Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stocking Stuffers: The North Face 50, The Ugly Sweater Run, Rock Canyon Half Marathon

On the weekend of the day that will live in infamy (December 7th, that is, if you are history deficient) Team Colorado took to the trails, the roads and the snow to show off their awesome swants.

The North Face 50 Endurance Run

She does it again! Michele "bomb 'chele" Yates captures another major ultra running title with perhaps the most competitive and highest paying race in the country, The North Face 50 Endurance Run in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (well, aside from that other $10,000 prize purse at Run Rabbit Run 100 in Steamboat Springs...which she also won). 

Bomb 'chele shows off her arm swants                                             photo:

The Team Colorado train of Megan Kimmel and Michele took out the women's race and kept it honest, mixing up the top three positions with eventual 2nd place finisher, Magdalena Boulet (there might be a Lewy in there somewhere?), but Michele was determined to keep the role as the engine, leading early and just pushing the pace up front. After a lot of details that have been left out here, Michele eventually crossed under the big red arch in a winning time of 7:21:51 and was $10,000 happier! 

Megan felt the pull of the ultra running demons but was able to finish in 10th place in 8:13:28.

Megan with her nipple-topped Ultimate Direction bottle showing everyone how it is done           photo:

On the men's side, Team Colorado's Alex "Axel" Nichols took on TNF50 again after a 5th place finish in the very confusing 2012 race and a mid-race sprained ankle in 2011 while leading. The ultra running demons caught Axel in their tractor beam early when an old injury reared its ugly head and he was forced to call it a day at about 17 miles

Sage Canaday was purported to have been at the starting line, however, we are not sure if even started the race. Rumor has it that he is still lost from his run from Moab to Boulder after the Moab Trail Marathon (he also had the flu).

Rickey "Heavenly" Gates was mixing it up in the top 10 early, but said he was steamrolled by the ultra running demons. Last year he was subjected to a DNF and soaked his feet in some nice Belgian chocolate, this year, he just felt flat. Rickey finished in 7:35:04 for 26th place.

Rickey gets his silicone water bottle filled with aquavit at an aid station                             photo:
Like 40 quarters
Like a yoga mat
Like Bali Shag
Like a spare tire
Like a gutter ball
I. Got. Rolled.
                        -Rickey Gates

Flagstaffer Rob Krar turns out another amazing ultra performance with his win at TNF50 and raises the roof once again. Have a beer on Team Colorado at Mother Road Brewing Co. in Flagstaff (we'll pay you back!). Friend of Team Colorado and Colorado College grad, Dan Kraft, one-upped his college teammate, Axel Nichols, with a 4th placed finish (6:35:56).

I am Rob, hear me Krarrrrrrrrrrr!                                                photo:
1. Rob Krar - 6:21:10
2. Cameron Clayton - 6:31:17
3. Chris Vargo - 6:33:33
26. Rickey Gates - 7:35:04
DNF - Sage Canaday
DNF - Alex Nichols

1. Michele Yates - 7:21:51
2. Magdalena Boulet - 7:31:12
3. Emelie Forsberg - 7:46:24
10. Megan Kimmel - 8:13:28


What all the competitors saw of Michele during TNF50                                          photo:

The Ugly Sweater Run

It all started in the Norway in the 1850's when some Norwegian brothers named Nils and Bjorn, or something to that effect, produced very warm and highly decorative sweaters to keep from turning into a popsicle in the cold northern winter climate and to look like a giant snowflake in the process. One early morning, after a long night of drinking Aquavit, Nils hears a knock on the door and quickly grabs whatever he can find and answers the door. The visitor says "Hallo, hvorfor har du på deg en genser på nedre halved?" which loosely translates to "Hi, why are you wearing a sweater on your bottom half?" 

"Uff da!" Nils replied...and thus the swants were born and so was the Ugly Sweater Run, a 5k in Monument Valley Park, Colorado Springs to benefit the Cerebral Palsy Association of Colorado Springs

Twerking with swants!                                             photo:

The race started along the mighty (mighty nasty, that is) Monument Valley Creek in Monument Valley Park, Colorado Springs, CO, at a whopping 5 degrees above zero! Luckily, ugly sweaters and sexy swants were donned to keep the runners cozy.

