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Author: Marion Abrams

Peak Woodsplitter 6 Hour Mountain Bike Race Named as Leadville Trail 100 MTB Qualifier

Green Mountain Trails in Vermont Pave the Way for Entry into the Coveted Colorado MTB Race; Peak Race Takes Place August 26, 2017


(August 17, 2017) – The road to the coveted “Leadville Trail 100 MTB” race in Colorado now begins with the “Peak Woodsplitter 6 Hour MTB” race in the Green Mountains of Pittsfield, VT August 26, 2017, which has been named as a qualifying race. The Peak race will provide 20 entries to the world-renowned Leadville race in 2018.


The Peak Woodsplitter 6 Hour MTB race unfolds over 10 miles of rugged terrain. Competitors ride for six hours, completing as many loops as they can, with each testing the mind, body and technique along terrain that incorporates classic GMT standbys and recently handbuilt gnar.


The Green Mountain Trails, where the Peak race takes place, are a fast-growing multi-use network of flowy singletrack over varied terrain in Pittsfield and Stockbridge, Vermont eight miles North of Killington. There is a thousand feet of climbing and descending. Though a majority of the trails are relatively smooth and flowy, there are several miles (and growing) of rooty, rocky, technical singletrack. Pittsfield’s rugged terrain is ideal for endurance athletes and is recognized as the birthplace of Spartan Race, the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand.


Leadville Trail 100 MTB

Leadville Trail 100 MTB is the race of all races. One hundred miles across the high-altitude, extreme terrain of the Colorado Rockies, this event was created for only the most determined athletes. Starting at 10,152 feet and climbing to 12,424 feet, you’ll be challenged to catch your breath — while the views try to take it away. With a limited number of entries, the only way to enter for the race is by qualifying in a participating Leadville series race or registering for a lottery.



The Peak Races® series was created by ultra-athletes who wanted to wanted to turn coal into diamonds.  To do that they developed insane ultra-endurance events here in central Vermont.  They believe that by completing one race (and for the insane every/all)  in one year, the athletes will end the year in amazing shape…and live longer too!



Jonathan Fine, 781.248.3963,

3 Injury Prevention Exercises from The Run Experience

We’re excited to partner with our friends at The Run Experience at this year’s Peak Ultra.  They will be on site Friday night to offer a free clinic they’ve designed just for our race, and will offer a free mini-clinic for the 10-mile fun run participants on Saturday morning!  Not only that, they are giving anyone who registers for the Peak Ultra a free 30-day subscription to their program.


3 Injury Prevention Exercises for the Lower Leg from The Run Experience

At The Run Experience, we’re always coming up with new injury prevention exercises for YOU, our runners! In this post, we take a look at some of Coach Kirk’s favorite “go-to”s for the lower leg!


Just like the car that you depend on to operate properly day in and day out, your running body needs REGULAR maintenance.

When either of these breaks down, chances are that some preemptive investigation could’ve helped us avoid the setback altogether.

We believe in getting your injuries BEFORE they get you. Using 5-7 minutes of your day to help prevent months of injury/recovery/time on the couch is ALWAYS worth it.



The best part about all of our injury prevention exercises is that you can do them at home with easy to find objects!

So take a minute and go grab a broomstick.

Don’t worry, we’ll explain further.

Got it?

We’re going to use it to get deep into our calf (and soleus specifically) because I think we can all agree how tight these guys get during and after a run.

Here’s how the broomstick bash works:


  • Find a kneeling position on the ground. Butt sits back on the heels.
  • Now you’re going to sandwich the broomstick between your hamstrings and calves.
  • From here you’re going to start using the stick like a rolling pin.
  • Use your arms to apply as much pressure as you’re comfortable with.
  • Start just below the knee and work your way down to the top of the achilles.
  • Alternate between rolling the broomstick forward/backward and making a “sawing” motion side-to-side when you get to a particularly tight spot.
  • Spend about 2-3 minutes working down the length of the calves.

Why do we love this one so much?

As runners, we take the brute of our daily workouts in our legs. And more specifically, in our lower legs.

Our achilles’ tendons always seem to be the most tender, but the reality here is that the problem starts with the top of the chain, the calf.

Regularly taking care of these muscles will help to lengthen and calm the impact on the achilles’ tendons.



