While making plans with Danny last April for a joint dayhike of Skyline-to-the-Sea, he told me about an oddball ultra-marathon—the 4MPH Challenge—where each “runner” maintains a pace of 4 miles-per-hour—essentially a brisk walk. If it takes you less than an hour-and-a-half to complete the 6-mile course, you wait until the hour-and-a-half is up before heading back for another 6 miles. And if it takes you longer, you’re out! It continues back and forth like this until there’s only one participant left. In that way, it’s fairly unique—a race won by distance, not time.
I found the constrained pace compelling. I typically estimate 3mph for dayhikes, but that includes snack breaks, photo-ops, etc. Subtract dallying and 4mph seemed doable. That said, I didn’t give it serious consideration through most of 2016—organized competitive racing isn’t my thing. But Danny must have mentioned it again, so in early December, I signed myself up “in the interest of trying new things”.
I officially started “training” at the beginning of February, walking 2.3 miles to (and sometimes from) work, whenever the weather was clear. I timed myself to get an accurate sense of my pace. For the most part—backsliding only after that jog down Mt. Diablo—I was able to reach my target: 4.25mph. But the question remained, would I be able to do so over 6 miles with 200 feet of elevation gain and loss, and then repeat that feat again and again and again…?
On Saturday last weekend, Danny and I hiked 13 miles from the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center to the summit of Mount Diablo (previously), and then jogged all the way back down. My quadriceps complained all week. I did this (in part) because I’m “training” for a “race” on March 18th called the 4MPH Challenge, taking place just west of Redding. It’s a kind of ultramarathon, with no set distance, that you walk, briskly. The only requirement is that you complete each leg of the 6-mile course in 90 minutes or less. Hence 4MPH. The “winner” is the person who walks the farthest. Wish me luck.
Like many of the other nearly 9 million people in California who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, artist Eric Rewitzer reacted to Donald Trump’s victory as if a tornado had swept his house away. “I just didn’t believe he was serious,” says the longtime San Francisco resident. “And I didn’t see it coming.” As disbelief gave way to sadness and then anger, the bespectacled printmaker found himself sitting at the table in the middle of his studio just blocks from the Pacific Ocean. He and his wife are known for their prints of a sweet “California bear,” a version of the grizzly on the state’s flag that likes to give hugs and sells very well at airport souvenir shops. But after he spent 40 hours carving and pressing a giant sheet of linoleum, a vastly changed animal appeared—roaring, teeth glaring, claws out. “You’ve stirred a beast,” says the usually sweet and soft-spoken Rewitzer. “Watch out.” —California Prepares to Resist the President in Uncertain Times, Time Magazine