There are a number of reason I chose to work with UltrAspire. Sponsors love the idea of product testing by athletes who are pushing endurance training limits, and thus, their products. However, it’s more often than not simply lip service, or a good show (or photoshoot). That is not the case with UltrAspire. As one of their athletes I actually get to hammer on early versions of products. I provide feedback, and they listen – imagine that.
Case in point: At the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show I had mentioned JaredCampbell and my plan to tackle the Nolan’s 14. The basic idea for Nolan’s came from a group of ultrarunners back in the day trying to figure out how many “fourteeners” – peaks with summits 14,000 feet above sea level or higher – they could put into one 100 mile route. The route they came up with is roughly 100 miles and starts at the Leadville Fish Hatchery. Only the start, finish and summits are requirements, so you can take any route you chose between peaks. In order; Mount Massive, Mount Elbert, La Plata, Huron, Missouri, Belford, Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Antero, Tabeguache, and Shavano.
Adventure of this sort often requires customization to your pack and good endurance training
I had some basic needs:
- With limited access to crew (and therefore water & food), I needed to be able to pull a bottle out and dip in a stream and go.
- With the inevitable storms that come through Colorado in August I also wanted to easily be able to pull my jacket out and throw it on over everything, again – without having to stop, take the pack off and fish around in it.
- I needed to be able to carry very basic kit: map, rain jacket, emergency phone, arm warmers, food, etc.
- I also could not take hand bottles, since I’d be using my BDZ-poles
A normal backpack would have been sufficient, but not optimal. It seemed important to me to be able to keep moving and never have to sit down and go through the process of taking off my pack, taking out my bladder, and trying to fill the bladder from a trickling stream. After listening to my needs, Bryce and Adrian both suggested a new model pack that Micah had just wear-tested at the Speedgoat 50km the weekend before.
A week later I was endurance training up Mount Elbert with the Alpha, not sure how long it would be with me. It ended up being the perfect pack, as it was just enough room for everything I had to take with me for the 4-8 hour sections, as long as I dipped along the way. That is not to say I didn’t have some suggestions for alteration… and with UltrAspire I know they aren’t falling on deaf ears.