Ultrarunning Edge Blog
Trail Conditions for the 2015 Logan Peak Trail Run Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 13:40

It has been a strange year for weather in the high country—very warm, dry Winter and very wet Spring. Over the last few weekends, I've been up on different parts of the course for the Logan Peak Trail Run.

Most of the trail is in pretty good shape. Last weekend I cut out a number of downed trees on the N. Syncline portion of the trail. (Three downed fir trees of moderate size still remain.) The S. Syncline had a lot of late snow. The snow has mostly melted by now, and there was only one significant downed tree. The Providence Canyon jeep trail also had a lot of residual snow, but it should be gone by race day.

I have not been on the actual road to the peak, but there is only one short section that is significantly protected. I expect the road to the peak to be fully clear of snow by race day.

Conditions look good for the race!

Early Course Conditions for the 2011 Logan Peak Trail Run Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Sunday, 22 May 2011 09:16

Yesterday morning I decided it was time to get out and assess conditions on at least part of the course for the Logan Peak Trail Run. In any normal year, Scott Datwyler and I would have already been to Logan Peak by now. But with much larger than normal amounts of precipitation and average temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal, this is no normal year. I took one of my sled dogs and headed for Providence Canyon.

We ran up the canyon road for a mile or so, then forded the creek and picked up the new Providence Canyon single-track trail. I moved a few tree limbs off the trail here and there, but the new trail is in surprisingly good condition for this early in the season. The only part of it that needs work is the quarter-mile section above the old shooting range (roughly 2 miles up the canyon). In this section, the new trail becomes indistinct amongst the many old jeep trails and the many new ATV tracks and cow paths.

The Providence Canyon single-track joins the Providence Canyon road about a quarter mile below the old Providence quarry. As we neared this point, I was already beginning to see large patches of snow extending almost down to the road along the south slope of the canyon. The road itsef was clear to the base of the quarry. Beyond this point a steep, loose-gravel, jeep trail climbs to the quarry. Three quarters of this jeep trail was snow-covered, and I watched as a large 4WD pickup truck lost traction 50 yards onto the snow. The quarry itself was substantially snow covered, and everything above the quarry (including the Providence Canyon jeep trail) was fully snow covered.

At the quarry (6700 ft.), I stopped to get out trekking poles, Yaktrax, and nordic ski gaiters. I also switched from a short sleeve shirt to a light-weight long sleeve thermal. It was a nice day, but the presence of so much snow was enough to lower the air temperature by a good 10 degrees relative to the lower canyon.

It's always a stiff climb from the quarry to the top of the canyon. Fortunately even at mid-day the snow was very firm, and so I seldom sank more than an inch or two. About 3/4 mile above the quarry (7500 ft.), the South Syncline trail joins the Providence jeep trail. The junction is marked by a reflector mounted about five feet up an aspen tree. This reflector was at ankle level. A short way beyond there, we encountered fresh snow.
We continued the additional 3/4 mile to the junction of the Welches Flat jeep trail (LPTR course) and the Providence Canyon jeep trail (8100 ft.) At this point I estimated snow depth to be 6 feet, and the amount of fresh snow had increased to at least 6 inches, making traction poor. We turned around here and descended back down the canyon.

By race day, much of the course for the Logan Peak Trail Run is likely to be clear. However, I expect patches of snow along the S. Syncline trail in Logan Dry Canyon, along parts of the Welches Flat jeep trail, along much of the N. Syncline trail, and of course extensive snow on the climb to the peak.
Course Conditions for the Logan Peak Trail Run Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Monday, 07 June 2010 10:27

north_high_countryA month ago, snow levels were below normal in the northern Utah high country. This weekend, Kelly Bradbury, Lynn Hulme, and I ran the last 9 miles of the Logan Peak Trail Run course. The previous weekend I had run the first 11 miles of the course. In many places there is a great deal of snow! Clearly several spring storms and much colder than normal temperatures have left the course with substantially more snow than typical for early June.

In Logan Dry Canyon, there is little snow until the location of Aid Station #1. From that point all along the south slope of Dry Canyon, snow is significant. I did not flag any of the course there, but runners/hikers should have no difficulty following my footsteps. Along the exposed west flank of Little Baldy and along the western part of the Welches Flat jeep trail in Providence Canyon, there is little snow. However, the eastern part of the Welches Flat jeep trail and the Providence Canyon jeep trail both have much snow—enough to make route-finding a challenge.

