Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cass - Lagoon Video

Partly piss take, but mostly for fun- here is a little video of me running up to Lagoon Saddle, part of the Cass - Lagoon Track which I ran last week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Helicopter Hill Test

Did another "test" run up Helicopter Hill yesterday, my last one being on the 14th. The last time I did this it took me 21min21sec to run the 450 vertical meter, 2.7 km trail.
After the Crater Rim race and the Cass Lagoon track in the last 9 days I wasn't sure how this "test" would go, but that's the reason it's a test, right?
After a 20min warm up on the BR rd I cranked into my workout. Feeling strong, I ate into the 1st flatter part of the run and I was thinking that I might even be able to go sub 20mins, but hit the wall somewhat on the final climb towards Lyndon Saddle. I was able to regather a little once I got out of the trees and made it in 20mins23sec.
I was pretty happy with this time as after a big week of training I have been able to recover well and make this workout really count. I'll taper a little this week with the Flag Pole Run Up on this Saturday. I placed 5th in a time of 1hr40 in this race last year and am aiming for a time in the low 1hr30s and a spot a little closer to the front of the pack. Last year I had done more or less no running at this time, as opposed to this year where I have around 6 weeks of solid running under my belt. This has been made up of very little speed work, the closest I have come to speed training is the above workout, which is more of a tempo workout. The plan is to up the speed training during November, before heading to Europe, but I might find myself doing the Molesworth yet?

Monday, October 26, 2009


EP 09 in Kilian's Quest is now available at, its well
worth a look (as are all the episodes). Its nice to see it isn't a total walk
in the park for him- he might actually be mortal...........
Some pretty good quotes in this episode-
"More kilometers, more fun" is pretty good, but my favorite is
"If you think you have already achieved something in this world you are a fool"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cass - Lagoon

Got out and did the Cass - Lagoon track yesterday, running from the Bealey end after leaving the car at Cass and hitching to Coral Lynn.
The sign at the start of the track, complete with times and map
Me with the Bealey (flowing from Arthur's Pass) and Waimakarir rivers
I am not 100% on the distance, but Mike Steel has it at 34km. Going off map my run I was thinking 32km and 1000m climbing............
On Cass Saddle after 3hr35min of running and 1500m climbing!
I was thinking it would take in around 4hrs to run this loop, but there was around a extra 500m climbing that I first expected (1532m ascended according to my T6C), and the going was pretty slow on the rivers beds and I also made the short side trip to Mirror Tarn. In the end it turned into a 4hr45min epic. I probably didn't eat or drink enough early in the run, as I was feeling good, but once over 2 3/4 hrs I started to go down hill a little and the last 45mins down the Cass River bed wasn't pretty.......
I had left a feast- pasta, miso soup and smoothie- in my car so was pretty pumped once I final finished.
Chowing down - my post run picnic!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moa Hunting

"One of the most recent alleged sightings of a large moa took place on January 20, 1993, in the Craigieburn Range. Three individuals sighted and one of them photographed what they insisted was a six-foot-tall bird. They swore it was a moa, not an emu, ostrich, red deer, or any of the other expert-proposed or media-suggested animal candidates.

Paddy Freaney, current hotel owner and former instructor with the British Army’s elite Special Air Service, and his companions Sam Waby and Rochelle Rafferly were tramping — a New Zealand term for hiking in rugged terrain — in the Canterbury high country when they came upon a large bird. “The minute I saw it, I knew what it was,” Freaney said soon afterwards. “I believe it was a moa.” "

I am planning a mini Moa hunting expedition tomorrow, so have been researching up a storm today. I believe that the last Moa spotting was in the Cass-Lagoon Saddles area. I only have the day to do the 32km long, 1000m vertical Cass-Lagoon track, which is normally a 2 day tramp, so I will park at the Cass end, hitch to Coral Lynn and run the track with camera in hand. Hopfully I can snap a better shot of a Moa than the crap photo (see below) that Paddy Freaney took back in '93!

Paddy's Moa photo, taken in 1993
My planned route for tomorrows Moa Hunt ( choose "Satellite" for map type)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Don't worry, I am not gonna start blogging about the meaning of life like some granola munching, telemarking hippy. I just wanted to share this really cool ad from Brooks Running.
Also worth a look is Brooks "Dream" ad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crater Rim Run

Had a successful outing at the Port Hills Athletics Club's Crater Rim Run this morning.
There was a 30km race, as well as the 20km option that I raced in, with some top racers competing in the longer race, like 2008 Kepler winner Martin Lukes and NZ cross country skiing team member Nat Anglem.
After the initial pretenders during the first climb dropped off, the real contenders were left, I found myself in 3rd place going into the steep downhill into Rapaki Valley. By the valley track I was in 2nd, tucked right behind 1st and with a good margin on the chasing group. I was pretty comfortable hanging out in 2nd place and settled in as we crossed the Summit Rd and got onto the Mt Veron track. I sat back and studied my opponent- head bouncing, arms high and pumping already, a slip on a rock "Maybe I should make a move now? no, be patient..." (I talk to myself a lot while running).
A quick glance back and our gap is slightly bigger at best, but we are ticking over nicely and I stay put. We enter the trees and get onto the funnest part of the race, short ups and downs, in and out of the trees, broken by the Summit Rd. It was somewhere in here that my new friends cap went flying past me, he stopped and went back for it and I took my opportunity. It happened just before some large stone steps and I threw myself at these, taking 2 or 3 steps at a time, making a good break. As I approached the Sugar Loaf and had a quick look back and had around 15sec on 2nd now and hammered the next section to the Sugar Loaf parking lot and down Cedric's Track, again taking few steps at a time and passing racers at the back of the 30km race. Running around the back of the Sugar Loaf I started to tire for the first time, but wanted to keep pushing, the goal being that I would be out of sight of 2nd place once we started going in and out of the trees again.
Getting back to the Crater Rim Trail I saw Jane about to go around the Sugar Loaf and started to pass oncoming runners, bumping shoulders as we exchanged encouragement. As I passed over the Summit Rd to Rapaki Track I was told I had 2mins on 2nd, with 5km and 435m descent and 115 steep meters of climbing to go. The downs hurt a lot, especially the last part on the pavement and the climb was a power walk at best.
I stopped my watch at St Martin's Primary School at 1hr29, over 10mins faster than I had guessed I might go.
Jane did really well, finishing 3rd and was really happy with her race.
Big thanks to Port Hills Athletics Club and all those who helped make this great little race happen.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Well worth a look! Enjoy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My "little" friend

I say little because at only 1262m Helicopter Hill is relatively small compared to the other peaks in the Craigieburn Range. But for 21 long minutes yesterday it didn't feel little at all.
Talking with Pierre when I was in France he recommended a 25-30min (or 600 vertical meters, whatever came first) hard climb once every 1 or 2 weeks, while Javi said he would do 13- 15 mins climbs like this.
The key is doing it on the same slope or hill each time so you can gage your performance. It's a little bit like a race against the clock in some ways.
I used again for the Helicopter Hill run.
In winter we did similar "tests" like this up Porters and Cheeseman ski areas and once all the snow has gone I will do similar runs up the Avalanche Peak Track on Arthur's Pass! This is a really good one, one of my favorite runs. My fastest time from the AP DOC center to the summit is 55mins and I have heard of folks doing it in the low 50's. A sub 50min effort would be pretty huge..........

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crater Rim Run

I'll be lining up for the Port Hill Athletic Club's Crater Rim Trail Run on Sunday morning in what will be one of the few running races I will do before leaving for Europe and another winter!
The Crater Rim will also be the first race I have done since the Routeburn Classic in May, not counting the Skin to the Summit, which I did on heavy gear, so I didn't really feel like I was racing that day.
Crater Rim run
Racers on the Crater Rim track. Photo from
There is a 30km and a 20km race, both starting from St Martin's School, climbing up to the summit road and heading towards the Sign of the Kiwi. I am opting for the 20km race as I have only got back into running regularly for a month or so now. Going off my training times I think I can go under 2 hours pretty easily and will be shooting for lower than 1hr40mins.
30km starts at 8am, 20km at 0830, see you on the start line!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sun Rise

Got out for a little dawn patrol this morning. Most successful dawn patrols take place mid winter when the sun rise is late, meaning you can sleep in a little more and cold, wintry snow is on the cards, compared to the refrozen crap that I skied on at 0730. Had I been a few hours later I could have scored some great spring corn, but that wouldn't have been a dawn patrol. Besides I would have missed this great sun rise, which made it all worth it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Pre Breakfast Run

"The hardest thing you'll have to do is get out of bed. After that it's easy" that's what I have been telling myself for a while now as I drag myself out of bed for a pre breakfast run. While I can jump out of bed if it's a powder day and especially if I can hear coffee being made, going for a run is a little harder.
Why? When there are a lot of really good benefits to running first thing. Its a great way to start the day and a little 30-60min run in the a.m. is a great way to up your overall training. I have done this on and off for about 15 years (admittedly it was mostly "off" during my punk rock fueled late teens/early 20s), but it is a habit that I have gotten back into, especially when we were training for the Symphony this winter. The reasoning was, so Javi said, that training first thing before you have eaten on an empty stomach means that your body has to learn how to burn fats and use them as energy. Simply it has nothing else to burn. This was really important for the Symphony because we knew that we would be on the move for over 12hours and we wouldn't be carrying a heap of food.
I noticed the difference it made only after a few weeks of doing this. I hit the wall hard on our Craigieburn traverse, but manged to hold it together pretty well for the SOS.
Javi chows down on some some yummy body fat mid Symphony
This also is going to help when you have an unexpected big day.
I have started to up the running a little as this is an important time in pre season training for me and the pre breakfast run is playing a big roll. I have gone from feeling sick after 10mins of running to doing 50-60 min run in the morning.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Closing Day- CVSC

Jane skiing 6th Gut at Craigieburn yesterday
We got up to Craigieburn yesterday for only our 2nd day skiing the tows this winter. Yesterday was closing day for Craigieburn, along with all fields in the Range, apart from BR, but you would haven't guessed it. It was snowing and bloody cold. What was good was real good, but was was bad was terrible. There was 10-20cm of wind blown snow, with a shiny, slick crust underneath. the skiing was pretty fun, especially mid slope where it was blown in. It was fun to just ride the tows and ski with my heavier set up for a change.

Map My Run

Just discovered this web site Its pretty cool as its allows you to map your run (or bike ride, ski tour or hiking trip I guess) and get distance and vertical gain and loss.
Below is a map of the run I did yesterday after skiing at Craigieburn yesterday morning. I ran home via Lyndon Saddle and Drac Flat.
One thing I have found is possibly the vertical isn't 100%. I got a different vertical gain/lost than what my t6c gave me?
Map away!-

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Salomon Speed Cross 2

The Speed Cross 2 trail running shoe from Salomon has been on my wish list for a while now and yesterday I finally got my hands on a pair! I guess the verdict isn't out yet as I have only had about 1hr30mins running in them, but so far I can say they are pretty nice.
Drying out the Salomon Speed Cross 2 after a muddy trail run around Castle Hill Village
They are super light, about 290gms, have a nice low profile and have great grip. I really like the feeling of being close to the trail, so the low profile is nice and they still have a surprisingly good amount the cushion for such a light shoe. I'll probably end up using the Speed Crosses mostly for racing and speedy runs and train in my other runners that are more suited to day to day running.
Once I have had a bit more time in them I'll report back with how they are working out, probably after the Crater Rim Run, or Flagpole Run Up.
If you click HERE to visit the US Salomon Running web site you can see a cool little video of Adam Chase talking up the Speed Cross 2.
I also got a look at the latest version for the XT Wings, Salomon's flag ship shoe and my all time favorite trail runner. It's good to see they have made some subtle improvements, that will help with durability. The eyelets for the laces are now plastic, meaning the laces are not gonna wear and break, which was my biggest gripe with the older model.
Now for the real gear geeks below is a little video from Canadian Running and their visit to Salomon Running in Toronto. It is kind of a silly little interview, but does give some really good insight to the benefits of using a specialized trail running shoe.
For more info on getting your hands on some sweet Salomon Running gear visit the Salomon NZ web site to see what is available -

