Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Further Results - Big T 2012

Alright, so after a few days to recover the quads and reflect on Saturday's race we've compiled a trove of great stuff: 
Runners at this year's start - photo by Russella Serna
 Finishers and Records
  1. We had 129 finishers at Saturday's race, roughly half of which were first time participants. The highest number of finishers at Big T before Saturday was 121 in 2006 and 119 back in 1987. On an average year we generally have about 105 brave souls show up for the climb. So, we pretty much crushed that this year.
  2. Our new champions, Dustin Martin (1:24:22) and Katie Gillen (1:43:18), were not only first time winners but first time Big T participants. A terrific performance by both runners.
  3. Claudia Bergshon of Albuquerque ran to a new Age-Group Record in the women's 50+ division. Her time of 1:51:55 lowers the previous record held by Santa Fe's Deb Werenko of 1:55:33 (BT 2009), by over three minutes. Huge run by Claudia. We hope to have her back next year.
  4. In other top AG performances: Santa Fe's own Vin Kelley put up the second best time on record in the M60+ division (1:44:13) behind his record effort from BT 2011 (1:42:51). Kathy Kirsling of Tijeras put up the third best time on record for the F60+ division (2:27:08). She holds the division record of 2:21:08 from BT 2009. Ed Trzcienski of Albuquerque posted the sixth best time on record for the M50+ division with an 11th overall finish in a swift 1:37:38. Talking to Ed after the race he tells me that he moved to New Mexico recently from North Carolina. Guy's got mad skills, it was nice to have him in the field at Big T this year.
  5. We had several young faces out on the course Saturday which was a very pleasant sight. Santa Fe's Jessie Talbert ran to the fourth best time on record in the F19-under division in 2:19:11. David Naranjo of Santa Fe posted the third best time on record in the M19-under division in 1:51:42, followed closely by Boye Ladd Jr. of Albuquerque in the fourth best time on record in 2:00:59. Great job to these three athletes.
  6. Santa Fe's Ed Scott posted the 10th fastest time on record in the M60+ division (1:55:34). Ed also owns the third best performance in this division from Big T 2010 (1:49:35). Santa Fe's Robert Werner posted the 10th best time on record in the M70+ division (2:27:28). This was at least the fifteenth Big T finish for Bob going back to the inaugural race in 1985. I don't know which stat is more impressive.
  7. Lastly, the esteemed Otto Appenzeller of Albuquerque completed his sixth Big T with the fifth fastest time on record in the M80+ division. At 84 years, he is the oldest athlete to compete and finish the Big Tesuque Trail Run. Hats off to a stellar accomplishment.
Other Items:
  • Searchable results of Big T 2012 (and 23 of the previous 27 Big T races) are available with our new search widget here.
  • Official results with (bib numbers) are now posted at the Striders website in .pdf format - 2012 Results .pdf
  • Max has photo albums from the race posted to SmugMug. Find a photo or two that you like and make a custom print for your trophy case.
  •  Next year's 29th annual Big Tesuque Trail Run is scheduled for October 5, 2013. The first Saturday in October. Schedule a few more long runs for the year and knock a few minutes off of that PR.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Big Tesuque - Unofficial Results, 2012

Great race this morning, we had a record turnout for this 28th annual climb and descent. Albuquerque's Dustin Martin took the men's overall with a time of 1:24:22. Taos native Katie Gillen claimed the women's overall in 1:43:18. Congratulations to all of our finishers, to those who placed, and to those who ran to personal best.

 Update:  Official results are now posted (including bib numbers):  2012 Results (.pdf)
                A breakdown of results and new age-group bests is posted here:  BigT 2012 - Further Results

