What is a Trail Nerd?

A trail nerd is a runner who loathes the pavement, does not let a little bad weather stop them, does not whine, and is always ready to help a fellow trail runner. They originate from Kansas City, then like little seeds, propogate in other areas. Wanna be a nerd? Just join one of our group runs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Always time for a trail...

Just before my trip to Phoenix I contracted a cold, then as the conference approached I felt better, but lost my voice. Between meetings, receptions, and dinner parties, my partner Doug Jackson and I found a couple of hours to ride the trails around Verrado - his neighborhood in the West Valley at the base of the White Tank Mountains.
Weather was sunny, in the 60's with a light wind. Uphill sections were warm, with a little chill on the downhill. (that's why I wore the fleece vest).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

About Daylight Savings...

I once heard an american indian say 'Only a white man would think that he could cut 6 inches from one end of the blanket, sew it to the other end, and think he has a longer blanket."

Last Daylight

On the last week before we change time, I'm squeezing in some daylight runs and rides before getting the lights out. I was able to get in a one hour MTB ride yesterday, and the forst was absolutely gorgeous at last light. The west sky was glowing, and simply 'lit up' the little maple tree in the woods.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dogwood 25K / 50K - Day 2

Next morning came fast. I got up at 5, and was at the start area by 5:30 with my notes to announce to the race participants, and to take in a relaxing 25K run in sweep position. Then as the crowd started gathering and registration was going on, something changed the whole day. We were informed that nobody had seen Dean all night, or this morning. Panic struck us all, not only for Dean's safety, but he was a lynch pin in the morning logistics for volunteers and aid stations. We all sprung into action. Chad went searching for Dean on the trail. Mike and I started figuring out what needed to take place to get aid stations set up and volunteers on the course. Barney Fife started (yes, Barney was there...) started making announcements on the bullhorn.

It was very soon that we found out Dean found the same hole we did with the jeep, with no radio on hand, and no cell service, he simply slept (sort of) in the jeep, in the creek, all night. We were all thankful he was OK, but had to keep moving to get this race on the trail.

One of my announcements (among others) was that the course would cross the state line into Arkansas. And not to worry, because even though there was no 'line' on the ground denoting the state line. that the racers would know they are in Arkansas. Amber had hired a couple of bonafide Silver Dollar City hillbillies to sit in the woods at the state line....

With the bang of Barney's single bullet, the race was off. I hung back to make sure the rest of the race logistics were in place, then started walking. As I hit the woods, I started a slow jog, and within 50 yards of leaving the pavement came the first of many creek crossings.

I was less than 3 miles into the race when I saw a blur of three guys going past me the other way. This was the elite runners, who had already completed 9 miles at a blistering pace (the averaged a 7:23 pace on the 50K)

I yelled at them, to no avail, that they were headed the wrong way. Later I find out that Aid Station 1 had set up their table right in front of the signs we placed out the day before... Lesson #1 (of many) don't leave the set up of the tables to volunteers.

The route had multiple stream crossings (one of which had a jeep right in the way) and 8 major clims on the 25K course. The 50 K was a reverse of the 25K and thus had 16 major climbs. Over 9000 feet of elevation gain on the 50K course.

The rest of the day went well. I chatted with people, cheered some of them on, and walked with Monty, who taught me the art of picking up trash, which became a twist of fate for me. I had twisted my ankle, and was hobbling a bit, when I saw a Ziploc baggie on the ground. I picked it up to keep the course clean, and voila - inside were 4 Advil. Just what I needed when i needed them. I spent time talking to each aid station, and checking in on race radio to help coordinate last runners on the course, bag drop off pickup, and aid station supplies.

In the end I finished the 25K in about 3:20 moving time, 4:45 elapsed time. When finished I ate a bison burger (mm mm) and then took a load of boy scouts to one of the aid stations to begin packing up. On my way back to base I noticed the engine sputtering. Funny, it feels like it's out of gas, but the gauge reads 'Full'. So I eased it back to the aid station and called Chad up on the radio. 'Sounds like my jeep is out of gas, but the gage reads Full'. Chad replies 'It always reads 'Full'. Nick, lets take him a gas can...'