North of Logan Dry Canyon, there is quite a bit of snow. We lightly flagged the course going in the reverse direction from Aid Station #1 to about mile 19 on the course. East of that point, the course was effectivelly impassable due to extensive but very soft snow.
Runners who wish to preview that part of the course will need to travel very early in the morning when the snow is firm. There are many large logs that have been cut in previous years to keep the trail open. Following cut logs will be the only workable route-finding strategy until enough snow melts to be able to see patches of the actual trail.

Although snow has been melting rapidly for the last few days, we are expected to have four or five days of colder than normal weather later this week. I expect the course will still have significant amounts of snow by race day—particularly on the climb to/from the peak and along the NE corner of the course.

Registration for the 2010 Logan Peak Trail Run Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Sunday, 03 January 2010 21:14

logan_peak_raceRegistration is now open for the 2010 Logan Peak Trail race, which will be held Saturday, June 26, 2010. This is a tough 28 mile mountain trail race on predominantly singletrack and jeep trail with 7200+ feet of vertical gain/descent. Located in the Cache-Wasatch National Forest of northern Utah, the scenery is spectacular. The course follows a modified lollipop pattern in which Logan Dry Canyon makes up the stem, and the loop is formed by circumnavigating Logan Peak. Midway through the loop, runners climb to and descend from the peak.

Kelly Bradbury first organized this race three years ago. Scott Datwyler and I are the race directors for 2010. This year we are offering online registration through UltraSignup.com. The race will be capped at 100 runners.

Dancing the New Bear Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 09:06

My wife Gayle and I have worked as volunteers (aid station captains, flagging trail, etc.) for the Bear 100 since 2003. In 2007, I ran the Bear 100 (the last year of the old course). 2008 was the first year of the new course. I had run the Bighorn 100 earlier that season, and so I agreed to man an aid station and do some pacing. However by the time race day rolled around in 2008, it was obvious I was in really good condition and should have been running the race. Moreover I was thoroughly familiar with the new course. When it turned out that so many runners had problems navigating the new course, I made the decision then and there that I was going to run the new course this year.

There would be complications, however. Inadequate trail signage is/has been a nagging problem in the Cache Wasatch National Forest. Worse, we have persistent problems at ultra races in this area due to people (disgruntled hunters, disgruntled hippies, disgruntled motorized users, etc.) removing (or intentionally moving) trail flagging. Because of last year's navigation problems on the new course, I volunteered this year to be in charge of course marking. I also really wanted to eliminate the longstanding hassle of putting up glow sticks along some 60 miles of the course immediately before dark. If I was going to accomplish these tasks AND run the Bear 100, I would have to get organized. I managed to put together a team of 12 experienced runners/hikers to mark the course. Then late in August, we came up with high intensity reflector technology to replace glow sticks for night time trail marking. Hopefully everything would go according to plan, because if it didn't, I was going to end up spending a great deal of time fixing course markings while I was supposedly trying to race the Bear 100.

On race day it was slightly chilly at the start, but nowhere near as cold as normal in late September. We've been having a heat wave. At 6:00 AM everybody took off. Initially we were pretty well massed together. After passing ten people or so, I managed to settle in with a large group that went at a pace I liked. I remember it was nice chatting with friends and acquaintances from other races. But most of the first 5 or 6 hours of the race itself weren't especially memorable to me; I spend too much time on that part of the course during the rest of the year.

After screaming down Leatham Hollow, I was right on pace when I reached the Leatham aid station. There, Gayle was ready with my drop bag. After a quick shirt change, water bottle refills, and some melon, I was running again. The climb up Left Hand Fork and Richards Hollow was uneventful. Near the top of Richards, I caught up with Tim Seminoff and Errol Jones. Soon Errol and I took off fast on the descent to the Cowley aid station. Somewhere along there in the powdery dust that obscures the road underneath, I managed to stub my right middle toe on a rock. I slowed a bit, and at the Cowley aid station, I spent a couple minutes taping the toe tightly. It would annoy but not slow me the rest of the race.
Preparing for the 2009 Bear 100 Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Monday, 31 August 2009 11:25

With four weeks remaining until the 2009 Bear 100, it's time to map out a race strategy. I want to try something a little different for this race because I always seem to have big problems with stomach distress and hypoglycemia between miles 20 to 35 in races. I plan to start slow and go easy. This way I can hopefully avoid trashing my muscles during the period when my energy maintenance is poor. Then at about 40 miles, I plan to speed up and hopefully keep a faster pace for the remainder of the race.

