One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Verdugos - Huarache Tests Continue - Bobcat

AC 100s Mt. Wilson in the way background

Another very positive test of my huaraches in a real world setting. Today I put in nearly 20 miles in the Verdugo Mountains which are just North of Burbank, CA with downtown LA in the background.

Firetrail Training

I did some Google Map researching last night and found some overgrown fire trails that I had not been on before, so I decided to give them a try. This fire road ran along the ridge of some treacherous mountains with crazy steep uphills and downhills. As I ran I got a bunch of coyotes unhappy with me. They started whining which got others whining in adjacent canyons. Quite a stir. They must of thought I was a predator.

No on had been here for a long time.

One highlight of the run was finding and photographing a Bobcat sitting in the grass. I had to use the digital telephoto on my camera, but I got several shots of him. See below.

Which leads me to mention what I saw last night at Hansen Dam. Yep, I saw a mountain lion. Fastest animal I ever saw in nature. Luckily, he was not running at me, but not exactly away either. He was pissed that I had seen him. He may be the one that was spotted a couple months ago near here. The lasting impressions I have are FAST animal, low to the ground and very long tail. All happened in a fraction of a second. I turned around and started heading home.

He's there, but you can't see him.

Bobcat close-up: 34°13'29.10"N | 118°19'59.89"W

In the end , I did have to repair the huaraches once during my run at about mile 16. As I was crossing a stream, my foot got slippery and slide to the side of the sandal. The sandals had loosened up a little during the run and I had not bothered to adjust them. As I slid, I put enough force to pull the knot loose. Took less than 3 minutes to repair.

FYI from Wikipedia: Verdugo Mountains

The Verdugo Mountains are a rather rugged offshoot range of the San Gabriel Mountains and are located in Los Angeles County, California. The mountains are California state-protected property. They were named for the Verdugo family, holders of the Rancho San Rafael land grant which covered the mountains during California's Spanish and Mexican period. The range runs roughly southeast to northwest between the City of Glendale and the community of Tujunga. The City of Burbank is to the south, and the Crescenta Valley is to the north of the Verdugos.

Found this video talking about mountain lions in the Verdugos!

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tarahumara Huarache Sandal Test cont.

Indigenous Design

Trail Home

As mentioned last week, I received some rubber sole material from Peter, Vibram sole designer. I quickly made a pair of Raramuri-style huaraches. The sole on these sandals is quite thin, just 5mm which makes them much lighter (about 4 ounces) than my truly authentic, Manuel Luna produced, huarache sandals and significantly more flexible.

Rock Climbing

I took them out on a 10+ mile hike-run in the mountains above Burbank, California. Today was quite clear. The ocean could be seen in the distance along with Catalina Island, Griffith Park and Downtown LA. The sandals performed perfectly. I think I am getting addicted.

Crest Running

My goal is to wear a pair of huaraches during the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon on March 4th in Urique, Mexico. The race is nearly 50 miles on mountain roads, so I am doing all I can to prepare. These modified sandals may be the answer.

Ocean View

Burnt Rock

New Tree

I have much more testing to do with these sandals, but today was a huge success. I did not need to constantly adjust these sandals. They stayed snug the entire journey. I did not get any hotspots or blisters. My feet are getting used to the leather straps. I do not like the feeling I get when I sweat a lot in these, so I plan on trying to add a rice straw or hemp top cover.

These really are the most elegant solution to portable ground that I have found. With only one small strap of leather coming up over the top of the foot, rocks and pebbles do not get stuck, they just roll out. Indigenous design at its best.

More tests are necessary. Perhaps a slightly stiffer rubber would be better.


Will Survive

Mountain Lion

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