As I embark on training for the Allegheny 100 in June 2016, I am frequently asked why I would put myself through such a grueling challenge. Good Question! I truly enjoy the physical and emotional challenge of trying to hike 100 miles in 50 hours or less.
My success rate sucks, but I keep trying. Both years I have tried to complete the A-100 the start was a rainy, crappy mess. The first year I managed to hike 67 miles in 27 hours only to tweak my knee. The pace was great, but the thought of damaging myself permanently was something I was not willing to do for the sake of finishing. Older and wiser, I guess. The conditions of last years challenge mimicked those of the previous year. Although trail conditions were dreadful I was able to cover 50 miles in about 24 hours which worked just fine by me. My feet this past year took a beating from being so damn wet and I knew I could go on, but there was again a potential cost I wasn’t willing to chance. At the end of June I had already planned a thru-hike of the newly created Trans Adirondack Route.
How does one train for the A-100 ?
Beer and Chips mostly! Kidding of course. This time of year I spend the majority of time getting up at 4am to hit the spin bike. Afternoons when we have snow you would find me snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. As spring rolls around its spin bike in the am and then an afternoon hike that is roughly 3.4 miles round trip. May not sound like much, but a mile+ straight up hill can be a killer. I try and set a pace of 4 miles per hour. Later in the spring I have a 7 mile loop I beat up on daily.
You probably are wondering if I run? Nope, this short dense fella is most definitely not made for running!
What do I bring for gear?
There are two pieces in my med kit that are critical items for me to have and use during the A-100. The first is Body Glide and the second is a body/cleansing wipe. You have no chance of walking big miles if you begin to chafe. Body Glide or any other type of runners lube are great products to prevent the pain and irritation that can develop as a result of skin rubbing on itself. After a 30 mile day it is important for me to get clean down there if you know what I mean. The wipes work perfectly to clean and prepare the area for a fresh lubing of glide after my two hour nap. One important consideration I have learned is to NOT buy wipes with moisturizer in them. You are not trying to soften your skin!
Long miles demand that you consume a large caloric load! I try to budget 200 calories per hour or 10,000 calories for the entire challenge. My food is very unhealthy! I choose foods that are high in fats and protein if possible and also choose some sugary snacks for quick boosts of energy when needed. I use Calorie Count on a regular basis to look up and compare potential foods.
Here are my top choices with nutritional info:
These bad boys are heavy in calories and fairly light in the weight category averaging about 3.5 oz per bar. I bring 15 of these totaling a little over 3.3lbs of food that packs a punch at 6,200 calories!
The Old Standby:
Can’t complain a bit about the Snickers Bar!!! Solid 200 calories in a minimal weight 1.8oz weight. Carrying 10 gives me 2000 calories and only adds 1.2lbs of weight.
I throw assorted snacks like Slim Jims and cheese and crackers to round out the other 2000 calories for the hike.
Always a personal choice and I can only provide you with my choice and experience.
Any hiker these days has multiple options for hiking shoes/boots. For me a Trail Runner works best and not just for the A-100. I have worked hard to get my base pack weight for long distance hiking down to sub 10lbs. To keep it short, light shoes for light packs!
I had been using the Montrail Madrock OutDry and unfortunately they have been discontinued. So this year I have switched to the Dynafit Pantera Trail Running shoe.