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pic by WF Master Student Kavík of ilg on Christmas Day CHURNING OUT consecutive Triple Day Workouts to surge at the month-long finish of the Merry Vertmas International Vertical Gain Race by Aravaipa Running®.

Gain as much Vertical Feet on your own two feet as you possible can from Dec 1 – Dec.25 (race ends midnight).


Hec, this race will be fun.  As a rookie?  Just fun for a AG (Age Group) Podium.


This race?

Turned into a Project.

This race?

Required a WHOLE LOT MORE EFFORT than ilg originally thought.

This race?

C(om)pletely flipped ilg’s notions on gaining vert.

Original thought upon registering;
“Ha!  This will be fun!  Hec,will just crank out a some solid Ski Mountaineering sesh’s in the high peaks and it won’t monkey-wrench early season nordic racing training.  yeah, got this. wanna support my friend Jamil, so, okay…”

Register for race.

Intent: AG Podium.

Goal: get solid Vert every day…start conservative and finish like a thundering wild Horse (like Dewa does).

Race Starts:  i tap out a solid Hogsback x 2 effort (Hogsback has been featured many times in my YouTube Vlog…it’s a 600′ vert climb in literally ilg’s backyard). was pretty pleased.  went to OUT&BACK’s Race Website to log in and upload ilg’s Garmin-tracked vert.


24-hours into this month-long race?

ilg was already off the back by 8,000′ IN MY 50-59 AG!!!!

f*#k! these peeps are SERIOUS!!!!


have to recalibrate…








so, that first week?  turned ilgself inside out;  knocking out Ophir Pass on SkiMo’s, Twin Buttes, Laps on Smelter Mountain (1k in 1-mile), Animas Mountain…all the local HARD CORE CLIMBS…




Began learning and leaning upon shorter, steeper more quickly accessed local terrain:   Neds Hill,  Sky Steps, Do Drop In (Suicide on Strava, if y’all are following ilg on Strava which is ilg’s training journal), etc.   the result?  ilg is climbing up the Leaderboard but way too slowly for a podium… must change, must pivot…tactics, ilg!  examined the data…


CRISIS! still way off the back, yet? climbing into the top twenty.  studied where and how the leaders are gaining so much Vert per workout.  Solution!?  KARMA!   See, ilg was a Crew Lead when Trails 2,000 built our “Sky Steps”… 250 vertical per lap of the 5oo+ stairs.  THAT was ilg’s key!  GO SHORT AND STEEP AND LIVE THE SPIRIT OF REPETITION or wave goodbye to the podium!

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Sky Stairs;  building section 250 of which ilg was the Crew Lead.  Still?  Reckon it’s the most aesthetic  section, yet?  ilg is partisan!   There was a lot of math involved to create the seductive bend and build the section so that the geologic slip of the slope would enable my section to endure over the decades.    ilg is spiritually touched that so many thousands have enjoyed the Sky Steps, it was a Sacred Duty to help forward to manifest and then build!   the White Karma rebound?  These Sacred Stairs?  Got the Merry Vertmas Race “W”  for ilg!  



KAVíK to the Rescue!
if y’all are Following ilg on social, and certainly on my YouTube Vlog you know well Master Student Kavík!  once again?  this stalwart Master Student was the FIRST to answer ilg’s plea for a driver.  Yah, a Driver.  See,  what ilg learned early on in this Race?  it ain’t the uphill suffering that can DERAIL you,  it’s the resultant DOWNHILL…so?  ilg figgered a way around the month long downhill joint beating and?

that’s how ilg SURGED to post up a HUGE FINAL CRUSH to WIN the 50-59 AG and?  finish 11th OA in the 383 strong international field.


feels Go(o)d to have done this amazing race.


encourage all of you to consider it next year, yet?

Racing Merry Vertmas is NO JOKE!   it will stress all your support crew, family, and finishes on Christmas Day at midnight which really stresses all family.   so yeah,  reckon in ilg’s twilight years?  really posting up this AG Win and top 15 OA in an international competition, really helped my daughter see Her daddy just dwindling yet not giving up and surging like a Diné Banshee at the very end to take the W?  is gonna seep deeeeeeep into both Her and ilg’s spiritual cells.

and THAT is what racing SHOULD be;  a SPIRITUAL PILGRIMAGE for the Warrior Athlete and ALL his/her family, crew, and friends/sponsors/fans…

Deep Gratitude to Kavik,  my family,  my sponsors…

we pulled out a SOLID WIN in a SOLID RACE at racing age 58… but?

who’s counting, right!??!


head bowed,

follow ilg on YouTube; publishing every Monday at 6a MST!


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