All you’ll need for this one is a pair of lacrosse balls, or 2 balls of similar size and density.

We’re going to use them to get after your peroneals and the posterior side of your tibia (shin).

These muscles control your footstrike, pronation, supination, basically how and why your foot hits the ground the way it does.

Like the calves, they get tight QUICK!

Here’s how the inversion/eversion sandwich works:


Have a seat on the ground, with one leg bent “indian style” in front of you.

  • Place one lacrosse ball under the side of the shin closest to the ground.
  • Place the other lacrosse ball on the other side of the shin, creating a “sandwich” of lacrosse ball, shin, lacrosse ball.
  • From here you’ll use your hands to apply pressure, just to the ball on top of the shin.
  • Once you’ve found a level of pressure you can deal with, begin to circle the ankle.
  • Also try flexing and pointing the foot, switching circle direction, etc.
  • Work up and down the shin, using this same technique, and spending more time on tighter areas.
  • Spend 2-3 minutes on each leg.



Learn more about the Peak Ultra!

Natural Running Form – Tips on Efficient Running for Distance


We’re excited to announce that coaches Nate Helming and Kirk Warner from The Run Experience will be presenting two clinics at the 2017 Peak Ultra!  Visit our event page for details.


Getting Ready for the 500, 100, 50, 30 or even 10-mile run

No matter the distance, efficiency is key.  In this video Nate Helming shares 4 do’s and don’ts of  natural running form to help you begin to understand how to get your body to work for you on the trail.

We are all naturally inclined to run,  it’s human. You did it without a second thought as a child.  Remember – running is a natural thing.

4 Do’s and Don’ts

When you notice an issue, don’t fix technique in a vacuum, ask why your body has adapted to move in a negative way.  The Run Experience recommends a  top-down approach.  Posture and position are king (check out the quick posture drill in this video.)

Watch for:

  • Shoulder and arm swing.
  • How to avoid arching your back (& why.)
  • Pulling mechanics.
  • Foot strike. 

Want more?  Register for the 2017 Peak Ultra and we’ll get you set up with a free one-month subscription to The Run Experience and you can meet Nate and Kirk in person.



From Novice to Snowshoe 1/2 Marathon

By Racer Russel Fink

Novice to 1/2 Marathon

As a guy who snowshoed twice in his life before completing a snowshoe
half marathon, I am not sure how qualified I am to give any advice or
expertise but I can share some thoughts I have learned through my
experience. Admittedly, there is nothing below that is earth
shattering advice but I came in as a novice snowshoer and had a great
time and I will share any little bit I can. The below is a short list
of what I would tell someone with limited snowshoe experience.


Don’t Be Afraid

1. Don’t be afraid — Snowshoes? Hills? Winter? Vermont? Yes, as a
suburbanite from Long Island, this all terrified me but don’t be
afraid. It is a new adventure and one worth doing. If you came across
this research, you have probably done some running races before so
just like anything, it is just jumping in and going for it.

Read This

2. Do your research. Many people have done the race before you and
have written race reports about it. Search the web — find those
reports and people — these first hand experiences can help you with
how to prepare and some race day tips. Don’t be afraid to reach out to
those people and ask questions (I emailed someone who I ended up
corresponding with for a while and she gave amazing advice)

Get Out In the Weather

3. Preparation is key. The race is hilly and the race is cold so dust
off that cold weather gear now and get out there and do some hills.
Yes, it’s dark, yes, it’s December, yes, it’s cold, but training is
what we love to do (right?!?!) so we get out there and do it



Bring a Friend

4. Bring a friend. With a very limited day and a half of snowshoeing
experience between us, my friend and I both came to to do the half
marathon (and this year we are going for the full), and having some
company is a great way to enable the experience. Nothing wrong with
going at it alone (everyone on the course is very supportive and
friendly) but a good friend and a shared experience bring another nice
element to your day — it can help you get through those tough

Don’t Overthink It

5. Don’t overthink it — This was my biggest issue – I had a backpack
filled with a week’s worth of food, supplies, backups, etc. It is
important to be prepared but even more important to be PROPERLY

Pace Yourself

6. Pace Yourself – This race is hilly but that first hill is just
brutal — it goes up and up and up — don’t get discouraged but make
sure to pace yourself, you’ll get to the crest if you work at it but
make sure to take you time and breathe…

Enjoy It!