The Prez and godfather of, Tim Bergsten, showing off their frosty faces    photo: Amy Perez

Putting the "Ugly" back into "Ugly Sweater Run"                photo:

"Woah, did I really put these on this morning!?"                          photo:

And the race was started with Santa's doppleganger yelling "Ho, Ho, GO!"

Shorts...that's ridiculous, Dan, you should have worn swants!          photo:

What, no swants!?                                         photo:

Excuse me, I mustache you a does one thaw a mustache?                              photo:
Peter "The Prez" Maksimow, aka Swantsy Pants, out-uglied everyone in the race to cross the line first in 17:58. He also turned a year older, so he is 27 years old in Kenyan years. The wool and alpaca blend in his swants kept him from freezing his...well, you know. 

Amy "Chef l'équipe" Perez wore her swants and ugly sweater enroute to 8th place female but, mysteriously, we had a photo malfunction and are unable to find her image.

Sarah "Sock Monkey" Blakeslee promoting the neon...and penguins      photo:

The Prez and first lady, Nora, getting a photo with retired Santa and a copy of an ugly sweater citation (he had to appear in court later that day)

Race director and Team Coloradan, Brandon "Stapy the Elf" Stapaowich, not only saw some of the coldest temperatures, but also the largest field in the the five year history of the race. We think his promo video says it all. Strike while the Charlie is dancing.
RD Brandon "Stapy the Elf" Stapanowich (center) hanging out prizes to Shannon Meredith (1st-right) and Donna Garcia (3rd-left)  photo:

"Like Justin Timberlake, I'm bringing sexy back to swants", says The Prez          photo:

The spoils (in this case a 20+ lbs. turkey) go to the ugliest (sexiest???) swants          photo:

Rock Canyon Half Marathon

Justin Ricks gets frosty at the Rock Canyon Half Marathon in his old stomping ground of Pueblo, CO. You can call him Frosty Ricks! 

And for his win, Frosty received a new Subaru! What a great award!                photo: Mrs. Frosty Ricks

With bitterly cold conditions, enough for his mild mannered beard to turn into a lumberjack's beard, Justin didn't need water (he just ate the ice from his facial hair) en route to a win in a time of  1:18:46. He holds the CR at this race with a 1:09:34 set back in 2009.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Non-denominational Holiday Greetings!

Whatever you celebrate, do it with beer.

Happy Holidays from your friends at Team Colorado!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Run, Run, Run from the Ghetto Bird - Turkey Trot Los Angeles

Note the giant fowl, city hall, low elevation and outrageous population requiring the use of the "ghetto bird". Yes, the other one is a drone!

There were turkeys with the trots in downtown LA! Peter "The Prez" Maksimow ran the Turkey Trot Los Angeles 5k/10k double. He started with the appetizer dish, running the 5k at 7:45am, and managed to outrun the ghetto bird to place 3rd in 15:47.

Luis "Lu Dogg" Ibarra (1st) and The Prez (3rd) showing off their golden turkeys and Homeboy pies for the 5k

Then onto the main course with the 10k at 8:30am. Thinking that going back for seconds would leave him stuffed, The Prez paced himself and slowly gobbled up the competition with the help of fellow college turkey (teammate, actually, but he is a turkey) and Mexican National Steeplechase Champion, Luis "Lu-Dogg" Ibarra, in the 10k and garnishes the win in 34:06. He then pigged out on the two pies that he won for his performances. You could say he felt very fowl after dessert but he was thankful for all the caloric expenditure.

Hey, there is the Disney Concert Hall that doubles as a Solar Death Ray

Running through the vacant streets of downtown LA felt like a zombie apocalypse had just happened

"Get that fowl beak out of my ear!"

Damn homeboy, you bake?! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Scales of Hydration

I grew up in the temperate Bay Area as a youth and promptly ventured out to the deeps of The South for roughly a decade n' change. 


Up to that point I really went from not sweating to ending runs drenched in exercise induced funk. I never really made any attempt at hydrating during runs, and the few times I did were mired in equipment frustration.

Then I moved to the desert.

I had to take  my hydration serious out here, or you know, die. I started running with an older Ultimate Direction handheld. It worked great and was no sweat when I refilled at gas stations during the summer, to the utter disbelief of attendants that I had arrived under the power of my own two feet from the broiling desert. 

Then I moved to Colorado.

This place has been equally demanding in a hydration sense. Somehow without searing heat I can still return home looking like I had tried to find the prize in a children's cereal box face first.