That's how my day ended, waiting on a can of gas so I could make my last trip on the course back to the Start / Finish line. It was a gorgeous day. Mid 60's a nice crisp breeze, leaves of every color on the trees, and sunlight through the forest. That's how I'll remember the first race that I help set up, and also participated in. I'm already thinking about what we can do to make next year better!

Dogwood 25K / 50K - Day 1

After several trip to Dogwood Canyon and the help of many people including John Montgomery and Mike Baxter, the course had been worked out. and race weekend had arrived. Saturday (the day before the race) we started out by taking a load of race course signs to start marking the intersections.

The grounds crew had been clearing some sections and had 'fixed' the creek crossings. One in particular though was still very soft. The Arctic Cat 'Prowlers' had no problem, but our jeep sunk to the axles. This was the first of several exciting events awaiting us on the inaugural Dogwood 25K / 50K trail race, sponsored by North Face.
After many hours of setting signs and asking ourselves 'Have we marked it well enough so Lea would not get off course?' we headed back to the ranch.
On the way back, we spot a bald eagle perched in a tree just above 'Glory Hole'. That made the whole day worthwhile.
At dinner we wanted to get together to discuss logistics, but Dean was nowhere to be found. We figured he'd gone back to the hotel, he had started the day in Springfield getting the Tour De Bass (an inaugural bike ride) off and riding.
I pitched my tent, took off my wet boots and nodded off to the sounds of Endurance Planet's 'Breakaway Friday' which was entitled 'What was I thinking?'. The night was chilly, and the stars were bright.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

From John Jones

There is a group (informal adventure racers/trail runners) getting together this Wednesday afternoon at 5:30pm trail running at Sac River Trails and Ritter Springs (meeting at the Sac parking lot). Much like you, we are trying to promote trail running in and around the Springfield area and would like to make this a weekly thing to provide a fun group event mid-week. Runs distance and time varies on each individuals ability (and willingness), but we are shooting for an hour and longer for those who wish. The great thing about Sac/Ritter is the parking lot is never far away if someone needs to leave early or gets there late. As later fall and early winter set in we will turn these into headlamp runs (which are a favorite of mine) as it will get dark sooner. Please spread the word to your PEEPS and hopefully we can get a good group going.

John Jones
Bolivar, MO

Sunday, June 1, 2008

2008 Ozark Greenways Adventure Race (OGAR)

It was another stellar day in the Ozarks – this was the first year I’ve done the race since 2003 (I can’t believe I sat out 5 years…)

There were 78 teams of four registered, and 77 showed up to race. The race began at 7:00 am sharp with a 3 part harmony rendition of the star spangled banner. (can you feel the goosebumps?)

Best I can tell, we were about 24th on the first leg – an 8 mile run on pavement and gravel roads. We got in the canoes for a 6 mile paddle and picked up 10 spots to 14th, got on the bikes for a 7 mile bike. We lost 10 spots between transition and bike leg #1, and came in 24th going into the next section - which was orienteering. We lost 16 more places during the orienteering. (we mistook one drainage channel for a different one on the map and spent one hour on one of the three check points) Then the last bike leg back to finish (8.88 miles of gnarly singletrack and another 8 of gravel / paved roads) we picked up 11 spots to finish 33rd.

About 9 hours and 31 minutes total elapsed time. The top teams finished in about 6 to 7 hours. If we had not made the orienteering error, we would have definitely been top 20, maybe 15. Waiting for final results to see what place we finished relative to complete team finishes, as they allowed PTF’s (partial team finishes) this year.

It was a very tough race, and each of us showed strength at different times, keeping us all up beat, and moving forward. That's teamwork - not just the team captain (Ben) pushing us all (which he did from time to time). But each team member contributing their best, at the right time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Endorphins take First Place!

On Saturday May 10th I participated (with two other team members - Ben Craig and Jodie Lister) in an adventure race at Busiek. Starting temp about 45 degrees and misty, breezy. We first had to plot 17 coordinates on to a blank USGS map of teh area, and then proceed to hit them each, in order, using the right mode of travel.

