Montana Coal Industry, With Nowhere to Go but Up, Reports a Production Increase Over Last year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Billings Gazette:“Certainly what we’ve seen is an increase in our sales to our Asia customers primarily in South Korea and Japan,” said Rick Curtsinger, Cloud Peak Energy spokesman. “Last year by the end of the second quarter, we had shipped 200,000 tons of coal to our Asia customers. This year as of June 30, we shipped 1.8 million tons to customers in South Korea and Japan.”Coal production is running away from a historically bad 2016 — the nation’s lowest coal production year since 1978. But the first seven months of 2017 still trails 2015 production by about 6 million tons. Montana mines produced 20.7 million tons through June two years ago.Montana mines produced 3.36 million tons of coal in July. Almost half of the production increase came from Spring Creek Mine, said Bud Clinch, Montana Coal Council director. Nearby Decker Mine, owned by Lighthouse Resources, was the second-largest contributor. Decker production was up 155,000 tons.“I think both Decker and Cloud Peak are because of export markets. They both have capacity at Westshore Terminal and demand is stronger,” Clinch said.Westshore Terminal is a British Columbia coal port off the shore of Vancouver. It’s where most of Montana’s export coal is shipped.In late 2015, with prices driven down by a glut of coal in the Asia Pacific market, Montana mines suspended exports entirely. Cloud Peak agreed to pay Westshore to reserve space, rather than ship coal at prices that wouldn’t cover the cost of delivery.Those sluggish prices suppressed coal exports into 2016, when production was in a downward spiral until late in the year when supply tightened again and the market improved. In 2017, the growth has been steady.“We’ve been up every month for the last five months,” Clinch said.The only way for coal production to go from 2016 was up, said Tom Sanzillo, analyst for Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Last year was a bruising one for coal, with cheap natural gas outcompeting coal to become the dominant power source in the United States for the first time ever.The number of coal-fired power plants because of age, non-compliance with pollution standards or both also increased.Natural gas hasn’t gone away and the United States isn’t building new coal-fired power plants, Sanzillo said.In the Asian Pacific, the same forces that clobbered Powder River Basin coal exports in 2016 still exist, which means coal market improvements aren’t likely to last. Cloud Peak is doing better, but the trend is still downward, Sanzillo said.“I think they had a reasonably good half year,” he said. “A company that lost 30 percent of its market in the last couple years and gains back two points is technically doing better.”But coal prices haven’t really returned to the heyday of 2010 and 2012, when United States mines saw good prices and potential in the Asian Pacific.Companies have cut costs and found a way to do business with lower coal market prices, Sanzillo said. More: Montana coal mine production up 2 million tons
Tesla’s big battery bet in Australia is paying off FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The Tesla lithium-ion battery in South Australia is on track to make back a third of its construction costs in its first year of operation, new financial documents show. The 100MW/129MWh battery was switched on in November and is paired with the Hornsdale windfarm, about 230km north of Adelaide.The French renewable energy company Neoen, which owns the battery, filed for IPO listing on the French stock exchange this month. A 400-page document filed in support of the application shows the battery, which is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, had a capital cost of €56m or A$90.6m and generated €8.1m, or A$13.1m, in revenue from network services in the six months to 30 June 2018.Almost $2m of that was from its 10-year contract with the SA government to provide reserve capacity for the state’s electricity network, which is worth $4m a year. The rest was from trading on the frequency and ancillary services market. It also made €6.7m, or A$10.8, from the sale of stored electricity. The document does not state the project’s profit margins.The SA government contract is for 70MW of capacity and a small amount of storage, leaving 30MW and the bulk of the battery’s storage capacity available to sell on the national energy market.Dylan McConnell, from the Australian-German Climate and Energy College, said the financial returns were above the already high expectations for the project, but as more battery projects came online the rate of revenue growth could be expected to slow. “There’s a finite need for these ancillary services,” he said. “They are very important resources but it’s quite a small market in the scheme of things.”Neoen has several storage projects under way, including a 20MW battery attached to the proposed 194MW windfarm at the Bulgana green power hub in Victoria, 90% of which is contracted to the Victorian government. It is also proposing a 50MW storage facility in Kaban, in Queensland.More: South Australia’s Tesla battery on track to make back a third of cost in a year
