Week 35 of 2017 has come and gone but not without an adventure or two. MPF RNR athletes Chris Mateer placed 3rd at the Belmont Plateau Hall of Fame XC Classic in 16:37 with a 5:21 pace in the 5k...speedy! Harry Hamilton after coming off a strong Leadville 100 MTB performance placed 10th at the Silvermine Time Trial in Harriman State Park of NY. James Jansen took to the Mountains of the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks to cross some 46ers off his list, while MPF Coach Ben Nephews athlete, Brian Shafer placed 2nd (5:50) at the Tunis Trail 34 miler!

Congrats to all but that's just the beginning. This past Thursday some members of the MPF Adventure club learned the basics of rock climbing from one of our clients, Jared Auslander, who is currently working towards a climbing guide certification. Here are a few photos. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about climbing.

Yes, it is extremely necessary to try something new. There is more to life than running or cycling and this becomes increasingly essential the more you train for one particular sport.

We were happy to hear the same sentiment on Friday night when Dakota Jones spoke about his injury and his trip to Patagonia at the Run On Hudson Valley store in Croton-on-Hudson of NY. His underlying message was clear...simply adventure more, ride your bike to the trails, rock climb and focus on shorter events; 100 mile ultramarathons are great and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Here is our Instagram story from the day with Dakota. 

Yes, many of us have been on a roll with completing great feats of endurance, but with all of our accomplishments we want to be sure a couple of important aspects of being a resilient outdoor athlete are not lost.


  • To avoid burnout or injury periodize your training.
  • Implement a sound functional training plan that addresses your weaknesses.
  • Please don’t be afraid to implement cross training into your routine: bike, ski, hike, row, climb, strength train, etc.
  • Read this article from MPF Coach, Joe Azze on “Rest & Recovery, Balancing Training & Life”.
  • During your off season become a more versatile outdoor athlete. If you are a runner, then bike. If you’re a cyclist; hike. Just be sure to try and challenge yourself to something new.

Last but not least, MPF Adventure athlete, Hyun Chang Chung completed the 10th edition of the Grand Raid Des Pyrenees 220km! Here is his story.

courage\ˈkʌrɪdʒ\noun “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.”

26-Aug-2017, Grand Raid Pyrenee Ultra Tour – As you start the race, runner´s relatives, friends and spectators start shouting at you “Courage...courage!!!”

When you are about to start an ultra race where 2 competitors you meet have run a 100 mile race (ehunmilak, one of the few HR100 qualifiers) and a 100km race within one month before and the race itself starts right away with a 4,900 feet climb in the first 9 miles, that gives you a hint on the type of course you are about to embark.

The GRP Ultra 220 is a tough course following the main peaks in the french pyrenees with amazing views, landscapes and terrain. Its tough to put in words the beauty of the scenary (google images will do a bettter job). This was the 10th anniversary edition of the GRP Ultra where the organizers added an extra 37 miles to the traditional 100 miles and to top it off an additional 6,500 feet ascent. Last year I had completed the course and was looking for a come back to see if I could beat myself. Of course with the change of distance, this would be a total new adventure since I have never crossed the 100 Miles distance.

The highlights

  • Race starts with a 4,900 feet climb for 9 miles non-stop until first aid station at Col de Portet
  • 4 sections with 15 miles-ish distance between aid stations which made it tougher given the humidity and hot temperature: Hautacam , Estaing, Luz Saint Sauveur and Parking Oregon
  • Toughest section for me was the Refuge de la Glère to Parking Oregon where the most of the course is made of loose uneven rocks all over. The course itself was a non uniform zig zag which made it even more challening, especially when after 30 hours wihtout sleep and woobly legs, you can´t think much
  • Beautiful landscapes in key peaks of the Pyrenees: La Mongie, Col de Sencours , Luz Saint Sauveur, Barèges....just amazing....
  • As always, camarederie between runners and volunteers.
  • Despite the additional distance added, race participants record, 551 started out of 629. Only 299 finished.
  • High rate of DNF due to hot weather and challenging course
  • The race was cut short of about 20 miles due to last minute bad weather forecast where wind gusts of about 100km/hr were forecasted for the 2nd night at Gavarnie, thus missed the new peak that was added as part of the novelty of the course

The Good

  1. I managed to keep a steady slow pace strategy, though at mile 20 I did get excited a little bit and let loose the dogs out and run a bit faster for few miles until I regained control to slow down.
  2. Kept a consistent food intake strategy which has worked for me in the past and seems it helped this time again. It was based solely on GU energy gels with and without caffeine (I tried to alternate), fruits (bananas, oranges and dried fruits), some biscuits now and then, and pasta at the 3 key aid stations. I did take 2 or 3 salt pills in the last 30 miles or so provided by Jesus Ju Ru as I normally don’t use them, but at that time, anything looked it would help me stretch the extra mile. For drinks, water, coke and eventual cup of hot coffee in the evening.
  3. Met new great friends and runners. Carlos Manterola, a friend that I meet him in 4th consecutive year (twice at Ehunmilak, and 2nd time at GRP), Jesus , Garikoitz, Roberto Merino and Kévin, who run part of the race with me among and helped me push in tough moments.
  4. Thinking now backwards in cold feet, I think I had the stamina to keep going and do the extra 20 miles that were cut off.
  5. Extremely happy with the new Scott RC shoes. Incredible grip, light, flexible, and strong to get you confidently in every step and jump in between rocks, mud and loose single track trail

The Bad

  1. Everything is in french. As anecdote, when asked if I could have the runners manual in english, other than the list of mandatory equipment, they asked what details I need. Given they have international participants and their website is available in english and spanish, they could at least have the manual in english version as well.
  2. As a consequence of the above, I learnt about the change in the course where about 20 miles of the race were cut (skipping Gavarnie mountain) after leaving Cauterets by chance as Kévin shared the information with me. Apparently the organizers had told his wife while he was sleeping. Kévin, Jesus and Garikoitz had started strong (top 30) and stopped to sleep thinking ahead of the 220km distance. On my hand, I kept a very slow pace in first 80km also trying to keep some bullets for the end. The organization didn´t announce this information clearly, at least to me nor my spanish friends.
  3. When learnt about the cut, I wasn´t sure if I should be feeling happy because, in true honesty I was starting to feel the weight of the mental battle of trying to keep a consistent pace and it looked like it was never ending or sad as I was really looking forward to the full course.
  4. Again, I used new pair of socks with a pair of shoes that never were used together causing blisters in both my feets. Hope I learn the lesson for 3rd time next time.

Race Summary

All in all, amazing race, espectacular views, surely one of the toughest I´ve ever done that makes you push your limits. That very deep side of yourself that you have to really dig in and come out of it to be able to find your real potential. In US, people cheer you up with “Great job!!”, “Well done!”, “Looking strong...”, in Spain, people will shout “Cheer up! C´mon!”...but in France, for a reason people shout at you “Courage!! Courage!!” because you have to be brave and have the balls to do something that frightens you.