Speed Dating the Grand Canyon

By: Justin Barker

Justin on Kaibab Trail. Photo: Jeff Rueppel

Justin on Kaibab Trail. Photo: Jeff Rueppel

It’s a magical moment when you find yourself fighting the urge to vomit and fall to your knees as bats in the moonlight beat the air next to your face. The South Kaibab trail is relentless at hour 14. Two miles to go, I was “running” a 60 minute mile. I looked down the moonlit canyon and could easily make out switchbacks lying in a pile at my feet. The bright half moon allowed me to ascend without a headlamp. It’s just as well; I needed the view.

R2R2R_KaibabTrail

Photo: Jeff Rueppel

14 hours ago I did use the headlamp as I jogged down the trail with two friends. They had never met, and I hadn’t seen the one in over 10 years. We high-stepped over water-bars, logs, and rocks, chatted about old times, got to know each other and let ourselves get carried away with optimism. One member of the party even announced that he was sure to make it back before sundown. The previous evening at the trailhead, an experienced runner gave me some advice: “It’s not a race to the North Rim. You have to make it back across the river. From there, you can crawl out.” Though I thought about it, I didn’t try crawling. I doubt it would have been much easier.

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Photo: Jeff Rueppel

The strongest runner had the first wildlife encounter. He had pulled well ahead and met a bighorn sheep on the trail. The sheep eyed him for a moment then advanced and squeezed by. Less than an hour later, we passed four deer grazing only feet from the trail across the creek from the Bright Angel campground. Only one of us noticed.

We stopped at Phantom Ranch to refill water. My friend bragged and entertained the campers who stood outside the cantina warming their hands around their morning coffee. Reactions to our endeavor varied from the incredulous to the dismissive.

After Phantom Ranch the trail climbs slowly through a box canyon of nearly 2 billion year old schist and granite to more open areas near Cottonwood campground and Ribbon Falls. I would like to have seen the falls but I didn’t feel a detour would be wise.

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Message board at the North Rim. Photo: Justin Barker

At Pump House we found a chalkboard with a mysterious message. “Gerd #74 03/08/14″. We pondered it’s meaning, added our own names and refilled our water. I decided to walk the remaining 5.5 miles to the North Rim. My friends pulled well ahead and I didn’t see them again until about three miles later when I heard a booming laugh. This was Gerd’s way of introducing himself. Gerd was coming down the second leg of his 74th crossing. He must have seen many like us in so many crossings, yet he was keen to talk. He joked, gave words of encouragement, laughed and continued down the trail. The next human I saw was a man on a mission. He loped past and grunted his greeting. I could practically see his earbuds pulsing. Shortly after, the leader of our group came running by. He was about 10 minutes ahead of me.

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Justin at the North Rim. Photo: Jeff Rueppel

We had been advised to carry microspikes in case of ice on the trail. I had forgotten mine but it turned out not to be an issue. There was some snow on the trail, but it wasn’t hazardous. The second member of my party was waiting for me at the north rim with Brian, an Arizona Trail hiker. Brian was looking at the last 80 miles of an 800 mile hike. He seemed envious of our food.

The north rim is cold in March. We didn’t linger. As I ran back into the Canyon I began to feel the effects of the distance. I gave up running just after Cottonwood campground and walked into Phantom Ranch. I was happy to find my friends waiting for me. We were all going to come out of the Canyon well after dark. I had read somewhere not to worry, that the canyon is magical after dark. Whoever wrote that was right.

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We finished our adventure after 16 hours, 42 miles and 11,00 feet of climbing. The Grand Canyon is a special place. If you are a long distance runner you owe it to yourself to go there. You don’t have to run across and back in one day, but you should at least put your hands and feet in the dirt. Do it for whatever reason drives you. Do it for that magical moment when you don’t give up.

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Justin and Jeff after completing the Rim2Rim2Rim.

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Honey Stinger/Bontrager Team Announcement

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 Honey Stinger, the leading manufacturer of honey-based nutritional products, is proud to announce the members of the 2014 Honey Stinger-Bontrager Mountain Bike Race Team.This year’s team will ride Trek bicycles equipped withBontrager parts and equipment. Members of the team will compete in local, regional and national level mountain bike races across the country, including the US Pro XCT. Clad in honeycomb kits, the 20-person roster will be fueled by Honey Stinger’s organic waffles, gels, chews, energy bars and protein bars.

“It’s inspiring to see how our great products and a fun atmosphere have grown a group of employees and friends into an elite level race team,” says Honey Stinger head of marketing Len Zanni.

