Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Salmon River Trail, Zig Zag, OR

TRAIL FACTOR RUN REPORT #6 - Old Salmon River Trail 19 mile loop - Written by Shawn Bostad

These TRAIL FACTOR runs just keep getting better and better.  The trail that we ran this weekend, combined with the great weather, ranks among the top TRAIL FACTOR runs.  On our way out to the trail I was skeptical as to whether we would have nice weather.  It was cloudy, drizzly and very foggy.  It looked like we were going to have a very wet and very cold run.  However, luck was on our side.  Just as soon as we hit the trail head and started running, the sun started peaking through the clouds and the fog burned off.  We were stoked. 

The trail that we slammed on this weekend is located on Salmon River Road.  Salmon River Road is just off Hwy 26 once you get to the town of Zig Zag.  You take a right onto Salmon River Road and drive about 2 miles.  There is a sign just off to the right at the trail head and is titled, Old Salmon River Trail and is also labeled as trail # 742A.  Here is the link to the map we used during the run.

Old Salmon River Trail 19 mile loop

We had a great group show up for our run.  Those attending included Chris, Rick, Jessi, Andrea, Reed, Jamie, and Shawn.  Mallory was also there, but she got there a bit late and ran a bit shorter.  She said that she overslept.  Andrea, Jamie and Reed were new to the TRAIL FACTOR group run and we were stoked to have them there.  They belong to PDX Adventure Racer and are how they found out about the run.

PDX Adventure Racer is a Portland based adventure racing resource that is doing a really great job of connecting people to adventure racing.  They allow you to post training and find adventure racing team mates.  Really cool site for those of you interested getting into adventure racing.

Everyone was eager to get started.  We had a quick brief on the trail and distances everyone planned on covering for the day.  Jessi, Reed, Jamie, and Andrea were planning on running 10-12 miles for the day and the rest of us were planning on running the 19 mile loop. 

The 10-12 mile run would include only one trail #742A or Old Salmon River Trail.  Navigating this trail is very simple.  You basically follow the trail as it runs alongside the river.  It jumps onto the road a couple of times and eventually crosses the road about 2.4 miles into the run.  Once you cross the road, the trail meanders further back into the woods and soon begins to climb toward a couple of spectacular lookouts.  I really enjoy running on this trail due to its excellent footing, gradual climbing and great views of the river. 

The 19 mile loop option included a few more trails and would also offer up a couple of navigational challenges.  It starts off on trail #742A (Old Salmon River Trail).  You follow the river and climb past several lookouts, but instead of turning around there, you continue on and intersect trail #665.  You take a left on trail #665 and start a very long climb.  Trail #665 eventually dumps onto an old jeep road for about 50 meters, but continues on toward Devils Peak.  Trail #665 intersects with trail #793 (Hunchback Mt. Trail).  You take a right on Hunchback Mt. Trail and follow it all the way to trail #793A.  It’s a left hand turn at trail #793A, but it’s not marked, with the exception of a couple of orange tethers.  You descend trail #793A for about 3 miles and it dumps you onto Salmon River Road.  You can take a right or left to re-intersect Old Salmon River trail.  If you take a right, you will have to run on the road a bit before picking up the trail.  Once you pick up the trail, you simply stay on it until you reach your original starting point.

According to Jessi, the crew that tackled the 10-12 mile loop really enjoyed the run.  Since the 19 mile crew ran out on the same trail, we all were able to see many of the same view.  There is a point on the Old Salmon River Trail when you start to climb.  This is where things start to get a bit challenging.  It’s not steep, but a sustained gradual climb.  It’s enough to get your heart pumping. 

Jessi, Andrea, Reed and Jamie climbed this portion with consistency and determination to summit the first viewpoint.  They were combining running with power hiking, which is a great way utilize many different muscle groups to get the work of climbing done.  They climbed and climbed and eventually were able to summit the first view point.  It was simply spectacular.  The fog was still lingering down below, close to the rushing water in the Salmon River.  It drifted upward, but was quickly burned off by the sun that was rising above the distant hills.  The sky was a perfect blue.  This is one of those moments when you wished you had a camera, but none of us did.  Hopefully, we will at some point. 

Andrea, Jamie, and Reed turned back for home after taking in the views.  They had run about 5.5 miles out on the trail and would be finish up with a very solid and challenging 11 mile run.  Jessi chose to run on a bit further.  She said that she continued to climb out for another 8-10 min, but soon turned back toward home.  She was just short of the second viewpoint, which again offered an amazing view of the far reaching hills.  Jessi would finish up with a 12.5-13 mile run for the day.  Nice job everyone.

Those of us running the 19 mile loop were predicting a 3.5 hour run.  This would not be the case.  It was the first time we had been up on the Hunchback Mt. Ridge and it offered up a few challenges.

Once we climbed the first gradual stretch up Old Salmon River Trail, we hung a left onto trail #665.  This was the beginning of a grueling climb.  It would climb all the way up to Devils Peak.  It was a long climb but well worth it.  It was littered with spectacular views and we even caught some great views of snow covered Mt. Hood.   Once we hit the summit on Devils Peak the sky was open, blue and allowed our eyes to search into the distant landscape.  It was sweet.

Right on the top of Devils Peak rests a lookout tower.  We actually rolled up on a couple of fellows who had camped out up in the lookout tower the previous night.  They said the night stars were awesome.  They also had a couple of beautiful husky dogs with them that weren’t even theirs.  They had found the dogs up on the trail and would be taking them back to the owners that lost them.  Those doggies and the owners are very lucky.

We spent a few minutes taking in the views, but quickly started running again.  We had to cover 2.4 miles before intersecting trail #793A, which would take us down to our original Salmon River Trail.  This 2.4 mile section was super slow running.  It was littered with blown over trees and was more of a hurdlers dream rather than an ultra-runners dream.  It took us forever to cover this section of trail. 

We finally made it to trail #793A.  At least that is what we thought.  The trail was unmarked.  We were keeping track of our time from trail juncture to trail juncture, so we assumed it was the correct trail.  It was marked with an orange tether guiding us in the direction of the trail.  The trail also headed down hill.  Through a process of elimination, we concluded that it was trail #793A.

