Thursday, October 31, 2019
Halloween Scare from the Wicked Witch
Less than a week after the election of November 8, 2016, the Democrats were taking about impeaching President-elect Donald Trump. These damned fools and thugs have finally ginned themselves up to it. The "Russian collusion" charge collapsed, so now it's the "Ukrainian conspiracy" against the obviously corrupt and apparently senile Joe Biden. Biden publicly admits to threatening Ukraine with cancellation of a promised one billion dollar loan unless a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma (the firm that employed his son) was fired. The Democrats thus charge Trump, who made no similar threats, with "quid pro quo" wheelings and dealings, even though the transcript of his discussion with Zelensky contains nothing of the sort. There's not even a request for Zelensky to investigate the matter.
The "whistleblower" charge was clearly cooked up in advance, including the predated changing of the rules to allow "whistleblowers" to report second hand information, information that is not relevant to national security.
This is just more of the deep state-MSM-democrat coup. It has nothing to do with preserving liberty, or rule of law, or anything else that's good. It's about their continuing outrage that the fundamental transformation of America into a socialist state has been blocked. Everyone who voted to proceed with this groundless impeachment inquiry is an enemy of liberty and an enemy of America. It's unfortunate, but we should think of them as enemies, because that's what they've chosen to become.
I've followed elections in the United States since Nixon defeated Humphrey. I've never before seen an election where the candidates of one party campaign on the harms they'll inflict on the voters of the other party, should they be elected. One of them, the hapless Robert O'Rourke, claimed all of us who support President Trump are racists. There were no objections from the rest of that thuggish field. They promise to take away our cars, our energy,our health care, our guns, our money, and our freedom of speech. These are really bad people.
This fevered quest for impeachment is now driven by the Dems' fear that they cannot win a fair election in 2020. They intend to lie, cheat, threaten, and do anything else they can to steal the election. Bad people...and they must be stopped, if freedom is to be saved.
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Ultra 49: Woodstock Hallucination 100 Mile
On the morning of September 6th I drove to Hell, Michigan, and the race HQ at the Hell Creek Ranch. I'd reserved a campsite and and quickly set up my tent and made myself at home. Liz J., a fried of Julie's, dropped by -- she would be tackling the 100 mile for the fourth time, trying for her first 100 mile finish. We went to packet pickup together and discussed race strategy, which is mostly RFM -- relentless forward motion.
The race consists of six 16 2/3 mile laps on mostly forested trails over rolling hills. There's a 4:00 PM start, so runners are relatively fresh for the night portion. Pacers aren't really necessary, but I had lined up a very strong crew: former student Emma M., who has been a top finisher at the Woodstock 50K and 50 mile, Loretta H., a very strong 100 mile runner, and her mountain bike/triathlon husband Derek H. Pacers aren't allowed in the first two laps, but later on the company would be welcome. Julie, Chaos, and Loretta all arrived before the 4:00PM start to see me off.
The first lap, in daylight, went well, except that it was extremely humid. After 2 miles I was soaking wet and in need of a shirt change; something that would hold less water was in order. I finished my first lap just before dark, changed shirts, and took off. By now Emma and Derek had arrived.
The second lap, in the dark, was more comfortable, albeit slower. I ran with a guy who had done this two years previously and we talked as we ran. One thing I noticed was how quickly mushrooms were springing up along the way. He hadn't noticed, but once I pointed them out, he was astonished. They were everywhere on some stretches, and from lap to lap grew noticeably.
I started lap three between midnight and one AM, with Emma supporting. I commented on the mushrooms, and at first she seemed doubtful, but then she saw them. And then, maybe five miles into the lap, she pointed it out in the headlight beam -- a gnome! Someone had placed gnome figures along the trail; we saw maybe four of them. Running with Emma was great fun, we talked much of the time, about running, about economics, about life. Her support really helped.
When we finished the lap, 5:00 AM-ish Loretta took over. When we mentioned gnomes and mushrooms she looked at us as if "that's why they call it the Hallucination 100" was in her head. Little did she expect...
Loretta is a top 100 miler, and an excellent crew member. She was really good at pushing me without making me feel as if I was being pushed. I was now into my second 50 miles. We moved consistently, if slowly. She was surprised, though, when I pointed out mushrooms, and astonished at the sight of gnomes. One other thing she noted that I'd missed was that I wasn't eating or drinking much. The aid stations did not appeal, and I was running fairly empty. We encountered Carissa M., a student from my college, running her first ultra (the 50K) on the course, which was exciting. I finished this fourth lap still on track, but my margin for error was shrinking; there are time cutoffs and I was getting closer to them.
