Saturday, February 25, 2012

Riddle: What happens when POTY meets UROY?

David Riddle (2011 Ultrarunning Performance of the Year at JFK 50) was in Boulder yesterday and decided he wanted to get a tour of the local Boulder peaks. He contacted a few other locals, but Jeff Valliere and I were the ones to show. (Apparently, David thinks there is an ultra running power vacuum in the Republic, and may try to move here to fill it since he apparently thinks Roes, Jurek, Moehl, Tony, and I are falling off pace.) We had an awesome run up Green Mountain slipping up the hill, with Jeff setting the clip in his traction while David and I gasped in his wake. Jeff and David tell it better than I so check their blogs for pics and details. I am still acclimating and am just getting over the thin air hump, but Jeff is in full stride.
Interestingly, JV actually may have more Green Mountain summits than anyone ever, approaching 1000 ascents now. There is one other who may catch him if he can stay healthy, and also an older bearded gentleman who I see hiking on Green Mountain most times I go up there. He has disheveled dress and beard, carries a plastic shopping bag in one hand, and has tractionless shoe on his feet. I'll say hi next time I see him and see what his deal is.

A short vid about Vitargo and the Golden Gate 50K which I raced two weekends ago in Marin..
Vitargo is comprised of super long chain carbohydrates (as compared to short molecular chain maltodextrin or simple sugars) which has boosted my energy substantially in racing and training, with no bloating and exponentially higher caloric intake rates. Thinking on a chemical basis, super-long chain carbohydrates have significantly lower osmolality in the stomach as compared to anything like maltodextrin (upon which most conventional gels are based) or simple sugars (which most gels also use); what this basically means is that it is impossible to intake calories fast enough to replenish usage. Vitargo's intake rate comes extremely close to the rate of caloric expenditure in ultrarunning.
Like Hoka One One and Injinji, I can't believe I didn't use Vitargo until recently. Three years ago, I didn't believe products made much of a difference in performance, as long as they were reasonably lightweight. But being more critical and selective now, I know I was pretty off track. This year I am going to plug my sponsors more with some reviews as they have been critical to helping me run my best and made the difference between wins and second places or less.


  1. My only advantages were better traction and acclimatization, but I'll take what I can get when I can get it ;). Not to mention, you guys were busy chatting.

    I'll be the first to say that I am "only" closing in on 800 Green ascents and I am sure there are plenty of people out there who very likely have been up there more than me. Tony, injured or not, will pass my number in the next year or two.

    Either way, great running with you guys.

  2. I might have the record for a guy with nine toes.

  3. Dave, I enjoy your posts - I see you're using the "regular" Stinson B shoes. That's what I've been using and I'm enjoying them. Are you using these units instead of the Evos? Do you talk with Hoka about their designs? - Gus in Salinas, CA

  4. #594 this (Sun) morning for me. So, what, a couple hundred behind you still, Jeff? It's a great mountain, but I'm going to be trying to get over to Bear/Fern more if I can motivate for the bike ride over to Cragmoor more consistently in the near future.


  5. Hey all.. I reached a milestone and Tony commented here.. cool :) #594 wow.. I know I don't have that many..if you see the guy I wrote about talk to him for me sometime.
    I run in the Stinsons because they have the best traction of the Hoka group and my EVOS were left in my wife's car would have been perfect. Stinsons went well enough on the slick but traction devices like microspikes would have been optimal. (I've used wood screws historically on the Boulder peaks, but really should upgrade).

    1. Dave - I've read where you ran a number of 2011 races in the Bondi. Does the Evo have a firmer midsole like the Bondi or is it softer like the mafate? Just wondering if it's the traction difference you like or if there are additional differences between the two models that prompted a change to the Evo. Thanks

  6. So how many scoops of Vitargo are you mixing into a regular bottle (20oz) to get 1000 cal per hour? It says two scoops are about 280 calories, can you get 8 scoops to dissolve? Or do you mix it less dense and drink 2 bottles per hour, etc? In a typical 100 I take a gel every half hour and by the 7th or 8th our I get sick of the sweetness. Very interested in how this product works.

  7. Nathan, I make the Vitargo pretty thick (just under 8 scoops) in one 26 oz bottle (or 5 oz flask when I make it a gel, which is easier to carry) and carry another 26 oz bottle for water. As I dial in my systems I will be using only 5 oz flasks for Vitargo gel and a 26 oz hand bottle for either water or water + vitargo. This worked well at Bandera 100k and at the Golden gate 50k.
    RE Vitargo flavors; there are four; orange, tropical, grape and unflavored. The unflavored goes down smooth and you can mix it in with the other flavors to customize your strength of the flavor. I use about 2/3 unflavored with 1/3 flavored.

  8. Thanks Dave. I bought some yesterday, but after my long run so I haven't tried it yet. When you make the gel do you just add enough water to get it to that consistency or do you have a specific amount/ratio? Sorry for all the questions, but if I can actually get in 800 cal/hour without stomach distress I would be pretty excited to see how it worked!

  9. I saw "Safeway bag guy" today again. He was doing intervals. Be scared.

  10. Yeah, who is that guy with the bags? Dave, have you seen the speedo guy lately?

  11. Dave,
    This is really interesting to me. I have never heard of ANYTHING being emptied/digested past 300 Cal in an hour. It would be amazing at preserving glycogen and increasing performance if we were not so caloricaly depleted later in the race. I would avoid the sweetened flavors due to the artificial sucrolose in there. The unflavored sounds good. Would you consider mixing it with a bit of electrolyte drink mix like EFS for flavor/salts, or would that defeat the purpose of rapid emptying?
    Barley drink, not just for breakfast anymore!

  12. I've seen "Safeway bag guy" a few times...I think his brother is the 'Crazy random stance statue guy' I see around the Wonderland Lake trailhead. Dude just freezes in a weird one-legged position...and stays there like an NYC street performer. Only...he does it for an audience of none..usually with a bag in his hand.

    I once saw a hobo wearing Hokas on the Creek Path by the HS once too.

  13. Hi Dave,
    I heard your interview on Trailrunner Nation. Thank you for answering so many questions!
    Hats off to you for managing your life! school, children, wife, running, you are superhuman!! LOL

    Hoka question: I have the Bondi B. I have a large foot, women's size 11. So I have a challenge finding my size. I live in AR and had to order these out of Oregon. Are these okay for the trail? My plan, after an injury on a paved 50 miler, was to use Hoka Bondi B for the road and go minimal, with Altra Lone Peak for the trail. I did a trail 50 K after a very long transition period and it went well. I ran a marathon in the Hoka and it went well. I do want to try the Hoka on the trail, but don't want to bite it because the shoes don't have the proper trail tread. What say you?

    Thank you,

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  15. Right now gears can do a huge different and the only downside is that we aren't aware that those things can make a huge difference.

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