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Description:Blog of Brian Kearney - Blog Blog of Brian Kearney Blog Adventures Podcast Store About Learning from Failures: The Ozark Trail 5/6/2016 Comments I just got back from a hike on the Ozark Trail in Misso

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Blog of Brian Kearney - Blog Blog of Brian Kearney Blog Adventures Podcast Store About Learning from Failures: The Ozark Trail 5/6/2016 Comments I just got back from a hike on the Ozark Trail in Missouri. I was attempting a thru hike - and on pace for the self-supported fastest known time (FKT) - but I only completed 130 miles due to a knee injury. Going into the hike, my goal was to test myself mentally and physically with a solo hike. All my previous hike have been with my wife, and I wanted to see how well I could do on my own. Below are my thoughts on my experience. ?10 Thoughts Before the Hike ??Ticks: Ticks aren't a huge deal in Missouri, but they're there. I'll need to make sure I do a tick check each night. Water: Water in plentiful, but I'm more nervous about making a mistake. What if I get hurt? I'm not carrying a SPOT, and cell coverage is going to be very poor. Where to camp? Some blog posts suggest that it may be difficult to find spots, so I'm just hoping I find a place each night when I'm ready to rest. What if I push myself too hard? I'm trying to do at least 23 miles per day, which is more than I did on the Ice Age Trail Job search: will get put on hold for the 10 days I always wish my gear were lighter Will I get bored or lonely? Will I get lost? On the Ice Age Trail, my wife was much better at spotting the trail blazes. On the OT, I'll have to pay attention. Bears: I'm not going to hang my food at night, and I'm going with an odor proof bag. I'm hoping this will work. 10 Thoughts After the Hike Ticks / bugs: In my prep, I used this CDC map of Lyme disease as a proxy for the frequency of ticks. After talking to the locals, I now realize that that's probably not a perfect proxy. One said, "Missouri gets real tick-y and chigger-y from May through September." Good to know. I saw a handful of ticks on my socks and pant legs, but the permethrin seemed to help kill them, and I gave myself peace of mind with nightly tick checks. Also on a the bright side, there were almost zero mosquitoes! Water: Any concerns about water were unnecessary, since there were a million water sources. Three big thunderstorms kept all the official water sources full and filled the unlisted drainages adequately. Pushing too hard / getting hurt: In the end, I had to bail out because of a knee injury. Pushing myself to average nearly 30 miles per day is most likely the reason I hurt my knee. On the bright side, the insoles I got from the doctor worked really well at taking the pressure off the ball of my foot where I got bad blisters while on the Ice Age Trail. Cell coverage was pretty poor throughout the trail, but I was able to reach a road and find a strong enough signal to call for a shuttle. Finding a place to camp: This was pretty easy. There were plenty of flat enough spots to set up a tent. It wasn't hard to look at the topo maps and see where the flat spots were. The OT would be a great trail to use a hammock, though. Getting lost: Navigation was relatively easy, but there were definitely areas that could use some improved signage. For example, I still find it difficult to tell when a down tree is just an obstacle or is being used to direct hikers, especially when the tread is hard to follow - improved signage would help with that problem. Boredom & loneliness: Boredom was far less of an issue than loneliness. It was weird being in the wilderness without my wife. I'm sure it would become normal with additional solo trips - I'm not convinced that I want it to become normal, though. Food: I love macadamia and pine nuts while at home. They're also some of the most weight-efficient foods I could find. However, they started to taste like dirt to me after just a few days. I was able to mix the pine nuts in with some Justin's in a tortilla, but the macadamias stayed in my pack. The white chocolate bars that I packed were the best-tasting things in the pack - amazing! The trail: The OT has approximately 45 million stream crossings. Even on days with no rain, I couldn't keep my feet dry for long. The best I could do was to air them out during breaks. The terrain was about as hilly as I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting so many rocks that caused me to roll my ankles and lose my balance. Just as I decided to end my hike, the trail started to flatten out and become smoother, though. I kept my phone on airplane mode while hiking, primarily so I wouldn't have to wait for it to turn on just to take a picture. Apple's health app automatically tracks how far