Derek paced me on my fifth lap. Now the run started getting to me. In retrospect I think a big part was calorie depletion and hydration. Derek got me through to the first aid station, mile 71, on pace. But after that I began dragging horribly. I had time, but over the next four miles I lost the pace. I fell behind, way below what had been my average pace. When I reached the mile 75 aid station, I realized that only by greatly accelerating, well beyond what had been my average pace, would I make the next time cutoff. I realized that wasn't possible, and said so.
Derek got Loretta on the phone, and they tried to convince me otherwise, but after calculating they agreed I was right. Knowing I had Le Grizz -- my most important race -- coming up in four weeks, I decided it was time to begin recovery. I'd had a great training run, a great adventure, I know 100 was out of reach, and it was time to stop. Loretta and Emma came with the car to pick us up, but before they even arrived I was thinking strategy for next year.
I'm sure I can get 100 miles at Woodstock. I need first of all to handle nutrition and hydration better. That alone might have been enough this time. I also need longer long runs, and to pick up the pace on my mid-length training runs.
Back at camp, Julie and Chaos were waiting. Liz had already dropped. The first thing I did was begin refueling (see photos), and besides beer I ate three half-pound hamburgers. (Had I eaten these during the run I'd likely be writing about my 100 mile finish right now!)
Feeling pretty good but being in no shape to do much of anything else, I showered, crawled into my tent, and slept. In the morning, after coffee with Liz and her family, I broke camp and headed home.
The Woodstock weekend includes at least a dozen trail races at distances varying from 5K to 100 miles. They are masterfully organized by Randy Step and his Running Fit crew. Greatly appreciated and highly recommended! I will be there next year!
Me and Loretta, prior to race start
Man does not live by beer alone.
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Ultra 48: Elkhorn 52K
The whole point to living is to enjoy it -- which means to make it an adventure and to experience the intense beauty, wonder, and excitement that is possible. That's what it is to fully thrive; sitting passively, in superficial comfort, is not enjoyment... except as recovery or after difficult activity. To be active, that's living. And what better activity than running farther than a marathon in Montana's Elkhorn Mountains?
This past August I ventured again to the HURL Elkhorn Ultramarathons to the run the Elkhorn 52K. This would be my 48th ultra and my 14th time at Elkhorn. I arrived at the Willard Creek trailhead the afternoon before, parked my trusty Element, and prepped for camping. Unlike previous years, there was no pre-race meeting and dinner, so I simply hung out and talked with other runners there for the 52K and the tough 53 miler.
The 53 mile race starts at 5:00 AM and the 52K at 7:00, so I don't bother to set an alarm; the 53 milers wake me. After they started (in the dark) I got up, dressed, drank coffee and ate, and checked in. At 7:00 sharp our race started (in daylight).
The first section is a long descent, over a mile, into McClellan Creek, and then down McClellan Creek a ways. I took it easy on this, warming up for the coming climbs. The next section consists of a couple of climbs that eventually drop into Casey Meadow, where the first big climb starts, up the trail below Casey Peak. I was surprised that I didn't feel that great - I felt dehydrated, which was surprising because I hydrated well the previous day and night. I trundled along regardless and descended to the aid station at Tepee Creek. My time was slow but still better than the previous year, and I felt strong.
The next leg consists of a section up McClellan Creek, followed by a long series of climbs up out of McClellan Creek to Elk Park. In McClellan Creek I caught up with a young lady and started talking with her, and suddenly realized it was Stacey D. from Polson MT, with whom I'd encountered the bear at last year's Le Grizz. We ran together and talked. When we started the climb out of McClellan we were together, but I wasn't feeling great and Stacey got well ahead of me and eventually out of sight. I kept putting on foot in front of the other, and eventually topped out and made the short run down to the Elk Park aid station. I refueled quickly, making sure to drink and to reload water in my pack, and took off. The next section goes through relatively flat pine and fir forest until it drops steeply through a long series of meadows into Wilson Creek, where it hits a primitive road. At this point the 53 mile and 52K courses split, with the 52K venturing east along the road. I felt as though I ran these sections slowly, but not too slowly. It's hard to make up for dehydration in a race, but I felt I was getting it under control.
