about desolate! On the entire 50 mile course, I only saw 6 or 7 viable dwellings and one ghost town.

About 45-minutes or so from the half-way point, I saw Kyle Amos and (newby ultrarunner) Josh Pool in 4th & 5th place, running together back the other way. They looked strong and determined. (They would run the entire race together). I was surprised to see Raul at the last aid station before the turnaround. His sciatica was acting up, so he dropped at 25. (He had run a fast marathon the weekend before, though). I got to the mile 25 turnaround, and got back to the aid station to dig into my drop bag. I tried a new caffeine drink and took a PB & J quarter-sandwich with me. I had been eating Sharkies on the way out, and they had worked okay so far, so I would continue with this pattern. I kept my long-sleeve Golite top on, because the course had absolutely no shade, and I wanted to limit sun exposure. It was supposed to get up to 70F, but I wouldn't be too hot in that top, I thought.

On the way back, I put on my earbuds and cranked my IPod Shuffle. I concentrated on running all of the hills that I had walked previously on the way out. I was successful with this plan, for the most part. I didn't want to get passed, and wanted to take as many "roadkill" as possible on the way back. It started to get hot in some sections, but at the top of the hills you could feel a cooling breeze. I turned up my music louder. I passed 5 people in about 20 miles.

At about 5 miles from the finish, I noticed two side-by-side runners slowly gaining on me. They were 90 seconds behind me. I would get over a hill or around a corner (out of sight) and hit it hard. They must have been doing the same, because they didn't fade back. About 2 miles from the finish, they were less than 1 minute behind me. At this point, I could see the finish line off in the distance. I also saw a live rattlesnake in the middle of the road sunning itself. I about jumped out of my shorts! This was the turning point. I poured on the speed, and kept thinking, "turnover, turnover, turnover" to give my legs a boost. There was one last 3/4-mile straightaway before we turned onto the last 1/2 mile of the only pavement in the race. They were just 45 seconds behind!!! I pushed my pace up to my PPL, (pre-puke level), and held it there. I rounded the corner onto the pavement, and hit it hard. I was doing about a 7:30/minute mile pace, at that point. I turned around and looked, and they were just rounding the corner. I was a full 1/4-mile ahead. This meant that I had them by almost 2 minutes!

I ended up with a finish time of 9:48:16. I was satisfied with that time; it meant that I am finally back from injury and moving along well in my training. Fellow Trail Nerds Kyle and Josh did REALLY WELL in the 50-mile race. They had moved up in the race order and tied for 2nd place with a time of 7-hours, 42 minutes!!!

Synopsis: I did great! My hamstring and back didn't bug me at all. I ran a smart race. I went out conservatively to the mile 25 turnaround, then hit it harder coming back. I experimented with a new food and a new drink, and now have a couple more in my ultra-arsenal.

The rest of the story:
Directly after the 50-miler, I ate a little and took a sponge bath with baby wipes. Then Raul and I initiated the rest of our plan. We drove our vehicles out to the Mile 95.2 point on the 100-mile course and set up a "gypsy" aid station (where there wasn't one). We wanted to help the 100-milers finish their race and lend them some help at a critical point in the race.

We called it the "Mirage" aid station. Man, we had everything at our station. Music, ultrarunning videos, a generator, Christmas lights, pizza, tasty homebrew, hot Starbucks coffee, hot homemade chicken/ramen soup, water, Coke, Gel, S-Caps, Salty Snacks, Energy Bars, First Aid Kit, Toilet Paper, bananas, M & M’s, crackers, spare LED flashlights, spare batteries, and about 20 other things that I'm forgetting. We had forgotton some critical things, but with our slightly warped but inventive minds, we came up with some viable solutions that would've made MacGuiver proud.

The aid station was a hit, especially during the lightning and rainstorms that hit at about 2:00 a.m. and thereafter. I mean, it really got ugly for the runners. Fellow Trail Nerd Gabe Bevan came running through with his pacer (Rick Mayo), and was happy to be on a sub-24-hour first 100-miler. Sue Johnson came within 4 minutes of taking the overall 100-mile race, because Mark Henderson found our station to be so hospitable. He had taken a nap and hung around for almost 30 minutes!

At about 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, we started taking down the station and loading up. We got back to the finish area, hung around for a little bit, then headed up the road, back toward KC. We only had had a couple of 5-minute catnaps since 4 a.m. the previous day. I arrived at home okay, unloaded the homebrew and other "fridge items," and took a hot bath and then a 3 hour nap with my grandson. Then I was up until my normal 11:30 bedtime, to keep on my normal sleep schedule.

Next year, we'll do it again, but we'll have it down to a science. We've already made plans.

