Archive for August, 2009
The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, checks in with bike racer and brand team member, James Whitesides. Here James describes another 1oo+ mile ride while serving as rolling mechanic for the Seattle Century…
So…for the second time in a month I decided to ride more than 100 miles with a backpack on (my Talon 11). I am a volunteer for Bikeworks in Seattle and I support them as a mechanic for both their Thursday Night Repair sessions and in the shop fixing up reclaimed bikes. I volunteered to help them at the Seattle Century as a ride mechanic, which meant I had to ride the full distance with enough tools to be capable of minor repairs.
Following the herd of cyclists on bikes in varying states of disrepair (it is really hard for me to ride in groups without cataloging repairs) I headed to meet the organizers and get my “official” ride gear. The tool bag that the organizer wanted me to carry lacked basic tools (chain tool, allen key, screwdriver) but had ten tires levers and tubes that were all pushing their useful life span; sweet. I always have to remember that I just need to take a deep breath! After I tactfully declined their tools and grabbed a couple of tubes I headed out the doors of the old hanger they were staging in and onto the road.
The first part of the ride was on a multi-use trail that has been paved since the mid-nineties. It is pretty impressive in its ability to allow cyclists and pedestrians a safe and effective route through the northern parts of Seattle and out to the edge of the urban strip of King County.
Arriving at the second rest stop we got a call that a rider needed a fifteen millimeter box end wrench about six miles up the road. In some weird peak of excitement that I was going to get to do something I said that I would be there in less than twenty-five minutes and took off down the road. I beat my own mark, amazingly, and helped a guy riding a fixie, fix his flat. I had an amazingly fast tube change and wheel re-centering in order to make sure I got on my way as quickly as possible. I saw him again a little later attempting to recover from what must have been an impossibly brutal downhill and wondered if anyone had explained freewheels to him.
Riding along one of the best sections of road in King County, I think that at least six people had flats in a short section while I was standing there. Every tire I worked on had at least one form of nail or pin in it. Some idiot local had seeded a long section of the road with enough hardware to make several riders’ days a little less enjoyable. Everyone laughed it off and attributed it to the ignorance of youth. I had fun and definitely earned my perks fixing bikes on the road there and at the next rest stop. I did some pretty major repairs for the sixty-mile mark of a century and wondered how these riders ever got bikes that were so completely untrustworthy.
Cruising across Lake Washington and up the lakeshore with my pack on I began to pass more and more people who were slogging out the last ten miles of their day. Encouraging words are always taken differently when you pass someone at the end of a century seeming nonchalant about the steep grade you are climbing up! A little more effort over the hills and I cruised down to the finish of my ride. Sponsored by Widmer and featuring a lot of grilled salmon the Seattle Century has to go down as one of the best-catered public rides I have ridden. I didn’t partake in much of the festivities because I still had to ride home but if I ride it next year I will make sure to clear my afternoon.
Wow! I am so proud. Last Friday, August 21, 2009 a group of outdoor industry companies and environmental not for profits got together for an extraordinary day of service work in beautiful Eldorado Canyon State Park outside of Boulder, Colorado. this was the sixth Backyard Collective, a series of events concevied and executed by Conservation NEXT. As a board member for the Conservation Alliance, I am really excited to see these events take shape and continue to grow. For outdoor company employees, what better way to learn and understad about the environmental and conservation groups that their company’s Conseration Alliance dues support. And for the grantees, what better way to connect with the cool outdoor companies that help them further their misson?! Some key stats:
- 100+ volunteers
- Participating companies: Osprey Packs, Kelty, Sierra Designs, GoLite, La Sportiva, Backpackers Pantry, The Outdoor Industry Association, and The North Face
- Extraordinary organization by Conservation Alliance grantee, the Colorado Mountain Club. Special thanks to Anya Byers!!!
- Volunteers removed invasive plant species, installed railroad tie/rebar steps, and built rock steps
- Grantees present included Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Environmental Coalition, Colorado Wild, The Wilderness Support Center, and The Access Fund
- Thanks to IMBA for sending an expert group of trail builders out!!
- Also special thanks to Colorado Fourteeners Intitiative for sending their trail guru, Brian Wallace!!
- Jonathan Lantz, President of La Sportiva brought his band, Seismic Shift for some great apres trail work entertainment
- New Belgium Brewery contributed beer and cash to the event. BIG THANKS!!!
But the biggest thanks of all go to Deanna Lloyd (The Forest Group) and Brook Shinksy (The North Face), two of our awesome NEXTers who have been putting these events together. From the killer goodie bags, to the tasty lunches and HUGE goodie trays following the event – they really made the hard work worthwhile. Great gear was raffled off at the end of the day and everyone walked away with their own Conservation NEXT shopping bag filled with great stuff from our outdoor company participants.