5  Enjoy it. What a clichéd statement but this race is an adventure
and one that not many people get to do so have fun. We did it, loved


Feel free to come back to me with any specific questions and hope my information helps someone…



READ: SNOWSHOE TRAINING: without snow, training naked & don’t be afraid of snowshoes



Training Advice from a 5x Snowshoe Marathoner


Written by Racer Patrick Deware

I’ve been able to do the Peak Snowshoe Marathon 5x (might be 6x) over the years and have had an absolute blast doing this race, everytime laughing at myself for running a snowshoe marathon.

Training tips:

Snowshoe recommendations –

Atlas snowshoes or Dion are both great brands that I use. I also use extension poles for longer runs (10Miles+) as it helps me with cadence of keeping upper body and lower body moving in rhythm.

Footwear recommendations-

I’m on my second pair of Salomon Goretex trail shoes with Climate Shield that you can look up on any of the outdoor sites for pricing (backcountry or moosejaw) and work very well on race day. They are a weather proof trail running shoe that enables you to move freely within the snowshoes and not have to wear a heavier shoe or small boot. I also use smart-wool socks as well as Outdoor Research goretex gaiters to keep snow out of ankles etc…I typically swap out my socks after the second loop as well as a few layers. There’s nothing better then dry feet and layers going into the last two loops.


Layers recommendations-

DO NOT OVERDRESS! A couple of years ago it was -6 at the start and I saw people at the starting line with down puffy jackets! And they had their water bottles on hip belts outside their jackets (exposed to cold temp) or Camelbacks packs. They were overheated within 20-30 minutes and at the stone hut up top they were sweating way too much, overheated and their water bottles were frozen solid!

I wear 3-4 layers depending on the temps on race morning and what’s forecasted. Everything is breathable with 3/4 zip so you can ventilate as needed and any softshell jackets I wear I ensure they have armpit zips for ventilation as well. I highly recommend a vest as opposed to fully shell for at least the first few loops as you’ll be looking to keep your core warm but your arms with 2-3 layers already on them will be fine as you heat up.

I bring a rubbermaid bin to the race with extra set up of all clothes, socks as well as a fix it kit with zip ties, duct tape etc and a couple of thin running beanies and very light running gloves. I find that as I am slower on the 3rd & 4th loop it’s more enjoyable with dry clothes so I always change my waist up and socks heading into the 3rd lap.

Feel free to come back to me with any specific questions and hope my information helps someone…



READ: SNOWSHOE TRAINING: without snow, training naked & don’t be afraid of snowshoes


Advice for Snowshoe Training Without Snow, Naked and more…

For Peak Snowshoe Racers by Peak Snowshoe Racers.

Here’s how some of you are training for the Peak Snowshoe Ultra, Marathon & Fun Run.


Training Without Snow – Stacey Eggers

Stacey Eggers offers these suggestions for training without snow, and for the odd looks you may get while doing it: “The best training advice I have is to run hilly, muddy steep trails. (We do not have snow) so the best is to get thick heavy mud and run as many hills possible. To know the fit of your snowshoes, try to train and run in a thick grassy field with snowshoes on. It will take some adjustments to get the right feel. Be sure to wave at everyone you see, they will be very curious, if they stop to see if you need help just ask them to point in the direction of snow.”


Train Naked? – Ashley Waddell

We won’t say we endorse this training method, but we won’t say we don’t either… Ashley Waddell has the following suggestions:

Prep for the Cold

Make sure you do some portion of your snowshoeing training naked (or as scantily clad as possible) so that your skin is well “cold conditioned” by the time you arrive in Vermont.

Strengthen Your Core

Core work is your friend. Whether you do pull-ups, push-ups, planks, burpees, leg raises, or something else entirely, know that you’ll use your core the whole time: climbing up the hill, stabilizing yourself on the steep descents, and laughing heartily with other racers at the finish line.

Keep Your Toes Warm

Gear-wise: breathable shoe covers (like these from Pearl Izumi) do a good job of keeping your toes from freezing (even if they get wet), so you can say “Bring it on!” and lose any excuse you might think you have not to go out for that 3rd or 4th or 13th loop.


