Monday, September 29, 2014

42% of Mogollon Monster

I went to Arizona to run the Mogollon Monster 100. It's supposed to a be a very tough, scenic, 107+ mile long race, and despite only being in its third year, it's already on the short list of Hardrock Qualifiers.

 I flew to Phoenix on Friday after not sleeping well Thursday night, and drove to Pine, AZ for packet pickup. I was hungry, but didn't really eat much, and got a rough night's sleep in my rental car on a forest service road near the start. The race started at 6AM Saturday. It started raining just a few minutes after the start, but only lasted for a few minutes. I fell in with some cool people; a guy who just ran the Tahoe 200, and a dude from SF who runs winter sled races in Alaska; I think he's scheduled to do a 1000 miler this winter. So I had enjoyable company, but I wasn't feeling that great--I hadn't gotten a lot of sleep, my neck was sore from sleeping funny and had to be bent down a little, I walked into a tree and hit my head, and I had more sharts than I could count. Despite all that, I was running pretty strong, on roughly a 27 hour pace, seemingly within my goal of 30 hours. Then it started raining.

When I was in an aid station around my 35, the radio operators told us weather was coming in about and hour, and would last an hour. So I grabbed a second windbreaker, long sleeve shirt, and thin gloves. Just as predicted, the rain came, and it got pretty cold pretty fast. I had a t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, two windbreakers, and gloves on, but was still pretty cold. I got to the aid station at mile 41 or 42, and put on insulated long pants, a third (insulated) windshirt, and a pair of mittens on top of the gloves, and got ready to get moving again. Then they told me the race was canceled.

 I was probably OK with this at the time. Lots of times running 100s I wish I would get bit by a rattlesnake or break my leg or something, so that I could stop running, but never have to second guess myself later. Having the RD make the call to end the race because of potential flash flood and lightning strikes relieves me of any responsibility for not finishing. Now that I've had time to think about it, however, I'm not very happy about it. I don't think the rain or lightning was as hard Saturday night as it was Friday night. The RD seemed like a nice guy, and he defends his decision here. I probably wouldn't have made the same call, but whatever, I'm not the RD, and if I ran the world, there'd be bears and mountain lions all over the suburbs eating children on their way to school, so you probably don't want to listen to me regarding appropriate levels of risk anyway.

Sunday the weather was gorgeous. I ran a 16 mile loop that covered the race finish, hiked from a random trailhead on HWY 87 towards the Mazatzal Wilderness to see some lower, drier desert scenery, couchsurfed in Phoenix, and flew home this morning.

The scenery was beautiful, so I'll be back to finish the race soon, I hope. Next up is Euchre Bar Massacre 50 Miler, in two weeks. 20,000 feet of climbing, mostly off trail. A 24 hour cutoff, and I'm not quite expecting to finish.

The race

Ready to go before the race

Delicious on the way to the race

15 miles of mushrooms on Sunday


Looking off the Mogollon Rim

South Fork, towards the Mazatzal

Every once in a while, when you get sick of how expensive it is to live in your elitist coastal liberal city, and you think you might want to move elsewhere, it's important to go spend time in the rest of the country and remember "Oh, yeh, I'm happy right where I am."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mogollon Monster

I'm off to Pine, AZ to run the Mogollon Monster. Do I know any hiker trash in Phoenix who want to hang out Sunday night/give me a place to crash before I fly home Monday morning?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Good Weekend

GF flew out for the weekend. We, or rather, I, went cliff jumping at Sword Lake.

Then Nano married M. He definitely got more of his sand in the communal jar.

Then we biked leisurely around the valley floor.

Merced "River" at drought stage

Damage from last year's man-caused Rim Fire.

Then we went to an open house. I'm sort of, maybe, not-really, casually interested in buying a house in Oakland. Obviously, I couldn't afford much.

I think my desire would also disappear if I could find an apartment or house close to campus with housemates who don't have old incontinent dogs.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Great race report from John Burton, who led the Tahoe 200 for a good chunk of the way, but ended up finishing third. It makes me interested in running it next year, as long as I could get some crew/pacers who wouldn't be alarmed by my hallucinations the second night. The website currently has no details about the 2015 event, but I think I saw that it will be in October next year, which means even less daylight, and likely interference with teaching. Also, the race costs approximately 4x a normal 100, so I'm not sure I'll be able to afford it.

Also, Nano wrote up a report of our Iceland trek. Good stuff. (For reference: my report, my photos, my videos.)

Off to Stanislaus NF/Yosemite for the weekend. Unfortunately George has to stay home since dogs aren't allowed to do anything fun in National Parks.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Good Weekend

Worked from home next to my best friend

 Fixed my bike at the community bike workshop.

Rode the East Bay Bike Party with EDP.

Read the New Yorker, took the dogs to the beach.

Saw Brandi Carlile (awesome) and the Avett Brothers (less awesome) at the Greek Theater with the GZA.

Volunteered to sweep the course of PCTR's Headlands Hundred.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Tahoe 200 Volunteering

I'm volunteering at the Tahoe 200. Seems like a good event, but I'm not sure I have much desire to run it next year. Or maybe Tahoe is prettier than I think it is, it's just that a couple times I got here after hiking the SEKI high country and am disappointed by comparison.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


National Parks can suck it. Wilderness is where it's at, and the Wilderness Act turns 50 today.