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:EnBW is planning a big solar park in Weesow-Willmersdorf, in the northeastern region of Brandenburg. If built, the project would become Germany’s largest solar plant. The company says it has a pipeline of unsubsidized projects with a combined capacity of 800 MW.A statement by the company today revealed EnBW has acquired the 175 MW Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park from Procon Solar, and that the project has been in development since 2009.EnBW says the project would be built without any subsidy provided for under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) with the developer convinced subsidy-free large solar parks will be economically feasible in the near future in Germany. “We have seen a remarkable development over the past few years in solar technology,” said Dirk Güsewell, head of generation portfolio development at EnBW. “Due to technical advances, the cost of constructing solar parks has fallen dramatically – by up to 90% over the last ten years in Germany. Therefore, today the costs involved in solar energy are on at least an equal footing with other technologies – which has also been demonstrated by the results of the latest [renewable energy procurement] auctions. We anticipate that the first large solar projects will be realized without EEG funding in the foreseeable future. Solar energy thus has a realistic chance of achieving this market maturity.”Utility-scale PV plants can generate power for less than €0.05/kWh in Germany at a time when electricity spot prices are rising.More: Unsubsidized 175 MW solar project under development in Germany German utility plans country’s largest unsubsidized solar power project
Transition away from coal speeding up in Spain FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享El País:Spain is on track to become a coal-free country in record time. All of its remaining coal-fired thermal power plants will start shutting down on Tuesday, a year-and-a-half after the closure of the coal mines, which could not survive without the state aid that the European Union has banned.Seven out of the 15 coal-fired power stations that are still working in Spain will cease being operational on June 30, after their owners – the electricity companies – decided that it does not make financial sense to adapt them to European regulations. And four more are getting ready to shut down soon. Several of these power stations have not been producing electricity for months because it is no longer profitable due to a combination of market conditions and political decisions by the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the EU.Until just a couple of years ago, these highly contaminating plants were accounting for approximately 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Spain. In 2018, nearly 15% of all electricity consumed in Spain came from coal-fired thermal stations.But that seems like an eternity ago. In May of this year, coal-fired plants barely contributed 1.4% to the power mix. And they produced nothing at all between May 1 and 2, for the first time since Red Eléctrica de España (REE), the national power grid operator, began keeping records in 1990.The seven coal-fired thermal plants that will be phased out on Tuesday are Meirama in A Coruña, Narcea in Asturias, La Robla and Compostilla in León, Andorra in Teruel, Puente Nuevo in Córdoba and Velilla in Palencia. Together, these seven plants represent 4,630 megawatts (MW), a little less than half the installed coal power generation capacity in Spain. They provide around 1,100 jobs, including direct employees and outsourced work.Four other plants accounting for 3,092 MW and employing around 800 workers have already filed for permission to shut down. Industry sources estimated that Iberdrola’s Lada plant in Asturias, Endesa’s As Pontes plant in A Coruña and Litoral plant in Almería, and Los Barrios in Cádiz could be closed by 2021 or 2022.[Manuel Planelles]More: Spain to close half its coal-fired power stations
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Avangrid Renewables LLC has submitted a construction and operations plan to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for the first phase of its proposed Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of North Carolina.Under the proposal, the wind farm will be built in multiple phases between 2021 and 2030. The first phase of the project is expected to have a capacity of 800 MW, with construction starting as early as 2024.The proposal also includes an economic impact study conducted by the Public Strategy Group, which shows that the project is estimated to generate $2 billion in economic impact from 2021 to 2030, and [is] expected to create almost 800 jobs in Virginia and North Carolina.Once all of the project phases are completed, the Kitty Hawk offshore wind farm is projected to have a total capacity of 2,500 MW, capable of generating power for 700,000 homes.Avangrid Renewables is a unit of Avangrid Inc., which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola SA.[Selene Balasta]More ($): Avangrid Renewables submits plan for 2.5-GW NC offshore wind farm Avangrid Renewables proposes 2.5GW wind farm off the coast of North Carolina