We started down and the descent produced some very steep grades.  It’s exactly what we expected, so now we knew we were on the right trail. 

This descent would last three miles and it was the most plush and steep descent that I have ever encountered.  It was really nice on the knees and eventually it dumped us out onto Salmon River Road.

We hung a right on Salmon River road, ran on the road for about 800 meters and re-connected with Old Salmon River trail.  We followed the trail along the river and back to where we parked the cars.  We had been out for almost 4 hrs. 

Wow, what a run.  It was long, lots of climbing, great views, and an excellent time spent with friends.  We were a bit slower than anticipated, but much of that was due to navigation issues and trail conditions.  It was an epic run and one I would definitely recommend. 

If you would like to join us for future TRAIL FACTOR runs or you know someone who would like to join us, please visit.



Friday, November 28, 2008

2008 Oregon Mountain Running Series Scoring

The inaugural La Sportiva / USATF Oregon Mountain Running Series wrapped up with the NW Mountain Running Championships (Mt. Hood) and the final scores have been tabulated. 13 runners who are USATF members participated in series races and 2 runners competed in all 4 races. 8 pairs of free La Sportiva trail running shoes were awarded to top USATF finishers during the series. Before getting to the scoring, let's re-cap of the races that made up the 2008 Series:

June 7 - Granite Man Mountain Run - 10 miles (75 finishers)
August 2 - Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run - 13 miles (178 finishers)
August 30 - Sunrise to Summit - 3 miles (138 finishers)
September 21 - NW Mountain Running Championships - 6 miles (71 finishers)

SCORING: Runners score points based on their time as a percentage of the winner's overall time, making every second count! For example, a winning time of 41:08 gets 100.00 points; a time of 42:21 is worth 97.13, and 1:20:32 gets 51.08 (the winning time being just about 50 percent of that runner's time. A runner's top 3 of 4 races are totaled to determine overall series scoring. While the races in the series are open to all runners, only USATF members are elidgible to score in the series. The top USATF finishers (man and woman) from each race won a pair of shoes from La Sportiva. Overall series winners also won a pair of shoes from La Sportiva.

Here are top runners from the 2008 series:
Name ------ Age --- Age Group - Sex - TOTAL POINTS
Richard Bolt 38 0 - 39 (Open) M 289.51 (4 races)
Ian Torrence 35 0 - 39 (Open) M 275.71 (4 races)
Lisa Nye 39 0 - 39 (Open) F 170.14 (2 races)
Aaron Coe 25 0 - 39 (Open) M 169.31 (2 races)
Joe Gray 24 0 - 39 (Open) M 100.00 (1 race)
Max King 28 0 - 39 (Open) M 99.92 (1 race)
Tyler Walsh 18 0 - 39 (Open) M 90.79 (1 race)
Hal Koerner 32 0 - 39 (Open) M 89.71 (1 race)
Scott Jurek 34 0 - 39 (Open) M 89.47 (1 race)
Bob Jullian 40 40 - 49 M 88.79 (1 race)
Torrey Lindbo 35 0 - 39 (Open) M 81.96 (1 race)
Dean Giblin 43 40 - 49 M 80.05 (1 race)
David Jordan 40 40 - 49 M 79.20 (1 race)

Please keep in mind that the above list does not reflect the relative abilities of each runner - it's only a ranking based on the rules set forth at the begining of the Oregon Mountain Running Series. Had Max King or Joe Gray competed in 3 series races, they would have certainly scored higher. Joe won several world class mountain running events in Europe this past year and was just named the USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Max King won several competitve trail races in Oregon including the 2008 XTERRA Trail Running National Championships in Bend. Max also competed in the Steeplechase at the 2008 US Olympic Trials in Eugene. Also not included in this list are several excellent trail runners who competed in series races but are not USATF members. Top amoung these runners is Erik Skaggs (Ashland, OR) who won 2 series races and finished 3rd at the NW Mountain Running Championships behind Joe Gray and Max King.

Congratulations to all the runners who competed in series races. Special thanks to all the race directors, volunteers and sponsors who made these races possible. Finally, thanks to La Sportiva which provided product and promotional support and to USA Track & Field Oregon which provided race sanctioning services and promotional support.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shoe Review: Inov-8 RocLite 295

Written by Richard Bolt
This shoe review review was made possible by Trail Runner Magazine. Portions of this review were published in Trail Runners annual Fall shoe review issue.

Testing Environment:
A good all around trail shoe deserves an equally good all conditions test. With that in mind I tested the Inov-8 RocLite 295 on pavement, dry dirt, mud, water, loose gravel and snow.........all in one day. Where might you ask is this possible? Early Summer on Mt Hood is an excellent venue for all conditions. Specifically at the site of the annual Mt. Hood Scramble and self-proclaimed "grand-daddy of filth". Park at the White River West Snow Park and lace-em if you got-em. State road 35 offers an easy paved warm-up for your legs and for the well built RocLite 295. Peel off the road's shoulder and venture into the sand and gravel to tempt the tread and show off your tractive capabilities. Venture futher still and traverse well packed late season snow where temptation ends and real challenge begins. The RocLite 295 likes the snow; its slim profile minimizes surface area and pushes blocky lugs deep into the granular snow for maximum traction. Move down to the White River and run the loose gravel banks along the water and feel the open tread pattern easily clear clumps of muck. Need to clean-up a bit? Cross the cold mountain run-off of the White River and notice how water drains nicely from the shoe. Repeat this cycle as much as you dare - no doubt your legs will cry "uncle" long before the Inov-8 295 comes apart at the seams.

