Monday, September 8, 2014

Blow Hard Utah

You know it's going to be a good run when it starts off with your running partner bringing you a cinnamon roll.

My friend Rick Whitelaw is one of the gurus behind Ultra Adventures (races like Zion 100, Bryce 100, Grand Canyon 100, etc.) He is also one of the nicest humans you'll meet. He offered to show me around a new (to me) trail in Cedar Canyon called Blow Hard.

This is a popular mountain bike trail where bikers take a shuttle to the top and then ride down. But to run up it and then back down, 14 miles round trip, 5,000+ feet climbing on technical trails, then going back down? That, my friends, takes some fueling from a cinnamon roll. (Here is Rick nearing the top of a climb.)

It wasn't completely steep, technical stuff. There were some silky smooth sections too.

Rick is a farmer. He has been weathered by hard work from sun up to sun down. He is strong and fast. And thankfully also patient with slower mere mortals like me.

We enjoyed some great views of Zion National Park in the distance and Cedar Breaks off on the near horizon.

The top of the trail ended at one of the stranger things I've seen on a trail: an ENORMOUS soccer ball. Apparently this enormous soccer ball is actually a radar station for southern Utah.

The last time I ran with Rick on a high elevation trail a few weeks ago I felt horrible. I had absolutely no energy. I felt remarkably better this time. I think this trail most closely resembles what I'll be running at the Bear 100 in a few weeks, so feeling good on this run was a much needed confidence boost.

Bear 100 is a short 18 days away. Let the taper begin!!!!!!! Hopefully my legs have gotten enough altitude training and climbing to be ready for the challenge.


  1. Ha ha, the trail name is totally making me giggle - is that okay?

    What a great new find! And that is awesome you felt better running with him this time! :)

  2. Nice to explore new trails in good company. Everywhere you go over there seems to be beautiful.