Flying low: once under the radar, telemark skiing is beginning to hold an edge in the blue ridge.John Regan is a trucker with a passion for the outdoors. Prepare yourself for envy.This is what John Regan takes to work: a kayak, a pair of skis, a snow kite, maybe a mountain bike depending on the destination. And coffee. Lots of coffee. Regan is a trucker and one of the rare individuals who has managed to find a job that fuels his passion for adventure. He’s turned the lower 48 into his backyard playground, skiing, kiting, paddling, and biking wherever his truck takes him. He’s caught massive swells off the coast of Washington, skied waist-deep powder in Wyoming, biked Utah’s backcountry…all while “on the job.” We talked with the 53-year-old adventure trucker about his sweet life on the road.Truck driving and adventure sports don’t seem to mix. How did you get into the outdoors? JR: I started during a Boy Scout Explorer Post that specialized in kayaking and winter backpacking. My first trip was summiting Mount Washington in the winter. That was brutal. I started guided rafts when I was 17 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. In ’81 I moved to Friendsville to have access to the Upper Yough and lived the guide life.How did truck driving factor in? JR: When I got married in ’86, I realized I wasn’t going to buy a house on raft guide wages, and I was pretty sure my wife didn’t want to live in my van with me. So I went to truck driving school and drove tractor trailers for a while, then became a sales rep for Prion kayaks before creating the custom kayak hauling gig I have now.Explain the job to us. JR: I deliver kayaks for Pyranha, a small company owned by hard-core paddlers. I drive 80,000 miles a year, half of what truck drivers are legally allowed to drive, and work hard from February to August when shops are receiving their product. Basically, I’m on the road for four weeks a month for half a year.And you’ve managed to use that frantic truck-driving way of life to your advantage, accessing all sorts of intense fun while you’re on the job? JR: Work is a priority when I’m on a trip. I’ll make 20 stops with a single truckload, mostly driving up and down the East Coast on a giant loop. But dealers have regular hours, which creates downtime. So I’ve made connections in every town I visit. When there’s downtime, I call up my people and we go boating, skiing, surfing, biking…whatever there is to do in that area. I’ve been to 38 states twice this year already. There’s a lot of adventure out there.You’ve worked in the boating industry for decades. Are you predominantly a kayaker? JR: I kayak 100+ days a year, but my favorite downtime activity is backcountry skiing. I’ve skied Tuckerman’s Ravine 13 times, which isn’t bad for a guy living in the Mid-Atlantic. I’ve skied off the summit of Katahdin. It was just like skiing out west; above tree line, windswept, big powder. One run off of Katahdin got me 2,500 feet of vert. I got to ski the Tetons in June this year. I couldn’t get the locals to go because they thought the snow was spent, but it was epic. And I keep getting deeper and deeper into snow-kiting too.Snow-kiting? JR: Snow-kiting is like being towed behind a snowmobile, but you’re turning and in control of the throttle and the direction you’re going. It adds an element of danger and excitement to skiing, which already has an element of danger and excitement. You’re going 30 mph through the powder with constant face shots. I’m over lift-served skiing. Snow kiting is like having a chair lift on your back. It gives you access up to ski down.Is there good snow-kiting below the Mason Dixon? JR: The Sinks of Gandy, in West Virginia, is the best snow kiting in the East. Basically, it’s a cow pasture on an open knob at 3,500 feet in elevation. During a normal winter, you’ll find snow drifts that are 30 feet tall and huge natural cornices. It’s private property surrounded by national forest, but there’s an open invitation to cavers, hikers, and skiers. But you can only access it in the winter by taking a 10-mile snow machine ride.Speaking of access, how do you get your truck into these forests? JR: The truck is a short, single-axle tractor-trailer made for getting in and out of canoe liveries. It’s 12’10” tall and 70 feet bumper to bumper. Still, I can’t go deep into the forest with my truck because of weight limits on surface roads. But a lot of rivers are accessed off major highways. You’d be surprised. The Gauley, the Russell Fork—I’m going to paddle those this month and I can reach them both in my truck off a highway. If I want to go deeper into the backcountry, I rely on my contacts in each town.Where’s home when you’re not on the road? JR: A 3.5-acre horse farm overlooking Friendsville, close to the Upper Yough. My wife is a horse girl. She doesn’t participate in many of the adventures I do, but we spend our time together riding horses. I’ve never been hurt skiing or paddling or biking, but over the summer, I broke my pelvis on a horse.You travel all over the country. Could you see yourself living anywhere else? JR: Maybe Washington State. It has everything. You can ski 12 months a year on Baker. There’s incredible surf, endless whitewater year round. It’s like West Virginia on steroids. But I would never leave Maryland and West Virginia. It’s one of the few places in the country where you get four real seasons, and each one is three months long. And luckily, my job gets me to the places I want to go.Check out a few adventures and places you could drive to in our Editor’s Top 25 Adventure Picks!