Initial Impressions: As the descendant of the original World Championship winning shoe, the RocLite 295 offers light weight, superb traction and a trim fit. While many trail shoes are bulky, overbuiltroad shoes, the RocLite 295 has been built from the ground up as a specialists off road running and racing shoe.
Ideal Terrain and Conditions: While the RocLite 295 is clearly best adapted for off-road use, it is still a very comfortable and runnable shoe for the roads. The medium depth blocky tread and soft outsole offer a stable and cushioned road ride. While not ideal for road use, it's by no means uncomfortable to traverse a couple miles of road on the way to your favorite trail. Most trail runners will find the tread pattern just fine for very muddy conditions. For those runners who require extreme traction or who live in a bog, think about upgrading to the Inov-8 MudClaw.

Best Features: Fit and out-sole. With its' narrow last and trim mid-sole, the RocLite 295 might not be good for all runners, but for those who like that fit, it's a wonderfully comfortable shoe with excellent ground feel. To maximize this excellent feel for the trail, Inov-8 has given the RocLite 295 an open and blocky tread that grips well in snow as well as mud and carves up twisty singletrack with outstanding lateral stability. Speaking of stability, many trail shoes loose it when they get wet. Not the RocLite 295; with its solid upper construction and laces deep into the toe box, you can be assured that a secure dry fit will be a solid wet fit as you cross, mud, water or snow.

Worst Features: With this and other Inov-8 shoes I've found the low cut upper around the heel and ankle to be a magnet for little stones and sand. It's not that I expect gaiter like protection, but I often find myself flicking gravel out of the shoe before it works it's way down to my heel and out of reach.

Overall Rating: I talk with many runners who are reluctant to buy trail shoes because they feel they are too specialized. For them I would recommend the RocLite 295 precisely because it can be used in so many off road conditions. It's a light shoe, but no too light. It has fantastic grip in most all conditions but is still usable on the roads. Finally, when cleaned up, the subtly branded Inov-8 RocLite 295 in its low-key color scheme looks perfect with a pair of nice jeans and your favorite shirt for a night on the town.

Final Thoughts: Inov-8 makes the winningest shoes at the World Mountain Running Trophy and the RocLite 295 builds on that experience to provide even the first time trail runner with a solid shoe that will provide confidence in all conditions. With over a dozen models of dedicated trail shoes to choose from, the Inov-8 product line may seem daunting to navigate, but if you choose this shoe, you won't be disappointed and who knows, you might just be tempted to add a few more trail tools to your box of trail tricks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

USA Track & Field Announces MUT Runners of the Year

The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2008 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, and Contributor of the Year. The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF National Convention in Reno, NV, on Saturday, December 6 at an awards breakfast.


Mountain men open: Joseph Gray, 24, Lakewood, WA.  Joe (pictured above - left) started out the mountain season in Vail, CO, on June 7 with a sprint-to-the finish third-place at the LaraBar 10km. Later that month he placed fourth at the USA Mountain Running Championships earning a spot on his first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team.  He was the second U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Trophy – 16th place – in Sierre Crans Montana, Switzerland, and a scoring member of the U.S. bronze medal team. He was the top U.S. finisher at  Challenge Stellina in Susa, Italy, Kitzbuhelerhorn in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and Skaala Uphill Challenge in Loen, Norway He also was the first finisher in the Canadian Mountain Running National Championship at Mt Seymour, Canada, and won the Northwest Mountain Running Championship, in Mt Hood, OR. 


Mountain men master: Simon Gutierrez, 42, Alamosa, CO.  Simon (pictured above - right) is a now a three-time winner of this award. He is also a two-time winner of the open mountain runner of the year award. Like Gray, Gutierrez started out the mountain season in Vail finishing fifth overall and first master in the LaraBar 10km.  He was the USA Mountain Running National Master Champion setting a masters’ course record and finishing in fifth place just behind Gray. He won the La Sportiva Berry Picker in July, the second and final Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team selection race where he made his seventh consecutive team.  He won the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in the Czech Republic (his third consecutive win) and was the fourth U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Trophy finishing in 25h place. 


Mountain women open: Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, CO, in only her second year as a “mountain runner,” finished third at the LaraBar 10km and was the USA National Mountain Running Champion where she made her first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. She finished third at both the USA 8km Trail Running Championships and the La Sportiva Berry Picker. Erholtz was the Pikes Peak Ascent champion and also posted wins at the final La Sportiva Mountain Cup Race in Vail and the Black Canyon Ascent setting a course record. She was the top U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Running Trophy finishing in 11th place.


Mountain women master: Laura Haefeli, 40, Del Norte, CO, was the 2004 and 2005 open mountain runner of the year and has earned masters’ recognition this year.  She won the LaraBar 10km and the USA 8km Trail Championships. She was the USA National Mountain Running Masters champion setting a masters course record and finishing in third place.  She earned a spot on the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with her second-place finish at the La Sportiva Berry Picker. She finished in 44th place at the World Mountain Running Trophy which was her fourth U.S. team appearance at a Trophy event (’04, ’05, ’07, and ‘08).


Ultra men open: Michael Wardian, 34, Arlington, VA, wins his first Ted Corbitt Memorial USATF Ultra Runner of the Year Award in 2008. Wardian posted wins at the USA National 50km Championships, the US National 100km Championships (where he made his first USA National 100km Team), the USA National 50 Mile Trail Championships. He finished 21st at the USA Mountain Running Championships and second at the USA National Trail Marathon Championships showing his versatility over shorter distances. He also posted wins at the JFK 50 Miler and the Lake City 50km.

Page Two/Runners of the Year 2008


Ultra men master: Roy Pirrung, 60, Kohler WI, is a repeat winner in this category having won this award in 2007. Pirrung was second at the 2007 AUA 24-hour National Championships where he ran 138.5 miles. He finished 23rd overall and first in the 55-59 category at the IAU 50 Mile Trail World Challenge held at the Sunmart Endurance Run. He was the 55-59 champion at the USA 50km National Championships and at the USA 100km National Championships. He was first in his age group at the Ice Age Trail 50 Miler in 15th overall. Having turned 60 in July, Pirrung was the 60-64 champion at the USA 50 Mile National Trail Championships and the USA 100km National Trail Championships. At the IAU 24h World Challenge in Seoul, South Korea, Pirrung, who was on his seventh U.S. 24 Hour Team, was 35th overall and has pending 60-64 American Records at 12-hours, 100-miles, and 24-hours. In Korea, he was final scoring member of the U.S. team with 131+ miles.