OverallTotal Time
1DustinMartin1:24:2223MAlbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Male
2JackSwift1:26:2538MEvergreenCO330 TO 39Male
3LucasFuentes1:27:0723MSanta FeNM220 TO 29Male
4MikeEhrmantraut1:27:2944MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
5CorneliusPuiulet1:30:4739MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
6AndrewHahn1:31:3939MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
7JacobWaltz1:32:5540MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
8DavidMarion1:33:4648MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
9JasonPatton1:35:4033MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
10DarylDagel1:36:0138MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
11EdwardTrzcienski1:37:3850MAlbuquerqueNM550 TO 59Male
12GeorgePerkins1:39:0732MLos AlamosNM330 TO 39Male
13RudyMartinez1:40:2033MFairviewNM330 TO 39Male
14KevinBrennan1:40:3936MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
15AdamLeigland1:40:5440MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
16AnthonyPomo1:41:2922MAlbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Male
17HermanAgoyo1:42:0837MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
18TyLujan1:42:3134MSanta CruzNM330 TO 39Male
19AndrasSzantho1:42:4435MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
20KatieGillen1:43:1822FSanta FeNM220 TO 29Female
21VinnieKelley1:44:1361MSanta FeNM660 TO 69Male
22RobertBaker1:44:2025MAlbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Male
23EricPeters1:46:2043MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
24David MSimpson1:46:4342MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
25ScottCarver1:47:1132MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
26SamSanchez1:48:5231MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
27DamienPassalacqua1:49:3535Msanta feNM330 TO 39Male
28SteveRogers1:50:0157MSanta FeNM550 TO 59Male
29MichaelSmall1:51:0851MSanta FeNM550 TO 59Male
30PrestonHollis1:51:1126MSanta FeNM220 TO 29Male
31MatthewScarborough1:51:1428MSanta FeNM220 TO 29Male
32JasonBachlet1:51:2442MFruitaCO440 TO 49Male
33DavidNarjano1:51:4218MSanta FeNM10 TO 19Male
34ClaudiaBergshon1:51:5550FAlbuquerqueNM550 TO 59Female
35AldenHoski1:51:5841MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
36AdamDelu1:52:3442MAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Male
37ErinSindewald1:53:0526FSanta FeNM220 TO 29Female
38WilliamWente1:53:0841MAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Male
39DavidBenalli1:53:4257MAlbuquerqueNM550 TO 59Male
40MicahelSzczepanski1:54:2435MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
41HadjiCorona1:55:1935MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
42MichaelSalmon1:55:3150MLos AlamosNM550 TO 59Male
43EdScott1:55:3465MSanta FeNM660 TO 69Male
44AmyTribolini1:55:4825FSanta FeNM220 TO 29Female
45RogerSquires1:56:1551MAlbuquerqueNM550 TO 59Male
46StefanSandukas1:56:3831MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
47JohnHolton1:56:3841MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
48LukeWashburn1:57:4430MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
49RaulRodriguez1:58:1147MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
50ScottSchatzberg1:59:0041MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
51IsaacConcha2:00:4750MTaosNM550 TO 59Male
52BoyeLadd Jr2:00:5919MAlbuquerqueNM10 TO 19Male
53DevinFarrell2:01:0047MLos AlamosNM440 TO 49Male
54JosephAragon2:01:3038MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
55WillliamDearholt2:01:4544MAlamosNM440 TO 49Male
56TiagoStock2:02:1440MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
57CodySheppard2:02:3663MGlorietaNM660 TO 69Male
58PeteGoldschmidt2:02:4048MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
59JasonJames2:02:5239MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
60KatieCutter2:02:5637FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
61JessicaTerrazas2:03:2830FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
62CasondraSobieralski2:04:4141FLas VegasNM440 TO 49Female
63CarolStewart2:05:2844FTesuqueNM440 TO 49Female
64DonaldMontoya2:05:3249MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
65MayaRamsay2:05:5830FPlacitasNM330 TO 39Female
66ChrisChavez2:06:1353MSanta FeNM550 TO 59Male
67ErikSpoerke2:08:1736MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
68EricaMicander2:09:0536FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
69StephenStout2:09:2739MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
70ErinMcSherry2:09:4332FAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Female
71alexaschirtzinger2:09:4831FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
72JosephPomo2:10:4520MAlbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Male
73GregorySmith2:10:4642MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
74MatthewWallace2:10:5036MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
75DanielLujan2:10:5226MSanta FeNM220 TO 29Male
76GeorgeRosenberg2:11:3852MAlbuquerqueNM550 TO 59Male
77SeanTrujillo2:11:5038MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
78PeterFant2:12:0652MSanta FeNM550 TO 59Male
79JoshMcDonald2:12:3537MAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Male
80AlexieRothman2:12:4627FEast BrunswickNJ220 TO 29Female
81JonathanToub2:12:5127MArlingtonVA220 TO 29Male
82MatthewPerez2:13:3633MSanta FeNM330 TO 39Male
83AriannaTrott2:13:3627FSanta FeNM220 TO 29Female
84MyrriahGomez2:16:0427FAlbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Female
85nataliepassalacqua2:16:4133Fsanta feNM330 TO 39Female
86GabrielBrowne2:16:4943MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
87BruceZimmerman2:16:5458MSanta FeNM550 TO 59Male
88danielcarr2:18:0929MalbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Male
89KarenDonovan2:18:2240F440 TO 49Female
90JimFisher2:19:0461MLongmontCO660 TO 69Male
91JessieTalbert2:19:1118FSanta FeNM10 TO 19Female
92KelleyKoehler2:20:0946FSanta FeNM440 TO 49Female
93StevenKamm2:24:5560MSanta FeNM660 TO 69Male
94TamiTorres2:26:0544FEl PradoNM440 TO 49Female
95KathleenKirsling2:27:0863FTijerasNM660 TO 69Female
96BonnieCummings2:28:3433FRio RanchoNM330 TO 39Female
97LisaMerrill2:28:4527F220 TO 29Female
98ChristieWente2:29:5941FAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Female
99GregoryHenneman2:30:5645MAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Male
100MelissaSmith2:33:0042FAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Female
101MariannJohnston2:33:0044FSanta FeNM440 TO 49Female
102AnnieMcCoy2:33:0134FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
103KatharineChartrand2:35:0247FLos AlamosNM440 TO 49Female
104LeslieByrne2:35:1127FRoweNM220 TO 29Female
105RobertLonebear2:35:1421MAlbuquerqueNM220 TO 29Male
106MayaHena2:35:4920FSanta FeNM220 TO 29Female
107JoeCrelier2:36:1942MAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Male
108CherylDuran2:36:4950FTijerasNM550 TO 59Female
109RobertWerner2:37:2872MSanta FeNM770 TO 99Male
110ErinByrne2:38:2631FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
111ArielPatashnik2:39:1825FSanta FeNM220 TO 29Female
112RachelPatton2:40:4731FAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Female
113DavidMontoya2:41:1657MSanta feNM550 TO 59Male
114DougEgli2:41:1755MSanta FeNM550 TO 59Male
115KelceyNichols2:41:3037FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
116JessicaLawrence2:41:3134FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
117RichardNeslund2:41:5064MLouisvilleCO660 TO 69Male
118NoelWagner2:42:4144MAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Male
119RochelleJim2:44:4433FAlbuquerqueNM330 TO 39Female
120AimeeAbeyta2:45:3440FAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Female
121CarolNeslund2:59:4250FLousivilleCO550 TO 59Female
122RaneeOnstolt3:00:4838FSanta FeNM330 TO 39Female
123JimWestmoreland3:12:3961MSanta FeNM660 TO 69Male
124LauriDodge3:15:1252FPlacitasNM550 TO 59Female
125LaurieMcCarthy3:15:1240FAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Female
126DanMcCarthy3:15:1249MAlbuquerqueNM440 TO 49Male
127MaxMujynya3:17:3245MSanta FeNM440 TO 49Male
128JackLynch3:56:2569MCorralesNM660 TO 69Male
129OttoAppenzeller5:00:0084MAlbuquerqueNM770 TO 99Male

