Taranaki!

Had a great weekend up on Taranaki with Paul, Anna and Matt.

I arrived Friday and we headed straight to Dawson Falls and hit the trails. Saturday morning Anna and Matt cranked into it at 630, by 845 Anna was back at the Camp House with the woman’s ascent and round trip records! Matt arrived not long after on his first of 4 peaks under his belt. I headed up the “Razor Back” to explore and couldn’t help myself but head up to the summit of Taranaki- an easyish 1hr27mins.I then headed back to the camp house to rest up for my RTM run the next day. Matt returned and left again, before returning with the “4 Summits” record. Continue reading

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Respect

A quick post- I am writing this somewhere over Wellington I think.
I am pretty sure that most that know me well will already know this, but sometimes things get lost on blogs  and social media. A fancy pair of shoes, with a matching top, a sponsors name/logo and some self promoting bla bla are all good, but not lossing touch is more good.
Tomorrow or when ever it is I get to go for a jog around Mtg Taranaki respect will be at the first thing on my mind. Respect for the trail the
will be out in front of me and for the amazingly fast time of Greg Babours. It has after all be around since 1993.
I needed to get that out. I have been reading all kinds of stuff and if I was not on the inside of this weekend, if I was looking in reading all this stuff I would almost be thinking “jez, these jokers  are pretty full of it and lacking respect”. Excitement and lack of respect can get blurred at times……
After all it is just running, beautiful in its simplicity.

“So long and thanks for all the shoes….”

“So long and thanks for all the shoes” was more or less what I was saying, if you were to read between the lines, but I’ll get to that e-mail later, first a few other things.

FKT forum- I set up a forum a week or so ago for Fastest Known Times (FKT) in New Zealand. Its a bit of fun and hopefully people will get into it and post up their times for different tracks and peaks, summer or winter, running, hiking, ski touring- whatever. Check it out, hopefully we can all inspire each other to get after it and push a little harder – http://fktnewzealand.myfreeforum.org/

The mighty ‘Naki- if we are mates on facebook you might just have seen my name tagged in relation to a trip this coming weekend to Mt Taranaki. The trip seems to have taken on a life of its own, but the guts of it is along with MattB and Anna Frost, I will head up on Friday and have a jog around Mt Taranaki. The current Round the Mountain (RTM) FKT stands at 5hr17min by Greg Babour and is pretty much unbeatable due to track damage and the route Greg used way back in 1993 no longer exists, well at least part of it not longer does. So I will be trying to set a new, post 1993, FKT for the Taranaki RTM. Matt is going to see how many times he can summit Taranaki from North Egmont in a 24hr period and Anna will have a crack at the woman’s ascent/descent FKT. We will also be accompanied by ace picture taker Paul Petch. You can check out this blog for all kinds of Taranaki speed record goodness. How this little run will go for me I have no idea as I am in less than ideal shape right now and pretty tired with work and playing dad (which is really hard work but super fun!)

I have had a few good training runs lately, nothing crazy, but good fun.

I ran this lovely ridge this morning- Castle Hill Peak

Right, back to what I started with- I wrote an e-mail last month just after the Kepler to Greg, who I think I would be right in saying is the master mind behind Salomon Running’s total domination over the past 12+months. You would have seen Greg in the “Kilian’s Quest” and “5 Continents” films. I was amazingly lucky to be a part of this last year, getting to travel first to TNF100 and then the CDR with the Salomon team. I didn’t really feel like I pulled my weight (but how the hell can you relative to the rest of this team?!) and was ready for the cut. So I wrote a “thank you” e-mail (so long and thanks for all the shoes). I almost fell off my chair (and am pretty sure I screamed like an excited little girl getting a my little pony for her birthday….) when I got an e-mail back from Greg asking if I wanted to travel far and wide, running in tight white lycra and bright coloured shoes. I of course had to take a few days and think this over, before I reluctantly said yes- yeah no, I wrote back more or less straight away, hardly able to contain myself with excitement. I have to admit the plan this year was no plan other than play dad and focus on that. But when an opportunity like this (I will not call it a “once in a life time”, cause I am on to my 6th or 7th one of those now and it’s losing its impact) comes along one has to grab it, shake the crap out of it, make it their own and run with it! It is going to be a very fun year, returning to a few races I need some redemption at, as well as travelling somewhere new. I will get into the details in a bit, after Taranaki, but I will say I am going to be catching up with Salomon Team mates Ryan Sands and Jen Segger in Asia- it’s going to be a blast!