Ultra women open: Susannah Beck, 40, Brunswick, ME, is the Ruth Anderson USATF Ultra Runner of the Year 2008. Beck was the USA 50 Mile Trail Champion setting a 7:32:12 course record. She was the second overall finisher at the North Face Challenge in Seattle and was the winner of the Way Too Cool 50km setting a course record. She also won Moab’s Red Hot 50km setting a course record in  4:28:22.  Beck won the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon in Ashland, OR, timed in 3:00:29.


Ultra women master: Beverly Anderson-Abbs, 44, Red Bluff, CA, is a repeat winner in this category. Anderson-Abbs won the USA National Masters 100 Mile Trail Championship title and was victorious at the Auburn 50km and the Diablo 50. She was second at the Miwok 100km and the Way Too Cool 50km. She was the masters’ champion at the North Face Challenge in CA where she finished second overall. She complemented her schedule with several marathons having finished fifth overall and first master at the Richmond Marathon and winning the Redding Marathon. Anderson-Abbs was the first female at both the Rucky Chucky Roundabout in Foresthill, CA and the Wildflowers 50km in her home city of Red Bluff At the Sierra Nevada Double Marathon in Granite Bay, CA, Anderson-Abbs finished as the first female and second overall. She also posted wins at the Lake of the Sky 50km Tahoe City, CA, and the Whiskeytown 50km in Redding, CA.


Contributor of the Year - Scott McCoubrey: McCoubrey works tirelessly promoting trail, mountain, and ultra running.  He is the race director of the USA National 50 Mile Trail Championships which has grown in participation each year. He also directs the Cougar Mountain Trail Racing Series which raises money to maintain the local park where the events are held. McCoubrey also puts on the Mountain to Sound Greenway Multi-Sport Race which promotes green space preservation.  Through the Seattle Running Club and the Seattle Running Company, McCoubrey leads free weekly trail runs.  Trail runners with previous or current ties to the Seattle Running Company include Ian Torrance, Phil Kochic, Krissy Moehl, Hal Korner, Brian Morrison, Greg Crowther, and Uli Stidl.  McCoubrey has played a roll in the success of these and many, many other trail runners.


Others garnering votes in the Contributor of the Year category for 2008 include Running Timesmagazine, Trail Runner magazine, Teva, and the Vail Recreation District.


In order to be considered for the USATF Mountain and Ultra running awards an athlete must show top results in U.S. competitions for 2008 (November 1, 2007 through October 31, 2008) to include mountain races (these may be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain) and trail races of varying lengths, as well as road races for the ultra category (distances beyond the marathon). International results are also considered. The nominee must be an ambassador for the sport.  Nominee must be a USATF member for 2008, and to be considered for the masters’ category athlete must be a minimum of 40 years of age.

For a list of past winners in the other categories, please visit

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Forest Park, Portland, OR

TRAIL FACTROR RUN REPORT #5 - Saltzman/Wildwood/Lief Erikson 14.5 mile loop
Written by Shawn Bostad -

I love chilly mornings. It makes waking up much harder, but once you’re outside breathing the cool crisp air, you realize how brilliant it is to be alive. It invigorates you and makes you want to move, which is exactly what we were about to do for the next couple of hours.

Temps hovered in the high 30’s, but we had a solid crew that was ripping and ready to go. Today’s crew consisted of 10 runners. Jessi, Kylie, Mallory, Andrew, Chris, Richard, Rick, Joe, Shawn and Danny (Kylie’s super cool dog). This was Richard, Andrew, Kylie and Joes first time out to a TRAIL FACTOR run and let me just tell you how pleasurable it was to have all of you out there. It’s really wonderful catching up with friends and meeting new people. Also, I can’t think of a better place to spend quality time with great people than a trail surrounded by nature.

The trail that we were tackling this morning was a home course trail for TRAIL FACTOR. It lies within the heart of FOREST PARK, which is one of the most amazing urban parks around. It’s an incredible park that offers immense opportunities for trail running, hiking and mountain biking. The park itself is 5,000 acres strong and is actually older than the city of Portland. For more info on the park and a map of all the trail running opportunities within it, visit the Forest Park Conservancy home page.

The start of this run is super easy to access. All you do is head west on Hwy 30 and hang a left onSaltzman Rd. You know you’re there once you come to the barricade in the road. We would be running a combination of trails and fire lanes this morning. I had originally mapped out four options for people to try out, but most seemed stoked to run the longer loop. The 14.5 mile loop includes Saltzman Rd, Maple Trail (my favorite), Wildwood Trail (30 miles long), fire lane #5, Trillium Trail, fire lane #7, and Lief Erikson.

It skirts up and down the side of Portland’s west hills and the trails are beyond splendid to run on. This is due to the tremendous efforts of the Forest Park Conservancy to retain high quality trails for people to utilize. Most of the trails are single track, with the exception of the fire lanes and Lief Erikson. Our run today started at a nice casual pace. We were all running together up Saltzman Rd in a nice TRAIL FACTOR pack. The boys were planning on running the trail clockwise and the ladies counterclockwise. Andrew and I were discussing which direction is considered the correct direction or the classic direction. Since Andrew and I both have a background of running track, we both agreed that since you run on a track counterclockwise, we were running the loop backwards and the ladies were running it the correct way. I like being different.

Maple trail is only about a half mile up Saltzman road and basically crosses the road. Once we hit the trail the ladies turned right and the boys turned left. This portion of the trail is by far my favorite. It starts off nice and easy, which gives you a chance to warm-up the legs before climbing to the top offorest park. It’s also less traveled and literally makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Maple trail would be taking us to Wildwood trail, which is the main trail that runs through Forest Park. If you were to run Wildwood end to end, you would have accumulated over 30 miles of running. We were chatting and running along nicely. We hit our first major artery, Lief Erikson. This is a great place to do higher speed runs. It offers 11 + miles of jeep road and is marked every ¼ mile with a post and the mileage traveled.

We crossed the road and reconnected to maple trail. This is kind of where maple trail starts to climb up Forest Park. It’s not a huge climb, but is enough to accelerate your breathing. We jammed up the hill and marveled at the beauty of the trail. While running up maple, we got to talking, which is one cool thing about running with a group. I got to know Joe and Richard a bit more. Richard moved out here from the East coast and he and his wife moved for much of the same reason me and my girlfriend moved. Joe grew up in France and works for a non-profit here in town. Things I would have never come to know had I not had a chance to run with them on the trail.

We hit Wildwood trail and hung a right. Now we were back on some flat terrain that winds in and out of the hillside. It’s also a very well marked trail and one of the more traveled portions of Forest Park. It has quarter mile markers, so you always know how far you’ve gone.

We were in a TRAIL FACTOR pace line and kept a nice brisk pace, occasionally having to dodge fellow trail runners and several unleashed doggies (I love dogs, but unleashed dogs can be a hazard). We made it to one of the trails that connected back to Wildwood and Richard’s turnoff to head back. He was battling an injury and was on the road to recovery. It’s better to head back while you’re still on top of the injury rather than constantly beating yourself down and not allowing yourself to heal. We parted ways with Richard and kept moving along.

We finally hit Saltzman Rd again, hung a left and started the second climb of the day to the top of Forest Park. Saltzman isn’t steep, but we were moving at a nice little pace up the hill. I don’t consider myself a strong runner on the hills, so anytime the gradient rises; I question running hard or just tucking in. I prefer the later of the two options, but when you’re running with a fast miler (Andrew) and a really strong ultra runner (Joe) sometimes my stubbornness makes the decision. The funny thing is that they probably weren’t running that hard up the hill, but it was certainly a strain for me. Sweat was dripping off my face, but I had one pleasant thought in my head. I knew how long the hill was and how long I would have to suffer before getting a break on the cruise back down the hill. Saltzman ends and just beyond the gate is fire lane #5. We took a right on fire lane #5 and started cruising down the hill. Andrew was hacking up a lung. He said that he had sucked in a bug. I hate it when that happens. I then told Joe about this one run that I did in the Gorge in which I sucked in a humungous moth. It was a mouthful, but I quickly spit it out and the moth survived. Andrew got that bug out and rejoined in the downhill fun.

We really moved down fire lane #5 and reconnected with Wildwood trail. Andrew’s early plan was to run about 8-9 miles, so we sent him all the way down fire lane #5 so he could complete the scheduled mileage. We had gotten separated from the others, so we made an arrow out of branches on the ground pointing in the direction we were heading. Rick certainly didn’t need them, but I was concerned that Chris may not have known all of the turns. If you want to get the skinny on Forest Park Trails; ask Rick, he is the master.

Joe and I took a left onto Wildwood, kept jamming and chatted about food and nutrition. After about a mile of running we ran into Kylie and Danny (her coolio leashed dog). Kylie has some IT issues that were flaring up. I mentioned to her that she could cut the loop short and head down fire lane #5. That’s the nice thing about Forest Park. There are so many trails, so it allows you to really augment your runs according to the way you feel.

Mallory and Jessi were not far behind. They had climbed up a different trail and were on the return from their side trip. They had missed Trillium trail, but managed to get back on track and finish the rest of their loop. We exchanged brief words as we crossed paths. I couldn’t understand what they said, but is sounded something like, “We’re swooooosh doing greeeeaaat, swoooosh.” It’s really funny trying to talk to someone as they are running by in the opposite direction.

Joe and I continued on and found Trillium trail off of Wildwood. It’s unmarked, but it has a couple of wooden beams supporting the dirt at the trail head. This is how we knew to turn left on Trillium trail. The trail climbs up to fire lane #7. We turned right on fire lane #7 and then connected to Ridge trail. We descended down Ridge trail, crossed Wildwood and connected back to Lief Erikson. I almost had a spectacular TRAIL FACTOR spill at the bottom of Ridge. It was super muddy, planted with my right foot and proceeded slip and slide. My silly modified Newton shoes provide no traction, but I was lucky to have Joe there to partially catch me. He said later that it could have been a highly rated TRAIL FACTOR fall had I also been able take him out in the process. I’ll try harder next time.

We turned right on Lief Erikson and then connected to Maple once again. We took a left on maple trail for the last single track section of the day. This side of maple is also great. We ran it smoothly and connected once more to Saltzman and descended back down to the cars. The ladies were already there. They had cut the loop a bit short, but it was really nice to see their smiling faces at the end.

Joe and I had finished the 14.5 mile loop in Just over 1:50 and Chris and Rick were not far behind in just over 2 hours. The ladies had done 1:30 hrs of solid running and Andrew looked great after his longest run in a while since battling back from a torn plantar fascia.

What a spectacular day of running. New faces and a great home course route. It was time for food. Visit if you are interested joining TRAIL FACTOR or if you’d like to view a map of the route.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Eagle Creek, Columbia Gorge, OR

TRAIL FACTOR Run Report #4 - Eagle Creek/Eagle-Benson/Benson Way/Ruckel Creek/Gorge Trail
by Shawn Bostad

Today was a really great TRAIL FACTOR run. It started pretty sweet with 5 TRAIL FACTOR runners attending. Those enjoying the trail today included Mallory, Rob, Jessi, Rick and Shawn (me). Our plan today was to run Eagle Creek trail. We wanted to take advantage of the early morning so that we could enjoy a nice gradually climbing trail that offered spectacular views. Eagle Creek is an amazing location within the Columbia River Gorge. It happens to be one of the most popular hikes in the gorge and it was especially busy on this day. The reason for all of the commotion was simply due to many individuals taking in the sights of the last lingering salmon running up-stream to spawn. If you haven’t witnessed it, you should definitely partake. It’s one of those many wonders that really allow you to connect with nature and appreciate all that life has to offer.

