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Le Parcour de Wild Race Report
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Lucas Osborne
(LukeO) - F

Locale: Big Sky Country
Race on 11/04/2009 09:11:22 MST Print View

Nice work fellas--all around.


Why October?
Who gets invited to the "underground" race?
Is the Le Parcour Race planning to change venues every few years like the AMWC?


Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Le Parcour de Wild Race Report on 11/04/2009 09:41:03 MST Print View

John said: "Should it be Parkour? Why put a French name on an American race? "

Ryan picked the name. It does have a certain sophistiqu├ęs appel though doesn't it? :)

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Race on 11/04/2009 11:38:56 MST Print View

In response to Lucas: "Why October?
Who gets invited to the "underground" race?
Is the Le Parcour Race planning to change venues every few years like the AMWC?"

Those are questions only Ryan can answer fully. I know he invited anyone who had completed his wilderness trekking III courses in 2007/2008 but I think he posted it somewhere on the BPL website. I don't know what Ryan's plans are for "Le Parcour" in the future. I hope it becomes a regular fall feature.

In regard to "Why October" I think it was chosen as a time when the big rivers could potentially be run by packraft and when the uncertainties of weather added to the challenge. October hit it big on the bad weather this year but the freeze would have prevented packrafting altogether.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Food questions on 11/04/2009 16:14:25 MST Print View

I'd be very interested in knowing what types of food you guys carried, calorie content, and weight. I'm sure a lot of thought went into that and the knowledge would be invaluable to many of us.


Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Food questions on 11/04/2009 20:27:53 MST Print View

The answer to the food question depends on trip length, conditions and intensity. In this trip the long days, cold weather but relatively short duration had me bring about 2.5# of food per day (including packaging). I probably could have gotten by with less but I hate to run short.

I always try to get 100-150grams of protein daily this takes up about 1/2 pound of weight. I mix the rest between fat and carbohydrate the proportion depending on trip length and intensity of travel. The longer or colder the trip the more fat is needed, the more intense (fast) the travel the more carbohydrate. Proportion can range from 40% carb to 80%. It should be a mix of simple and complex carbohydrate.

Number of calories is calculated roughly by 150 calories per mile (unless your load is heavy), 500 extra for every 1000' of gain, 10% extra for cold conditions.

A 30 mile day with 4000' would have me burn around 7000' calories per day in cold conditions. To replace this fully would take about 3# of food with 60% from carbohydrate. Certainly you can short this significantly for 2-3 weeks if you have enough body fat (I have about 10# of body fat and can get by losing 1/2-1# daily for about a week before my performance suffers). If I targeted 4000 calories per day in these conditions I would lose 2/3 of a pound daily.

On this trip I didn't want to lose much weight as I'm in the middle of training to pace a 3:00 marathon (and need to be able to run one ~2:50 pace to reliably pace at 3:00). When I lose too much weight--especially if I don't get enough protein--recovery and training suffers. I only lost about 2# on this trip.

Another comment on diet is that VARIETY is needed. I've been on several trips with people who simplified their diet to only 2 or 3 items only to find that they couldn't stand them by the end of the trip. I take a variety of bars, candybars, nuts, raisins, mango, tortillas, jerky, during the day and I have a variety of made at home "boil in a bag" type dinners I use. On this trip they were my "cold tested" foods that I know i can eat if frozen.

Perhaps I should write an article on nutrition and the way I make up my meals someday.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Food questions on 11/04/2009 20:44:44 MST Print View

"Perhaps I should write an article on nutrition and the way I make up my meals someday."

I, for one, would strongly encourage you to do so, Kevin. This is by far the most reasoned approach to diet for backpacking, high intensity or otherwise, that I have ever come across.

I think an article would be a real service to the community.

Thanks for the info.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
food on 11/04/2009 21:19:47 MST Print View

I learned a lot about food from Kevin, both from seeing what he had along and by asking him about physiology (much of the info is condensed above). I've been backpacking plenty, and know how to eat for intense races of <24 hours, but this was somewhat new territory.

My dry dinners and breakfast were about 6 oz each. This just wasn't enough. I did have butter and olive oil to add to both, and that was a very wise addition.

Breakfasts were a varying mix of raw oats, instant oats, granola, full-fat powdered milk, nuts, and chocolate chips. They were really good, especially the ones with plenty of walnuts and chocolate! I'd do them exactly the same again, just add more stuff.

Dinners were primarily mixes of a starch (powdered potatoes or couscous) with some kind of dehydrated beans. We've got a food store in Missoula with an amazing bulk section that makes putting these together easy and cheap. The Couscous and chili-refried bean dinner was the best. I'm high maintenance when it comes to food, and a variety of flavors (and strong flavors) were something to look forward to when grinding out the last miles of a long day.

