Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another record - Puget Sound to Columbia Crest and back in one day

Climbers strive to push the boundary of their sport to new limits every day – faster, more difficult routes, and even multi-sport athletic events. In the case of Randall Nordfors, he turned a simple guided summit climb with International Mountain Guides (IMG) into a full-on endurance race. Not only did he set out to bicycle a total of 162 miles from Puget Sound to Paradise and back, but he threw in a single push speed summit. If this trip wasn’t challenging enough, Nordfors set himself two personal goals: #1 Summit in under 12 hours and #2 Complete the entire trip in less than 20 hours.

The starting point for Nordfors trek was Tolmie State Park, located just a few miles from the end of the Nisqually River, whose source is glaciers up on Rainier. Despite problems that caused a slower than expected start and impossible to control time delays due to traffic and stop lights, Nordsfor still made the trip to Paradise in well under 5 hours. After successfully achieving his first goal in 11 hours and 40 minutes, Nordfors was back on his bike and headed downhill at speeds of about 40 mph. Although the final stage of his trip was mostly downhill, staying alert after such sustained physical exertion is a huge challenge. The final stretch of road was for sure the defining point of the trip. Behind in his time, Nordfors left nothing on the road, peddling hard and fast to make up for lost time and pulling in to Tolmie Park like a madman, finishing just under his goal of 20 hours at 19 hours 57 minutes and 30 seconds. Not bad for a day’s work...

Randall's To Do List:
Summit Mount Rainier under 12 hours – CHECK!
Finish crazy long bike ride and climb in under 20 hours – CHECK!

According to Nordfors, other than the actual physical conditioning required to complete this sort of endurance event, the two most important aspects of his training was eating when your body didn’t want to, and staying focused and mentally alert while your body is completely exhausted. As a retired competitive bicycle racer, Nordsfors is not new to intense training and challenges. Although only a novice climber, Nordfors, 45, decided that after his retirement from racing a few years ago, he wanted to try new things and test the ability of his body to new limits. His trip from Puget Sound to Summit certainly proved to be a worthy challenge, and although Nordfors achieved both of his lofty goals, he is not completely satisfied with his bicycle ride from Tolmie Park to Paradise and will attempt to improve his time in a another epic tour. Best of luck on your next adventure Randall!

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