We had two proposed routes for this trip. One was a 12 or 15 mile out and back on Eagle Creek Trail, which took you to two different locations. The first turnaround would take you to Tunnel Falls, which is a runtastic spot with an amazing waterfall to run behind. The other turnaround was a bit further up at the Eagle Creek/Eagle-Tanner trail junction. The cool thing about this last turnaround is your ability to add lots more mileage and plenty of extra climbing. The second route was a bit more complicated. It was an 18 mile loop that included 5 miles on Eagle Creek trail, a 3 mile climb on Eagle-Benson trail, 3.1 miles on Benson Way trail and finally a decent for 5.8 miles down Ruckel Creek trail that connects to the Gorge trail for the final stretch of running to the car.

Mallory, Rob and Jessi chose the 12 mile option on Eagle Creek. It’s an out and back that runs right alongside Eagle Creek and literally cuts through rock on the edges of the cliffs banking the creek. They had never been to Tunnel falls and really wanted to experience the rush of running behind a waterfall. They had also planned on an easier run for this day and didn’t want to run more than two hours. This trail is especially nice for keeping the runs easier. It’s a gradual climb and also technical, which keeps your pace slower. You can certainly run faster, but then it turns into one of those TRAIL FACTOR ankle breaker trails, which can also be a lot of fun. According to Jessi, they had a terrific run and took in all the magnificence of Tunnel Falls. I asked them if they had gone down to Punch Bowl Falls, which is also on the trail, but Jessi said that instead of cooling off their legs by taking a 60 ft cliff jump plunge into Punch Bowl, they opted for soaking their legs in the creek by the parking lot.

Punch Bowl Falls is another super benefit of running Eagle Creek for those wishing for a summer time cool off spot. It has a waterfall that cascades into a huge pool called the Punch Bowl. I’ve never tried, but I hear there are several great cliffs to jump off that range from 50- 80ft in height. Maybe next time I’ll hit up the 80 footer.

Since Jessi, Mallory and Robs plans included a shorter route, they left early from the trail. Rick and I were on a longer loop that turned out to be quite the challenge. It was the first time I had experienced this loop. It was old news for Rick, but he had never actually run the loop before.
The plan was 18 miles of trail that would take us up to the top of the ridge just above Eagle Creek. The elevation began just above 100ft and climbed up above 4,000 ft. I was excited to try this new loop, but I was also a bit worried. I was experimenting with some new foods in my
diet and wasn’t sure I had taken in enough calories prior to the run.

The run started on the Eagle Creek trail and follows that path for about 5 miles. Soon enough we hit our turn-off, which was Eagle-Benson trail. Rick had descended this trail, but never climbed it. It would take us up 2,500 ft in about 3 miles on a trail that was very narrow with sketchy footing in some sections. We hit the turnoff trail in just under an hour and this is where things got ugly for me.

Since I was experimenting with eating less processed and cooked foods, my system shut down about ¼ of the way up the hill realized that it didn’t have enough calories to sustain climbing efficiently. Luckily, I had an awesome partner that was very patient with me while I stopped and contemplated vomiting on myself. This made the climb go by much more slowly and it took us a bit over an hour to climb the 3 miles. We concluded that that wasn’t too bad considering the circumstances, but I knew that had I been feeling better we could have climbed much faster.

The climb had snaked its way up the hill and offered some really spectacular views of the Gorge. Once you summit the climb, the trail flattens out and travels through dense forest. The trail up there is very soft, but can get confusing sometimes due to low traffic. Higher trafficked trails are much easier to spot.

By this time we were finally running again at a good clip and making up some time. As we were clipping along, we hear someone shout, “Runners.” We stopped and there we saw heading up a different trail was another group of runners doing a power hike. This was very unusual for me. I never see runners on the upper trails in the Gorge. Usually you only see hikers. Stacey Bunton was part of this group. She is a stellar runner and race director. We stopped and chatted for a bit and congratulated her on her recent performance running the Spartathlon. This is a 243km run in Greece. Check it out at Also, Stacey is the race director for the Hagg Lake 50k, which is a fast local 50k to try out. Check out the race site at After our little chat it was back to running. We still had a huge descent to run. It was going to be about 5.8 miles of descending 3,500+ ft. It’s not a straight descent, so some sections were extremely steep. The trail was also covered with tons of leaves which made the rocks disappear and offered unsure footing in some sections. I think I fell on my butt about 3 times. It took what seemed like forever to get down Ruckel Creek trail, but we finally made it. Once you get to the bottom, the trail dumps you out onto a road. You stay on this road for about ¼ mile before intersecting Gorge Trail #400.

It’s one more steep little climb to the finish and we were pretty tired so we hiked a bit of it. I think for those of you who know what it feels like to be on your feet for over 3 ½ hours can understand why we hiked this short hill. It feels like liquid acid in your legs. You immediately go anaerobic. Ouch.

We finally made it to the end of our run. It had taken us 4 hours to travel 18 miles. Slowest 18 miles I have done in a while, but my malnourished body and the terrain were to blame. I have to thank Rick for being so patient with me on the first and only big climb of the day. I learned a great lesson on nutrition when eating raw natural foods. Eat more before your run. Pretty simple, I know, but somehow I neglected to do the necessary amount of eating. Next time I’ll just eat everything in my fridge to avoid getting TRAIL FACTORED.

If you are interested in joining us on one of our many TRAIL FACTOR adventures, visit:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trail Running Tips – Part One

Are you new to trail running or just looking to improve your trail running game?  Here are some simple tips:

1. Stay on marked and existing trails 
2. Don’t cut switchbacks
3. Go through puddles, not around them
4. Climb or jump over fallen trees instead of going around them
5. When multiple trails exist, run on the one that is the most worn
6. Do not litter, leave no trace, and be sure to pack everything out that you packed in
7. Use minimum impact techniques to dispose of human waste
8. Leave what you find — take only photographs
9. Close all gates that you open
10. Keep pets leashed at all times and be sure to leave pets at home when running in areas posted “no pets”
11. Stop to help others in need: even while racing, sacrifice your event to aid other trail users that might be in trouble
12. Volunteer at trail races – pre, during, or post event
13. Volunteer, support, and encourage others to participate in trail maintenance days

The above tips are re-published courtesy of Nancy Hobbs, the Executive Director, American Trail Running Association (ATRA).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oregon runners lead USA to team silver medal at 100 km World Cup

Kami Semick (Bend, OR), finished second Saturday at the IAU 100 km World Cup in Tarquinial, Italy, leading an outstanding American team performance. Semick's time of 7:33:58 was the second-fastest time ever for a U.S. woman to lead Team USA to the team silver medal.  For her performance Kami was named USATF's "Athlete of the Week".  Kami also won the Portland Marathon in early October of this year.

