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Hey Utah! Vertfest is coming to you!

March 6th, 2014

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“Vertfest is a multi-stop mountain festival dedicated to raising the level of snow safety education and stoke for backcountry enthusiasts, and supporting the efforts of avalanches centers everywhere. ”

For the first time ever, Vertfest is coming to Brighton, UT March 07 – 9, 2014 to bring you the 11th Annual Wasatch Powderkeg Ski Mountaineering Race and a weekend full of top-of-the-line demos from different companies such as La Sportiva, Scarpa, Voile, Mammut, Outdoor Research, as well as yours truly, Osprey Packs! Read more…

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Big Mountain Enduro: Moab

October 2nd, 2013

“When people think of Moab, they think of all the red rock, and the rivers, and the canyons and they don’t really think of golden aspens and high alpine peaks — but it’s a big part of what Moab’s all about.”

The Big Mountain Enduro mountain bike race in Moab is all about that, sprinkled with a little bit of competition, by bike. Check it out!

Big congrats to our very own Osprey Athlete Macky Franklin for competing this epic ride.

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Recovery

June 10th, 2013

How did I get from here to Richmond, Va? Skiing 20,201' Thorung Peak in the Annapurna Himal

Let’s face it, every now and then we just hit the dirt. I don’t mean it figuratively; I mean sometimes we are muddy, wet, out of energy, used up and spent. I’ve been reduced to a swim up the last 10 feet to the world’s highest summit, a crawl across exposed ridgelines with lightning dancing around and once — only once in my life — have I been as muddy, wet and spent, and actually attained something without fear guiding me, just pure bliss and the unbridled confidence it inspired. It was two weekends ago in Richmond, Va. of all places.

I’ve had an interesting year. My family had a major emergency in the fall, business was tough as we dealt with an unfortunate loss of an inspiring ski guide we had filmed and when I thought it couldn’t get any more complicated or challenging… my ski clothes and most of my outdoor gear was stolen out of the back of my car in Grand Junction, Co. just as I was considering putting them on and finding the wind in my face again. “Damn!” I thought, “what next?” I drove to REI that day and bought the Brooks Pure Grit 2 trail shoe and started over on rebuilding my kit from the ground up. A frugal man, the task of re assembling $4,700 worth of gear seemed daunting as medical bills got larger and larger. I just wanted to keep it simple so right then and there I committed to running and nothing else until next winter. I had already run two 50 milers that fall and drank the Kool-Aid of simple travel on foot, so the crook who stole my gear only affirmed this decision.

A cold day on the Telluride, Co. valley floor logging some 10 minute miles and really working for them!

Running was all that kept me in place during this last year, moving toward something I could envision and I alone would be accountable for. Running in the morning, mid day or even at night, running in knee deep powder, running on icy roads, running through the empty desert and running when it was dry and then when spring came and it rained. All along I told myself that if I made a committment to one sport for one year, I could see its merits, I could unlock its “flow.” Running in the mountains was the “secret” to my Himalayan speed and strength, it was also the elusive mistress of my imagination living in a wintry wonderland of dawn patrol distractions. I’ll be honest, it was hard wrapping my head around some of the biggest snow days when “running” three miles took nearly an hour, or when I struggled to the finish of my first 50 mile trail Ultra in September after just three months of running. But all along in that year since I last put my skis on and laid down fresh tracks in the high Himalayas, I believed it was time to leave my comfort zone and enter the empty space between pushing the envelope and sending it. This was a space I often visited on my journey from a Tennesse boy in 2001 to learning to climb and ski the world’s highest mountains for a decade. And an empty place where uncertainty isolates what is possible from what is true.

One of those empty spaces I'm referring to. An unmaintained primitive trail through Colorado National Monument

Now what I have to say may not inspire anyone, but for me, small milestones of discovery are the only thing that allow me to truly believe something big is possible. I have to have them at some point or I feel hopeless — don’t we all? But as an athlete who performs for the views as much as the challenges, I soon learned that competition can also inspire… this is where Richmond, Va. comes in.

As I lined up for a 10K in front of over 790 other people at 6PM on a Saturday night, my tight left hip slowly gained range of motion while I bounced around listening to Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell.”  It had been a wet, muggy day, I had done my speedwork on a bike at the gym earlier that morning and then was on my feet the rest of the day walking around Belle and Brown Isle as a guest of the Dominion River Rock festival. As the moments counted down, my name came over a loud speaker introduced as an Osprey athlete and suddenly I realized something; I became a runner and somehow the announcer thought I was somebody and the lead pack might too — ha! I’m nobody special, but when that gun shot rang out and it was time to move, I was at least fast and up front.

