January 18, 2007 posted by

Challenges for 2007

So far, I’ve trained every day this year but, as was the case all of last year, it’s been without much focus because I’m in “transition”. Well, I’m officially not in transistion any longer and been pondering the road ahead. After months of random consideration, the objective, for 2007, is…(insert drum roll)… endurance.

I do so many sports it’s always difficult which ones to focus on. At first I thought it’d be climbing next, since I now live so close to a lot I haven’t done. Then it was performance racing (ie – short) as one of these years I’d like to make a focused effort on a good placing at age group worlds. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on distance.

I know, I know, I’ve said things like “distance is boring” during Furnace Creek and “I’ll never swim four miles again unless it’s from a sinking boat,” during my challege in 2000 but, as tends to happen with me, I’ve turned a fatalistc staying on its head to creat a new challenge. Maybe it’s because I’m dating an ultrarunner. Who knows? Certainly not me. All I know is that I’m constantly looking for new ways to push my limits, both physically and mentally, and that if I don’t have that proverbial carrot to chase, I begin to wilt.

Regardless, it’s time to get something on paper and focus my training. Henceforth, 2007 is the year of Never Say Never. My main objective for this year–because it’s something that I’ve never done–is to go that entire year without getting injured.

So here’s the plan:

Finish a 100 mile race. I’ve done a lot of running around in the mountains and have no real idea how far I’ve gone in a push but I’m pretty sure it’s not been 100 miles. Furthmore, the pressure of “racing” 100 miles is something different altogether (as opposed to the pressure of staying alive, which I’ve faced coutless times). Furthermore, this race has the be considered ‘hard’ in the world of such things. Since Hardrock is considered the hardest, I must choose a race that qualifies me for Hardrock. This short lists what they consider to be the world’s hardest ultras.

The Firecracker 400. Yeah, yeah, so I was bored during Furnace Creek. That was on my home turf. This time, I’ll head to Alaska, a place I’ve never been, and ride 400 miles in a push. I’m sure the new scenery will help, as will not starting the race injured. I’ll need a crew. Anyone in Alaska want to drive through the night at 18mph?

Climb 46 5.12s. This used to be easy but it will require a consistant level of climbing training throughout the year. I once thought my days of inspired climbing were over but, somehow, I’ve found a bit of spark again.

Establish 46 first ascents. Again, I’ve said my days of bolting were mainly over but it’s time to update my guidebook and I’ve found some new crags that would be a major addition. This will be my main act of public service for the year. It’s a LOT of public service!

Do a big wall in a day. More inspired climbing. This will force me to a place I haven’t been in a while.

Swim 4.6 miles in one go. That quote, above, happened here. I really dislike swimming, epsecially in a pool. An the ocean is now a long way away. My goal is to spend enough time in the pool that I come to peace with this negative place in my mind.

Finish the “40 Peaks” run. This is a twice failed challenge for me. Both times I ammended it and did something but my original course, one that makes the Angeles Crest 100 mile race seem like it’s flat, is still un-done.

Complete a solo 24-hour mtn bike race. Why not? I like riding my mtn bike. I don’t know if I ever said I wouldn’t do this but it falls into that boring catagory, for sure.

Ski 46,000 vertical feet in a day. As a brand new skier, this is just something that sounds like I should do. Will it be hard? I have no idea. It might be hard just to ride the lifts this much.

Ride the 6 Canyons around SLC. This is the local cyclist’s holy grail. Actually, it’s 5 canyons but I read a report about one guy who added a sixth so that’s what I’m going to do. Since it’s also my friend Dustin’s birthday challenge for the year (or at least part of it), I’m sure I’ll be inspired to train.

That seems like enough. I’m sure there will be plenty of other challenges along to road. Step one will be the Red Hot 50 in Moab in a little less than three weeks. Time to get training.

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