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2014 team members include multiple-time Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS) champion Abby Strigel, Winter Park Epic Singletrack Series champs Tammy Saddle and Kelly Magelky and former Bontrager Pro Cycling Team member Nate Wilson. Other members include Colin Osborn, Peter Kalmes, Hannah Williams, Sam Chovan, Daniel Matheny, Wade Newsom, Ezekiel Hersh, Trevor Walz, Nate Bird, Travis Scheefer, Jeremy Young, Rose Alfond, Chris Brandt, Rob Peterson, Bill Gamber and Len Zanni.

 

Sponsors of the 2014 Honey Stinger-Bongtrager Mountain Bike Race Team also include Big Agnes, Smartwool, Achieve Health & Performance, TrainingPeaks, Osprey, Planet Foods, Alpina Capital, Backcountry.com, BAP!, ButcherKnife Brewery, Feldman Nagel, LLC and Mountain Flyer.

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Honey Stinger team participates in the 23rd Annual Steamboat Pentathlon

Steamboat Pentathlon group

 

As Honey Stinger being a proud sponsor of the 23rd Annual Steamboat Pentathlon we also participated in the event with an all-female team.  Consisting of 5 ladies, 3 from Honey Stinger and 2 from our sister company Big Agnes.   Our team came charging out of the gates with one goal in mind… FUN!  The day began with epically beautiful temperatures and skies that were as blue as can be.  The race start was a mass of over 200 participants ranging from 8 year old kids, teens and adults.  Some were out to race and others were there to dress up in their finest costumes with a goal of completing the course.  This is a one of a kind race consisting of 5 portions.  The first being a run up the mountain and ski down to the transition area where the snow shoe runner takes off, next the skate skier, then the mountain biker and finally the road runner.  There are 2 distances available short course and standard that can either be done individually, as a duo or as a team.   Although our team, Stingas Keep Stingin’, did not win any awards we sure looked good in our bee costumes and had fun doing it!  Thank you Steamboat Pentathlon for a great event!

Steamboat Pentathlon group linda and reall


Steamboat Pentathlon krisit and reall Steamboat Pentathlon krisit Steamboat Pentathlon Rose

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Steamboat Stinger 2014 August 16th-17th

Kelly Magelky

This year we are proud to announce the fourth annual Steamboat Stinger,  The Steamboat Stinger, now a Colorado classic, aims to provide a challenging backcountry race experience showcasing some of Steamboat Springs’ finest singletrack.

REGISTRATION IS NOT YET OPEN. WE ARE AWAITING FINAL PERMIT APPROVAL. WE WILL ANNOUNCE RACE REGISTRATION OPENING DATES SHORTLY. PLEASE CHECK BACK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Just like in years past, in addition to the mountain bike race, we will also feature a full and half trail marathon as well. These two events can be separate, or if you wish to take the ultimate challenge, you can particiapte in both events- the 50 mile solo mountain bike race, and then the 26.2 trail marathing the next day – to be crowned King Sting or Queen Bee of the Steamboat Stinger.

These events are true to Steamboat Springs’ tradition: epic fun with an added bit of western flair. Giddy up!

THE MTB COURSE:
You can expect singletrack…lots of it. Beginning at the Howelson Hill Ski Area right in the heart of Steamboat, the course takes an extended detour deep into the beautiful backcountry of Routt County before returning to the transition/finish area. Racers will wind through open meadows, deeply-cupped, aspen-lined, narrow Colorado loam and wild sage gardens offering incredible views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. It’s a 50-mile race, plus or minus a bit, composed of two 25-mile loops – 100% of which are on dirt featuring 90% singletrack. Full course info coming soon.

THE TRAIL MARATHON / HALF MARATHON COURSE:
The course for the running races have yet to be finalized but will be very similar, with the 26.2 Marathon course being nearly identical to one lap of the mountain bike course plus a bit more to reach marathon distance.

The Half Marathon trail will not include Ridge Trail or Beall Trail. Full course info coming soon.

ANY MORE QUESTIONS?

Shoot us an email (PLEASE DON’T ASK ABOUT REGISTRATION OPENING DATES) at SteamboatStinger@HoneyStinger.com

Official Steamboat Stinger site located here: http://www.honeystinger.com/steamboatstinger.html

Follow us on Twitter @sbsstinger

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Honey Stinger partners with Warrior Hike

Honey Stinger is proud to announce a partnership withe the Warrior Hike “Walk off the War” program. With more and more veterans returning from overseas with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s become all the more important to find the proper outlet and sanctuary that the outdoors and long distance hiking can provide. The Warrior Hike program has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to provide an experience for today’s veterans to transition back to normal life. Honey Stinger is proud to support Warrior Hike.