In life, people assume you have gone through school, completed college, secured a job, married, bought a house, and started a family, et cetera, et cetera. In running, people have the same preconceived notions. If you have run a marathon, a 50K, a 50 miler, and a 100k, well then surely you have done a 100 miler. Let’s face it, life isn’t always that simple. I was following that typical progression until I ran into some challenges trying to get past the 100K milestone. Two failed attempts at Hellgate 100K (2009&2010) had me seriously doubting my ability to complete 100 miles. I stepped away for a year then returned in 2012 and finally got that Hellgate finish!Instead of boosting my confidence, finishing Hellgate actually had the opposite effect. I did a good bit of suffering during those 100K attempts, and if 66.6 miles wasn’t fun, then how could I possibly enjoy running 100 miles? I decided that I was fine sticking to the shorter stuff! I could still live a full, happy life without experiencing trailside hallucinations or having a shiny belt buckle to prove it☺Change of Heart:During a fun training run this past summer, a couple of friends were debating signing up for Umstead, and I started my typical anti-100-mile speech, swearing them off forever! Especially Umstead! I mean how much worse can it get??? Running around the same 12.5 mile loop, eight times, with barely any elevation change, and no trails? Then voices kept echoing in my head, advice over the years from 100-mile veterans who I admire and have great respect and I began to feel deep down that if they promised it was an amazing experience, I would be crazy not to try it at least once. I mean, they wouldn’t lie to me, would they?Wanting to have a good first-time experience, I decided that Umstead might not be such a bad way to test the waters. The logistics are simple: You do not have to worry about drop bags, carrying a pack, getting lost, technical terrain, and it is fairly close to home, so I would not have to fly or worry about getting pacers or crew to help there. Deciding to run a 100 miler was the first hurdle, but getting in most 100s is another giant hurdle! Everything fills up so fast these days it’s a miracle if you can even get registered once you have mentally made the commitment. Umstead fills up in minutes and I did not make the online registration, so I had to talk myself into filling out the paper entry. I secretly prayed I would not get in and it would be a sign that it just was not meant to be! Then my name was added to the entrants list and I had to take it as a sign that it WAS meant to be and figure out a plan!Training:I had a good run at Masochist and that gave me a bit more confidence, but I knew my typical training regimen would not be enough to get me to the finish line at Umstead. I barely hit 40 miles most weeks and have never followed a training plan, so I decided to look into coaching. After searching several sites, I realized that hiring a coach did not fit into my budget, so I borrowed Hal Koerner’s book from a friend and copied the 100-mile training plan, deciding to use that as a rough guideline. I recovered fairly quickly after Masochist and began to pick up the miles.In January, I finished two quality long training runs. First, I ran our traditional Over the Top-New Year’s Day Fun Run and then two weeks later the Sultan 50K. In February, I decided at the last minute to travel down to Fort Mill, South Carolina with Doug for the Mill Stone 50K. It was a flat loop course, so I thought that would be a perfect Umstead practice and a great chance to catch up with some friends. I ended up first female at the finish, which was a nice bonus and I recovered quickly which helped to add another little bit of confidence. The Mount Mitchell Challenge was my last and longest run before Umstead, and while it did not exactly unfold the way I wanted, I was very thankful to come out of it uninjured and learned some valuable lessons there.I was also fortunate to have my local Wolf Hills Brewery Run Club, the Wolf Pack, to help get me through the winter. I did not really think about that when choosing Umstead, but if you work full time, you end up having to log a lot of miles on those dark, freezing cold winter nights. I have a hard time getting motivated after 5 pm for an 8-mile run when it is dark and cold, but the support of the “Pack” really helped pull me through the winter months.Even though I was running more than I ever had, I was still worried that it was not going to be enough. Every week I was falling short of the training plan, adding rest days, cutting runs short, going out instead, but then I would remember my trusted motto: LESS IS MORE! If I was tired, then I should rest. Quality over quantity!The Plan:I was extremely lucky to have my friend Laura Duffy offer to crew for me. Then Alan Needle and Bill Gentry jumped on board to pace me, so I knew I was in good hands there. No worries about being well taken care of! And knowing that Rick and Tammy would be there also gave me much peace of mind. Those