Don’t Be Afraid of the Snowshoes, It’s just like Running – Pat Gouker

If you’ve never run in snowshoes, don’t worry, Pat Gouker reminds us: “Running in snowshoes is just like running w/o minor technique changes wider stance, higher knees. watch for clipping your ankles on the side of the shoes.
Hard pack running will be easier and faster than soft pack running.  Wear the snowshoes to get used to how they feel and how you feel with them on.”

We have More Tips Coming. Keep checking back!

READ: Michelle Roy’s advice on training, nutrition, warmth and gear for the 100 Mile snowshoe.




Snowshoe Ultra Advice: Cold Weather Hydration, Fuel, Layers and Footwear

Peak Races is more than a race series, Peak is a community of athletes determined to test, transform and improve themselves every day.  We reached out to you for training tips and have been overwhelmed by the response.  This is the first in a series of posts that will help you prepare for the Peak Snowshoe, whatever distance you choose.


Our first training recommendations come from Michelle Roy, an rock star in the Peak Races lore!

Snowshoe Race Advice – 100 mile race

First off I think I have some good ideas based on the fact I have 4 prior tries at the 100 under my belt with the most being 84 miles.   The year I went 84 miles I was the only person out overnight while the rest of the racers hunkered down in the horse barn.  The reason I was able to continue in the frigid cold was because I brought BIG PUFF.  Big Puff is my husband Bob’s gigantic parka he used when climbing Denali.  It is soooo big on me it goes beyond my looks like I am running (snowshoeing that is) in a sleeping bag.   So make sure you have the biggest warmest coat on hand if you need it.

Michelle in her coat “Big Puffy”

Snowshoe Footwear

My second bit of advice is do not wear sneakers.  The year I wore sneakers with my Dion snowshoes I had a blister after one loop the size of an apple on my heel. I went 72 miles that year and the pain was excruciating.  Wear comfortable hiking boots lightweight ones that cover your heel (go high) do not wear leather hiking boots they get too heavy when wet.  I have Asolos that are AWESOME.


Cold Weather Hydration

My third bit of advice is to not eat yellow snow (just kidding). It is actually to be aware that your water pack or water bottle will probably freeze.  It did for me one year in the middle of the first 6 mile loop!! There were coconut waters on hand in cardboard boxes so I dropped my pack and ran the rest of the race with a coconut water down the front of my tights.  I am not was the only way to keep any liquid warm enough…you could also put a water bottle in the top of your sports bra between your boobs or if you are a guy just in the waistband of your tights.  It actually was not uncomfortable at all and I had enough to drink grabbing one bottle a loop.


Cold Weather Layering

Fourth NO COTTON ANYTHING.  Seriously.  Many people start off going fast and feeling great but we all know as you add on the miles you will get tired…your body no matter how hard you are working will get cold as you probably will slow down your pace.  This is not so much for the 6 milers and maybe not for the fastest marathoners, but for those of you mid to back packers you want to be smart.  Where a waterproof/windproof (light) outer layer that you can easily pull up to your neck like a scarf or over your head like a cool swami hat for those ups when you feel like you are sweating buckets….when you find yourself going down and or are on the side of the mountain with no sun you can easily pull that jacket down when you start to get chilly


Snowshoe Ultra Fuel and Nutrition

Fifth I firmly believe in eating real food and not gels or goo or horrific bars filled with stuff you can’t pronounce.  I like to buy 2 egg mcmuffins sandwiches…with bacon on them no cheese. They are so awesome even when cold.  In between I have something a bit sweeter like pb&j or I personally do like cookie dough Balance bars as they are the only bars that do not cause me to fart up a storm.  I try to eat for my size (5’4” 116) 150-250 calories a loop after I finish the marathon distance.  For a marathon distance I eat far less…maybe one or two cookie dough bars and or pretzels (I am partial to them).  For a 6 miler I would eat nothing while doing it unless I was walking the entire thing.  I would bring something yummy for a stop and a picture on top of Joe’s Mountain.

And last but not least bring a stone with you.  Write the name of someone you love and miss or someone who needs some extra love and prayers sent their way…place the stone at a spot that tickles your fancy and add a little magic to the mountain : )


Submitted by Michelle Roy


Peak GMT Mountainbike Race Report 2017


Peak 6 hr Challenge

The first wave of intrepid racers lined up on the top of Tweed, Downpours in the wee hours of the morning were enough to make the course, hereby known as the “gnarled albatross” for the route’s peculiar resemblance to a seabird, not just techy and hilly but downright treacherous.   Fourteen year old local, Jackson, ailing with an emergent case of strep throat, lead the pack up to Shrek’s Cabin, but was soon exhausted by his illness.