Last but not least, big thanks to my Osprey crew and Verde PR. A group of four drove up from the 4-Corners, our Boulder based Rocky Mountain Sales Rep added his toil and sweat to the event and we proudly hosted the Colorado Environmental Coalition under our tent. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.
Director of Marketing, Osprey Packs and proud Conservation Alliance Board Member
I caught this from the PQ site and thought we should pass it along to everyone! Great story and glad our guys could play ambassador for the great sport of Adventure Racing!!!
Late this afternoon Team Cordura/Osprey Packs withdrew from Primal Quest Badlands presented by SPOT. The team is in good health, and suffered no medical issues, but one of the team members elected to not continue, and they decided to exit the race as a team.
All was not lost however, as the team withdrew at the checkpoint near Redshirt, a Native American reservation which graciously allowed them to use the showers in the locker room of the nearby school. It also happened to be the first day of classes for the returning students, who had the opportunity to chat with team members Kiviok Hight, Tom Zidek, and Scott Swaney, who explained to them about Primal Quest and the sport of adventure racing. Principal Barbara Ice showed the team around and introduced them to the students, who were intrigued by their visitors and all of their strange gear.
After spending some time at the school, the three athletes then toured the community, and met many of the locals. In fact, at one point, there were more than fifty residents from the town who came out to shake hands with the racers and wish them well. They had all been following the race and were excited to get th opportunity to meet some of the competitors in person.
It was a bit of a bittersweet day for the team. While their dreams of finishing Primal Quest came to and end, they did get to meet some very friendly people and serve as ambassdors to the sport they enjoy so much.
Scott, Kiviok and Tom chatting up the students!
I had a chance to chat with Scott last night for a while and they are all disappointed that they could not continue but overall in good spirits and were looking forward to a real meal and a tasty malted beverage or three! Scott wanted to express to everyone thanks for all the support and they are looking forward to checking out the blog and all the comments. Second that! Thanks to all our supporters and also our sponsors for all their support – financial, gear and moral!!
Scott also reports that the special Cordura Osprey Talon packs were Awesome! He specifically said it was THE best fitting and performing pack he had ever used for a multi-day race. Fine praise indeed from a veteran of many a race!! Thanks for the “product testing” guys!!!
For the folks watching the overall standings, quite an interesting turn of events last night, as it appears OrionHealth got quite lost on the final bike leg, and made a navigational error that cost them somewhere near 8 hours, allowing Salomon/Crested Butte and Merrell/Zanfel each to close the gap significantly. All three teams should finish sometime late this afteroon/evening, so the race is ON!! Seems S/CB and M/Z are neck and neck for second on the course, however M/Z apparently has some significant penalties that will be imposed at the finish, but with all three teams so close together, the final penalty allotments might prove to alter the standings signigicantly. Oh, can’t wait to see the final results!!! Big callout to our fellow team from Colorado (S/CB) and best wishes for speeding into the finish. Jon, Travis, Jari and Sully have rocked a great race all week!!
And special praise also to the folks on Team South Dakota!! They are still running strong in their first adventure race. They are racing in Osprey Exos 46 packs, which they were offering high praise to at the start line. Hope they still feel as great about their pack selection. Awesome pack for the race for sure, and saw quite a few at the starting line. More Talon’s for sure, and even a few Atmos/Aura packs in the race. Go Dave and crew for Team South Dakota. You folks are awesome!
Cheers to all and keep smiling!
Hey Front Rangers! ConservationNEXT (a program from the Conservation Alliance) is hosting a full day of trail restoration in the climbers paradise known as Eldorado Canyon State Park tomorrow (Friday 8/21). The Backyard Collective vision is to bring together outdoor industry companies for a day of collective action in our backyards. As host for this edition, Osprey is hoping you can come out and lend a hand by joining volunteers from Osprey, Conservation Alliance grantees & friends for a day of service and celebration. If you can’t make it out check back Monday for a recap of the day’s events with photos and commentary.
WHAT: With the help of The Colorado Mountain Club, ConservationNEXT will host a day of trail restoration at Eldorado Canyon State Park. This area, has suffered from such severe budget cuts that they were unable to hire a seasonal trail crew this summer to maintain their hiking and climbing access trails that are used by over 200,000 people each year. The Recreation Manager is desperate for volunteer help, and we will provide a range of activities from building steps to pulling weeds, depending on the interest and ability level of volunteers.
WHEN: August 21st 2009. We will host a morning & afternoon work session with catered lunch served from 12:00-1:00 on site.
