Friday, February 15, 2013

ISMF World Championships: Vertical Race

The race yesterday didn't quite go as well for me as I would have hoped but it was still great fun and exciting to toe the line with the fastest climbers in the world.

In short, the US men were well represented by Greg Ruckman who finished in the mid 20s and Scott Simmons who placed around 28th or 29th.  They were flying from the start and finished just a few minutes back from the overall winner, Killian Jornet.  I find that even more impressive given the lack of nordic technique that we Americans possess.  On a purely physiologic level, these guys are even closer.

Luke Nelson was our third man and placed 46th in 30:39 and I was 50th in 31:06.  As I fell back on the numerous flats, I was able to pass some racers on the steeper sections.  Our races in the states tend to be much steeper so we definitely neglect the kick and glide.

I think I that even though I struggled a bit today, my effort was a full one.  I've been sick lately and coughing all night hasn't helped with the rest and recovery.  Regardless, I was able to keep my heart rate over 180 throughout the entire 31 minutes.  Perhaps on another day that same perceived effort would have been a little faster.  I would love another chance in a couple years...

On the women's side, Janelle Smiley continued to impress with a 13th place finish.  She was followed by Stevie Kramer shortly after and then Kim Young and McKenna Douglas in the mid 20s.

Here is a link to the results of each race as well as the overall individual rankings and team rankings.

We are still holding on to our 9th place world ranking as a team so hopefully the relay teams will perform well tomorrow (Edit: preliminarily, the men were 11th).

Some of the fastest up hill runners and skiers on the planet are right here

There's a long way to go to be starting so fast...

Aerial view of Greg Ruckman, the top American in the vertical race

Couldn't resist
After the race, I picked myself up off the ground, wiped the snot off my face, and after collecting gear and chatting with friends, skied back to the hotel.  There, I chugged some milk (lacking any other alternative), ate some French cookies, and packed my bag with crampons, an axe, and some food (more cookies) and walked out the door intent on some adventure skiing.

This was to be my last chance to have some fun before returning home to reality (and what a great reality it is - I've desperately missed my wife and one year old son).  We had an amazing afternoon and I am now sufficiently wrecked.  Me, Tom, and Dom catch a plane early this morning so I'll put up some pictures and a trip report back in SLC where there's fast internet.  Until then, here's a teaser pic:

Tom Goth, about to turn around for 7000 feet of skiing back to the hotel with Mount Pelvoux in the background


  1. Nice job Andy, I am still trying to grasp the idea of 180 for 31min...damn!

  2. Hey Andy, thanks for the reporting. I'm very interested in more about the differences in Euro skimo vs. N America, so your mention of less focus on nordic technique in the States is appreciated.

    Love the photo of you and Kilian!


  3. Hi Andy, I really enjoy reading your blog but I couldn't help but notice you always have an excuse for your lack of a solid performance. You seem really healthy and fit but your performance always seems to suffer from "coughing all night" or eating some crappy meal the night before, or starting out too fast, lets not forget the, "we" don't practice nordic technique. Seems to me you would just practice nordic technique. I mean you would think you would get your house in order and get it together. If I were you, I would quit posting pictures of you about ready to pass out after screaming through the finish at an outstandingly mediocre 50th place. Yeah, you're right, that seems like something you should share with the world. Your arrogance astounds me. Hey, but that's what a blog is all about right.

    1. Hey Mr Anonymous of Feb 17th:

      Arrogance???? What could be more arrogant than posting critical comments like you did? Unless you are out there competing on that level, you sound like an asshole.

    2. What????? This is Andy's wife and I have never posted on his blog but I feel like I need to. Andy writes this blog first for him to keep track of his training and experiences in the mountains because it is fun for him to look back on. Second he writes the blog for his family, so we have a better idea of what he is doing in the mountains. Third he writes to teach people things that he thinks would be useful to folks new to this up and coming sport. Your comments about arrogance and excuses have no place on this blog because Andy is not claiming to be anything but in love with moving in the mountains. Try to be more supportive of people trying to do good things in the world.

  4. The web is a monster, in part because it allows us to use it any way we see fit, and in part because it gives our ugliest inclinations free reign while we disguise them in veils of anonymity. Andy is one of the least arrogant people I know. Does that mean he's insusceptible to the monster's temptations? No. They can be difficult to resist. But he's willing to share, publically, some of the joys and the struggles that comprise the adventure lifestyle, and those of us who know and love him appreciate his perspective and candor. Hiding behind an anonymous name and writing words that are not only hurtful but also superficial and inaccurate undermines the medium, and the spirit of his posts.

    "Never say anything. You'll only regret it."—Don Whillans

  5. To the first anonymous poster,

    Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on my writing and motives. I'm sorry you feel the way you do, and it is certainly not my intention to come across the way you perceive. I hope you have found something of worth on this site.

    To everyone else,

    Thanks for your support! I think you have all spent too much time on this topic though... We should just go skiing!