After the first lap, it was already apparent who was going to go the distance and who was just trying to survive to go another round. Sam Darling, Phillip Parrish, and Tucker Weaver held their positions almost the entire race, with two veteran racers, David Boyce and Robert Paton, making respectable showings not far behind. Four laps, fifty miles,6.5 k feet on terrain most riders would be pressed to handle with fresh legs in pristine conditions. Parrish, racer for Bicycle Express and a GMT regular, made his move on the last lap overtaking Darling by two minutes, which in a race of this length and intensity could just as well be two seconds. Weaver rode in a half hour later to take third.

Peak Gnarly Adventure

The Gnarly Adventure did not look like the start of the race, but the start of an expedition, and in a way it was. The racers had their maps spread out trying to make heads or tails out of the mish mash of arrows and x-es sketched onto them. When the RD was fielding questions, someone asked how long this would take. He gave a wild guess, four hours…now wait, maybe five. Nervous laughter ensued.

They were off with a good chance that we would not see them again for another six hours, and for about half the field, this proved true. Not only did they have to collect tokens from each and every trail, they had to navigate in such a way that it would not conflict with the loop course. Several racers had been riding the GMT for years, but no matter. They underestimated how tough it would be. Peter Woolson showed up, flushed, exhausted and exhilarated, at exactly the four hour mark with all twenty tokens going down as the Gnarly Adventure’s first victor. He, as well as Christina Mattsson and Casey Novotny who wandered in a half hour later, were all local riders.

Those three were impressive. But what blew our mind was Mark Whalen, whose first serious ride on the GMT was during the race and he managed to complete the challenge a half hour after the regulars. The rest of the field filtered in close to the cutoff, each missing only a few tokens, each exhausted and having had the time of their lives.

Get Race Ready – 6.Enjoy


Do These 6 things and You’ll be Ready to Mountainbike Race

STEP SIX Smell The Roses

Have fun. Pack a picnic in your hydration pack and linger at the top of a mountain with a friend and have deep conversations. Pretend you’re announcing a grand prix race the whole way down. Sit by a waterfall with a good read. Read a page an hour; spend the rest of the time peering above the pages at the scenery. Don’t research the best swimming holes. Pack some old Chucks and trudge down the river and find one yourself. Make a few dozen stops along the ride to forage for berries. Revel in your new lip color.  Learn not to take yourself so seriously and watch your racing and life improve dramatically.


1.Go Against the Grain
2.What to Eat
3.Teach to Do
4.Build Capacity
5.Learn Calm



Learn more about the Peak GMT Gnarly Adventure and 6 Hr. Challenge

Get Race Ready – 5.Learn Calm


Do These 6 things and You’ll be Ready to Mountainbike Race

STEP FIVE Practice Active Meditation

You can cue Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame if you must, but find the most mundane, time consuming task that you can muster  (scrubbing the bathroom tile grout with a toothbrush, clearing a football field sized meadow with a scythe, whatever) lock away the phone, the tv, ALL distractions, and get to work. Whatever thoughts pop into your head, pay them as little mind as you would your crazy racist uncle. Don’t actively expel them, just let them pass and fade away naturally. Come back to focusing on your breath and the task at hand. Be in the moment. Forget about the goal. Forget about the rewards. Forget about your lengthy to do list.  It will feel uncomfortable at first, but with enough practice, you’ll find contentment in the moment even doing the most seemingly drudging task. This will build your mental endurance substantially and get you to the finish line.


1.Go Against the Grain
2.What to Eat
3.Teach to Do 
4.Build Capacity 
5.Learn Calm



Learn more about the Peak GMT Gnarly Adventure and 6 Hr. Challenge

Get Race Ready – 4.Build Capacity


Do These 6 things and You’ll be Ready to Mountainbike Race

STEP FOUR Spend Lots of Time in the Saddle

There’s no getting around it. To complete an endurance race you need to build up your mental and physical capacities to their optimal level without injuring yourself or burning yourself out. That means at least one or two days a week of serious, uninterrupted riding ramped up over weeks and months mixed in with a few lighter days.  There are lots of good periodization plans available on the internet so I won’t waste space describing them here.