First leg was 4 checkpoints and about 5.5 miles of running / climbing hills (and crossing creeks) Then we got on the bikes - about 5 miles of muddy trail with more creek crossings - and 5 check points, then came the mystery event. We donned PFD's and had to blow up an inner tubes, and pick up 2 check points on Woods Fork Creek. And it was COLD, but VERY beautiful. We waded, floated, and sloshed down the creek for almost 2 miles. It was about that time the lightning and hail kicked in. Then back out for another 5 mile run (run is a relative term at Busiek, as 2 of the next 4 checkpoints were on 'Ridge tops' and we were still carrying the tubes and PFD's) Back to the bikes, for the final leg of the race - another 6 miles of MUDDY trail and 3 more checkpoints.

All in all, about 6+ hours of self propelled forward motion, and untold calories - I was not able to wear my GPS / Heart rate / elevation gain monitor because it had GPS. No GPS allowed.

And the result? A FIRST PLACE finish for The Endorphins. And all checkpoints accounted for accurately. And the feeling that we are close to being ready for the Ozark Greenways race May 31.

Photos coming!


Ocean breeze, blue water, white sand, horizontal legs and coconut drinks. A little breather for 'The Juice' and his wife Joyce. And awesome sunrises. This is life in the Bahamas. At least for a few days...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April in the Ozarks!

Who would of thought we'd be in tights and fleece in April? Ben, Frank, Jodie and I enjoyed a few periods of spitting snow / sleet on a pretty wet trail at Sac River this morning. Lots of mud holes, but not too bad. Once we were done there I went on over to Ritter for a short loop - ran into a man with 3 dogs. One of them was bounding full speed for me when he yelled 'don;t worry, she won;t bite!'. So I stood still and the black dog just barked a rabid, mean bark. She did not bite, but I was ready to kick some doggie tail if I had to... Found a cable strung bridge at Ritter, wish I had my phone to get a photo. 1 Week to Ouachita 50. Send Captain and I some positive vibes!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nerds Like the Wet Stuff Too...

What an adventure! The 'Energizer Bunny' and I went out to Busiek this morning - at first it looked like a complete wash out - 2 of the three bridges we use to cross the creek were washed out from last week's floods. But we found the 3rd intact which opened up the south and east sections of area for us to run. We'd normally wade across, but this morning Woods Fork was a TORRENT. Light rain, a little thunder, and water logged trails did not stop us from getting in about 2 hours - however at one point we had to refer back to my GPS watch to get us back to the car... A little adventure on every trip.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Trail Nerds like the Frozen Stuff Too...

I spent 3 days in Beaver Creek, CO last week - skiing my heart out. Skiing is one of my favorite sports, behind trail running, mountain biking, cycling, canoeing, fishing, hiking... etc. 3 Days. Fresh snow each day. Light powder in the first runs, with nice groomed trails after that. I always looked for the loose stuff though... First on, last off every day with lunch on the run. That's the only way to get your money's worth.

I did see what I thought was a true Trail Nerd, as I was on the lift going up, he was 'running' up the slope - with crampons, he headed STRAIGHT UP about a 1.5 mile long 'Blue' slope. Then rode the lift down. Now THAT's a NERD.

For a few images click here.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Daylight Savings Time is Here!

That can only mean one thing - time to put up the tights and break out the shorts! It was a bit chilly at the start today but I was positive I could suffer through a few minutes and I was right - things warmed up nicely at Busiek today - we went to Wilson's Creek at 8:00 only to find the trails closed. So we went on over to Busiek. Me, Captain Fun Hog, Jelly, and Chris Bills did a great 9 mile loop, then I hopped on my new Gary Fisher 29er and pedaled for about 30-45 minutes.

THAT is when you REALLY know spring is coming, when the rubber starts to meet the trail... What a perfect day. Now time to go hang out by the pool and get some sun. I'm out all next week - Dallas for business, then Wednesday to Beaver Creek for 3 days of powder - forecast is for snow all three days we are there. Back Sunday. Hold down the fort!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Many of you have asked me about keeping current on my blog - sorry, not much happening since White Rock - a few weekends of ice have kept me off the trails - however, today me and Captain, Bunny and Chris all spent some time at Busiek. Gorgeous morning, water in the streams running deep and clear. Chris showed us all how to cross a stream - just run right through it.

