Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I did more driving than running this week. 2240 miles to 58 to be precise. Luckily I had great weather the whole way and, while tiring, it was nice to get out and see some beautiful, empty country. My clients in Northern California loved their new furniture and gave me a great place to stay overnight. And, Fiddeltown CA is a beautiful area with loads of hilly, curvy, mountain roads for running. The Poison Oak is everywhere out there so watch out AR50 runners!

I took Highway 50, aka the Loneliest Road in America, across Utah and Nevada.

There are just a few towns, each separated by a hundred miles or so, along US50. The towns include Ely, Eureka, and Austin. All are at about 6500 feet and surrounded by mountains. This region is part of the Great Basin, meaning water doesn't flow out to any ocean. Austin is surrounded by tons of mountain biking/hiking/running trails, but they are under a lot of snow right now. I stopped in Eureka, which is a small mining town of about 600 people, to have a beer in the Keyhole bar. Unlike Colorado, there are no smoking bans in Nevada bars apparently.

Somewhere out there I saw 2 guys walking down the highway pushing baby joggers full of gear; I think they must have been doing some kind of trans-state or trans-continental walk.

This tree is east of Fallon NV and is full of shoes. Supposedly, a newlywed couple had a fight underneath this tree and one threw the others' shoes up in the tree. The couple made up, and so threw the others' shoes up in the tree as well. Now, it is a custom to stop and toss your own shoes up in the tree. I declined as I had only one pair of running shoes and my good boots with me.

Similarities between Ultrarunning and Ultradriving:

1. Fuel is important to both. On Highway 50, there were several stretches of over 100 miles between "aid stations" and one expected fuel stop was closed for the winter.

2. When the sun finally rises, you perk up and feel like you can go all day again.

3. Your mind wanders in the most unusual ways.

4. You'll go crazy if you worry too much about each mile split.

Week Log:
Tue 03/25 – 1:01:00 hilly road run in Fiddletown CA through vineyards and horse farms. 2200 feet elevation sure feels good.

Sat 03/29 – 3:51:00 CRUD long run. Manitou – up Rampart Range Road to the Overlook, down to Waldo Canyon, around the long way, and back on the Ute Indian trail.

Sun 03/30 – 3:08:00 with Dan Vega and Kelly Mortensen. Santa Fe Trail - Ice Lake – Stables – Falcon Loop and back. 7 minutes faster for this loop than a month ago and it felt much easier, even coming the day after a long run. Did this one with no breakfast and no calories during the run to make it seem a bit longer.

Week – 8:00:00 / 58 miles


Matt said...

Nice analogy between ultradriving and ultrarunning. I've driven across highway 50 before, beautiful road. I even stayed the night in Austin, camping in a church yard. It's crazy that it used to be a town of 10,000! Good luck at McNaughton.

Derek Griffiths said...


I have also driven Highway 50 back in the day. It was one of the most scenic drives I have ever taken and I loved it. Thank God I was alone as my wife would have hated it!