If you want to do a fairly fast, beautiful and fun ultrarun next year, set your sights on this one. It's a winner! The KUS folks know how to put on a quality event.

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

Photo Album

Race Web Site

Prairie Chicken Capital
What a claim to fame!

Salt stains on my shirt, after I finished 50-miler.

I'm not putting those shoes in my car!

Mirage Aid Station
Our "Mirage" aid station.

Raul in Aid Station
Raul Flores, waiting for some 100-mile customers.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sandrat Trail Run

Sunday, October 1, 2006.
The Sandrat Trail Run is a 9.5 mile (approx.) trail run. The course is run on the "River Trails" north of the Kaw River and downtown Lawrence, KS.
It is a wonderfully low-key but fast trail race for a small entry fee. This year, we didn't have any "breakfast beer" on hand, due to potential legal constraints...jail time. (Last year, it was "rumored" that a founding Trail Nerd brought some of his own homebrew).

Steve Riley, his family, and the volunteers always do a good job with this race. This year there were 100 finishers in the trail race.

A gaggle of Trail Nerds ran in the race, and most did well. Kyle Amos ran with his wife Stacey. The day before, Kyle took 3rd overall in the 10th fastest time ever at the Flatrock 50-K trail race! Caleb Chatfield (the winner of the same 50K), decided to not run but volunteered for the race.

A gaggle of Trail Nerds ran in the race.

Many Trail Nerds came home with the coveted Sandrat for an age group or place award:

There is also a 1K Rug Rat event, and this year there were 8 competitors.

Here are 3 Rug Rat finishers. The two on the left are Shane Jones' offspring. The one on the right is Bad Ben's grandson.

Photos of this year's Sandrat Trail Race click here.

Overall Results-Click Here
Age group Results-Click Here

Monday, October 02, 2006


The KC Train Nerds has grown quite a bit in the past year. So much so that it seems that hardly a race (of the off-road variety) goes by that doesn't see at least some participation by a Trail Nerd. This past weekend was no exception as some fellow nerds took home some hardware from a few different races. On Saturday, the Flatrock 50k had to succumb to the mighty will of Mr. Caleb Chatfield. Caleb not only won the race, he shattered the old course record setting the bar very high indeed for future challengers. Kyle Amos was right on his heels taking the third place overall spot and finishing that demanding course in under 5 hours! Here's a brief report from Ben Holmes...

Flatrock Synopsis:

In the 50-Kilometer race, Caleb Chatfield set a brand new course record of 4:29:21. Dave Wakefield broke his own course record to take second place. Both runners finished in under 5 hours, and additionally, Kyle Amos finished in under 5 hours by just 6 seconds, and took 3rd-place overall!
This is a really tough course with sharp rocks, loose rocks, hills, flora and other encumberances. Previous to this year, there were only seven sub-5-hour finishes in the last 10 years of the race's history. This year there were three sub-5-hour performances! All three of these runners live in N.E. Kansas, and two of them are Trail Nerds. Yup, Kansas is making a name for itself in the trailrunning world.
Lance Calvert ran a decent 50K until mile 24 or so. He made it across the finish in a decent time, though. Mark Koester took 5th place overall in the 25K. He was happy with his performance.

Pictures from the Flatrock 50k can be found here!

On Sunday, more dirt lovers took part in the last race of the Blue Hills Adventure Race Series. New Trail Nerds and first time adventure racers Courtney Porter and Brandy Miller got their first taste of a Sprint Adv race at Eisenhower State Park near Melvern, KS and pulled in 4th place in the Co-ed division.

Also representing the Trail Nerds in the AR was Bob Billings. Bob has done several of these Adventure races before and is doing a good job of breaking in newbies to the off-road racing world.

Ben Reeves and Shane Jones didn't get to race this particular race, but they didn't have to. Since they already had such a commanding lead in the championship points series, none of the teams could catch them. They're the Adventure Race Series Champs and are $800 richer for their efforts.

Also held on Sunday was the Sandrats 15k Trail run in Lawrence, KS. Many other Trail nerds took part in this old favorite. The Larence river trails are hard packed and as long as they're dry, they're very fast and this year's times reflected the good running conditions. Several Trail Nerds earned podium placements in different divisions. Results can be found here.

Overall it was a very good weekend to be a Trail Nerd. Coming up, we not only have the usual fun training runs, but we also have the next race in our Trail Nerds Trail race series, The Chris Cross trail Run out at Clinton Lake on October 14th. The weekend after that, we have The Fall Fell trail Race to be held at Kill Creek Park on October 21. So don't put up the running gear just because you're digging out your fall clothes. There's plenty more action to be had!