Getting Ready for Ouachita 50K in April. Anyone else planning for OT50, or other races?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

White Rock 2008 - Juice's Account

Early arrival at base camp (aka the Lodge) a day early this year yielded a treat. Every year White Rock Mountain shows us another treasure. This year was no exception. Driving up at dusk, in the blowing snow and fog was simply mystical. Thursday night Joyce and I had the lodge to ourselves, and Paula had already got the wood stove going, so it was warm and toasty. Candle light dinner of salmon and pasta, cooked on our old stove. What a treat.

The next morning was winter wonderland, so I went out and got a few pics in the early morning light. What a beautiful sight! As the morning went on, we wondered where Craig and Mary were – they were to have been there sometime before noon. So in our waiting, Joyce and I cleaned the cobwebs off the ceiling fans, walls, and ceiling. Then came the call from Craig. The road to White Rock was blocked by a downed tree. That began the series of things that made this weekend special…

Joyce and I went for a hike around the rim trail – only for the clouds to roll in around, and under us – hiding the valley below, and giving the illusion of being on top of a 14er – above th clouds. From time to time they would part, exposing a ridge several miles away, only for a moment. As we walked back up the road, Craig and mary drove up, in THE dirtiest vehicle I’ve ever seen the Captain drive. I don’t think anyone got a picture of it…

As the evening passed, people started rolling in, the beds started filling up. We ended up with a total of 17 in bunk beds that sleep a maximum of 20! That’s the most we’ve ever had at the lodge! We were cooking dinner at about 4:30 and BAM, the power goes out. Come to find out, the entire mountain was out – Paula said she would call the electric company – said this is ‘normal and would take a couple of hours to get it back on. So we finished cooking dinner on the wood stove, and lit candles. As the sun went down, we were all getting comfortable with the dark, and then BAM, the power is back on. Linda and kip were the last to roll in about 10:00 pm, and with them tucked in, we went though the night with no major incidents. I got up a few times to keep wood in the stove. And to pee, since I had been hydrating all day…

4:49 am – My eyes open up, and look at the clock before the alarm goes off (as usual). I get up and start making coffee, and hot water for oatmeal. At that point I made a major decision for the day – to leave the lodge at 6:45 am and run DOWN the mountain (partially in the dark) and meet the start of the run at 9:00 at the bottom. Then run up, yielding a 50K, and no need to shuttle in a car both ways to and from the lodge. It was the eco friendly thing to do, I thought. In reality, if I did it the other way, I would have to face the prospect of seeing the lodge at the halfway point – it would be hard to turn back down and leave the warm wood stove…

5:30 am – I’m getting dressed, and load up my pack, and head out the door, and I tell everyone ‘see you at the bottom!’ – they were all surprised, although I had told Craig earlier in the week that I might consider doing this. His response was ‘Interesting..’ I should have known – that was his way of saying ‘You’re a FOOL’.

5:45 – On the road down, my light bobbing on the road, I’m watching for patches of ice, trying to get traction on snowy spots, and trying not to breathe ‘up’ as it would create a cloud of ‘breath’ in the light and fog up my view of the road.

5:50 – a car pulls up behind me and stops – out jumps Betty, who had heard about my little plan and decided to join me. I was only about 2.6 miles down the road, which means she got dressed and in the car REALLY fast.

We ran down the long hills, and take the up hill sections at a brisk walk pace – not wanting to expend energy we knew we’d need later. A couple of miles from the bottom (about 13.5 miles into our run) we started crossing paths of people who had already started – they took an early start. At just about 9:03 am, we reached the bottom, turned around and started back up – that was the last time I saw Betty… until much later anyway.

To turn around and start back up was really tough – knowing you still have 15.7 tough miles in front of you – that was the first moment I thought, you DUMMY, you saved the hardest part for LAST.