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pacing Strategies on Big Tesuque

Big T Elevation Map (click to expand)
Like many trail races, the dilemma of pacing and planning an efficient effort is some tough business. We'll see if we can't lay out a bit of detail about the course to help you get up and back down in the fastest (and safest) manner.

The Course
Big Tesuque winds up Aspen Vista Trail to the Radio Towers on Big Tesuque Peak (12,000ft) roughly 5.8 miles away. Yes, it's all uphill although the grade of the road varies quite a bit along the way, and this creates extra challenges in itself above 10,000ft elevation.

Onward and upward
The average grade - as seen in some detail above - is about 7% with a dips below 5% (recovery!), but also a few spikes above 12%. Hold on to your ass over these steep parts, both uphill and down. Climbing these steep sections will freeze up your quads as they fill with blood and lactic acid. Your body will also creep into (or shift violently into) temporary oxygen debt which compounds the problem. For the above reasons most runners choose to fast-hike these sections, the idea is to recover a bit on the un-runnable parts and resume running with fresher legs on the easier grades. Use your arms to push off on your thighs while fast-hiking and help transfer some of the workload from your tired legs. Breath deeply, and as the lactic acid clears from your legs to a tolerable level, step back into a controlled steady run. Resist the urge to recover for overly long periods - greater than 15 or 20 seconds - it crushes the motivation to continue up and push yourself. You may see runners talking out loud to themselves, cursing the inner demons.

The folks up front will likely run the steeps regardless of the lactic freeze and oxygen debt. I've found the key to work through these sections with pace (a very subjective term in this instance), is to use fast but short choppy strides, and really swing the arms in an exaggerated pump. Low gears but high RPMs work well.

These steeper sections on the descent are easier to navigate but are mined with rocks and embedded trip-ups that can send a runner sprawling. You do not want this to happen. It will take much longer than 15-20sec of recovery to right yourself. More on this in a bit.

