A-100 Again?

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

A-100 Feet

Wet Feet and Cold IPA’s!

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?A-100 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.

Footwear Considerations

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.

Montail Badrock OutDry

Montrail MadRock

Dynafit Pantera

Dynafit Pantera







9 thoughts on “A-100 Again?

  1. Thanks for stopping by! I hope I can put up some interesting topics for readers. Anne and I are doing well these days. How is Collingwood these days?


  2. Do you have any other tips for the A-100. I signed up for the 50 miles and have never done anything like this before. I’m getting miles in but am not sure what to pack. Thanks!


    • Shana, thanks for stopping by!

      Awesome that you are trying the 50 this year! My biggest recommendation is that you enjoy the hike and don’t psyche yourself out before you start. You’ll do great!
      Try and get some miles on trails that have hills. The terrane on the A-100 is not that hilly, but the small hills can begin to hurt after many miles.

      What you want to pack is going depend on your comfort level and the weather forecast.
      Keep your feet dry and tend to hot spot immediately! Blisters will end your hike very quickly. Two years ago I helped out two teenagers (long distance runners) with blisters 20 miles into the challenge. They ended up having to quit at 25 miles because of their feet.

      Here a few questions to consider:
      Are you going solo? If not, then you may be able to share gear such as a water filter, tent or stove.

      Do you really need a tent or could you use a tarp?
      My first year I used neither and only had a thermal blanket and bag liner for warmth and was quite comfortable.

      What will you eat?
      I go with cold food. Saves me the time of cooking and the added weight of stove and fuel.

      How much water will you carry?
      I found that water was in abundance and that stopping to get water was a good time to refuel and rest.

      To sleeping bag of not?
      I suspect that you will sleep more than I will so a good nights sleep will help your body repair itself and give you a solid, fresh start in the morning.

      How heavy is your foot wear?
      Heavy footwear on your feet will more energy then weight on your back. Up to 4-6 times more energy is used with heavy footwear. Wearing a 1-pound pair of running shoes is the equivalent of removing 10-18 pounds from your pack.

      How much extra clothing will you need?
      Extra socks are a must for me for two reasons. When I stop for my sleep breaks (+/- 2 hours) I put on a clean dry pair after I have powdered them with gold bond. I also find that have a dry pair to put on help increase comfort and reduce friction while hiking.

      Do you need the bug dope or sunscreen?
      Look at all the extras as just that, extra stuff that you don’t need or won’t use.

      I highly recommend laying out the gear you want to take and spend time thinking if you will really need the gear. What are your must haves? Since this is not a typical trip leave the camp luxuries at home.

      As always safety is a primary concern. Make sure that you have a medical kit, shelter and warmth in the event of an emergency!

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions or want more specifics.



      • Thanks so much for the reply, it’s very helpful. I have a friend who is doing it with me, we are planning on sharing what we can.

        For sleeping, I was thinking a hammock(already found a friend who will lend me one) and a tarp in case it rains. What do you think? Do you think a hammock and a thermal blanket would be enough?

        For water, I was thinking a 2L. bladder and just fill it up along the way with a filter system. Did you take any energy drink powder with you?

        I agree about the food, no cooking required and fast. Maybe protein bars, candy bars, bread/tortilla with PB and such. I like your ideas too!

        I was reading something a bit ago about shoes and how extra weight can really add up. I was going to wear my hiking shoes but they weigh about 5oz more then my running shoes. That will add up after a while. Yes, extra socks are a must too. I love leuketape for my feet, I’ve used it many times in the past and it’s great on hot spots.

        Definitely just the basics for this trip, the less to carry the better!

        Thanks again for your insight and suggestions.


      • I think you should have no problems with a hammock. The thermal blanket might work, but that all depends on how cold/warm you sleep. Sea to summit makes bag liners that I have used in the past that worked great.

        I used crystal lite to spruce my water up a bit. When I added the drink mix I also added a NUUN electrolyte tablet to the water.
        You can never go wrong with peanut butter!!! Breakfast will be pop tart(400cal) with a packet of Justin’s peanut butter(190Cal). So I am able to hydrate early and throw down nearly 800 calories of fat, protein and sugar before I start hiking.

        I also look for protein bars that contain maltodextrin. Maltodextrin has a highest glycemic index of the carbs available and is quickly absorbed into your system. Combine this with fat and protein and I am able to keep up my energy levels through out my hike. In the end my finishing will again depend on whether or not my feet get soaked and stay wet or if my joints can handle the constant pounding.


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