Since mid July I've been working to maintain much of the conditioning base I had built (but didn't really get to use) for Hardrock. Because that was mainly steep up-canyon/down-canyon conditioning, I have lately been doing more speed work on relatively flat hopelessterrain. Much of my long distance training for the Bear 100 has been and will be pacing. A week ago I paced one of my running partners for the last half of the Leadville 100, (congratulations Milada, you did really well), and I'll be pacing for a little under 40 miles at the Wasatch 100 in two weeks. Pacing long distances as a form of training fits well with my new race strategy, since the typical average speed while pacing is about what I want to shoot for in the first third of a 100-mile race. 

I'm pretty familiar with the Bear 100 course. Yesterday, I took one of my sled dogs for a quick run up Blind Hollow to Tony Grove and back. This is the only portion of the course I had never been over. The grade and terrain is reminiscent of Richards Hollow. I alternated running and power hiking on the way up, and then blasted down it on the return trip. The route is fairly easy to follow, except in the vicinity of Tony Grove, where there is a maze of trails. Fortunately this will be well-marked on race day for Bear 100 runners.
Pacing the 2009 Hardrock 100 Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 20:47

2009 was supposed to be my year to run the Hardrock 100. Alas it was not to happen. I was position 32 on the wait list after the lottery in early February. Over the next 5 months I advanced to position 5. Based on past years, my chances for getting into the race looked good. So we drove to Silverton, CO. Unfortunately this year, for the first time, no one on the wait list got in at the end of registration.

camp_bird_roadFrustrated, I decided to see if someone still needed a pacer. Ouray, 56 miles into the race and the lowest point on the course, seemed like a good place to look for a runner who might want a pacer. Sure enough around 8 PM Kirsten Thompson showed up looking for a pacer for her husband Sam Thompson, who was expected to arrive soon. I was careful to caution her that Sam is a lot faster than me, and I might not be able to keep up for the entire last 44 miles of the race. On the other hand, I climb well, have good skills on technical downhills, and lots of experience with night trail running. I was confident I could get Sam from Ouray to Telluride and probably to Chapman at a good pace. There also weren't any other available pacers.

Sam and I left Ouray a little before 9 PM and headed up the trail through Box Canyon Park, which eventually spilled us out onto the Camp Bird Road. We power hiked this FS road almost 6 miles and 2800 feet up to the Governor Basin aid station. Along the way we saw a total of two trail markers.
Racing the 2009 Buffalo Run Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Sunday, 29 March 2009 09:29

The 2009 Antelope Island Buffalo Run was a great success! Jim Skaggs, the race director, once again put on an outstanding event. This year Antelope Island State Park allowed uncapped registration, and there were nearly 500 runners spread amongst the 25K, 50K, and 50 mile distances—great for competition! The trails were in good shape, and the weather was perfect for running (very fortuitous considering that today we have a blizzard with near whiteout).

I went into this race seriously undertrained for the 50 mile distance (there still isn't more than 15 miles of trail open anywhere here in Cache Valley). Nevertheless I managed to knock 26 minutes off my time for last year by using a new fueling strategy. It seems that my fat burning rate isn't very high (I've been borderline hypoglycemic all my life). So to compensate for this, I consumed three carbohydrate gels per hour for the last 6-7 hours of the race. This strategy worked well, and I was able to comfortably maintain a higher than usual pace late in the race. Since three gels (90 g) per hour is getting near the carbohydrate fueling limit for the human body, I had to make certain that I spaced out my gels properly and consumed adequate quantities of water. To compensate for undertraining, I also used a caffeinated gel/blocks every third or fourth gel from the 30 mile point onward.

I only saw six buffalo all day (frequently I see many more when training on the island). Coming off the Elephant Head trail section, six buffalo decided to stampede across the trail right in front of the runner ahead of me. He was probably shell-shocked for hours afterward.

Congratulations to one of my training partners, Milada Copeland, for winning the women's 50 mile competition. All in all it was a successful race!
100 Mile Race Sizes: Can Service/Trail Work Requirements Help? Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Thursday, 19 February 2009 10:28

This is the second of two articles that examine ways to increase the maximum field sizes for 100 mile trail races. In the first article I noted three main factors which limit the maximum sizes of 100 mile mountain trail races: trail impacts, availability of race volunteers, and aid station parking/road congestion. The first article focused on limiting crew (somewhat) as a way to control aid station parking/road congestion and thereby allow larger race sizes. I also noted that trail impacts really SHOULD NOT be a huge issue limiting 100 mile race size because of the amount of trail work that ultrarunners do. Here I want to take a closer look at how service and/or trail work requirements affect 100 mile race volunteership, and to some extent trail impacts.

A multi-group work project (courtesy http://www.brwcouncil.org)

Service (including trail work) requirements have been part of 100 mile races for a long time. Some races require service; some do not. Races which DO require service vary considerably in what they require. Some races allow either trail work or volunteer service at another (typically ultra) race. Some races require trail work specifically, and there are even races that require trail work to be done on a 100 mile race course. Races also vary considerably in what they accept as proof of service. At least one race requires another 100 mile race director to sign off on any trail work done. It has sometimes been argued that service requirements are ineffective because the work should be voluntary. I'm not going to get into the argument about mandatory versus voluntary service, except to note that the overwhelming majority of ultrarunners I know DO or WOULD DO service regardless whether it is required or not.
100 Mile Race Sizes: Is It Time to Limit Crew? Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Sunday, 08 February 2009 21:01

This article is the first of two articles which examine ways to increase the maximum field sizes for 100 mile trail races. Three main factors limit the maximum sizes of 100 mile mountain trail races: trail impacts caused by runners (as determined typically by public land managers), availability (and access) of race volunteers, and aid station parking/road congestion associated with runner crews (see e.g. Sherpa John's interview with Massanutten RD Stan Duobinis in "Are Lotteries Really Fair?")

Of these factors, trail impacts should generally be the least significant. Trail runners—especially 100 mile trail runners—perform far more trail work than any other class of trail user, even when adjusted for trail mileage. This is a point we must continually reinforce in the minds of public land and forest managers. In the second of these two articles, I will address some aspects of service/trail work requirements and race volunteers as they affect maximum race size. Here I want to focus on the use of crew by runners and its relationship to maximum race size.

There are really two different components of crew: pacers and motorized food/equipment/medical support that travels from aid station to aid station. These two components have overlapping, but different, impacts on races. Pacers contribute (slightly) to trail damage, and depending on race rules may raise the number of aid station supplies and volunteers needed. Commonly, pacers also rely on motorized access to aid stations, but this doesn't necessarily need to be the case. Motorized support crew contribute to aid station congestion, parking congestion, and sometimes traffic congestion on access roads. This latter can be an especially significant problem when cars share the road with runners (e.g. the 2-3 miles before Upper Big Water aid station at Wasatch).
Registration for the 2009 Logan Peak Trail Run Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Thursday, 01 January 2009 16:39

logan_peak_08Race registration forms are now posted online for the 2009 Logan Peak Trail race to be held Saturday, June 27, 2009. This 28 mile course circumnavigates and ascends to/from Logan Peak in the Cache-Wasatch National Forest of northern Utah. It is a tough course on predominantly singletrack and jeep trail with 7200+ feet of vertical gain/descent amid spectacular scenery.

Kelly Bradbury first organized this race two years ago. This year Scott Datwyler and I will be serving as race directors. You can read previous race reports at Davy Crockett's 2008 Logan PeakRun-UT and Brian Beckstead's Logan Peak Trail Run 08. Greg Norrander has graciously made available many wonderful photographs of the 2008 race.

We hope to make the race a little greener this year by providing a recycling bin where race participants can donate/recycle used or unwanted running gear and by helping to facilitate carpooling to/from the race.