Meghan Arbogast (Corvallis, OR) finished sixth in 7:52:21, while Devon Crosby-Helms (San Francisco, CA), rounded out the team scoring, finishing tenth in 8:01:52.

In the men's race, first-time Team USA member Michael Wardian (Arlington, VA) led American men, finishing ninth in 7:06:35. Adam Lint (Seattle, WA) finished in 50th-place in 8:06:35.

The content of the post came from

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Fish Creek Campground, Estacada, OR

TRAIL FACTOR Run Report #3 - Fish Creek to Indian Henry and Back along Clackamas River
by Shawn Bostad

It was another great Trail Factor Run Today. We had a very spritely group show for the Estacada outing. It was a solid group made up of 8 runners. Shawn, Jessi, Mallory, Rob, Ben, Paul, Chris and William made up the bulk of early risers. Both Chris and William were new to the Trail Factor group and they were certainly a great addition to this morning’s run.

Today’s TRAIL FACTOR run took us into and past Estacada. Estacada is located southeast of Portland and is the last small town that you hit before heading into the Mt. Hood National Forest on Hwy 224. It’s about a 47 mile drive to the trail head, but takes a bit longer due to the nature of the roads traveled. Lots of lights and turns littered our pathway.

The planned route was to begin at the Fish Creek campground and trail head. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s called the Clackamas River Trail. Regardless, the trail starts at the Fish Creek Campground and travels about 7.8 miles to the Indian Henry Campground and then we run back. The trail has a total elevation gain of about 1,000ft, which is one of the main reasons we chose to run it this weekend. We’ve been running so many big hills lately that it was time for a bit of a “hill run up and down break”. At least that’s what my old knees were telling me.

We started off pretty casually down the trail. Today was another moist day, but at least it wasn’t
raining. The foliage has been so spectacular lately with fall in full swing, but one issue that arises is the number of leaves littering the ground. Some sections of this trail are very technical and it can make for some tricky running when the leaves cover up all the rocks and roots. It’s kind of like running on landmines. You never know when you’re going to hit a TRAIL FACTOR style root or rock explosion. That’s basically what the first 2-3 miles of running was like on this trail.

We were all lined up like little piglets for the first mile, but soon started to separate. The first part of the trail is pretty rocky and starts with a good little climb. It doesn’t climb much, but just enough to wake the legs up and get your pulse racing. This is one of my favorite aspects of this trail. No ultra long sustained climbs, which allow you to run faster, but just enough risers and turns to keep your pace in check.

The trail continues up stream. It’s really beautiful running up and down right alongside of the Clackamas River. It’s a tremendous looking river, with cool rapids and large clear pools of water for swimming and wading. It’s a perfect summertime run location. There’s nothing like a cool dip in the Clackamas River after a sweaty hot run.

Another really cool aspect of the trail is the waterfall that sits about halfway through the run. It’s a great stop off that adds about a ½ mile to your overall trip, but is well worth the detour. It cascades into a big pool and would also be great in the summertime dip spot.

For some reason, I completely missed the turn to the falls today. Ben and I went right by, which was probably the precursor to what could have been a very sticky situation.

I know all of us have done this in some way or another, but we almost lost Bens car key and got seriously TRAIL FACTORED today. We were cruising along and Ben calls to me and says, “Crap, Shawn. I think I dropped my car key.” I think most runners who run in the Pacific Northwest know what that means. Foliage, ferns, and debris don’t offer much open searchable trail. We were sure it was a goner. However, being goal oriented people that we are, we didn’t give up. I’m glad we didn’t. I found the key lovingly dropped on a leaf right in front of me. It’s as if it wanted to be found.

Ben looked at his glove, which had a little pocket that previously held his key and wondered about its effectiveness. He said, “I’m going to put this key in my shorts zipper pocket.” I think it put us on edge for a minute, but we soon relaxed back into smooth running.

Once you navigate the 7.8 mile trail, you end up in the Indian Henry campground. It’s really convenient in the summer when all the bathrooms are open. It’s fall and winter now, so everything is locked up. Regardless, Ben and I drank from the creek that runs out of the hills alongside the campground. I hope I don’t get Giardia. I don’t think I will, it was really fast moving water and I don’t think I noticed any large feces piles.

Robert and Chris soon made it to the other end of the trail. We had a little pow-wow and started the trek back to the cars. Not too long after starting back on the trail, we saw Paul, Mallory, William, and Jessi. We all performed a few TRAIL FACTOR high-fives and kept on going. Everyone looked strong and ready for round two of the Trail.

The Trail back is much more downhill. The run out is where you gain most of your elevation. You’ve already run the trail out, so you know what to expect, which makes it much easier.

On the way back you get more great views, leaves and twisty trail. Ben and I ended our run in 2:08 and the rest sporadically came in after that.

Even though the trail was wet, we were wet and a bit chilly; most of us opted for a post run Clackamas River soak. It was a great capper to our 15.8 mile run.

Afterwards, we all huddled together and chatted about the run and with our new TRAIL FACTOR buddies Chris and William. Chris is a med school and loves running new trail. William is an experienced trail runner with many big races under his belt. It was great to get to know them and hope to see them again.

Thanks for coming out and we hope to see you all next weekend on another great TRAIL FACTOR run.