I've recently had the pleasure of trying out two new Ultimate Direction products:

Review: This thing is crazy light! Same classic Ultimate Direction bottle and industry best Kicker Valve. The Grip is your go-to bottle for medium length runs or the super minimalist crowd. Surprisingly the 1/2 oz (!) strap is extremely sturdy and never required readjustment. This my weekday hydration choice without hesitation. 

Review: Looking for a hand-held  that can carry a gel or two, key, credit card, but not feel like you are lugging around a Christmas fruitcake? Then the Fastdraw Plus is your bottle. With barely any added weight, you can plan for a longer adventure while carrying needed essentials out on the trail. The ergonomic hand grip allows you to relax your hand while running and focus on avoiding getting lost on the trail.

The Tale of the Tape:

The Winner Is:  
A tie!

Both Hand Helds are the best I've used and you can't go wrong with either.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. Prez...I Got You a Race!

     This is my first post for Team Colorado and I'd like to use it to recognize our beloved Prez, who will soon be adding another proverbial ring to his tree trunk. Birthdays indeed offer great opportunities for celebration, however this particular upcoming occasion begs the question: "How exactly do you honor someone for whom 'Movember' is year-round?"

Now where'd I put those 11 pens, 3 sharpies and that Marks-A-Lot? Photo and styling credit: Maddy

       Well if you asked him, I'm sure the Prez would love a fine craft beer...but instead I'm giving him a race! And not just any race, an Ugly Christmas Sweater 5K/1M race to be exact! When it comes to gifts, beer is tough to beat. But here are the TOP 10 REASONS WHY THIS SWEATER RACE is the best gift ever, and why YOU, should join the partay.

10.  Races and birthday hats go together like peanut butter and jelly!

The Gang Celebrating Chef d'Epuipe Amy's Birthday at the Pikes Peak Sports Super Bowl Half Marathon

9.There'll be post race soup!
The Prez, hoping for Lobster Bisque. Photo:
8. You are guaranteed to set your Ugly Sweater 5k PR.

The author channeling his inner Blitzen at the 2011 event. Photo: The Gazette

7. If, for some reason, this isn't your fastest 5k in a sweater, you can still win prizes for simply wearing an Ugly Sweater.

6. will be there so you can get your picture taken with Topo Gigio for free.

5. Everyone loves a HooRag!

4. Pearl iZUMi will be there letting you test drive their shoes. They'll also be awarding a pair to the top 3 male and female finishers.

3. In addition to shoes, overall winners will receive hand painted plates courtesy of some of our friends with cerebral palsy and Color Me Mine.
Nothing beats handmade prizes!

2. I know for a fact that there are conflicting races and fat-ass runs on December 7th. But I also know that if you want any chance of witnessing a SWANTS DANCE OFF, you'll have to be at this race!

1. The event benefits the Cerebral Palsy Association of Colorado Springs, a non-profit group that has helped folks in our community with neuromuscular disorders for over 60 years. Proceeds go towards helping families pay for medical bills, supporting a loan closet for medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers, and sending kids to specialized camps.

     Sure, a beer along with a personalized song may have been the more obvious gift choice. But thanks to control top panty hose and the Emma Crawford Coffin Races, I, along with many of my Team Coloradoans, have met my women's clothing quota for the year.

     So on December 7th, come join Team Colorado for the party! Flaunt your most hideous holiday attire, your tackiest top, or your craziest cardigan . Bring your family, your friends, and your holiday spirit (but leave your sense of fashion at home) and join us for the UGLIEST event in town. I'll bring the party hats! You can register here and be sure to like us on Facebook or follow the race blog for event updates. Swants!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Pikes Peak Road Runners Fall Series #3: Like a mini Skyrunning race, only smaller but just as competitive as the real thing

Where Monument Valley Park brought the "creek cough"-- and possibly Giardia-- Bear Creek Park caused the "death sneeze", Ute Valley Park brought the HURT (read: broken bones, head-first diggers, face slashes, never-nudes and much, much more).

It all started on a beautiful fall day in early November (not the cold, wet and nasty kind that no one likes) but a true it's-almost-70-degrees-kind-of-day. The pecking order has been established with the first half of the series in the rear-view. 

There is the golden boy of Team Colorado, Alex "Axel" Nichols, who is undefeated in the series thus far.