two have helped me through so many rough patches! I planned on staying there in a cabin with Rick and Tammy to eliminate the stress of having to drive back and forth to a hotel and we were able to park right along the course which was perfect! We could just leave everything in the back of the car; open the hatch, and Voila! Instant aid station!The Day Before:I took Friday off, and enjoyed a short two mile run before cooking Laura and I breakfast. It was a nice leisurely start to the day before hitting the road. I did not feel stressed getting packed and we had a nice drive down to Raleigh. We got to Umstead, picked up my packet, set up our beds in the cabin, enjoyed catching up with everyone as they arrived, and headed to the pre-race meeting. It was cold in the lodge, but I enjoyed a little pep talk given by Greg Burch who was chosen to wear special bib #100 and the pre-race briefing did not go too long before we began rearranging the large room in the lodge for the dinner.I thought it was really neat that they asked everyone who was going for their first 100-mile finish to come to the front and move the tables out then everyone in the back grabbed benches and worked really well together to turn the room into a dining hall! The volunteers at Umstead are top notch and the whole thing runs like a well-oiled machine. They moved everyone in and out of the kitchen in record time, serving spaghetti, rolls, salad, and cake. When we got back to our tables they had placed a bottle of salad dressing, butter, and parmesan cheese on each one. We all enjoyed our last meal together before attempting one last sleep!I was frozen already just sitting at the pre-race meeting/dinner, fully bundled in my jacket, beanie, and gloves. The walk to the cabin only made it worse, and I quickly got ready for bed in fleece pants, knee socks, long sleeve shirt, jacket, beanie, and gloves. We all got a good chuckle as Laura dressed for bed, only to transform into what looked like a mini sherpa! I was wondering if staying in a cabin with no electricity, water, nor insulation for that matter was the best idea the night before attempting to run 100 miles??? Seriously, you could see through the walls, ha ha ha hmmmmm.I eventually did warm up and actually slept pretty well considering the accommodations and the quest that lay ahead! The morning was a blur of getting dressed and attempting to eat something at 4:30 am. It was sort of an out of body experience. I remember Tammy asking me how I felt and I really could not come up with the words. I was not nervous or super excited. I was just ready to get started! All of the months of training and prepping and worrying about all the incessant what ifs! I just needed to get out there and put one foot in front of the other, simple right?Standing in the kitchen of the lodge soaking up the last bit of heat, I saw my friend Glen walk around the corner! He and his wife Helen had come to volunteer. These two are special and I knew their enthusiasm would help me along the way! We made our way towards the starting area and grabbed a quick group photo. I was so happy to be surrounded by friends: Rick, Netta, Lisa, Phyllis, and we jumped in line with Bill Warner and his son-in-law Billy, while Tammy, Laura, Glen &Helen, and Netta’s family stood by to cheer us on. We had been warned multiple times! DO NOT GO OUT TOO FAST!!! So we set off in the dark with our number one goal that for our first lap, we would go slow…. Loop One:With a 6 a.m. start we would be in the dark for a while, so intentionally not wearing a headlamp prevented us from going out too fast. It felt really slow, but I tried to be patient knowing this was what had to be done to maintain my progress and not fall apart over the course of 100 miles. I wanted to be able to run as long as possible! Rick gave us a play by play of where we were and land marks along the way. As we ran along the airport spur my stomach was sending signals of distress and I decided to pull off at the first latrine, not the way I wanted to start the day! My stomach is usually the thing I do not have to worry about in a race and it concerned me greatly for having these issues so early. Was this a bad sign? Luckily the stop seemed to do the trick and I felt much better and hoped that would be the end of that!Lisa, Rick, and I stuck together, and I felt safe with them. At least if I did not know what I was doing, they did. This 100-mile distance was messing with my head, the pacing and effort was so different than what I was used to that I just did not know quite what to do with myself?? I could hear my friend Dennis advising, “Just try and stay relaxed.” When questions and doubt would float into my mind, I would just focus on those words of advice. It felt good to get the first lap done and see everyone’s smiling faces at the turn around. It was like one big party that I knew I could not be a part of, ha ha! We each grabbed what we needed, regrouped, and headed back out! Loops Two, Three, and Four:The following loops just melted together in my