The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jul 2010

Live Coverage of Badwater Ultramarathon, Toughest Foot Race in World

The 2010 AdventureCORPS Badwater Ultramarathon began today, with runners from 14 countries battling it out in the infamous furnace of Death Valley, California. At time of writing, Jorge Pacheco (California) held the lead with an approximate thirty minutes over Marco Farinazo (Rio De Janeiro) followed by Zach Gingerich (Illinois). 

As night falls over Panamint Springs with crew headlights winking on the steep valley descent, tension has mounted among racers as they buckle down for the long night ahead. The lead runners have hit the 72 mile mark (the equivalent of three back-to-back marathons) but the "World's Toughest Foot Race" has only just begun. 

The 135-mile endurance race started early this morning in the salt pan of Badwater (elev. 282 below sea level) and will end tomorrow at Whitney Portals on Mt. Whitney (elev. 8360). Temperatures soared up to 119˚ F (hot enough to melt the rubber off racer's shoes), and remained that way for much of the day. The unique topography of the valley creates convection currents that keep temperatures hovering at 105˚ F even at night. However, the searing heat is only part of what makes the Badwater Ultramarathon so extreme. It is also the only race to begin in the lowest point of the Continental U.S. and end in the highest.

Tonight, the endurance of Pacheco, Farinazo and Gingerech will be tested to the utmost limits. Pacheco currently holds a forty-five lead over the record pace. The question is whether he can hang on to it. 

--Shauna Sweeney

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Live Coverage of the Badwater Ultramarathon

LOU_0118
Photo by Luis Escobar
The 2010 AdventureCORPS Badwater Ultramarathon began today, with runners from 14 countries battling it out in the infamous furnace of Death Valley, California. At time of writing, Jorge Pacheco (California) held the lead with an approximate thirty minutes over Marco Farinazo (Rio De Janeiro) followed by Zach Gingerich (Illinois). 

As night falls over Panamint Springs with crew headlights winking on the steep valley descent, tension has mounted among racers as they buckle down for the long night ahead. The lead runners have hit the 72 mile mark (the equivalent of three back-to-back marathons) but the "World's Toughest Foot Race" has only just begun. 

The 135-mile endurance race started early this morning in the salt pan of Badwater (elev. 282 below sea level) and will end tomorrow at Whitney Portals on Mt. Whitney (elev. 8360). Temperatures soared up to 119˚ F (hot enough to melt the rubber off racer's shoes), and remained that way for much of the day. The unique topography of the valley creates convection currents that keep temperatures hovering at 105˚ F even at night. However, the searing heat is only part of what makes the Badwater Ultramarathon so extreme. It is also the only race to begin in the lowest point of the Continental U.S. and end in the highest.

Tonight, the endurance of Pacheco, Farinazo and Gingerech will be tested to the utmost limits. Pacheco currently holds a forty-five lead over the record pace. The question is whether he can hang on to it. 

--Shauna Sweeney

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The Top 11 Cycling Technique Tips

WoodyCreek_TT
When I was 40, I had a heart attack. It came by surprise. I had been, and still am, a dedicated athlete. Luckily, I survived, and, in 2008, I founded MI:Aware--MI stands for "myocardial infarction"--to educate people about the risk of heart attack, which can strike without symptoms.

I'll be leading a cycling clinic July 22 to 25 called the Tour d'Aspen to help raise funds for MI:Aware. It will happen in conjunction with the climax of the Tour de France. We hope to share in the excitement of, and pay homage to, Le Tour. Riders will get the chance to improve their techniques by cycling through training terrain used by Tour de France and Olympic champions, such as Lance Armstrong. There will be three routes, which mirror the final four stages of the Tour de France, set in the Roaring Fork Valley, where our host, The Little Nell, is located. You can sign up at thelittlenell.com (packages, including three-nights lodging and daily breakfast and lunch, start at $2,500 per person; the clinic alone is $975). 

In light of this upcoming long-weekend ride, I present my top 11 tips for improving your cycling technique:

11. Pedal with flat feet: Some people think of keeping their heels down, and some point their toes towards the sky. A couple of analogies we use are to picture the linkage on an old steam engine and visualize your foot as the linkage come up and staying flat throughout the revolution of the wheels. The other is to picture an equestrian rider, riding a horse with heels down, while toes are in the stirrups. Toes down is a no, no in my book, and you'll see why in the next two tips, as they all go together.

10. Get on the pedals early: This means you start pushing forward on the pedals before they reach the top of the arc or 12 o'clock. With your feet flat to slightly toed up/heeled down you'll be able to increase your power band from two to three hours if you look at the face of a clock. With left foot, start pushing at 10 o'clock instead of one o'clock. With toes down it is very difficult to start pushing before the pedals reach 12 o'clock.

9. Focus on the push phase of the pedal revolution as it is where you produce the most power: I read articles all the time and hear from people that they focus on getting through the dead spot, as if scraping mud off the bottom of their shoes. They spend so much time pulling up and focusing on the weak part of the stroke they forget to push on the pedals.

I owe Joe Saling, multi-time national champion and one-time heart attack survivor, for the saying "push hard and pedal fast" as he sent me off to win the Pan Am Masters Time Trial Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2006.

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Badwater Live: Pacheco in the Lead


 Racer Connie Gardner in Badwater, CA, Luis EscobarThe 2010 AdventureCORPS Badwater Ultramarathon began today, with runners from 14 countries battling it out in the infamous furnace of Death Valley, California. At time of writing, Jorge Pacheco (California) held a thirty minute lead over Marco Farinazzo (Rio De Janeiro) followed close behind by Zach Gingerich (Illinois). 

As night falls over Panamint Springs with crew headlights winking on the steep valley descent, tension has mounted among racers as they buckle down for the long night ahead. The lead runners have hit the 72 mile mark (the equivalent of three back-to-back marathons) but the "World's Toughest Foot Race" has just begun. 

The 135-mile endurance race started early this morning in the salt pan of Badwater (elev. 282 below sea level) and will end tomorrow at Whitney Portals on Mt. Whitney (elev. 8360). Temperatures soared up to 119˚ F (hot enough to melt the rubber off racer's shoes), and remained that way for much of the day. The unique topography of the valley created convection currents that kept night temperatures hovering at 105˚ F. However, the relentless heat is only part of what makes the Badwater Ultramarathon so extreme. It is also the only race to begin in the lowest point of the Continental U.S. and end in the highest.

 Jorge Pacheco Leading the RaceTonight, the endurance of Pacheco, Farinazzo and Gingerich will be tested to the utmost limits. Pacheco currently holds a forty-five minute lead over the record pace. But only time will tell whether he can hang on to it. 

For up to the minute Badwater Ultramarathon runner results, click here.

--Shauna Sweeney

Photos Courtesy of Luis Escobar

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