This section eventually hits a trail that does a steep but not overly long climb up to the Tizer Creek aid station; there you turn around and run back down. I met a number of runners who were ahead of me, and assumed I'd see Stacey soon, but when I arrived at the aid station she wasn't there and they hadn't seen her. I told them I doubted she'd dropped and must somehow have stepped off the course and was behind me.
Indeed, after descending and hitting the road I encountered Stacey. She had taken a wrong turn and headed up our next leg, Moose Creek, and picked up an extra mile or two of climb before she realized her error and headed back. It's always good to get in a little extra exercise!
To me, the climb out of Moose Creek is the hardest part of the run. It's a long incessant climb (several miles at least), steep, the lower reaches are swampy and full of mosquitoes (most of the course seems bug-free) and you are tired when you hit it. It's a seemingly endless grind. It goes on, and on, and on... Finally I topped out, back at Elk Park. You're essentially home free then; there are maybe seven miles left and it's mostly downhill... and there's no other way out, so you might as well finish.
On the last steep downhill I encountered the most wild game I'd seen all day: two fool's hens (Franklin grouse) and a snowshoe rabbit who was just starting to change color. S/he hopped down the trail ahead of me a ways, finally turning and vanishing up the slope into the brush. I still felt dehydrated. At the Tepee Creek aid station I drank a little, but now nothing -- neither liquid nor food -- seemed appealing. After Tepee Creek it's a short gradual downhill followed by the climb back up to Willard Creek trailhead and the finish. I disliked this a lot this year, because I wasn't moving fast and this drainage was plagued with mosquitoes. Relentless forward motion -- just go. I climbed out and finished, 30 minutes faster than 2018.
After finishing, my stomach didn't feel like taking anything. I forced myself to tackle a beer -- there are few better stomach settlers -- it took a good six ounces before it seemed at all appealing. Once I had that first beer down, though, I was able to rehydrate and eat, and started feeling good; certainly not too tired. Stacey finished as well, and she and I and a number of other runners sat around talking and drinking and eating and watching the last runners come in. Eventually I faded and toddled off to the back of my rig and a night of sleep.
It was a successful race. I ran well, given the circumstances, and recovered quickly. I think even an extra half liter of water in the morning before the start might have helped a lot; I was never badly dehydrated but always felt behind. Every race is a learning experience...if we learn. (Just wait until the next race report.)
As always, race Director Steve Engebrecht, his wife Tammy and the HURL team put on an extremely well organized race. The aid station crews were first rate, and the support and runner tracking from the Helena amateur radio club and the search and rescue is greatly appreciated -- it's wild, remote country, and they help keep us safe. This was HURL's 15th year of organizing Elkhorn, and I think Steve is considering stepping down. I hope they are able to keep this great series of races going. Many thanks to all of them.
Steele on the course!
Road in Willard Creek
Trail out of Elk Park, heading back to finish
Stacey in creek crossing
Having fun is serious business!
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Le Grizz 18!
Saturday, October 05, 2019
Crazy, They Said
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” ~~ Marcus Aurelius
Tuesday, October 01, 2019
Glory to Hong Kong
"Happy Birthday 'People's Republic'of China"
That's our birthday wish for the PRC from Unforeseen Contingencies. Not China -- China is the world's longest existing civilization, and we wish China well. May China soon recover from its communist malaise and take its place among great civilizations.
October 1st is the PRC's anniversary. The PRC killed more of its own citizens than any other regime in history. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the other contenders for the homicide/bloodshed crown, fell behind. Kampuchea, the regime of the Khmer Rouge, may have killed a higher percentage of the population, but for sheer numbers China's Communist Party and the PRC win the title for butchery.
Under Deng Xiao-ping, China began to move away from totalitarianism. Unfortunately, Deng feared losing control and crushed one of China's most hopeful developments, the Tienanmen Democracy movement...which actually did not promote democratic rule but freedom of speech and freedom of thought. The principle established at Tienanmen is that any "freedom" is only by permission of the Chinese Communist Party. That is, there's no freedom.
The people of Hong Kong are uninterested in that. They insist on the rules that the communist party promised to uphold. Communists are liars on principle, they oppose morality that differs from whatever their goals might be, and hence today's clashes.
Communism, and in this case the Chinese Communist Party, are a cancer on civilized society and must be removed, like any malignancy. May the people of Hong Kong triumph in their struggle against their communist oppressors.