Sunday, May 11, 2014

Roquey Road

Transvulcania Race Report

The 2014 Transvulcania Ultramarathon began at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 10 on La Palma, a volcanic island in the Canaries. More than 2000 runners boarded buses at 3:00 a.m. and were taken to the starting line at Fuencaliente on the southern tip of the island.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


If yesterday I had gone to hell in a hand-basket, I would have enjoyed more legroom than I did on Iberia Express flight 3942 from Madrid to Tenerife (one of four flights involved in my journey to La Palma). They should rename that carrier Oz Express as the seating plan was designed for Munchins.

Not that I’m complaining.

Shown actual size.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

On the Road to La Palma

According to the old saw, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If so, I took the first step in my current journey (which has involved a good deal more than 1000 miles) at the start line to the Bulldog 25K last August in Malibu. In preparing to tackle next week’s Transvulcania Ultramarathon in La Palma, Canary Islands, I took part in several races of increasing distance and difficulty. The Bulldog 25K is a 16-mile race with a few good climbs in the late summer heat, but it’s a Chihuahua compared to what I’ll face off the coast of Africa.

The purported author of the famous "journey of a thousand miles" quote, Confucius was actually a mama's boy who never left his hometown in Wang Duk province China 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Do the Math

Some numbers: 83.3. The distance in kilometers of next month’s Transvulcania Ultramarathon, roughly the length of two marathons. 8,525. The accumulated ascent and descent in meters over the race course,  equivalent to climbing up and down the Empire State building 11 times. 90. The approximate temperature in Fahrenheit along the caldera at last year’s race. 1801. The number of competitors who this year will attempt to complete the ultramarathon (or its marathon and half-marathon variants). The “1” is me.

The Transvulcania Ultramarathon, set for May 10 on La Palma in the Canary Islands, is part of the Skyrunner Ultra Series, a group of five extreme long distance races held in some of the most beautiful and challenging sites in Europe and the United States. Participation in Transvulcania has grown each year since its launch in 2009. This year’s field is not only the biggest to date, it includes many of the world’s top ultra runners.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Fire Next Time

On May 10th, I plan to participate in the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, a 53-mile foot race that occurs on La Palma in the Canary Islands. The Canaries are an archipelago of 13 islands and islets located 60 miles off the coast of North Africa near the borders of Morocco and Western Sahara.


The islands have been part of Spain since the 15th century when they were conquered by the Kingdom of Castille. Contrary to a popular misconception, the islands were not named for the bird, rather the bird was named for the islands. According to Wikipedia, the name Canary “likely derives from the Latin name Canariae Insulae meaning ‘Island of the Dogs.’” That trusty source offers three possible explanations for this nomenclature: