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January 30, 2010

Tahoe Dreaming; Salomon SpeedCross2 Review

This weekend’s video post features a couple of marginally-related topics that eventually point to one of the few race commitments I’ve made so far this year. There’s also a product review for your perusal, but you’ll have to click away for it.

For several weeks I’ve been testing the Salomon SpeedCross2, the lightest shoe from a company that is making great strides in the world of elite trail running. I was originally going to include it here as part of the minimalist trail shoe series I’m cobbling together, but the shoe turned out to be a bit more substantial than I thought, so I punted the review over to FeedTheHabit.com. While it may not be a true minimal shoe, it’s actually one of the most comfortable and rugged shoes I’ve worn all winter, so the review is worth a look.

Staying on the subject of Salomon, I’m long overdue in posting an update on ultrarunning phenom Kilian Jornet, who I first mentioned here before his attempt to break the Tahoe Rim Trail circumnavigation record. Jornet is a Salomon guy, and the company has put together an extremely compelling video series on his exploits leading up to the Rim Trail run. Two of them are embedded below, and you can click here to watch the entire series at the Salomon Running website.

The first video clip features beautiful vistas above and around the lake, and also emphasizes just what a team effort this “solo” record attempt entails. Despite his remarkable physical gifts, Jornet depends heavily on pacers and a support crew to help him achieve success – making him just like every other ultrarunner in that regard. Another little perk of this video is the glimpses you get of several notable trail runners who showed up to help Kilian’s run, including a very talented blogger who accompanied him for part of the way.

"Kilian and Co", from Salomon Running (click to play):

The second installment is equal parts amusing and reverential. It consists mainly of evening scenes around the lake, along with several shots of Kilian NOT running. He’s sitting in a chair to eat, he’s curling up for a nap, he’s wandering off course in search of a lake … at times he seems more like a kid at adventure camp than a world-class ultrarunner. (That is, until you see his finishing time.) The clip concludes to the tune of a classic Negro spiritual, a fitting reflection of how places like Tahoe and runners like Kilian have the ability to lift up and inspire us – which again speaks to the very essence of ultrarunning.

"Hymn to the Rim", from Salomon Running (click to play):

As I mentioned, I’m fairly delinquent in discussing these videos that were first posted last fall; I was only reminded of them after concurrently doing the Salomon review and finalizing some race plans for the summer. I recently volunteered to be a pacer for my soul sister who will be attempting her second Tahoe Rim Trail 100-mile finish this July. (I did, however, leave her the option of dumping me for someone better as race day gets closer – I’m pretty liberal in my relationships that way.)

If it happens, it will be my first time on the Rim Trail, as well as my debut as a pacer - and it’s hard to say which part of that excites me more. If I can tap into even a small part of the mojo that I feel from watching these videos or reading Gretchen’s 2008 race report, I think the evening will be one of the highlights of my summer.

It’s also a good impetus to keep me training … because believe me, that girl is fast.


Gretchen 1/31/10, 5:47 PM  

Aww, you called me your soul sister. :)!! You're the coolest. And what is this "if it happens" crap? Don't go trying to get yourself off the hook here, kid. Forget it. Although, I think you'd better reconsider this "fast" thing of which you speak. Did you actually read that race report you linked? I suggest your training include a whole lot of walking. And pretend you have a whiny girl with you while you're walking. (Perhaps you have a training partner who can stand in for that role?)

That being said, I'll be your Kilian Jornet if you'll be my Bryon Powell. ;-)

Anonymous,  2/1/10, 5:04 PM  

great videos. just makes me wonder why the major networks can't seem to cover WS, AC, Leadville, Wasatch, JFK or any other major ultra.
thanks for sharing.

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