The first six minutes were a blur, but a mile moved underfoot, the second six and change — much the same — but I was holding on. In front there were a few people who knew the way, this was a course that had wild urban intricacies broken by long stretches of single track trails and the occasional rock hop, sewage tunnel or fence and railroad tie climb. Put lightly, a badass sprint through an urban trail system that linked technical trail running with the speed of East Coasters who can crush the road. How did it feel? HARD

Passing a fast guy on a Bridge!

Halfway through it was impossible to pass, the rutted roots, slippery auburn-colored clay and ankle deep puddles put many people down on the ground. Two-thirds in I busted out a 12-mile an hour pace and passed a large group on a bridge and then settled in for what I hoped would subside — nasuea in deep humidity coupled with just under redline output. In the final moments I tapered back as we charged up a steep ramp across a pedestrian bridge and I thought I would have another .7 miles to go and open up into a fast flat homestretch where I could leave what I had left out there.

Instead… I finished. My GPS watch was .5 miles off due to the forest canopy hovering over the single track and there I was cruising softly through the finish line with energy to spare and a time of 45:24; 6.2 miles at 7:18 pace per mile. “Shit!”  I was, as usual, frustrated momentarily at my result (I can’t ever be satisfied-just FYI) and not knowing the end was nearer. I walked away, grabbed my bag and wandered off to the Festival a sloppy mud-and-salt-covered mess and instantly tried to persuade any one who would listen to enter this awesome race next year. I genuinely enjoyed the course and as a mountain and desert open space kind of guy, felt this was every bit as fun –maybe even more so…

The moment of elation came not at the finish line, it came in an e-mail a few hours later. In the e-mail I learned I had finished 39th out of 799 racers. That is the top five percent. I had no idea because I don’t race short distance. I have only raced five times in my life, all over-50K races, and despite moving up each time, you can only see so much progress every couple of months in racing that distance.

I run a lot, every week up, down, across stuff. Often I am totally alone. I don’t care to compare myself to anyone, only to my results yesterday you know, there usually isn’t anyone out there on the trail but me for miles. I can always improve and believe that I always have to, nature certainly has enough spaces out there that take a while to get to. But for one moment, when that e-mail arrived and it set in as I sat there alone, I could call myself elite — something that I never would — and realize that all the miles, time and committing slowness in the snow this winter put me as a 33-year-old adult right there with an Olympic qualifier, college cross country athletes and some of the East Coast’s finest and fastest. What does it mean; I have to keep training harder to pull off what I really want to do — a massive traverse of fourteen 14ers in Colorado in 60 hours, but also that something I put a year into actually was worth it and if nothing else, I held it together that day becuase I held it together a lot of other days. Sometimes life is that simple — a pair of shoes, a small backpack, some water and you can go further than you ever imagined. Now I realize progress doesn’t have to be extreme distances in the wild places that normally inspire me, all it took was a six mile run though the city…

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A Red Hot Time

April 4th, 2013

Trail conditions in Telluride, Co the first week of February. The trail goes right of the tree in the center.

It was the first big storm in a while, overnight it had dropped nearly a foot of powder and I broke away from my desk not to ski, but to run. Uphill on unbroken trail and then downhill knee deep in powder with frozen hands plunging to elbow’s depth, I had the giddy grin only a mountaineer could muster in conditions so ridiculous – training conditions. I was slightly scared things may be on the edge of possible as the afternoon drew darkly into evening, and seeing as this was the edge of my personal spectrum for reasonable “trail” running. But I had a goal in mind that got me out that day and I focused myself like any maniac would in an undisturbed wonderland, finding my way back to the town I live in, the end of another training run and one week from the day of my date with the desert in Moab, Utah, on the infamous Red Hot 55k race course. I figured surely this race would be a test of skills with all this snow scattering across our region as my Inbox met messages from the race director stating just that. This last run had me ready for the worst!

After a training run. Winter can be tough time in the mountains to build your base mileage.

This was my third Ultra marathon race in the last five months and my life. You could say I’m out to have a big opening season or I’m just out to have fun and doing it — I like to aim high. After two 50-milers, I learned a lot this fall, finishing almost dead last in the first one, moving up in the ranks on the second one and then this time, setting and actually achieving a respectable time. Of course, I don’t win as a beginner, I just show up and run or hike or like this last weekend in Moab, greet a nasty course and finish it off despite a few moments of classic “WTF headspace,” an all too familiar spot for me, now just exhibiting itself in another arena. Despite a gigantic bruised foot that I suffered from in the first Ultra with 8300′ of vertical gain, unbeliveablable IT band pain that resulted in a 5 hour 4 mph power hike to successfully finish in the second and finally getting it dialed on training for this one, this was as close as I had come to a “good time.” No, there was no pain or injury this time, just a wimpering voice in my head that reminded me I am a mountaineer and a desert running novice when reduced to my own two feet and a time limit.

The day started right, I went to the start line, turned on my iPod and feigned a stretch before things got moving. Within the first hour, I had warmed up, held back on the pace and realized I was going to have a good day physically. The course had very little snow, it was in great conditions and fast underfoot so much so that after 21 miles and 2000 vertical in just over three hours, I was on to having the best day of my life and feeling good. I had already put 2/3 of the distance and the elevation behind me and the trail was mostly a flowing road with occasional slickrock benches and climbs. But alas, I resign myself detrimentally to being an adventurer on a constant basis so I had thought that I had a real shot at covering the next 13 miles in decent style and time. Then I saw it. I saw the slick rock and opened up to eat some humble pie… at least I had time on my side and an empty belly, I would need the next three hours to finish this 13 mile section — crazy, huh?

This photo was taking on a 20 mile training run 2 weeks before the Moab Red Hot 55K. I assumed the course would hold a lot of snow, I was wrong. ;-)

This section of the course was rumored to be very tough and for a first timer, it was for me. Jutting steeply from the plateau is a massive slick rock uplift tilted on its side and somehow I thought that this popular bike and off-road vehicle trail would be a cinch to navigate — even after 20 miles of my fastest running trail time this year. A little detail I was wrong about in a big way, I thought it would be easy to figure out, relatively flat with oil stains, tiremarks, white stripes all over the place, you know like a Moab off-road trail!

Well, it was beautiful in a different and revealing way. Although I will admit I heaved and sniveled the “F” word (no, not fun) more than a few times as I scaled another scrambly outcropping hoping to see another stop-and-go-sufferer groping about on this jagged, steppy and incredibly firm landscape where I was lost… in retrospect, I realize I should have concluded those “Fs” with a “yeah” as it was exceptionally breathtaking scenery. I was needlessly annoyed because I was looking at my watch and worried about my time — a factor that in hindsight should not have mattered and that compounded a hard time finding the trail. On top of that, I was hitting a wall and that forced me to lose some composure while in the complete solitude I should have reveled in. Walls are crazy though, so I’ve forgiven myself for taking the landscape for granted at that moment. This wall was just in my mind, a physical manifestation of caloric and energy deficits that erode rationality to the point of pain, distress and sometimes complete disconnect from reality and expectations — all in your head. Then they lift and you feel great or you’re done, whichever comes first. That is the “crux” as it were, to Ultra and marathon running — pushing through the wall to send your line, just like in rock climbing.

In the end, it was so incredibly hard on me, this section, but also so incredibly thoughtful of the race organizers to put something together so specatucular, so fantastic, so engaging and so enthralling that if this was your first time to the desert — it could also be your last and you would have a legitimate 34 mile adventure where if you hadn’t gotten lost at least once, you would’ve just been racing. It felt like a summit day. Except that unlike a summit day, when the route kicked back before a tough section, there would be aid stations with enthusiastic volunteers to encourage your success and support your nutritional needs — dreamy oasis’s like I often wished for on high alpine routes.

This is the finish line at the Red Hot 55k. This is the only photo I took that day, it was moments after I finished and was standing in line for a quesadilla... it's a day I've given my all when I only take one photo from a burrito cart.

I really like this sport, Ultra running. It is nice to be in a compromising situation that involves serious personal challenge and  ”WTF” moments but not as severe as rescuing a buddy off a mountain, wondering how you’ll get off the mountain after the storm or running out of gear on a sew ‘em up crack that ends a few thousand feet off the deck in a blank wall. Not to take anything away from those moments, I am grateful to count them in my bank of experience as well. Which leads me to a fact I can’t escape: Life is a little crazy, and should be. Like mountaineers, Ultra runners are crazy too, but I like them and am happy that in training for my summer goal of enchaining a massive amount of peaks, there is a fun community I can be part of; one that supports us as we hit walls, run through deep snow in the winter and continue to all look for ways to get outside for a day. I finished in six hours and 21 minutes on the faster half of the mid pack and couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to see so much desert, so many people having “fun” and another full day of pushing mental and physical boundaries to uncomfortable places and back.

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Stage 5: Tyler Farrar Wins Stage 5 in Colorado Springs

August 25th, 2012

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the biggest and most challenging bike race ever held on U.S. territory. This year, it’s back with a vengeance. Starting August 20, for seven consecutive days, some of the best cyclists from around the world will take on 683 miles of the Rocky Mountains and ride through some of Colorado’s most beautiful cities. Osprey is proud to be the official pack sponsor of the Challenge and will be bring you photos from each day’s events right here on the Osprey Bike Blog.

Tyler Farrar clinched the win in Colorado Springs today and Tejay van Garderen defended his Yellow Jersey. Exciting times as the Pro Cycling Challenge heads into the weekend!