1.Go Against the Grain
2.What to Eat
3.Teach to Do 



Learn more about the Peak GMT Gnarly Adventure and 6 Hr. Challenge

Get Race Ready – 3.Teach to Do


Do These 6 things and You’ll be Ready to Mountainbike Race

STEP THREE Teach Someone to Ride

There is a lot of sound advice out there suggesting that if you want to get better, ride with people better than you. Absolutely. But there’s another perspective that says you can make significant improvements by riding with newbies. Here’s how: As you start to master mountain biking, much of what you do moves out of conscious awareness. Most of your skill becomes hardwired which is a great thing. It frees up space to learn new skills which propel you to ever higher levels of mastery.

Teaching newbies moves your mind in the complete opposite direction. You bring skills that you now take for granted back into conscious awareness. How is this helpful? Besides the satisfaction of introducing a great sport to initiates, teaching is like taking a refresher course. Through instruction you become hyper aware of whatever deficiencies may have snuck into your riding habits while you weren’t looking and you have a chance, even an obligation, to refine them. As a result, your fundamentals improve where otherwise they would’ve been neglected indefinitely.


1.Go Against the Grain

2.What to Eat


Learn more about the Peak GMT Gnarly Adventure and 6 Hr. Challenge 


Get Race Ready – 2.What to Eat


Do These 6 things and You’ll be Ready to Mountainbike Race

STEP  TWO Save the candy for Halloween

If you know it’s going to be another long, cold New England winter and you heat your home with a stove, what do you use? Do you stockpile lots of paper, cardboard, pine sticks and gasoline? Or do you order a few cords of slow, but hot, burning hardwoods?

Expel most of the refined sugars and simple carbs from your life and I guarantee that you will feel and perform great (After a solid week of feeling awful. Straight sugar is like a drug and what you’re feeling is straight up withdrawal.) Check labels. If the so called energy bar has 20g or more of sugar, take a pass, or better yet, make your own. Dump the gels in your hummingbird feeders.  Feed yourself right and you’ll bonk next to never given smart planning. As with all  trail nutrition, experiment diligently prior to race day. The time to give up your sugar addiction or to figure out the right formula is emphatically not on or immediately prior to race day.

Read 1.Go Against the Grain 



Learn more about the Peak GMT Gnarly Adventure and 6 Hr. Challenge 

Get Race Ready – 1.Go Against the Grain


Do These 6 things and You’ll be Ready to Mountainbike Race

STEP ONE Go Against the Grain

I get it. You have your favorite loop that you know like the back of your hand. You’re the Strava champion of the world. Here’s the harsh truth–no one cares about this except your mom and your doting nephew and chances are they’re even faking it.

If you want to get better, you have to stretch your mental and physical muscles in ways they’re not accustomed to. As long as it doesn’t detract from anyone else’s enjoyment and doesn’t violate the rules of the trails, ride your favorite loop..backwards. You’ll soon figure out that you aren’t as good as a rider as you thought you were, but stick with it and you will be.

Get a good light and some extra battery packs and ride at night as fast as you can without putting yourself in peril. Even the most familiar trails will be a challenge and your bike handling skills will improve automatically. Other ideas–pick a fairly technical trail and ride it as slow as possible without faltering. Pick an easy, lightly trafficked, trail and ride it as fast as possible.

~Matt Baatz

1.Go Against the Grain
2.What to Eat
3.Teach to Do
4.Build Capacity
5.Learn Calm

6. Smell the Roses



Learn more about the Peak GMT Gnarly Adventure and 6 Hr. Challenge


Peak 100 – It will break you, multiple times. And yet you will love it.


There are so many amazing runners that show up for the Peak Ultra, Brian Nephew is definitely one of them!  Thanks Brian for trying to explain the Peak Ultra:


5:30 a.m. race day and it appears I am either at the wrong place, have the wrong day, or am the only one signed up.   After all what kind of race starts at 6am on a Friday morning?!  I notice lights up the driveway coming from a dilapidated shed.  Out of the light to the sound of techno music, wearing a headlamp walks a wild eyed, sleep deprived, ball of energy– ‘Welcome to Peak Ultra’.  Our race director! Or as I learned through my time on the mountain, a tour guide through suffering. The only cowbells you will hear are from the cows in the fields below; it will take more than cowbells.   There are no inspirational prerace speeches;  words won’t be enough.  There are no race time PR’s.