mind. Here are some things I remember: Lisa, Rick, and I continued to work together and picked up a couple of fun buddies along the way. My legs felt way worse than I thought they should so early. I ate an entire veggie burger at the end of Loop Two and that did not work out so well at all. I had to make another pit stop and decided to stick to liquid calories and gels for a while. Much to my surprise, my friend Rob French showed up on the scene and that made me super happy! I went through the 50-mile mark at 8:49. Almost a 50-minute PR!!! It was so uplifting to see so many familiar faces out on the course. Everyone was smiling and having a good time!Our crews were amazing at the turn around! Laura always had my bottle ready, helped me change shoes, put on sunscreen, wash my face, and was always remembering to ask questions trying to jog my memory for what I might need on the next loop.The other runners were so encouraging! I do not know how many times we exchanged well wishes as we passed others coming and going. The energy and support was contagious! Loop Five and Six:I picked up my pacer Alan and the miles passed quickly as we chatted about everything under the sun. I was shocked that I still felt like running and had not grown tired of the course! I was clueless as far as distance and time. I was completely focused only on completing each lap and making it to the finish. I did not wear a watch and could not even do basic math at this point, so when we would discuss how things were going, it was just enough to keep me positive and moving forward. Basically all I needed to hear was, “You are well within the cutoff!” I think Alan did a great job at making sure I was moving well but would have enough gas left in the tank to make it to the finish.Coming through the 100K mark with another PR was also a wonderful boost to my morale! Hellgate 100K was the longest run I had done previously, so when Alan announced we were getting ready to pass mile 66.6 and enter uncharted territory, I was elated that I could still run and basically felt okay. Umstead and Hellgate are entirely different beasts, but it was still something to celebrate.I had walked away from the turn around after Loop Five without my headlamp, so Alan graciously ran back to grab it. I continued on and when I got to the airport spur, I figured he would just meet me on the return trip, so for the first time I turned on some tunes. I do not think I had gotten through one song before he came sprinting up from behind. Now that is SERVICE! I still cannot believe that was the only music I listened to over the course of 20 hours! I even bought an extra shuffle so I would have backup. Oh well…. Loops Seven and Eight:When my buddy Bill Gentry offered to come and pace, I was extremely honored. He has gone to battle with Umstead 17 times, so I consider him quite the expert! We met at Rattlesnake 50K back in 2010, and when I saw he was wearing a crop top I knew we would be fast friends! I was super excited to find out earlier this year we would both be joining the Blue Ridge Outdoors Team! We do not get to run together very often, but when we do, it is always a blast, so I felt sure that if the end got ugly, Bill would be the perfect person to lift me up and make me laugh through any rough patches. Luckily it did not get too rough, and lots of talking, laughing, and general silliness ensued.The inside of my right knee began hurting and by the time we finished Loop Seven it was really pissing me off. I still felt good and wanted to run, so I asked Alan to take a look. Besides being an awesome pacer, he also has a Ph.D. in Biomechanics and Movement Science! He found the trigger point and I wished I had a stick to bite down on as he worked to relax the muscle. Meanwhile I decided to feast on some delicious mashed potatoes. He taped me up and we prepared to head out on the last lap! I had still been moving pretty well on Lap Seven and had been really warm so I decided not to change clothes as we had previously discussed. I still had an extra long sleeve shirt, jacket, extra gloves, and hand warmers in my pack, so I felt prepared.Unfortunately my knee did not improve and my ankles began to ache and the running did not come. I think around mile five of the last loop, I decided to put my jacket on and get the hand warmers going. We walked into AS2 (about 7 mi) and I was pretty chilly and my knee was still super cranky. I asked if they possibly had any biofreeze, and much to my surprise, they did! These aid stations at Umstead are amazing! We went into the tent where the super kind volunteer even offered to apply the biofreeze. I believe she was rather relieved when I declined her offer. I took a couple ibuprofen and we made sure not to linger any longer in the warmth of the tent.As we were walking away another volunteer asked if I would like a pair of pants?? It was so tempting, I could not say no. At that point I was really getting cold so she reached in a Tupperware tote and showed me the options. Basically a blue pair of sweatpants covered in paint