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Stage 4: Tejay van Garderen Reclaims the Lead at Beaver Creek

August 23rd, 2012

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the biggest and most challenging bike race ever held on U.S. territory. This year, it’s back with a vengeance. Starting August 20, for seven consecutive days, some of the best cyclists from around the world will take on 683 miles of the Rocky Mountains and ride through some of Colorado’s most beautiful cities. Osprey is proud to be the official pack sponsor of the Challenge and will be bring you photos from each day’s events right here on the Osprey Bike Blog.

Tejay van Garderen reclaimed his lead at Beaver Creek this afternoon! The cyclists started off Stage 4 with a monster climb, heading back over Independence Pass for a second time and getting a second look at the thousands of enthusiastic fans lining the road up and down. Elevation was the name of the game today, with much of the 97-mile course above 9,000 feet. And finally, faced by a steep climb to a difficult finish at the Beaver Creek ski resort.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Shannon Galpin of Mountain2Mountain—a cause near and dear to Osprey’s heart—and her furry friend, Bear. Digging the Osprey puppy love!

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Stage 2: Tejay Van Garderen Wins—Montrose to Crested Butte

August 22nd, 2012

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the biggest and most challenging bike race ever held on U.S. territory. This year, it’s back with a vengeance. Starting August 20, for seven consecutive days, some of the best cyclists from around the world will take on 683 miles of the Rocky Mountains and ride through some of Colorado’s most beautiful cities. Osprey is proud to be the official pack sponsor of the Challenge and will be bring you photos from each day’s events right here on the Osprey Bike Blog.

Tejay Van Garderen won the second Stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge, speeding through the finish line in on Mt. Crested Butte. Stage 2 was one of the shortest stages of the week—at 99 miles. Riders first had to tackle 65 miles of short, but challenging climbs over Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit, which made for early launch pads for the breakaway specialists. Then the cyclists visited familiar territory with a Sprint Line in Gunnison, a second Sprint Line in Crested Butte and finally the nasty 2-mile climb to the dramatic finish on Mt. Crested Butte.

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The USA Pro Cycling Challenge Kicks Off Next Week!

August 17th, 2012

Last year marked the first-ever USA Pro Cycling Challenge — the biggest and most challenging bike race ever held on U.S. territory. This year, it’s back with a vengeance. On August 20th, for seven consecutive days, some of the best cyclists from around the world will take on 683 miles of the Rocky Mountains and ride through some of Colorado’s most beautiful cities.

The 2011 inaugural event was captivating, to say the least. “Nearly 1 million spectators viewed this race from the roadsides along the route while 161 countries and territories broadcasted the race on television, including NBC and Versus. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge was one of the largest cycling events in United States history,” says the USA Pro Cycling Challenge website.

This year, of course, will be no different — and will see riders make their way from Durango to Denver.

The race kicks off next week, and because Osprey is the official pack sponsor of the event, we’ll be giving away a few prizes during next week’s exciting festivities (check out the rad socks and jersey below to get stoked on winning)!

Getting ready to head to the event? Expect big name cyclists, big crowds and a big event for Colorado — and the world itself.

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Friday Round Up: Music From Daydream Vacation and Head Like A Kite

February 17th, 2012

We’re pretty excited to be en route to the Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass in Washington for Vertfest this weekend, so in order to keep our energy up and our toes tapping we’ve been rocking out to beats from Daydream Vacation and Head Like A Kite. The bands will be performing at Vertfest on Saturday. What’s better than ending a day of skiing with a beer and a dance party? That’s right. Nothing.

But even if you can’t join us for the festivities this weekend, you can still have a dance party… enjoy!



Happy Friday!

PHOTO via

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NRL Racing Team at Sea Otter Classic 2011

May 9th, 2011

The NRL Racing Team had a great time at the Sea Otter Classic visiting many of our wonderful sponsors like Osprey Packs. As usual, the venue was hustling and bustling with activity, showing that the bike community is a strong one.

For those of you who didn’t go, yes, you did miss out on a bunch of cool stuff. Here is a sampler.

  1. Brian Lopes vs Jared Graves on the Dual Slalom Finals. Both racers are multiple world champs. epic.
  2. Sea Otter Road Stage race! This was the first time this was held and it was a huge success.
  3. Awesome sneak peeks at the latest and greatest…but you already knew that.

I hope next year they have a pro mountain bike stage race with the following stages. This was an event in the past, but it is not at the current moment.

Thursday = Individual TT of around 20 minutes. gives seeding for STXC Race call ups.

Friday = STXC Race

Saturday = XC Race

Sunday = Super D Race, Individual TT style.

All around, a super fun time! Look forward to it again next year.

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