Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Trail Nerd and TrailRunning Design Work

The Artists Among Us

Jason Crosby recently designed some "hardware" for our upcoming event, the "Free State Trail Runs." The Trail Marathon and 40-Miler finishers will receive medals, and the 100-Km finishers will receive a pewter Western-style belt buckle.

Jason also has an illustration in this month's TrailRunning magazine. That makes him the 2nd trailrunner to have run with us Trail Nerds to have contributed artwork to TrailRunning.

Of course, Jeremy Collins: artist, climber, trailrunner and fellow Kansas Citian normally contributes to TrailRunning and climbing magazines on a regular basis. There's also Eric Tiffany, an illustrator for the Kansas City Star and single-speed MTB'er extraordinaire, who runs with us quite a bit.

By the way, Jason has designed the Kansas City Marathon shirt for a second year in a row:

Jason has also designed all of our Trail Nerd designs, to date. We're kinda fond of his work! You can follow his latest designs on his blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vasque Red Bridge Ramble 8-Mile Trail Run


03/17/2007 (Sat) 8:00 a.m.
Vasque Red Bridge Ramble 8-Mile Trail Run Shelter #1, Minor Park, Kansas City, MO Trail run with river crossings.
This is a fast and fun introduction to REAL TRAIL RUNNING.

Web Site Report
Photos by Dick Ross

Race Report:
Well, we had a record year at the Red Bridge Ramble. Eighty Starters braved a cold morning to run on the beautiful trails and go splashing through the multiple water crossings.
The top 3 spots were claimed by speedy young runners, led by Justin Andrews of Kansas City. Angela Ballard was first female, with Emily Horn and Sarah Sinning coming in 2nd and 3rd females, respectively. Mike Swords was first Masters Male, and Deb Johnson was 1st Masters Female. Israel Gulley (8 years old), was our youngest trailrunner to date, and Lou Joline claimed the "Oldest Root-Tripper" award.
Thanks to all of the volunteers, the Kansas City Trail Nerds and Vasque Shoes for making this a memorable race.
Dick Ross ( took some great photos of the event HERE .
Remember, we have many more trail races in store for you this year.

This is a Kansas City Trail Nerds event.
This race kicks-off our 2007 Vasque KS-MO Trail Series.
*8 Points* toward the Vasque KC Trail Nerds Trail Series (Short Race)



Almost Famous: Podcast Starring Good Ben & Bad Ben

Kevin Patrick Allen from Endurance Planet interviewed Ben and me after our trail race last Saturday:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I haven't done this for a while, but here's a list of my (current) favorite trail-running shoes:

1st Place:
Vasque Blur - my current fave and an all-around good shoe. Good for 5K's to 100-miler distances. Decently lightweight with a flexible forefoot and really good rock protection. They have very good "trail feel" for a shoe as cushy as they are. They dry fast (after water crossings), too. You can now get these shoes at Garry Gribble's,as well as at Red Wing Shoes on Johnson Drive.

2nd Place (tied for 2nd place):
The 2007 version of the Mizuno Trail Wave Ascend (the Wave Ascend 2)- Much better than their 2006 model...a terrific trailrunning shoe with light weight and good traction. They have excellent trail feel, they dry-out fast, and just feel fast. They would be a very good choice for running in warmer weather, as well. I ran the last 60-miles of the Feb 3rd Rocky Raccoon 100 in these shoes. They were terrific for the long-haul, too. Garry Gribble's carries these locally.

2nd Place (tied for 2nd place):
The new La Sportiva Pike's Peak. Good cushioning without being clunky. Good forefoot flexibility, very good traction and "trail feel." I ran 20 miles in these last weekend (on a rocky trail), and my feet felt fresh at the end of the run. They are awesome on the rocks!!! Garry Gribble's carries these locally.

3rd Place:
Montrail Odyssey - If you want decent, lightweight trailrunning shoes, with lots of trail feel and flexibility, these are it. I wouldn't use these on a muddy run, though, because they have a large "mud pocket" built into them. Garry Gribble's and Great Plains Running Company (in Topeka) carry these locally.

A distant 4th place:
Montrail Continental Divide - A decent shoe, but not as good as its predecessor, the Leona Divide. (Too tall in the heel area and "too substantial" for my tastes). I've had better results with this shoe on flatter trails (and actually on pavement), and they felt great under those circumstances. This shoe would be a great choice for running very long distances on the Trolley Track trail, on the Blue Springs Little Trace trail, or at the Heatland 100/50 mile trail races. They would cross-over between pavement and trail, nicely. Garry Gribble's and Great Plains Running Company (in Topeka) carry these locally.

Where can you purchase trail-running shoes locally? Click right HERE

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gaiters for Trail Runners

Some folks may not know what gaiters are. Old-timers might call them "spats." Gaiters are fabric "wraps" for the end of your legs that help keep the crud out of your shoes on trail runs. Crud can cause friction. Friction causes blisters. Gaiters are not meant to keep water out of your shoes during water crossings, but they will keep the "occasional splash" out, though. (Don't jump to the conclusion that GoreTex shoes with GoreTex gaiters will keep water out during stream crossings...BECAUSE THEY WON'T).

I rarely use gaiters. I only use them for severely sandy courses like the Javelina Jundred, or mountain courses with a lot of "scree." But when I do use them, I use the lightest weight, most stretchy, and most breathable type obtainable, with the least seams to rub on your legs and ankles. That type of gaiter tends to keep your feet drier, because they trap less sweat (or wet) underneath the gaiter and in your shoes and socks.

There are more than one type of ways to attach gaiters. Most of the commercially available gaiters use under the bottom of the shoe strap type. The straps on these tend to wear out after only 20 miles or so on our local rocky trails. For strap-type gaiters, I replace the nylon cord (that comes stock with the gaiters) with stainless steel multi-filament wire and "swage" some special fittings onto the ends of the wire, attaching them to the gaiter's grommets at the same time. This is a pain in the butt, but it works.

But there are light, inexpensive and STRAP-LESS gaiters that I would rather recommend, instead:

Dirty Girl Gaiters
Gaiters By JoeTrailMan

Other pertinent gaiter information:

In the Kansas City area, Garry Gribble's Running Sports is now carrying OR-brand nylon-fabric gaiters.

Here's what some other ultrarunners say about gaiters:

Happy trails,
Bad Ben

Monday, March 05, 2007

One Week of Trail Nerds Activities

Well, we had another decent week of Trail Nerd activities and running.

Last Tuesday night, we had a decent run in Shawnee Mission Park. This was the last time that we'll meet at 6 p.m, for a while. We're changing our night runs to 7:00 p.m., starting this week.

Thursday night, we participated in a talk in Topeka at Great Plains Running Company, regarding trailrunning. There were some good questions asked by the attendees.

Saturday, we ran at Perry Lake on Willie Lambert's Rock Creek trail series (5K & 10K) course. David Wakefield and Matt showed-off these fine trails.

Sunday's training run was again at the Clinton Lake North Shore trails. Some of us ran 21 miles, and Kyle, Greg, and Gary ran a few more. These trails are where we will host the first annual "Free State Trail Runs" on April 28th. We have three events that day: a Trail Marathon, a 40-miler and a 100-Kilometer race. If you want to see the course and trails (first hand) prior to the race, please come and run with us at 7:15 a.m. on most Sundays...we'll be there.


The Free State event is going to be a lot of fun. Even though the work and logistics involved for this is seemingly never-ending, it's fun to be involved with it's creation, and get new ideas and work-out issues while we actually run on the course each week!