or a pair of black and red breakaway pants! I was having a really hard time making a decision. They would both make such a fashion statement. The volunteer felt that the breakaways were my best option, so she and Bill helped me get in them. It was a pretty funny spectacle. I hope someone saw it and got a good laugh!It had been so nice seeing our friend Dorothy Hunter at AS2 throughout the day, and now she was walking along side us as we left AS2 for the last time! She kept going and going and we kept talking and walking and joked that she should have changed into her running gear so she could have gone on with us! Finally she wished us well and turned back and I knew we were more than half way through the last loop!!!I kept waiting for the demons to creep up and for the bad attitude to rear its ugly head, but it just never happened. I never wished away the miles, or prayed for it to be over. Even though the last lap was slow, I was still having fun and I guess knowing I was going to finish made it impossible to get down! When we made it back to the crew hangout all was quiet and we checked cars to make sure no one was inside sleeping, but no one was around. I asked Bill if I should take off my breakaway pants. I mean I needed to look good for the last photo, right? We laughed and he said no, that I had to rock them to the finish!It was cracking me up that I crossed the finish line in those pants! Seeing the confused look on everyone’s faces before they realized that the runner in the breakaways was actually ME was priceless. After 20 hours and 9 minutes, those same friends that wished me well at the start were there at the finish, still smiling, supporting, and cheering me on. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for those friendships. Hugs all around, then we made our way inside to the fire! I did not feel sick, or dead tired, or completely wrecked, or overly emotional. I think I was just in shock that it was over. Did I really just finish 100 miles??? How could it possibly be over?? I did not fall, puke, cry, pop a blister, hallucinate, fall asleep, or swear off running forever?I promised myself two weeks off from running completely and luckily that is almost over. I miss the trails and running with friends. Other than swollen feet and sore ankles, the recovery has been comparable to shorter races. The aftermath was nothing worse than my first marathon or 50-mile pummeling so that was a nice surprise. I am so thankful for such a wonderful experience, and as sick as it may sound to most, I had a lot of FUN out there!
Blue Ridge Outdoors announces 48 finalists for its fourth annual Top Towns Reader ContestThe Blue Ridge boasts dozens of towns with vibrant outdoor scenes and access to world-class adventure. Here is your chance to select your three favorites.Editors and readers have narrowed the field to 48 contenders, listed below. They are mountain biking meccas, whitewater oases, climbing paradises, and hiking nirvanas. You can vote for the top outdoor town in three categories: large town (population 100,000+), medium town (population 10,000 – 100,000), and small town (population less than 10,000).The first round of voting runs through August 16. Subsequent rounds of voting will conclude September 13, and the three winning towns will be featured in the November issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.Which will be crowned the top towns? You decide. Vote now!
If you haven’t subscribed to Tom Rosenbauer’s Orvis Fly Fishing Guide podcast now is the time. Rosenbauer is a well regarded fly fishing author and the Marketing Director for Orvis Rod and Tackle, and his experience and knowledge of the sport approach encyclopedic levels. In a recent episode of his podcast, Rosenbauer provided some crucial tips for fly fishing in warmer weather. Below are a few of the tips Tom mentions. Listen to the full episode here to hear the list in its entirety.1. Think small and high.Small mountain streams at higher elevations. That’s the place to be when the mercury starts to rise. Though these fisheries usually require a little more effort to locate and reach, the pay off is well worth the work. High mountain streams remain much cooler than the big rivers down low where trout tend to shut down when temps reach 70 degrees and above.2. Bring out the dries. Subsurface insect activity tends to hit a lull during the month of August so stock your box with dries and leave some of the nymphs at home.3. Hit the hole early.There’s always something magical about hitting the stream around day break, and arriving early is increasingly important in August. This is when water temps will be at their lowest point of the day, creating a more hospitable feeding environment for the trout you seek. As Rosebauer says in the aforementioned podcast, morning fishing is preferable to evening fishing because the water has had a chance to cool overnight, whereas water temps can reach their highest point of the day after the sun goes down because the stream has been absorbing heat from the sun for