January 30, 2011

Gear Review - REI Gaiter

This weekend I spent some time in the snowy woods using my REI Gaiter. Click on my video to see the Good, Bad and the Ugly about this product.

January 28, 2011

2nd Annual Tracks and Treads - March 26

March 26th marks the date of the 2nd Annual tracks n treads Off-Road Biathlon and 5k Cross Country Race. Rock Racing will once again be an integral part of making this a great event.  Chuck is the Bike course marshal and he will be keeping riders on the right path to success in this event.  Robin is the race director and will have her hands full pulling together the final strings that will have people talking about this great event for years to come.  Come out and spend the morning with us racing in a venue that is fun and challenging with some of the best single track in the area and the opportunity to run the famous mud mountain cross country course.  Come race with us!

2010 Post Race Notes from Race Director, Robin Rongey

The First Annual Tracks n Treads, 5K and Off-Road Biathlon went off with just a few hitches, which turned out to make the race even more memorable then we had originally intended it to be.

The morning started with a crew of ROTC and Military personnel parked all along race headquarters.  After speaking to the commander, I found that they would be out in the woods running combat exercises all day.  Both groups had coordinated with the university, but somehow no one noticed that we would be using the same venue.  It was ok, we just coordinated, they agreed to stay off the single track and keep to the woods while we agreed to use the single track and make sure all competitors knew upfront that there would be gunfire and bombs going off and they might see combat during the race.

The military being at the race site worked to our advantage, a bomb was used in place of the starter gun for the race start.  It was a very memorable start.  About 60 racers, both 5K and Off-Road athletes took off from the starting line and completed the 5K run in what is now the course record.  The men’s 5K winner was Josh Helton of Troy, IL, finishing in a time of 21:12 and the winner of the women’s race was Melanie Harmon of Edwardsville, finishing in a time of 26:24.

The Off-Road athletes jumped on bikes and continued on at the finish of the run.  Although there were some really fast runners, they soon learned that there were also some very fast bikers in the mix.  Jack Daugherty of Edwardsville took the lead and by the second lap of the bike course he had a 3 minute lead on 2nd place finisher, Greg Blake of Madison, WI.  Jack held the lead to win the race and now holds the course record of 1:21:29. 

In the women’s race Sarah Worthington of St Louis, MO took an early lead both in the run and bike and finished in 1:34:53, six minutes ahead of 2nd place finisher Bethany Himel of O’Fallon, IL.  Sarah now holds the women’s course record.

After speaking with many of the participants, there were accolades for the military exercises going on in the woods, everyone loved it and said it added a bit of extra thrill to the race.

Instead of giving the usual award of a medal, the winners received a winter beanie cap with the Tracks n Treads logo stitched in the color of the place, blue for 1st place, red for 2nd place and white for 3rd place.  The race swag included a high quality long sleeve tech shirt with the really cool Track n Treads graphic.  The Graphic was designed by an up and coming designer for race products, Jeff Schleicher.  Jeff is not only the designer, but a valued member of the Metro Tri Club. 

The Metro Tri Club would like to thank everyone that participated and we hope all had a great time and will return next year with friends in tow.  To all the volunteers, you did a fantastic job and I can’t thank you enough, without all of you this race would not be possible.   THANKS!

Registration Info here:

January 24, 2011

Lewis and Clark Training Day

ROCK Racing teammates (Robin, Chuck, Patrick) have entered the Double-Chubb 50K trail race this year, so we have been building up our trail running mileage.  Long run days are always more fun with a group, so we organized a run for 1/23.  The plan (made on a snow free, 35 degree day) was to run the 8.3m Lewis and Clark trail followed up with the Lost Valley 13m trail, connected by a short piece of road, making a nice 22m run.  The 9 inches of snow already on the ground and a forecast of 5 more coming that afternoon caused us to reconsider the plan.  We decided on doing 2 laps of Lewis and Clark, one each direction.  We planned an early start so I got all my gear ready the night before, and made it to the trailhead right before our 7am start time, just as it was getting light.


We had a group of 5 (Robin, Chuck, Patrick, Mike, and Nicole) that headed out into the crunchy snow.  Luckily we found that other runner and hikers had been out since the snow had fallen so we had a nice packed path to follow.

Almost right off we seen a grey fox run across our path.  He was way too fast to get a picture of, but he did cause us to start talking about the recent confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in our area.  I think it ended up with me being the only one that wants to see one in the wild.
Lewis & Clark is a great trail, 100% singletrack, lots of rocks and roots, lots of elevation change, and most people only seem to come out for the short loop, so once you get into the back section you hardly see any other people.
We stopped a few times along the trail to re-group, drink , and get a few pictures.

When the first lap was done, Mike and Nicole dropped off and we picked up Doug, Mike, Val and Zilla for the second lap.   I took some time to refuel on a package of Honey Stinger chews, and I think I even convinced Val that they are superior in all ways to the Chomp-things she brought along.  Patrick and Val put on some Yaktrax for extra traction.  They looked like springs with straps to go over your feet.  My Inov8 Roclite 312’s were gripping the snow so great I didn’t need any extra traction.

It started snowing pretty hard at the beginning of the second loop and I was wishing I would have worn a hat with a visor to keep snow out of my eyes.  We were having a great time cracking jokes and goofing off this time around.  We got a few pictures of us playing around:
 And a few scenic shots.

And a group pic.

So when we got back to the parking lot with a 6 minute negative split on the second lap we were really surprised.  In the end even though we finished a few miles short of our original plan, we figured the extra effort caused by the snow made up the difference.