salomon xt wings challenge – the cool down

it’s funny.  usually after a big event like a marathon or an ultra that i have trained hard for, there’s the post event doldrums.  it takes a couple weeks to pull myself out of it and that usually means putting another big event on the calendar to train for.

not this time.

i’m still in seventh heaven.  i’m still basking in the experience of running through yosemite.  i’m not tired.  i’m not beat up.  actually, i’m itching to do more.  but before i dive into more adventures, i need to tie up loose ends with this challenge.

first off, the rest of the story about yosemite.  after my soak in the river, i caught the shuttle over to yosemite village to get some much needed grub into my body.  i ordered up a huge multiple meat sandwich and gorged myself.  well, not really.  i found it hard to eat too much and i had to take it a little slow.  after eating, i bummed around the village a bit, walking slowly around and just soaking in the ambiance.  yeah, it was crowded with summer visitors, but still, it’s yosemite.  everywhere you look there’s something fantastic to just stare at.

my plan had been to try to thumb a ride up to tuolumne if i’d finished early enough, but i was in that grey area so i opted to just hang out and relax and take the YARTS back up to the trailhead.  for eight bucks, why not?  while i was hanging out at the bus stop, i listened to conversations of fellow park visitors and ended up talking to two guys who were just on their way through the park with no plans of staying.  they had this crazy story about how their travels had been going so far.

mattdave they had started out a couple days earlier in georgia, coming from berry college, flown into san francisco, bussed out of the city to the train, ridden the train to the end of the line, missed their next bus due to their luggage, caught a taxi to yosemite valley that happened to break down en-route and thumbed their way to the YARTS stop just in enough time to catch it to mammoth.

why mammoth, i asked.  well, turns out they’re both runners and will be spending a month at an elevation training camp.  this is the same area that most of the us olympic marathon team trains.  so, they’ll have to opportunity to run the same routes as [if not WITH] the likes of deena kastor, meb, ryan hall, josh cox, etc.

on the bus, we chatted quite a bit and i found out that david was planning a missions trip to prague later this year with athletes in motion.  what a cool way to get involved; living life as an example through the medium of sports.  i really hope he has a great experience over there.  when i found out that they were heading to mammoth and camping on the outskirts of town, it became apparent that they were going to arrive in the dark and be stuck putting up their tent with headlamps.  i figured that if i could cram them and all their gear into the mini, i’d be able to get them there an hour earlier and give them some sunset and dusk light to set up by.

when the bus dropped us off at the trail head, it was a gamble, but i figured at worst we could open up the sun roof and have one of the guys stand up and put his pack on the seat.  fortunately, with some tetris like activities, we were able to pack all of our gear into the car with just barely enough room for passengers.  off we went!

matt had never been through this part of california, so he was in for a treat as we came down tioga pass just before sunset.  as we wound down from the tioga pass gate, we all ooh’ed and aah’ed as the lakes, mountains and then mono unfolded below us.  a short while later, i had the guys in mammoth and there was still plenty of light for them to get things set up.  good luck at camp, guys.  run hard!

so, thus ends the salomon xt wings challenge for me.  i summed everything up in a video collection of clips and photos from the experience.  which leads me to my next bit of cool-down.

the nokia n82.  for those of you following along for a while now, you know that the whole point of the phone was to use it as a story telling device; take pictures, video, twitter, log workouts, etc.  well, i’ve been using it regularly for the past couple months to do just that and i’ve been thrilled with it’s performance.

aside from battery life, the phone has surpassed what i thought it was capable of.  the gps workout tracking is brilliant [for shorter workouts - say up to 3 hours or so] and it’s live tracking feature is a blast.  i use the phone to twitter when i’m starting a workout and people are able to hit the nokia sportstracker website and follow along.

the web and other standard features on the phone work as expected and having access to gmail and google maps is very handy.  but the biggest aspect of the phone that has blown me away is the quality of the lens on it.  all of the pictures from my training, video of trails and everything you saw in that video above were taken with the phone.  that 5mp carl zeiss lens is just brilliant.  the whole 365 days of thunderclap is being shot with the phone, too.  i’m daily impressed with it’s quality.

of course, i wouldn’t be able to take great pictures of the places i was going if i didn’t have the gear to get me there.  the salomon xt wings have been, hands down, the best trail shoe i have ever owned.  i have put well over 200 miles on them so far and the best thing i can say about them is that i don’t notice them.

when it comes to gear for the outdoors, if the gear performs as expected, doesn’t cause you problems and enhances the experience, then you’ve got a winning piece of gak.  these shoes do that and more.  from fit to torsion stability to shedding of moisture to the uber cool red colour, i’m a fan.  i walked away from 26 miles of highly technical trail running with a net downhill of 9,700′ with nary a mis-step or slip and amazingly, NO BLISTERS.  i was able to enjoy the enviable aspect of trail running…being able to ignore my feet.

so, the salomon xt challenge is done and it was a blazing success on all fronts; fitness, experience and gak.  my guess is, though, that i’ll be using all of these tools again to do even more of the same.  after all, my mug is still full and i’m itchin’ for it to overflow.

8 thoughts on “salomon xt wings challenge – the cool down

  1. Jeff,
    I just wanted to say thank you. I followed all your adventures from the very first XT wings try to the cool down of Yosemite challenge and I really have fun with it. You really know how to describe the whole thing with fun and passion.
    I’m happy that you sincerely appreciated both the wings and the N82. It was a pleasure to follow your challenge. I wish you all the best for the next running challenge that are coming your way.

  2. when you said “ambiance” I first read “ambulance”, which would have been a completely different end to your story. i’m glad you had such a blast. it sounds like one f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c trip!

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