For more information on TRAIL FACTOR, please visit our website under construction at:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lithia Loop Trail Marathon - Results

The inagural Lithia Loop Trail Marathon took place this past weekend in Ashland, OR with 86 runners finishing.  The men's race was won by Jeff Caba (Bend, OR) in 2:47:31.  The top woman and 4th place overall finisher was Susannah Beck in 3:00:29.  Complete results and photos can be found at:

The Lithia Loop Trail Marathon is bidding to become the 2009 USATF National Trail Marathon Championships.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lithia Loop Trail Marathon - Pre-Race Info

The Lithia Loop Trail Marathon takes place this weekend in Ashland, OR. This is a first year race organized by the Rogue Valley Runners and as of today has 95 pre-registered runners. Read a pre-race interview with race director Hal Koerner at:

Updated race information including a course description and entry list can be found at:

This race is bidding to become the 2009 USATF Trail Marathon Championships. The bid will be presented at the USATF Annual Meeting in Reno, NV in early December.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Tillamook State Forest, OR

Tillamook State Forest - Wilson River/Kings Mountain/Elk Creek Trail 12.1 mile loop
by Shawn Bostad

Well, it was another great Trail Factor running adventure. Today was our third organized Trail Factor run and it included a solid crew of 7 runners. Those attending the run today were Shawn, Jessi, Ruben, Mallory, Ben, Robert, and Paul.

The route was already laid out and was to take us to Tillamook State Forest (Picture Left). Our goal was to tackle the Wilson River, Kings Mountain, and Elk Creek 12.1 mile loop. This trail is very easy to access. All you do is drive west on Hwy 26 out of Portland and then exit Hwy 6 to Tillamook. The campground and trail access is just past MP (mile post) #28 and is called the Elk Creek Campground.

This is a challenging loop the runs you through the Tillamook State Forest, which happens to be one of the nation’s largest reforestation projects. This is a project that was initiated due to severe fires that struck the Tillamook State Forest and burned over 350,000 acres of beautiful Oregon coastal range land. The project was very successful and now there is lush forest throughout and many FS roads in the area, which serve as excellent fire breaks in case of future fires.

As we pulled into the Elk Creek Campground, we all anticipated some great running. Overcast skies, temps in the low 50’s and drizzly conditions made for a spectacular Oregon day. It would certainly make the trail slick and the running could be pretty cold once we hit some of the higher elevation trail.

As with many of our runs, this run starts uphill. It’s steep, but only last for about .1 miles. This is called the Wilson River Trail. Basically, the Wilson River trail winds you through the Tillamook State Forest and parallels Hwy 6 for over 20 miles. We used the first 3.6 miles of the Wilson River Trail. We started off nice and easy by running this first 3.6 mile section in just under 30 minutes. We were using it to prep ourselves for the first major climb of the day.
All the boys and Mallory stayed together for this first 3.6 mile section just before the turn off onto Kings Mountain trail. This is the first major climb of the day, with a massive 2.5 mile climb that gains 2,500 ft of elevation. It summits Kings Mountain at over 3,200 ft.

We all chatted for a second before tackling the hill. It was imperative that we all knew where to go, since the group was sure to be separated while summiting the hill. As expected, Ruben and Ben sped away toward the summit. Rob and Mallory were next, with Paul not far behind. Myself and Jessi left shortly after to bring up the rear.

Everyone settled into the climb and heavy breathing was inevitable. There are sections on this climb that are nearly impossible to run. Ruben and Ben ran most of it, while I ran about ¾’s of the climb and the others ran about ½. It varies from a mild 10% grade and pitches up to as much as 25-30% sustained in some sections. It really burns the old soleus muscle and glutes.
Ben and Ruben reached the summit first and sped on to complete the rest of the run. Robert was next to summit and I summited shortly after. Mallory was next in line.

Since the next section of trail was rather technical, I expressed my desire for Robert and Mallory to run the next portion together and continue ahead. This would allow them to keep each other company for safety purposes. The trail snakes along the edge of a ridgeline and includes some very steep descents and in wet conditions is better run with a partner.

Mallory and Rob pushed on and I stayed behind to wait for Paul and Jessi to complete their climb. This would allow us to run the next trail together.

The climb was finished and the summit was windy and cold. There would be no views today.
We pushed on through the next technical section. It would skirt a ridgeline for about 1.3 miles and actually require us to do a fair bit of scrambling in some sections. This is precisely why I felt it was important that everyone have a partner to run with in this section.

Once we completed the technical ridgeline, the trail finally starts to descend and dumps you onto a bit of old jeep road. It runs along this jeep road until you reach a sign that directs you to either Elk Creek trail or the Elk Mountain summit. To complete the 12.1 mile loop, one would choose the Elk Creek Trail. If you are into a bit more climbing, you can choose the Elk Mountain Summit trail. It goes up some more, but then descends a grueling 1,900 ft in just 1.5 miles. Very steep and tough on the knees, but it also shortens the loop by 1.3 miles.

We chose to descend off the mountain by running down the Elk Creek multiuse trail. This trail descends for about 4.8 miles and is much more gradual and runner friendly.

By the time we started our descent, the rain had really begun to poor. It was hailing, raining, hailing and raining. The legs were cold, body was cold and the trail was slick. This was perfect. I personally love it when it rains, but you do risk going hypothermic if you don’t keep moving and if you don’t carry enough fuel. We were only 4.8 miles from the campground finish, so we hauled butt down the trail.

Ben, Ruben, Robert and Mallory were already on their way down. Paul was behind them and Jessi and I were sweeping up the back.

We all made it down intact. We had no Trail Factor falls today. The sun gods may not have been shining down on us, but the trail gods certainly were.

In the end, Ruben and Ben finished the run in just under 2 hours. Robert and Mallory finished in about 2:30. I finished in 2:37, Paul in about 2:42 and Jessi in 2:50. As you can see, these slower times are very indicative of technical terrain and a very steep climb. It’s a trail factor favorite, but not a regular trail on the Trail Factor Diet. We’ll be back and may even run a Christmas Day run out there. It can get very snowy and is gorgeous when covered in white.
If this adventure sounds like fun and you’d like to join us, please visit:

Be well and happy trail running.