General Overview
Broken into its mile components, the course is easier to process. Mile one is by far the easiest. The grade is mild, you're surrounded by other runners, and you feel fresh. Miles two and three are steep and lonely. This is the steepest part of the course. Settle into a rhythm and distract yourself with the scenery of what is always a magnificent morning in the mountains. Miles four and five offer easier grades and by this point you're fully warmed up and moving well. The altitude will create challenges on even the smallest of rises and step-ups on the trail. The final mile includes a short ramp to the lower mountain ridge, then a nice nearly-level catwalk for a couple hundred meters under the chairlift, followed by a hairpin right turn and some deceivingly steep climbing to the turnaround at the Towers. Whew! Seriously though, that last bit after the hairpin is a bear.

The race leaders will often make the turn on the Peak in under 50min. I believe the record is somewhere around 46min flat. In any case this is just over 8min /mi pace over the first half of the race, a terrifically fast ascent at altitude. The top 10-15 runners can generally top-out in less than 60min, a pretty stiff benchmark to meet that requires a pace near 10min /mi and less. The median ascent time - summiting square in the middle of the field - is generally about 68min, or just less than 12min /mi pace.

Vin screaming through the technical Aspen Peak overlook
section. Vin actually took a fall shortly after this shot, visited
the hospital later to have his knee drained, then made an
appearance at the after-party. God bless ya' Vin.
Now, some runners excel at the climb but many more rely on a quick descent for a strong finish. If all goes well, a runner can expect to descend 3-5min /mi faster than the climb, but it ain't all ice cream and lollipops. The fatigue of the first hour takes its toll, and your legs and feet will begin to tire after nine or ten miles if your summer training hasn't been that strong (and it's seldom that it is, isn't it?). If you're pinwheeling your arms or feel out of control on the way down, then you're descending too fast and risking a fall. Falling is not advised, it can mess you up, sometimes badly. We have paramedics at the finish to help those with injuries but it's best to look for the warning signs before they occur. It can be tempting to look up at other runners, friends, or hikers as you pass on your way down but be cautioned that this is also a fine way to sprawl over the gravel and rock. Miles ten and eleven can be particularly dangerous because they are the most steep and your legs will likely be spent at this point. Mile twelve will include dozens of hikers and dogs that weren't there at 9am. Take care through these sections. Resist averting your eyes from the trail to smile and say hello.

The race leaders will often descend in close to 30min, or roughly 5min /mi. The median is closer to 46min, or roughly 8min /mi. We don't have a record of the quickest descent but it was likely as unsafe as it was speedy.

Race Reports from Previous Years
Santa Fe Trail Runner - 2011
High Desert Dirt - 2011

Santa Fe Trail Runner - 2010
High Desert Dirt - 2010

Apres Run
Burritos, coffee, and gatorade are traditional at the finish. Pace yourself appropriately through this bit and the awards and raffle that follow. Recommendations for post-post-race refreshments include our friends at the The Santa Fe Baking Company on Cordova Rd. They've got delicious pastry, a full menu, and a Strider's membership card will now get you a 20% discount. Second St. Brewery across the way in the Railyard Plaza has a patio and cold beer. The Tesuque Village Market has the same, although in a more northerly direction.

Cheers and a helluva race to all that plan to run this Saturday!

View Aspen Vista Trail (Big Tesuque Trail), Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What to Prepare for on Race Day

For the first time runner, and for those that haven't been up on Aspen Vista for a while (like 364 days) we've put together a brief primer of what to expect this Saturday and how to prepare for it.

It's going to be chilly up there (in the 30's), particularly before the sun crests the ridge and the climbing begins up the trail. Bring a light hat and gloves. A bulky ski hat is going to be a bit warm after the first 10 min. of climbing and will be tougher to stuff in a pocket as the day heats up. Gloves can serve a second function and help as protection during the descent (Caution: try not to fall). Some folks however will just tuck them in their waistband when it gets too warm.

Some runners find that the cold temps can really stiffen the legs which is an unwanted handicap when you're trying to crank along up a steep mountain. Base layer shorts are a good option here. Running tights aren't generally common but can be very helpful. Sweats and skipants are helpful options pre-race but not great during the race itself.

It can snow up there although none is in this week's forecast. Last year's first snow arrived the day after Big T. We ran through fog and mist in 2006 (it was awesome).

Aid Stations
There are two stations on the course. One at the large elbow bend at about 2.5mi, and the other at the summit. Both will have water and gatorade. Some runners will carry small water bottles with their own solution. It's advisable to all runners to pin an energy bar or gel (or candy or half a pb&j sandwich) to your waistband to consume sometime during the race. This is particularly so for runners that don't regularly run for 2hrs + or aren't especially acclimatized. The calories will help stave off bonking, which can get dangerous in the last couple miles of the descent. If you need help with this, make a trip to The Running Hub and they'll help you out.