several hours.3. Focus on riffles and other portions of swift moving water.There are a few reasons why trout prefer fast moving water in the warm summer months. For one thing, the swift water obscures the vision of potential predators like ospreys and herons. Riffles also produce more food than still water, carrying terrestrials and aquatic insects directly to the fish so they don’t have to expend valuable energy searching for it.4. Keep an eye on water temps. Carry a water thermometer and check the stream temp periodically. When water temps begin to approach and exceed 70 degrees call it day or head for colder water. Because oxygen levels decrease at these temps, trout are less active and tend to become extremely vulnerable. If you do hook up, chances are the fish won’t survive the fight.5. Stock your box with ants and beetles. Rosenbauer considers the the use of these flies as a deadly secret weapon in summer time. These are insects that trout are accustomed to seeing year round, so they usually won’t hesitate to eat one when presented properly. Unlike some of the bigger terrestrials that are so popular in summer like grass hoppers and chernobyl chubbies, ants and beetles are subtle and don’t require as much commitment from a curious trout. If you are fishing the bigger terrestrials consider tying an an ant or beetle dropper.More from the Fridays on the Fly blog:
Mountain House: Fusilli Pasta with Italian Sausage Roofnest: Eagle Italian in the backcountry? Mountain House has you covered. Their new Fusilli Pasta with Italian Sausage is a hearty home-cooked meal when you need it the most. The entree consists of “spun fusilli pasta in a rustic tomato sauce made with fire-roasted veggies, garlic, basil, and Italian-style sausage”. This has become a go-to for late night dinners in the van after long days on the trail. The best part is that it has a clean ingredients list that would make your grandmother proud. Mountain House is committed to using only real ingredients. If you look at their ingredients list (which is listed clearly for each option on their website) you will never find artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Just delicious, ready-in-minutes food! One thing we’re stoked for this year is Mountain House’s partnership with TerraCycle, a company that offers free recycling for clean, empty Mountain House pouches. Sea To Summit’s new Aeros Down Pillow is the latest and greatest in Sea To Summit’s line of lightweight inflatable pillows. It combines the supportiveness of the traditional Aeros line with a new luxurious down pillow top that offers unparalleled comfort from an inflatable pillow. Weighing in at just 2.5 ounces, you won’t be sacrificing comfort for weight either. We use our’s whether we’re in the backcountry or just hanging out in a hammock by the van. The Aeros line of pillows really has revolutionized the way we sleep in the backcountry. Long gone are the days of sleeping with our heads on a pile of dirty laundry. Having the down pillow top is just icing on the cake. Perhaps our favorite feature of the Aeros Down Pillow is the Pillow-Lock system that ensures your pillow doesn’t slide around in the middle of the night. There is one way for this tour to be a reality– our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to all of our awesome sponsors that keep this tour running: Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Leki, Big Agnes, Stio, Roofnest, and Franklin County, VA. Sea To Summit: Aeros Down Pillow The Eagle is Roofnest’s largest rooftop tent. As a family of three (two humans and a dog) we appreciate the extra space that it offers. With the interior dimensions of 6’ 10” X 55” the Roofnest has plenty of room for the three of us. What makes this our favorite rooftop tent is the ease of use. When we pull into a camp spot for the night the last thing we want to do is spend a bunch of time setting camp. With the Eagle, you can go from parking to sleeping in a matter of minutes. This becomes especially important if you need to set up camp in high winds or rain. Just undo four latches and the Roofnest pops up and you’re ready for bed. It can be mounted on most vehicles and you’ll be able to sleep comfortably on the three-inch-thick memory foam mattress. We’ve had our Roofnest open during quite a few gnarly thunderstorms and we’ve never had an issue with rain getting in. Every tent comes with a retractible latter, all necessary mounting hardware, and a condensation mat. Ah, June – it’s good to see you. We’ve entered our third month on road and we’ll be headed across the country to start the Colorado portion of our tour before we know it. With all of the spring snow out west, we’ve heard it’s been a long mud season. Fingers crossed we can take our snowboards out one last time when we get back. We’re looking forward to long backpacking trips, campfires with friends, and waking up at 4 am to climb mountains. Great adventures call for great gear. Take a look at the gear that keeps us going through each new adventure in this month’s Gear On The Go.