Missed but not Forgotton

I just got back from the awards ceremony for END-WET, our 36 mile downriver swim which took place yesterday.  It was a great event, despite the river being 6 feet into flood stage and plenty of debris in the water adding to the challenge of swimming such a distance.  As a race director, I couldn't be happier with how everything came together and how the volunteers, support kayakers, city officials, local sponsors, and swimmers themselves came together to help create such a great adventure.  This event is special to me because it has a big impact on the community in which I live and contributes to a new vision of the river within which it is held.  

However, as a race director I also have way too much going on in my head not to miss a few things now and then, which was the case at that awards ceremony.  So here's two important things that I missed:

The relay team.  Every year at END-WET we've had a group of local girls who have not only formed a relay team, but both won the relay category and been the first swimmers to finish the distance.  This year they were back and although they were the only relay team this year (we gotta get more relay teams!!! Come on you local swimmers - the river is really fun to swim in!!!), they carried on their tradition of swimming hard and once again beat all the solo swimmers to the finish line (although solo winner Kevin Kopplin put up quite a fight!).  These girls, led by former collegiate swimmer Hannah Whitehead, deserved recognition at the awards ceremony not only for their achievement (each swimmer still went 6-9 miles!) but also for their continued local support of our event.  Sorry for the oversight ladies!

The Elder.  Bill Daugherty was one of the solo swimmers that began but did not finish the event.  He made it 21 miles before withdrawing from the event.  We at ENDracing want to offer him a heart congratulations for sticking it out this far--which is still longer than most open water swims out there.  What makes his accomplishment particularly remarkable, despite his not finishing the full distance, is that Bill is 71 years old.  Yep, that's right - seven-one.  I only hope to still be alive when I'm 71... If I've got the courage, confidence, and vitality that Bill does when I am his age I'll be over the moon. We were so happy to have you in the water at our event Bill.  

If you were part of the event and can think of anything else I missed, please let me know - we'll look forward to hearing all the stories over the coming weeks and seeing the great photos that Wes Peck (our resident photographer) always takes.

Cheers, Andy


Essential Apps for Cyclists*--by Amelie Cartwright

A lot of cyclists have enjoyed a number of apps made for biking since the humble beginnings of the iPhone. Now that Apple’s smartphone is in its 5th installment, bikers have hundreds of apps to choose from on the mobile market. The apps range from system tools that teach users how to fix bikes to useful navigational resources. Here are some of the best ones that are available for download through the app store: 

Cycle Tracker Pro 
Cycle Tracker Pro is an app that offers statistical data to bikers who like to keep track of their progress. The information obtained by Cycle Tracker Pro include the speed, distance and time traveled, altitude, and calories burned by a person during a cycling session. Apart from keeping track of data, the app allows users to set a playlist that will play whenever they need motivation for cycling. Cycle Tracker Pro is available for $4.99. 

Bike Repair 
Avoid overpaying repair shops again for doing minor fixes on your bike with the Bike Repair app. The app is very easy to understand so even complete beginners can mend their bikes in an instant. What’s good about the app is that all the information is pre-loaded so users won’t need to connect to the internet to get help in fixing their bikes. Its offline feature makes it a very handy tool when users need a quick fix while in the middle of nowhere. Bike Repair can be downloaded for $1.99. 

Strava has similar features with the Cycle Tracker Pro. However, instead of using it to track data, the app is more popularly used by cyclists for its social aspects. With Strava, users can upload their cycling routes on Facebook so they can see who among their friends have also taken a similar route in the past. They may also upload pictures directly via Instagram using the app. Cyclists also use the app to form biking routes with other Strava users. Strava is free for download but it also has a premium plan for $6.49 a month. Strava’s premium edition provides users post-ride stats and long-term analysis on their biking habits. 
These cycling apps prove that mobile phones aren’t only tools that are good for browsing or playing music. Today, phones can be used for one’s safety and progress. In a statement made by Gaming Realms, entertainment site Bubble Bonus Bingo's parent company, the mobile app business continues to grow, potentially becoming a $40 billion industry by next year. The numbers reveal that smartgadgets are becoming indispensable tools to people and therefore will get more apps that can help them with their everyday life in the future. 

*You probably noticed that this is a guest post--ENDracing will occasionally get requests for placement of content on the site. Most of them don't make the cut and never appear, but some, like this one, pass on information that we are excited to hear about (check out app number two!) and find useful enough to share.  Cheers--ENDracing.


How much can one person do?

This same question can mean lots of things, many of them containing far more nobility than the one I am actually asking.  But never-the-less, I'll admit that I've been contemplating this less meaningful version for some time as I muddle through my own training and mull over my own endurance ambitions. The pursuit of what can be thought of as 'peak' achievements in the world of endurance sports consumes many of the people who enter into this strange and hard to understand (for those not directly involved) world.  Running 100 miles.  Racing for days.  Riding for centuries.  Men and women have demonstrated that human potential is something to be in awe of--the mind and body, under the right circumstances can do seemingly impossible things.  Passion, dedication to one's craft, disciplined training, and will-power applied over decades--combined with science and a loss of the more 'obvious' challenges that unexplored places once offered--have pushed people to incredible heights.  'Peak' events in each major discipline--races or efforts hard and long enough to make a bucket list for all but the most dedicated participants have gotten exponentially harder than they were a generation ago.  These events are now becoming commonplace, routinely reaching their participant limits within hours of registration opening. 

There is no doubt that the world of the ultra-endurance athlete is no longer a lonely place as it once was.

But it is still, at least to my knowledge, a pretty segmented one.  And this, is where my fascination lies.  Is one person capable of achieving success in ultra-endurance across disciplines?  Is it humanly possible to develop one's abilities to compete in say a 100 mile paddle race and a 135 mile winter bike race?  Would any of the folks bold enough to sign up for a 100 mile trail run even consider also signing up for END-WET, our 36 mile swim?  When we put out our Undead Hall of Fame challenge last year, over 30 athletes answered the call and attempted to bike 100 miles of singletrack (in 12 hours) on Saturday and then run 50 miles (also in 12 hours) only half a day later.  Only four were able to do it, and of those, only one might possibly hope to finish the swim.  What kind of person would it take to be able to perform at such an impressive level, over such a broad spectrum of disciplines, within a narrow time window?  Just how much can one person do?

I'm not sure yet how or when this question will be answered, but I'm hoping to play a part in the inquiry (not as a participant mind you, but as an event director!).  And while the question (as I ask it) might not inspire world peace, seeking the answer will certainly keep me inspired here in my piece of the world.