There is a magical system of trails that will lead you to places few will ever visit.

Flashback to the 2014 Peak Ultra 30
I had actually been here before, the year prior for the 30 mile (which by all reasonable calculations was 35 miles). On that day I had the most personally inspiring experience.  I witnessed people attempting to run 500 miles.  Something I wasn’t aware was even possible. Not only did I witness it, I had the opportunity to share miles with one of them. That short time made me start asking myself ‘What is possible, what am I capable of?’  I started thinking about how comfortable life had become and yet how discontent I was becoming.   Maybe I needed a good dose of suffering to create an appreciation of my life, and maybe that suffering would quiet this inner drive for things that aren’t essential.

At mile 25 I had the moment, after a long uphill climb as I doubled over, someone on MILE 495 ASKED ME ‘Are you Ok?’

Back to the  2015 Peak Ultra 100
With a running resume consisting of 2 half marathons and the previous year Peak30 my thirst for more of that experience drove me to the 100. It’s brutal, relentless and unforgiving.  It will break you, multiple times. And yet you will love it.   I choose to keep what I found in me on that course to myself.  There is a secret being held on that mountain that selfishly I don’t want to share. I connected with some incredible people I hope to always stay in touch with.   Sometimes you finish by crossing the line;  and other times that’s actually the start………….so I will see you in May….In the Pony barn, and on the Stairs, and at Shreks, and in the Labrynth……. No not there, you can’t see anything in there.


Brian Nephew’s Peak Ultra 100 by the numbers:

1 super awesome family
100 miles
44hours  (I was the ‘King of Pain’ winner – longest time on course)
6 shirts
5 socks
4 shorts
3 pairs sneakers
3 hats
unimaginable amounts of glide
3 full sit down meals
4 hours of Taylor Swift
0 sleep
A handful of memorable hallucinations. Maybe it never happened.

Thank you Pete Coleman, Ryan Jones, and most of all my wife Shontel for epically crushing 30 miles.
And Kale Poland for ‘Are you Ok’, ….  I’m working on being awesome.




Thursday January 21 we’re giving an EXTRA $15 to Vermont Foodbank!


Here’s the deal: for one day only (Thursday January 21st)  we’re increasing the amount we donate to the Vermont Foodbank from $5 per ticket to $20 per ticket!

The snow’s here, now it’s time to make a commitment! Get your 2016 Peak Snowshoe Race tickets Thursday Januray 21st. 

This year we’re supporting the Vermont Foodbank, $5 from every ticket we sell will go to their efforts to feed hungry Vermonters, but if you buy your ticket today we’ll give them $20.


The Peak Snowshoe Race has 4 distances, from 10k to 100 miles, to choose from.  The race takes place on Pittsfield, Vermont’s stunning Green Mountain Trails.  The course will be a rugged 6.5 mile loop in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Each loop has 1200 vertical.

While you’re in Pittsfield, Vermont make a weekend of it: book a room at the Amee Farm Lodge or Trailside Inn, enjoy a hearty breakfast and fresh juices at the General Store, and if you get a reservation early enough book an exclusive dinner at The Backroom.  Within a 15 minute drive you’ll find Alpine Skiing at Pico and Killington ski resorts.



$80,000 from the 2015 Peak Death race is going to charity

Inspired by the determination and positive attitude of Death Racer Mark Webb, Joe Desena decided that the ticket sales for the 2015 Summer Death Race would ALL go to charity.  The charities were to be decided by the top finishers.  A year and an epic Summer Death Race later we’re getting ready to mail those checks and we could not be more excited.  For a small race company like Peak the opportunity to put this much money toward getting good things done is a pretty big deal.  Here are the finishers and the charities they’ve chosen:


Off the Grid and Super Moosey: Back to Nature at Vermont’s Peak Ultra – Travis Macy


Race Report from Travis Macy:

I’m thankful for races that have big fields, sponsor expos, online coverage, prize money, and my beloved Katy Perry (hey, even us counter-culture ultrarunners need to have at least one guilty, mainstream pleasure) blaring at the starting line and, if we’re lucky, again at aid stations.