There will of course be coffee and tea available pre-race to warmup (maybe hot chocolate?), as well as burritos and maybe some bagels to munch on when you've made it down. 

There are two Santa Fe National Forest stalls at the Aspen Vista trailhead. There is often a sizable wait as race time approaches. Plan accordingly. There is also one barren old mountain outhouse near the towers, just off the trail. It is known to several runners as 'New Mexico's highest outhouse!". I haven't been in there in at least two years and cannot attest to its current condition. Know that it's there in an emergency or for a sweet photo-op.

New Mexico's highest outhouse
New Mexico's highest outhouse - just below the Tesuque Peak towers, 11,950ft
Aspen Vista can accommodate a lot of parking but the lot does fill with 150+ runners, volunteers, and spectators (and hikers/aspen-watchers). Those planning to arrive past 8:30am will likely need to park along the road. If you plan to register on race day give yourself a bit of time and try to arrive by 8:15am (or drop into the Running Hub to register in person by Friday). Drive time from town to Aspen Vista is approx. 40min. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pre-Race Update

Wilderness Gate and aspens at the group run this
morning.   photo by Max Mujynya
One week and counting. The weather is looking fine, the mountains are looking fine. Online race registration eclipsed our previous high on Friday. Continued registration will be ongoing both online and in person at The Running Hub until Friday at noon, then of course on race day until ~8:45am.

We've keyed in a few more year's of results to the database. We now have searchable results and age group records back to 1994 (missing years 96-97). So, sixteen of the race's twenty-seven years. Gettin' there. Slowly but we're getting there. The database is showing two runners that have completed 14 races going back to '94.

  - Jim Westmoreland, and
  - Peter Fant

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cold Spell Ushers in the Start of Autumn

Cooler temperatures and lots of rain these last few days. Not enough of either though to bring the season's first snow to the peaks above town. Rumor has it that Taos and Red River might have had a brush of white stuff. Taken together, the shift in weather is a big green light for the aspen groves to make preparations for their grand Fall show.

First snow up top last year:  September 10th

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big Tesuque Results Widget

Patty Danforth for the win - a finisher in 8 of the last 9 races
Nearly four weeks until race day (Oct 6th!), gearing up for a ripper of a race this year. So, we've got our results compiled back to the 2003 1992 race, plus '85-'87 (see the tabs above). We've got a listing in progress of our phenomenal sponsors, most of which have been with us for twenty years strong. We've got a coursemap on the sidebar there for those interested in printing a map to the trailhead and getting an idea of the Big Tesuque course itself (click through for detail). And, we've got links to register either online, in person, or by mail.

Well we now have a sweet searchable database of the compiled race results, courtesy of our crack Big T software team (Mr. Tiago Stock, waddup!). Key in a last name (or first, or both) for a quick summary of past results through the years (back to '03 '85 minus five years were still searching for). We'll add additional years as we sort through our time-capsule of results.

Find your Big T results summary here!

Key findings from our new results widget: We have 42 runners that ran in at least four of the last nine races; 11 from that bunch ran in five; 4 ran in six (Jim Owens - club president, Robert Anderson - who drives in from Thoreau each year, John McPhee, and Edmundo Perez); 5 ran in seven (Peter Fant - race director, Jose Perez, Michael Stanley, Jim Westmoreland, and Chris Chavez); and just 1 has run in at least eight, Patty Danforth.

If you see Patty on the 6th be sure to congratulate her and share a high-five.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

List of Previous Champions

So just who are the folks that have shown they can both climb with light-footed ease then descend with abandon? Well we wanted to know too, and have begun amassing a list of past champions with the help of saved newspaper clippings and old Mile Marker Newsletters.

Oliver Trujillo of Pojoaque (1987) and Erica Larson Baron of Los Alamos (2002) have the speediest round trips documented so far. 

See the list in progress here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012 - Big Tesuque Trail Run

The date is set for this year's Big T, in its twenty-eighth year and still rolling. Saturday Oct. 6th is the morning to mark on your calendar. The esteemed Peter Fant will be directing the race once again, his sixteenth in a row I believe. The race is amassing enough history that we felt we should document it a bit better hence the new race website. Check back as we populate past years' results and stories from races past.

The race is held annually on the first Saturday in October. You can sense that it's coming around when the morning temperatures begin to dip - the first signs of Fall - and that's just what's been happening these last few days.

Registration for this year's race is $25, $22 for Striders' members before race day. Register online at, or download a registration form to mail in or drop off at The Running Hub. The race once again benefits WINGS of America youth running programs.