Suunto T6C- 277hr51min, 110591m Review

After 277hr51min of training and 110591m of ascent I figure I should finally write something regarding
the Suunto T6C training watch, or should I say my "personal sports laboratory".
The T6C is my 2nd Suunto watch, the first being the ever reliable Altimax. The Altimax is a great watch and I found it great for tracking vertical while skinning, but I was keen to get something more training specified and I had been keen on a heart rate monitor for a while.
The T6C was the obvious choice being able to track heart rate, vertical ascent/decent and at what rate. The other cool thing the T6C has going for it is the Training Effect (TE) feature. The T6C calculates the TE by gathering information like your heart rate, max heart rate, activity level (how active you are) and weight. It then gives a real time TE which is like an overall look at your training, rather than your heart rate which just gives you a snippet of what's happening at that particular moment.
Rather than writing down all my workouts, I simply upload everything to my PC, which makes for some good reading. Not surprisingly July, August and September were my biggest months of training, with a little over 60 000 meters ascended in around 125 hours.
12hr58mins, 4260m vertical- Javi, Lorenzo and my t6c were the perfect companions for a "speedy Sympohny"
My lowest volume of training was during February when I managed a laughable 10.5 hours and 4500 vertical meters. This was when I had tendinitis in my shin and walking was a struggle.
If this isn't enough you can team the T6C up with a GPS and/or Foot Pod! I haven't had the chance to try any of the "Pods", but from what I understand you can get all kinds of feedback about your pace, stride, how fast you're going. The GPS Pod I could see being especially good for tracking distance and elevation gain/loss. Hopefully I will be able to report about the Pods at some stage.
As we all know the Germans are big on efficiency, so I think its speaks volums about the T6C when they are handing out awards to this watch - -
"Germany's Runner's World, one of the leading running magazines in the world, tested a range
of distance trackers in November 2008. Of the six models tested, the jury rewarded Suunto
t6c and Foot POD with the title "Runner's World Test Winners". Read more about this award
To find out more about the t6c, Suunto watches and where to buy one in NZ click HERE

Kilian's Quest

Winter's pretty much over (mind you, snow to 800m today!) and spring skiing is in full swing. If you're like me, as the days get longer and warmer you'll still want to hold on tight to winter and keep skiing. But this spring I have found it a lot easier to make the transition from ski touring to trail running. This time of year I normally always struggle to get out running. I feel fit and strong, but my legs are weak when it comes to the high impact that running has compared to skinning. Living out of the snow for the first winter in 4 years has meant I have ran a lot more over the winter than in the past, meaning this year the transition has been an easy one. Still I always struggle with motivation.
Enter Kilian's Quest.
For those of you that don't keep up with the competitive world or ski mountaineering or mountain running (if you don't then I guess you are here by mistake?) Kilian Jornet is kind of a big deal. The young Spaniard dominates ski mountaineering and mountain running. Rather than going into detail, just click HERE to check out Kilian's Quest. Episode 7 will start up, but it's worth scrolling down and starting with the teaser.
I find this kind of thing really motivating, I mean if this guy can run for 38hrs, then I should be able to muster up and go for a 30min jog before breakfast.
Other articles that are worth a read are-

Just Like Last Year..........

Just like last year at this time I have started to neglected my poor little blog again.
Suddley I seem to have a heap on and "blogging" seems to have been put at the bottom of the to do list.
Completing and then writing trip reports and an article on the SOS, then organizing The Tour Backcountry Ski Race, getting a 3000m vertical day in with Duncan, Jane and Tim, resuming"regular" work and getting back into running (twice a day when possible) has left me wondering what the hell happened to September
Part of me also things the blogging is a little lame...........
Its fun, and I enjoy writing (well trying to), its something I do for my Mum to keep up with what I am up to as much as anything.
Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things, for my Mum if nothing else.
"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966
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