Nice job on lasting the distance on what has to be one of my longer, more ranting blog posts. This kind of endurance should serve you well in an ultra race! As a reward, if you’re the first person to leave a comment, correctly naming the source of  “so long and thanks for all the shoes” (like most things you’ll read here that is cleaver and/or witty, I didn’t come up with it) I will send you out a DVD of the 2010 season of Kilian’s Quest (and maybe a Salomon Buff if I still have any new ones around). Only catch, if I have already given you a DVD (and Buff) then you can’t win- gotta share the love. And NZ post only sorry- international postage is $$

blast from the past- Low Peak Speed Ascent

Mt Rolleston Low Peak Speed Ascent/Descent

NOTE -I posted this on Monday, October 20, 2008 on my old blogspot blog

It has been a goal of mine for a while now to do a speed climb up the Otira Slide to Mt Rolleston’s Low Peak and yesterday things finaly fell into place. During the week, after Martin returned to Switzerland, Lukas and I had been at Cheeseman, getting some good skiing in, with a nice 2000m vert day and some great spring snow, skiing down to 1300m elevation a few times. The weather was looking good for Sunday and Lukas got pretty pumped when I told him about the trip. The whole “speed climb” thing its pretty European and I got pretty inspired for this trip after talking with Pierre Gignoux, who withStéphane Brosse climbed from Chamonix to Mt Blanc and skied back down in 5hrs15mins! Now, climbing Low Peak isn’t quite on that same level (not even close really!), but I’m working with what I’ve got (and I aren’t talking about the mountains- my fitness level). Preparation went well, as we carbo loaded while Lukas watched his first game of rugby in the Pub in Arthur’s Pass. We arrived at the car park on Hwy73 just before 7am and we were away running just after. Good progress was made over the rough track and after 35 mins we took skis off our packs and slipped into our ski boots. The low angled apron leading towards the Slide was firm and made for fast skinning until the pitch steepened and we donned crampons. At this point I was thinking we would be lucky to summit within 2hrs (Graeme Kate’s fastest time) as we had been going for around 1hr and still had over 500m vert of the steeper terrain left to go.

2 tiny dots racing up to Low Peak
Lukas, as always, set a fast pace booting up and I scurried to stay close and was surprised how fast we ate up the vert. As we reached the summit my watch read 8:46am- 1hr40min! Stoked!
We were in full race mode, skis, boots, even the silly race suits (like I said this is very Euro, so the suit is a must), so we spent just a minute or 2 on the summit, I don’t even think I looked at the view, and we we off.
On skinny race skis, and with tired legs the pitch felt steeper than I remembered. It was firm and littered with golf ball sized chunks of hard snow. The power slide was in full effect in the upper sections, before finding smoother snow and opening it up a little.
The start of the run back down the Otira Valley
We were back at our running shoes in less than 10 mins where I had stashed some watered down coke. We changed back to running shoes, chugged the coke and were away running again. The down hill run felt good and we made good time, arriving back at the Cheapa Campa at 9:23am.
2hr17min round trip, so pretty happy.
Myself and Lukas back at the parking lot
By Popular Demand-
One of the home viewers has asked to get a run down on the gear used (sorry no photo this time Tim).
Dynafit SR8.0 skis w/ TLT Low Tech, Coltex mohair skins, XP carbon boots, helmet (w/goggles), Buffx2, fleece gloves, Salomon XT Wings running shoes, 20l race pack carrying- light weight shell jacket and pants, Simond Caiman alloy crampons, Simond Ocelot Hyperlight axe, light weight soft shell jacket, first aid kit, steel shove, probe, 700ml water, 1 Peak Fuel, shell mitts. And yes, that ridicules race suit!

2011 Canadian Death Race- Endurance Magazine Story

This story was originally published in the November issue of Endurance Magazine

My trip to the Canadian Death Race ultra-marathon seemed to have it all- temperature extremes, a mixed future of luck, good friends, big wild life, even bigger country and most importantly 125km of suffering.

photo-PV

Getting out of Christchurch proved to be by far the hardest part of the whole trip. With what I could consider a small amount of snow on the runway, all Monday flights were canned and with all the people re-booking and available flights running out I had all but given up hope of making it to Canada, however, I managed to talk with the right person at the right time and got a flight on Tuesday. A day late and super tired I made it to Canmore, Alberta. Here I was a guest of Phil Villeneuve, the Salomon brand ambassador for Canada. I parked up on Phil’s couch watching dvds for a day trying to recover from the hellish flight. I did venture out a few times, once for some good Mexican food and another for a great trail run on some local trails. We had an awesome drive up to Grande Cache the next day via Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Huge terrain and wild life (black bears, big horn sheep and Elk) were the highlights. Continue reading

Bridge-Camp-Helicopter

Fun little 2hr, 1000m vert run today. Started at the BR camp spot, up to Bridge Hill, up the BR ski rd, to Camp Saddle, down The Edge and up on to Helicopter Hill. Good times.

George with Bridge Hill in the back ground

On the climb up to Camp Saddle

On Camp Saddle and in need of a shave

GDog running down The Edge

Knocking off Helicopter Hill