- Morning session – 9:00-12:00
- Lunch – 12:00-1:00
- Afternoon session – 1:00-3:00
- Celebration/Volunteer Fair & Raffle – 3:00 – 6:00
WHERE: Eldorado Canyon State Park
WHAT TO BRING: All equipment, tools and instruction will be provided. No experience necessary. Participants will receive a water bottle &water will be available on site. You should dress in comfortable clothing that can get dirty, & don’t forget your shades. If you have leather work gloves you prefer to work with, please bring them, otherwise they will be provided. The program will run in light rain, but will be rescheduled in the case of a full storm! Please bring appropriate rain gear.
- Arrive at Eldorado State Park: 8:30AM
- Please carpool, parking is very limited
- 8:00AM –Carpool meeting spots – A representative of CMC will be on hand from 8:00 – 8:30 to assist at each meeting place:
- Neptune Mountaineering – 633 S. Broadway #A, Boulder, CO 80305 –
- The North Face – 1711 29th Street Boulder, CO 80301
- Please note: when you drive through the gate at Eldorado Canyon State Park tell them you’re with the Backyard Collective.
- 8:30AM – Sign-in, get oriented, pick up swag bag
- 9:00AM – Service project begins
- 12:00PM – Break for lunch
- 1:00PM – Service continues, 2nd session begins.
- 3:00PM – End of 2nd session – party & volunteer fair begins! Listen to Jonathan Lantz’ band Reverb Nation while enjoying light food & drinks.
- 8:00AM –Carpool meeting spots – A representative of CMC will be on hand from 8:00 – 8:30 to assist at each meeting place:
- 5:00PM – Raffle & wrap up!
- Brook Shinsky – 303.717.3849 (ConservationNEXT)
- Deanna Lloyd – 530.919.4534 (ConservationNEXT)
- Anya Byers – 303.563.9767 (Colorado Mountain Club)
It has been confirmed by PQ staff that Team Cordura/Osprey has indeed withdrawn from the race! Apparently, Stacy’s feet were peeling off due to severe blisters!! Too bad we could not make any cool Cordura footwear for the race!!
Here’s wishing Stacy all the best for recovery on her feet!
I have heard so many stories over the years from past Eco-Challenge and PQ participants about the worst part of the whole race is not the lack of sleep, poor eating habits, sunburn, whatever, but that far and away the worst part is the mass carnage that the feet suffer. Hope everyone is OK!!
UPDATE – Just got off the phone with Stacy, who headed back into Rapid City to take care of her feet. Apparently she has some nasty blisters that were bleeding into her shoes. Bummer. She was able to answer a bunch of our questions though, like why around the lake twice? Apparently they started off on their first lap at night, and had some big problems finding the checkpoints (I have heard multiple reports that the checkpoints might have been off a bit too, so finding them in the dark could certainly prove problematic). Anyway, they got quite frustrated and tired and decided to head back to the transition to sleep/rest and headed back out in the daylight, easily locating all the checkpoints and continuing on their merry way!!! She stated that the river paddle was absolute hell and waaaayyyy longer than anticipated. Tom “injury” is just a really tight IT band that he has been nursing along for several days and certainly felt like he could have continued.
Speaking of Cordura, Stacy reports that the packs were totally awesome. She said they dropped, dragged, stomped on and just generally completely abused them and the packs did great. Heck of a testament to the durability of the fabrics and the packs. Thanks Cordura and Osprey Packs for all the great support.
The guys stayed out on the course, so maybe they are contemplating whether to complete the race unranked………….???? Not sure!!
Keep smiling all and thanks for following along!
I have just received word that Team Cordura/Osprey has withdrawn from the race, which would certainly explain why they were stagnant for so long. Bummer! I will try to track down more information, but I am guessing it is because of the injury situation.
More later as we get more word!
Well, we have a few answers, but some of those have begged additional questions. Turns out our crew did the lake orienteerting section twice, completely paddling the circumference of the lake twice. Just can’t imagine it was that much fun, but………….what the heck!! On the YouTube link from yesterday, there is a quick blurb from Tom Z, however it is in Czech (his native language by the way, and his wife is Swedish, so their kid is going to be quite mul-lingual!!). We had a friend pass it along for a translation – He said, “Hi, we just got through paddling. It was super ‘interesting’. In fact, we did it twice. We went from third place to…I don’t know, whatever.” Rest in English… Yes, actually, they went from 3rd place to 7th/8th place and took a long nap in there somewhere too, as Kiviok mentioned in his quick hit on YouTube. Team Cordura/Osprey went from about 6 hours behind the leaders to well over a full day behind.