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Hive Athlete Profile: Tad Elliott

Tad Podium

It’s not often you find such a multi-talented athlete who is also only 25 years of age and so accomplished. But for Tad Elliott, its just a way of life. This winter Tad is looking to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi for Nordic Skiing and Honey Stinger is proud to support him! You can keep up with Tad via Twitter: @tadelliott

Name: Tad Elliott

Age: 25

Club: Team HomeGrown

Tad and Sylvan

 Hometown: Durango, CO

Current Residence: Durango, CO

Hobbies: Mountain Biking, Golfing, being a twin.

Athletic accomplishments/ race results: 3x Skiing National Champion,      2x U23 Mountain Bike National Champion.

Favorite Honey Stinger product: Cherry Cola Chews, Organic Lemon Waffles.

Favorite moment skiing/Biking: Anchoring the World Championship Relay Team in 2013. Racing the Houffalize Mountain Bike World cup 2010

Houffalize WC

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Honey Stinger Enters Youth Market with Kids’ Organic Waffles

Kids Waffles

 

We are pleased to announce our newest product line, the Kids’ Organic Waffles. They will be available across the country at grocers and specialty retailers in October.

“We often hear from our customers that it’s nearly impossible to keep a stock of Honey Stinger Waffles in the pantry because their kids are always eating them,” states Rich Hager, chief operating officer at Honey Stinger. “With these parents in mind, we decided it was time to introduce our popular Organic Waffles in a smaller serving size that is ideal for everything from school lunches to snacks on a family hike.”

Honey Stinger Kids’ Organic Waffles will initially be available in Honey and Chocolate flavors and will be sold in boxes of six individually wrapped waffles. Each waffle is 80 calories and contains no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or trans fats. A box of six waffles will have an MSRP of $4.99 and retailers have the option to sell waffles packaged for individual sale for an MSRP of $0.89.

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Sadle and Magelky take Winter Park Series Overall

Kelly Magelky and Tammy Sadle, 2013 Winter Park Series Champs

Kelly Magelky and Tammy Sadle, 2013 Winter Park Series Champs

After a strong 2013 racing campaign, both Kelly Magelky and Tammy Sadle have proven they are indeed champions. This year they took it a step further by sealing the Winter Park Series Overall. Both have been on a tear in the later part of the season with great results, and what better way to put the cherry atop the season than to have two Honey Stinger/Bontrager riders on the top step of the podium!

Big congrats to both Kelly Magelky and Tammy Sadle!

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2013 Fontana Winter Series Round #4 from ODI/ Specialized

 

Although the snow is still falling here in Steamboat, in California it’s full throttle race season! This year Honey Stinger is proud to support the ODI/Specialized Devolopment Team

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After many early season changes it was round 4 that the ODI / Specialized Development team finally got the program dialed, and firing on all cylinders!  The final touches to the bikes were handled early Saturday morning, and the team rolled into the weekend eager to race!

As always Saturday’s practice session was from 11-4pm.  Our team mechanic John Hall put the finishing touches on our team bikes, and the kids were ready to shred their brand new Specialized DH Bikes!  The course was similar to round 3 with a few minor changes in the main rock section.   Team Coach Aaron Gwin was on hand Saturday to show our kids the fast lines, as well as making sure the bikes were setup correctly.   Both Jason and Charlie both felt confident and fast headed into Sunday’s race!

Sunday was race day, and Mother Nature decided to throw a little wind in the mix! After both riders took their early morning practice, both were dialed in and ready for their race runs!  The plan was to race smooth, pedal hard, and give 100%!

Jason “Shredder” Schroeder was the first team rider to come down.  Jason’s run was very smooth top to bottom, including a solid effort on the wall!  His run was good enough to take the win in the Cat 1 15-18 expert class!   Jason had this to say about his weekend, “Super Pumped to come away with the win this weekend! My new Specialized Demo DH bike is working amazing!  It was a solid weekend for the team.”  “Gnarly” Charlie Harrison was next, and he was looking to better his 6th place finish from the last race!  After a few minor bobbles up towards the top of the course, he pulled it together for a 3rd place finish!  Charlie had this to say, “I was pretty stoked on 3rd, I made 2 mistakes in my run, but I gave it everything I had and I’m happy to be on the podium.  My fitness has been getting better every week, and the new bike is working awesome!”

Overall a great race for the team, and the momentum is building for the upcoming National races later this year!  Next event is the Fontana Winter Series Finals in 2 weeks! See you there!

Thanks to all our sponsors!

Words by: Rich Houseman

Photos by: Dan Severson

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Paper Shredder

Paul Gemignani, one of Honey Stinger’s top snowboarders from our Hive Sponsorship program has been impressing us for years with his creative lines down the steepest slopes, and tricks in the powder. Not only that, but he can put together one hell of a video.

Check out his latest, Paper Shredder

Paper Shredder from Paul Gemignani on Vimeo.

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