Neil "Big McD" McDonagh is coming off a competitive 2nd place finish in Bear Creek Park and is back at odds with fellow teammate, Axel--call it a rekindling of old fire.

Justin Ricks, who placed 3rd at the Trail Half Marathon National Championships the day before in a different state--his travel stipend must be high!

"A good pre-race dance always gets the juices flowing for the race" - Justin Ricks, the running man    photo: Cherie Xavier

Peter "The Prez" Maksimow, who has not done anything spectacular, is using the strategy of consistency to hold his second place series standing and his 3rd place finish streak.
Nice Inov-(foot) uniform, what is that, velvet!?         photo: Cherie Xavier

Then there is that Chubby Bunny team member Carlos Ruibal, who has hopped his way into the top 5 in all the races thus far (no photographic evidence exists of said Chubby Bunny---OK, that is not true, he was captured in the above photo with Big McD, just the bottom half of his head, though). 

Who else, you ask!?

Leave it to Team Colorado to throw a wrench into things…with another Team Coloradan! Fresh off a 3rd place finish and 2:26:38 at the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA (yes, that is the same place The Office was filmed), youngster James "Mr." Burns goes and throws the whole race out of proportion with his very beautiful stride and flowing blond hair (Axel, you have competition, not only in the beautiful hair category, but also in the race category…as in running race…not racial race).

As usual, the race is taken out at a reckless pace, in this case, someone with the word "Reckless" across their chest. The race starts with a circuit around a track before the climb into the hilly and technical Ute Valley Park, at which point is becomes very fun…or very miserable...depending on who you asked.

Scott Bowman goes out at "RECKLESS" pace                   photo: Jeff Kearney

Ricks and The Prez, chatting about the race                                   photo: Jeff Kearney

The race started like a track race (literally) then matured to a progressive climb before dropping down into a valley of technical footing and a sandy waterless creek. The fast flat section before the beer aid station was relatively mild and really a tease as it soon shot up to the craggy ridge…then down...then up again to a narrow-spiney ridge where things like this occur.

An actual injury caused by the course…luckily not a Team Coloradan. Heal up, Don!           photo: Magnetic Resonance Imaging

In the past this race has witnessed such things are large animal carcasses, sasquaches, even Matt Carpenter! This is the first time for a never-nude.

This never-nude has the striking resemblance of Team Colorado's Brandon "Stankanowich" Stapanowich, but he would never partake in public never-nudity--it scares children                                         photo:

Axel Nichols uses his superior downhill Jornet-esque running ability to capture yet another Fall Series race win.
Axel shows off his foot and his Team Colorado colors       photo: Jeff Kearney

Axel, after a few games of tennis, wins the race            photo:

After taking a dive on the trail, Mr. Burns dusts himself off and finishes in 2nd place. 

Mr. Burns powering up the last hill of the course…luckily he doesn't have avian bones        photo:
A reenactment of what the dive might have looked like.

Following closely behind Mr. Burns was The Prez and Justin Ricks. That Chubby Bunny broke up another Team Colorado sweep.

The Prez takes his 3rd 3rd place finish…that's no coincidence       photo:

With a (almost) sweep of the race, Team Colorado takes places 1, 2, 3, 4, 6…and 145th for the never-nude.
Big McD pulls out he hand knives in the last climb of the day           photo:
Confucius says, "Go to bed with itchy butt, wake up with stinky finger." He'll learn.
Yet another public display of posterior itch relief       photo: The Gute

After the adult races were completed, the Fall Series Kid's Races took place with Team Colorado taking the rabbiting duties...because these kids are faster than most elite runners.

Big McD sprinting to stay in front of the 12-14 year olds…no easy task     photo: Chef l'équipe

Who's the Boss…not Tony Danza!!!            photo: Chef l'équipe

Team Colorado: where even your children have no chance of being a winner.

Wow, that doesn't look like it hurts at all!         photo: Chef l'équipe
"Dolla' dolla bill, y'all!" Axel raked in the cabbage with his win.     
Congratulations to Team The Blerch (Sarah, Amy, Nora and Bobbi) for surviving the course and hanging on to 2nd place in the women's team category.

Team Colorado Running Company (it's like a small rouge faction of Team Colorado) sits in 2nd in the co-ed team race, which happens to be the most competitive race category in the series.

Don't worry, that foot has since been fixed…do we smell a Pink Cast Award!?