I should also elaborate oh how we did dinner on days 2 and 3. Both were on the cold side, especially at night, but had little precipitation and a decent amount of sun during the day. We stopped each day between 6 and 7 (just before dark, when we found a good dry and sunny spot) and fired up the Caldera and spent 45 minutes making dinner and resting our feet. It provided a big psychological boost, and made sitting and eating dinner pleasant rather than freezing cold. A very good technique to have. We didn't do it the next two nights because it was warmer, but mostly because we were wet and needed a fire and camp time to dry out.

My lunches were where I came up short. I brought 10 Clif bars, 10 Snickers, 10 Paydays, 28 mini Slim Jims, some salami, some hard cheese, and I think that was it. I needed more calories, more variety would have been nice, and I needed more protein and carbs (though more carbs at breakfast and dinner might have sorted that out).

Most egregious of all, we had planned on hiking on and camping Friday, then finishing up the hike Sunday (rather than hiking partway to civilization and then hitching a ride, which we did). I spaced bringing a dinner and breakfast for that last day, which was just me being dumb. I remember staring at my pack worrying that I had left something out. Unfortunately, I had.

It's good to note that I lost a good bit more weight than Kevin, and didn't have near the mental or physical resources left at the end of the trip. This was due to my lesser experience, but most directly to the bigger calorie debt I was running. Kevin graciously put up with my miscalculation on food, as well as my pushing of the easy button Friday evening to bail into civilization.

Gets my heart rate up just thinking back to it.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
course on 11/04/2009 21:31:01 MST Print View

I found out about this via these forums, it was stuck down in one of the BPL organizational forums and I happened upon it back in the beginning of September, and immediately emailed to get in on the action.

The ambiguity with weather in the beginning of October got started with WT3, and adds a huge dimension that we got to experience first hand. Next year it could be warm and sunny for most of the same week. Or both.

There are few other places in the lower 48 that provide all the dimensions needed for this kind of challenge.
You need:
1) ~100 air miles between start and finish
2) minimal/no roads in a substantial area between
3) reasonably clear (not too contrived) boundaries
4) a multitude of possible routes, with none being obviously easier/faster/more straightforward

The first three aren't too hard to all get together, it's the fourth that makes Ryan's work on this really quite brilliant. There are several contenders for fastest all foot route, several quite difference routes for hiking and rafting, and several more if you throw a bike into the mix. Then there a few more truly unconventional options, and all the available not-speedy but really aesthetic options.

The Bob packs in an amazing variety.

I've been trying to come up with a route on the Colorado Plateau that would fit all four criteria and having a devil of a time doing so.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
"Le Parcour de Wild Race Report" on 11/04/2009 22:00:14 MST Print View

Could a route be fitted in the Adirondacks? Or in Maine?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
eastern routes on 11/05/2009 12:17:49 MST Print View

I have no idea if the terrain exists in New England for this sort of thing. I'd listen eagerly if someone local started thinking about it.

Alpo Kuusisto
(akuusist) - F
Online maps of the race area on 11/07/2009 05:48:47 MST Print View

I'd like to read the story with a topo map of the race area on screen. Any good online map sources?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Online maps of the race area on 11/07/2009 06:41:51 MST Print View

You can get the event details and a PDF of the course area here:

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: course on 11/21/2009 12:34:54 MST Print View

It'd be nice if it were earlier in the year so there's more daylight and open water.

There's likely a good Wyoming Mountain and Wilderness Classic route.

An Idahao race in September that crosses both the Frank Church and the the Bitteroot WAs appeals, too.

The AMWC in the past has had mandatory check points that are sign in sheets to force racers into the heart of wilderness rather than allowing them to stick to within a few miles of roads or ATV trails which is typical human nature.

Kerry Rodgers
(klrodgers) - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Re: Food questions on 12/21/2009 13:49:46 MST Print View

I always try to get 100-150grams of protein daily this takes up about 1/2 pound of weight.

What foods do you carry to cover the protein?

+1 on you writing this up as an article.

Congrats to you and Dave on this adventure!

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Food questions on 12/21/2009 21:43:25 MST Print View

A mix of protein powder in my breakfast cereal, the protein in bars, 1 oz of dried meat in dinner and usually some beef/turkey jerky. Plus whatever I get from the other food I eat.

It's not hard to get 100g--every bar has between 8-20 an ounce of freeze dried meat has ~15g of protein, I get another 20g from protein powder--so with 5 bars at ~12g/bar=60g, plus 20g of protein powder at breakfast, plus 15-30g of dried meat = 95-110g plus whatever else other food has.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: "Le Parcour de Wild Race Report" on 01/16/2010 19:13:17 MST Print View

"Could a route be fitted in the Adirondacks? Or in Maine?"

That's a very interesting idea, but there would be the issue of traveling on private land. Are there large plots of public land in Maine? The Maine Forest Service website is not very helpful. It looks like the only large swath of public land suitable would be the Whites, about 75 mi SW to NE or vice versa, though I don't know how feasible it would be. Do you ban the use of the AT and other trails?

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 01/16/2010 19:15:18 MST.