The Trail, and Past Competitors

There are a few choices for what trails to take, but this adventure is nothing new and has been completed many times before. Not to go into all the details (discussions abound on the internet), but the best route to take is starting on the south rim along Bright Angel Trail, head to the north rim via North Kaibab Trail, and then repeat in reverse.

We can look at maps and read about other people’s trips to our hearts content, and indeed we have:

This guy ran it
These people were well funded
A solid multi-person trip
More running
One of my favorites
Etc, etc

But this isn’t simply about completing a little challenge, it’s about doing it in style, with tons of fancy graphs and technology and body hacking along the way. How to transform myself from a middle class, desk jockey alcoholic into a much more in shape alcoholic.

We start with these guys. They didn’t do it in a day (though they certainly did it in style), but they kept a GPS running and posted a very detailed data track. The best I could find. I polished up that data, took out some of their brief side trails and rest breaks, and normalized to typical trail markers. Added in the reverse trip, and we end up with:

Bright Angel to North Kaibab and back

That’s 10,826 data points of trail perfection. What good is that? We’ll get to that when I start chatting about the simulation model.

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The Players

A quick introduction to the parties involved so far:

Me, The Engineer. I’ve been trying to do this trip for years, ever since the Salesman first pitched it. I’ll bring in whatever technical edge I can, both in preparation and execution of the journey.

The Doctor, the other key member. A medical student and self described “wild card.” He is in better shape, has more grounded experience in training for athletic events, and has the best knowledge of human physiology of the crew. However, he plans to bring none of these skills into play, relying instead on sheer instinct.

The Salesman, a marathon runner who saw the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim ¬†as decent motivation to maintain his training. We trained last year, and much of my baseline knowledge of endurance training and hiking metrics come from time spent with him. Unfortunately, through a variety of circumstances, he likely won’t make it on this Spring 2012 inaugural¬†attempt.

The Jersey Devil. While not planning on attempting the trip herself, her vast experience in film production will be utilized as we attempt to immortalize the event.

And others, of course, supporting members who will be mentioned as their relevance comes up, and maybe even more people jumping in to give it a go.

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The Rim^3 Objective

The objective: take a hike from one rim of the Grand Canyon, across to the other rim, and back to the start. The difficulty: make a day trip out of it. That’s 48 miles, somewhere between 12,000 and 20,000 feet of elevation gain (depending on who you ask), all completed in under 24 hours.

Thats the goal, at least.

It’s the same distance and elevation gain as making the 5 day trip from base camp to the peak of Everest and back. Except in a day. Granted, our conditions will be somewhat more temperate, but the scale is there.

This blog will follow my training and theories and general obsession with completing the trip later this spring, sometime around late April or early May. Survival is the basic goal, but my hope is to be so entirely over trained that I’ll actually get some enjoyment out of the trip.

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