The big beat down of the year looms less than a week away. The Alyeska Climbathon takes place next Saturday, September 8. Starting at the base of the Alyeska tram, competitors will ascend the 2,000 vertical feet of the North Face hiking trail as many times as possible between 9am and 7pm. The descent will be via the tram which will be running a 10 minute schedule. Last years winner finished 12 laps for a total of over 24,000 vertical feet and about 26 miles of hiking, all uphill.
Entries in Gu Energy (4)
"The best race pace is a suicide pace and today is a good day to die."
- Steve Prefontaine
I've been waiting for the Matanuska Peak Challenge mountain running race all season. It's unique in our series of mountain races up here in that it's long and hard. Most of our races, aside from the more typical trail races, are uphill affairs and generally under an hour. So, Mat Peak is special since the winners come in around 3 hours and the vertical gain is nearly 9,000 feet. Additionally, it doesn't end at the top. Nine thousand feet of descending greet competitors before the finish. The event requires attention to both smart pacing and nutrition/hydration, concerns absent in shorter events. I love these aspects of the game.
With the high ridges of the front range above Anchorage finally free of most of this winter's ample snow dump, I've been eye-balling the maps for some good ridge running. I found out this past weekend that although the terrain looks cruiser from town, the ridge lines can be quite technical. On top of that, the Chugach is not known for it's alpine rock quality. Shit, people say the Tetons are chossy. You have no idea!
Part of moving quickly in the mountains is maintaining energy levels. Forget to eat and you won't be going anywhere too fast for too long. In a race, this can be devastating but it can also suck on any long tour. Now, if you're the kind of skier that brings along some tasty turkey sandwiches, a big bag of trail mix and a couple of your favorite chocolate bars, well, you might as well stop reading right here. But if you've been experimenting with modern endurance fuels, carbohydrate gels and blocks, and you like what they do for you then read on.