I’m equally thankful, however, for races in our sport that are still off the grid.  For races, that is, like the Peak Ultra, where the key take-away from the RD’s pre-race meeting is that the terrain you’ll be passing through is, “suuuuuper moosey.”  For races where some deep mud and some steeper hills make for even slower mile splits–but no one cares because that’s the way it’s supposed to be in an ultra anyway.  Where bushwhacking meets river crossing meets running down a trail/drainage that’s filled with thick, crackly leaves covering rocks/ankle-breakers.  Where the best and hardest parts of the course have badass, backwoods names like Bloodroot and The Labarynth.  Where, if you want to be a local, you have a wide range of vehicle choices: Subaru Outback or Ford F-250.  Period.  For races that take you back to nature because nature is literally all over you by the time you finish, and where you feel like a little kid exploring the outdoors in unexpected ways–because that’s what you’re doing all day long alongside like-minded people who are rooting for you while you root for them.

Before the race, Hoka One One Elite runner Larisa Dannis told me, “this race holds a special place in my heart.”  Larissa has been around the block, having run 5:59:11 for 50 miles.  After the race, I see what she means about this race and why she wants to come back every year.

I’m thankful I got to the do Peak Ultra 50-miler while it was off the grid; this course is an epic adventure, and it’s not going to be a secret much longer.

Hoka One One / Vitargo athlete Travis Macy is the author of The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life.  He encourages you to check out the Peak Ultra ( in Vermont so you can learn just what “Super Moosey” means.  And, for the record, he only listens to Katy Perry when racing.

Learn More about running 15, 30, 50, 100, 200 or 500 miles at the Peak Ultra.


6 Tips for Your First Trail Run

Thinking about taking on the Peak Ultra?  This year ultra runner, coach and author of “The Ultra Mindset” Travis Macy will be joining us.  We have some amazing athletes this year taking on distances from 30 to 200 miles, but if your new to the sport you can join the fun with our 15 mile run.  This is an amazing opportunity to get a taste for the world of Ultra Running and Trail Running.  Join us Friday evening for the free Q&A with Travis and win one of the copies of his book we’ll be giving away at the race!

The Peak Ultra takes place on the beautiful Green Mountain Trails in Pittsfield, Vermont and in the Green Mountain National Forest.  This race is all about testing yourself and your limits.  No matter if you are a seasoned pro or new to ultra running, I think you’ll find Travis’ video helpful.

learn more about the Peak Ultra.

How Persistence at the Peak Ultra changed Nick Bautista Forever


500 miles, 9 days.

I first attempted the Peak Races 500 mile back in 2013. I made it 460 miles before my body could not move forward any longer.
I returned in 2014 to finish what I had began. Stepping foot back onto that mountain was like visiting an old friend with whom I had an intimate and complicated relationship with. A plethora of emotions flooded me.
The previous year, the mountain taught me how to suffer. The following year, I planned on reaching that level of suffering once again, but to take it even further. To break my body and my mind in order to become something, someone new.
It started the same; rain, mud, cold nights. Soul crushing climbs. Quad bashing descents just around the corner. I could see the mountain change. I ran. And I ran harder and faster. I could not let myself take a break or rest or power hike while on the mountain. I could rest when it was time to sleep.
After a while, I no longer became a runner in a race, on a treacherous course. I became part of the mountain; the rocks, the trees, the animals. It assimilated me, and it was in my bones. I was a speck of dirt on this giant. The repetitive circling became a meditation. Each step forward I was stripped of the petty things in life. I was breaking myself, and becoming aware of another self. Yet I was nothing.
I was silent on my last loop. I finished in 9 days, in the dark, how I wanted it. Quiet and calm. I was scared to finish, though. What was I going to do when I finally stopped? I thought about continuing on regardless of reaching 500 miles…
The very first finisher back in 2012, my dear friend Willy Syndram, said to me, “This will change you forever.” The person who stepped off of that mountain was not the same as the one who got there 9 days previously. There are no words that can explain, only tears and a heaviness in my heart. That mountain is sacred to me. And I will return…
Nick Bautista
NB Endurance Coaching and Personal Training, LLC

Learn More about running 15, 30, 50, 100, 200 or 500 miles at the Peak Ultra.