Now, our team has completed the looooong river paddle section and moved out on to the 64 mile trek. All through the night of paddling and in to the start of the trek, we seemed to be making up ground on the leaders, however it appears now that we have not moved again for many hours. Not sure if they are napping again, or trying to sort out Tom’s injury. Here’s hoping it is not too serious!
OrionHealth continues to pull away from the field, and it looks now like Merrell/Zanfel may have caught up to Salomon/Crested Butte, however S/CB has continually had Spot issues, so these may be playing out again. Bones and Nuun, whom we were very close to at the transition to the long trek have pulled away into solid 4th and 5th places. Oh well. I hope all our folks are fine!!!
Here are a couple of great pictures from the long river section:
Well, that’s all for now. Keep your fingers crossed that everyone is OK and they will start moving again!!
Thanks again to all our supporters and sponsors. Everyone has been great!!
Hello once again,
Just got hold of a video with some quick snippets from Super Stud Scott Swaney and our master Navigator Tom Zidek. Turn up the volume on your computer to listen. The first part of Tom’s little ditty is in Swedish as a message to his wife. But he also mentions that he hopes his leg holds up…………….hmmmm, sure hope he is OK!!!!
After all the confusion of the past several hours and not knowing, it seems that Team Cordura/Osprey may have chosen to take a long break at the lake, to rest and maybe let Tom heal up a bit. I saw a note that our team had only slept for 2.5 hours through the first four days of the race, so I am sure they were exhausted and took a long break. Now that they are back under way, it appears they are making up time on the teams in front of them on the river and hopefully can regain some of their lost time as other teams need to rest also. Keep your fingers crossed!!!!
Keep smiling all!!
Good morning again! Wow, Day 5 already!
Not being on scene anymore and having complete faith that at least several of the SPOT tracking devices are not working properly, I must admit to not really having an idea where we are in the standings right now. The PQ folks are doing a horrible job of reporting from the course. You would think they would have had someone monitoring the standings at the reservoir and providing some regular updates to keep us all in the loop, but……..Anyway, OrionHealth has certainly taken a firm grasp on the leadership of this race. Safe to assume that Salomon/Crested Butte is still rocking along in 2nd place (although their SPOT still has them back at CP 27, and we know they have made it at least as far as the swimming leg and that was yesterday!). The tracker currently shows us out in the middle of the lake, still. It would appear we have been out on the lake since almost 3:00pm yesterday, which would not seem correct. Hmmm, hopefully SPOT gets their trackers working correctly, or at least we could get some decent updates from the PQ staff, or the Spot really is correct and our team has cratered. Unknown, but I certainly hope we are happily plugging along on the river stretch this morning, still chasing Salomon/CB.
OrionHealth has just started on the mega long trekking section through the heart of the Badlands. It does appear from the maps that there are some decent routes through this 64 mile trek, but even the best case scenario I can come up with for OrionHealth to cross the finish line is somewhere about 24-30 hours from now, depending on their route finding and sleep needs. These guys are the current AR world champs, so I would tend to guess towards the quicker side! The downriver paddle took them 14.5 hour to do the 38 miles, which quite frankly is flying given the slow pace of the water and all the fence lines that the teams have to dodge along the way. Kudos to OrionHealth for blasting through that tough stretch through the night. I would guess the teams on the river right now are enjoying the daylight and increased visibility.
Route finding in the Badlands will be key for all the teams that are clustered together as could be the difference between finishing in the top 5 and earning a free entry to future PQ’s! Here’s hoping we are one of them!!!
That’s all for now!
Good Morning South Dakota!
The teams trekked through the night. With the elimination of Checkpoints 23-25, all the teams choose a fairly straight line right through the heart of Custer State Park, passing near Sheep Draw, French Creek and eventually reconecting with the original course near Flynn Creek and buzzing down to Checkpoint 26 and then on to the TA at Elk Mountain for a bike leg down to Angustura Reservoir for the swim and swim orienteering legs before heading out on the long paddle down the Cheyenne River. Team Cordura/Osprey arrived into the Elk Mountain TA at 8:15 this morning, with Salomon/Crested Butte out just in front of them at 6:40am. The race leaders continue to be OrionHealth, as they arrived into the bike to swim transition at 7:10 this morning, which puts them a pretty solid 40 mile ahead of us, although we have closed up the 4.5 hour time difference a bit. Let’s see if we can make up some time on this bike leg.
Here are a couple more pictures from the climbing leg, just to give our followers an idea of what the teams went through just to get to where they are now!!
More later as we approach the water sections. For now, we continue to rock along in 3rd place, although have narrowed the gap on both OrionHealth and Salomon/Crested Butte a bit. Keep your fingers crossed that we can keep chipping away at those leads.
Keep smiling all and relish the fact that the weather has turned for the better.