I walked each day, and it consistently said I walked several miles further than the maps did. While I did double back a few times, that wouldn't add several miles each d day. I'm now wondering which source is more accurate - the maps of the phone. Getting off the trail and not finishing the thru was a really tough decision, but it was the right one. ?My Hike By the Numbers Distance: 130 miles Time to complete: 4 days, 19 hours before calling for a shuttle Miles / day: 27 ?References ?My gear list and preparation spreadsheets (spreadsheet source: andrewskurka.com) ?Official OT website - great maps here ?Subscribe to hear more about the Ozark Trail and my other Adventures Name * First Last Email * Comment * Submit Comments Race Report: Stubborn Fool Adventure Race 4/6/2016 Comments This past weekend, I ran the Stubborn Fool, which is a 6-hour traditional adventure race. I say "traditional" because races like Tough Mudder and the like are often called adventure races as well. Those mud runs a lot of fun, but I wish there were a separate term for them. The event was very well managed, and everyone involved was fantastic. I recommend this race to anyone just dipping their toe into adventure racing. The weather added a nice additional obstacle. The weather alternated between white-out blizzard conditions and sunny warm ones. The wind and snow forced the race director to cancel the paddling section, so we ran, cycled, and trekked. Expectations Going into the race, I had just two expectations: (1) perform better than my first adventure race back in 2012 and (2) have fun and get start getting used to adventure racing. This was my first traditional adventure race since 2012, when I DNF'd. Instead of a normal couch to 5k plan, I was a bit more ambitious and decided on couch to 10-hour race through the woods - hence team name, Irrational Exuberance. For a bunch of boring reasons, I had to run this race solo. Having a partner can make the race more fun. Also, the land navigation is slightly more difficult because a partner is a second pair of eyes looking for the small controls hidden in the woods. I'd have to Results I definitely performed better than 2012. Team Festrunk Brothers (that's me) finished roughly in the middle of the pack. Also, I had a blast. So, my two expectations were spot on, and I'm a happy camper with this race. My performance definitely could be better. I'm still not a strong on the bike, so I could easily shave a ton of time off there. I'll be putting in more miles and strengthening my legs in the future. Also, my navigation skills have plenty of room for improvement. In the bike portion, I took a bad route to the first cycling control, which hurt me for the rest of the cycling portion. I took a route that went up a huge, long incline that exhausted me. However, there was a flatter alternative that I didn't even consider. In the land navigation portion, I took an excessively conservative route (I kept telling myself "don't get lost") that was also inefficient. As I spend more time at orienteering meets and races, I should improve. What would I do differently? Physical As mentioned before, I intend to prepare more physically, especially on the bike. As the year progresses, the planned races get longer, so losing some excess body fat should help as well. Carrying around 5 or 10 lbs of excess body fat is effectively the same as carrying that weight in my pack. So, I may as well ditch it. Mental My route choices are improving, but they have plenty of room for additional improvement. Also, I ran right past a control and had to double back once. More focus on route choices and knowing about when I should run into the controls should help my performace. Nutrition I ended up carrying just 0.7L of water and no food through this race. I was hungry for the last hour or so, which isn't good. For any race above 4 hours, I'll need a snack. Also, the weather was cold for this race. Any warmer, and I would have needed a lot more water. Don't miss future race reports! Email * Subscribe to Newsletter Comments Upcoming appearance 3/29/2016 Comments I will be coming out of hiding to attend the Ice Age Trail annual conference April 8-10. The IAT office invited me to make a presentation about my hike on Thursday. Instead of presenting a half hour snooze-fest of pictures from the trail, I originally planned on presenting my snack cake analysis (Part 1, Part 2) but scheduling didn't work out. Luckily, I'll be able to make it to the conference in time to participate in the panel discussion with other hikers. While I don't intend to intentionally derail the conversation into a debate about food, I struggle to envision a scenario where that doesn't happen. If you attend, be sure to say hi, especially if you have snack cakes. Comments <

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