From that point forward time, and miles simply blurred. I remember stopping at Grays Spring aid station and drinking some cold Sam’s Cola. I remember stopping at the second aid station (none of the aid stations were set up when I was going down…) and the girl telling me I was doing it the hard way. Duh. I remember starting up the last 5.5 mile long climb to the top, and getting about a mile into it and I stopped, looked at my GPS, and took note of the mileage then kept going. I felt like I had traveled at least another half mile – when I looked it was 1/10th of a mile… SHIT!

Did I mention the mud? On the way down in the morning the ground was still mostly frozen, so there was not much wet spots. As the morning went on, the sun came up, the temperatures soared into the 40’s and low 50’s and the top layer turned to mush – so most of the road was a nice layer of wet, sticky, mud. It would clump on your shoes, then it would grab some gravel, and invariably toss a pea size rock into your shoe. So I’d stop, take my shoe off, get the rock out, and balance, trying not to touch my sock on the ground.

Just before the last two miles to top of the mountain, there is a flat section – as flat as it gets in the Boston Mountains – I was jogging along and looked up – here comes Betty. BACK down again, I thought what the hell is she doing? John was following her in the Jeep, as he does on her training runs. (John says the cold feeling of the front bumper makes Betty a better runner…) When we meet up she says ‘I gotta finish the 2.6 miles that I drove down to catch up with you – just to make it right’. Wow. She is one tough chick. John says ‘Joyce asked me to check with you – do you need a ride to the top?’ To which I HAD to say, ‘No Way – I’m going to finish this 50K’. What a fool.

I keep going and as I hit the last 2 mile climb to the top, here comes Joyce in the FJ – I managed a smile and told her I was beat, but intended on finishing on my own two feet. I shed my fleece vest and started the last climb – which is very steep – about 8-10% grade, and then the last ¼ mile is about 10-12% grade. It was simply ‘one foot in front of the other’ – that last two miles took me about an hour. Which really blew my ego. I finished in 8:09 +/- I was hoping for about 7:30 or so. Although, that is much better than my last 50K time of over 9 hours…

At the top, my lovely wife was there to get a picture of me finishing, which forced a smile on my face. This was BY FAR the tougher of the two 50K’s I have done. On retrospect, I’m not sure how I feel about the 50K – not sure I could call it a run, as I think I walked almost as much as I ran. But I do know that I maintained a strong aerobic and anaerobic pace for over 8 hours, which tells me I’m in pretty darned good shape, at least cardio wise. Hauling about 15-20 extra pounds over the mountains did not feel good. Although my lower back gave me no trouble at all. The worst pain was my quads, and my feet – no blisters, they just ached.

I feel like now that I have completed two 50K runs, and looking forward to a third one in April, that I am an official ultra-runner. Gotta get some pounds off so I don’t have to drag that extra weight up and over Pinnacle Peak in April…

White Rock 2008 - Bruce

White Rock 2008

Coming Soon - my White Rock Blog
Look at the snow and sunset!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Great Weekend in the Ozarks!

7 Nerds and 2 dogs on Saturday for some 'follow the leader' at Sac River. Left to right - Shawn, RC, Rachel, Greg, Cynthia and Mia. Zeke in front, Lucky behind. Cynthia took us up a new trail that was cut for the Poker Run race, nice winding single track. Then I took us on the 12 Hour MTB course, up and down a few hills. Of course, Lucky (the yellow lab) led us the whole way... Cynthia, Mia and Shawn went on for a little after our 6 mile run.

On Sunday, 'Captain', 'Bunny' and I worked our way through the 'Frog' (freezing fog) to get a gorgeous view of crystal covered trees in the sun at Busiek. Wish I had my camera. I plan on taking it with me from now on. Also, gin clear streams were running well. Ground started to thaw out just as we were finishing up 12.5 miles of rolling hills.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brrrr... Ahhhh...

Brrrr, the brisk feeling of a single digit run. One of the things I was going to miss if I had moved to Dubai was the exhiliration of a cold weather run. It was a cool 5 degrees when I left the house. Sean was the only other trail nerd to meet me. What a NERD! (Notice the ice crystals...)
After a quick 5.5 mile run we enjoyed hot chocolate. Ahhh.