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The Unknown Ascent Behind Cal Poly

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The Unknown Ascent Behind Cal Poly

Some of the best training that you can do for long, tough races in the mountains are power hiking laps. Power hiking, when you are not running but still moving quickly, is an excellent skill to build and one of the most essential tools to use to conserve your energy during long endeavors. Instead of running up a steep climb, it is better to tighten your glutes, shorten your stride, and begin to power hike. You are not simply walking up the steep trail, you must still move with purpose and drive towards the top. Occasionally, when the hill becomes especially steep it is wise to put your hands on your knees, to push off and give yourself extra force on each step. Performing a power hiking workout about once a week when training for a tough trail race is a great way to prepare your body for any adventure.

There is an unnamed, largely unknown ascent behind Cal Poly which is a perfect training ground for my upcoming race, the Santa Barbara Nine Trails. Nine Trails is a 35-mile long race with about 10,000’ of elevation gain so I need to get my climbing legs as ready as possible. Beginning at the bottom of the northernmost side of the Bishop building in Cal Poly’s Cerro Vista housing complex, this climb is rarely used but perfect for training your legs to ascend steep, technical routes. At 0.3 miles from bottom to top, while gaining 581 feet in a 29.1% grade, this climb packs a punch. For three laps, power hiking up and running down, you can get roughly 1,800’ of elevation gain in 2.65 miles. Be careful on the upper section of the climb, where the ground becomes steep and very slippery due to gravel. Otherwise, lap this climb or one in your own running area as many times as you want to get in a wonderful power hiking session that is simple and straightforward.

Note: this post is an assignment for the Journalism 285 class that I am taking at Cal Poly.

AUM,

Jarod Contreras

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Crisis of Identity: 4 Steps to Learning Yourself

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Crisis of Identity: 4 Steps to Learning Yourself

Around 20 million years ago the ground below what is now San Luis Obispo was perforated by volcanic vents. These vents allowed for the passage of magma to the Earth’s surface and around that time magma began to congeal below softer rock at the surface. Over the following eons, the softer rock was eroded away by the powerful forces of wind, water, and dirt. To our eyes today, after millions of years of erosion, these volcanic plugs, as they are called, appear as rugged mountains known as the Nine Sisters. The tallest Sister, Bishop Peak, is now a silent sentinel over the city of San Luis Obispo. This peak has become a favored training ground for me during my time here in San Luis Obispo attending Cal Poly. It has become so special, in fact, that it has transcended the simple moniker of ‘training ground,’ I would venture to say that it is a form of church for me, a sacred place. The mountain’s jagged profile and jumbled, razor-sharp igneous rock provide for a trail system that is quite brutal. Running laps of this mountain in a continuous session, tagging the peak two or three times, will usher you into a transformative pain cave. That brutal simplicity is why this peak has sanctity, in my eyes…

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After the After

As I made my way up the first climb of the Sean O'Brien 100k this past weekend I could only focus on the circle of light ahead of me and everything else around me, the mist, the darkness, even the people, may have well as not been there…

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