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  1. #441
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelsabbe View Post
    I replied above but without the Quote ! So that reply was meant for you :-).
    Thanks for all your detailed answers. I appreciate it.

    My final question is what is next for you? FKT attempts or competitions on your calendar ?
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  2. #442
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    Thanks Karel. Cheers.

  3. #443

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    Yes, thanks Karel, that's all great info. Congrats again on a great run and well-deserved record!

    If you need any witness for your Guinness record claim, let me know and I'll be happy to vouch for you at the end of day 16 and beginning of day 17. I can also get you the contact info for the woman who joined you later on day 17 as you entered Shenandoah Natl Park. I also have a through hiker friend who saw you on the way up Killington.

  4. #444
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    [QUOTE=Karelsabbe;2222280] I would usually run everything that was flat or slightly uphill and then would powerhike technical sections and steep sections. I would only eat / drink (with some exceptions of course) during these powerhike moments to try to run as much as possible during the runnable parts./QUOTE]
    I am so impressed by what you have accomplished, good sir — amazing!
    I also am impressed by your participation in this WhiteBlaze forum.

    Could you describe what you mean by “powerhiking”? I’m imagining something like your smooth flexible running style, with perhaps more hip and spinal flexing and leg-swinging, and with very loose bending legs and ankles. Something more like racewalking without the stiff unbending legs underneath you. Also, short fast strides rather than a long slower pacing. The old northern fur-traders described what they called a ‘dog-trot’ that they learned from the indigenous peoples.

  5. #445

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelCut View Post
    Thanks for all your detailed answers. I appreciate it.

    My final question is what is next for you? FKT attempts or competitions on your calendar ?
    I think I will stick with FKT's (preferably the long ones). There is one more 100% marked long trail that I know, and I will most likely go for this FKT in the future (currently trying to keep it under the radar which trail it would be :-) ). I would love to run a race like the Barkley Marathons which is more FKT style than say a UTMB (but I don't really know how to get selected for this race, I'll look into it though. With Andrew Thompson and David Horton as finishers it seems that it is a race that A.T. record runners do good at). I would like to run a UTMB but only if I could be competitive, so currently this is not possible because I cannot take time off work to train for this.

  6. #446

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    [QUOTE=Traillium;2222357]
    Quote Originally Posted by Karelsabbe View Post
    I would usually run everything that was flat or slightly uphill and then would powerhike technical sections and steep sections. I would only eat / drink (with some exceptions of course) during these powerhike moments to try to run as much as possible during the runnable parts./QUOTE]
    I am so impressed by what you have accomplished, good sir — amazing!
    I also am impressed by your participation in this WhiteBlaze forum.

    Could you describe what you mean by “powerhiking”? I’m imagining something like your smooth flexible running style, with perhaps more hip and spinal flexing and leg-swinging, and with very loose bending legs and ankles. Something more like racewalking without the stiff unbending legs underneath you. Also, short fast strides rather than a long slower pacing. The old northern fur-traders described what they called a ‘dog-trot’ that they learned from the indigenous peoples.
    During my powerhiking I would switch more to slower, bigger steps. These big steps felt very good for my hips that could use some stretching and a different kind of movement than running. The steeper the terrain the faster up these big steps would take me. I know that a lot of runners have a quick-pace powerhike but I don't.

  7. #447
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelsabbe View Post

    During my powerhiking I would switch more to slower, bigger steps. These big steps felt very good for my hips that could use some stretching and a different kind of movement than running. The steeper the terrain the faster up these big steps would take me. I know that a lot of runners have a quick-pace powerhike but I don't.
    Ahh — quite different than I was thinking! Obviously it works for you, especially as a change of movement.

    Thanks for responding, Karel.

  8. #448

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traillium View Post
    Ahh — quite different than I was thinking! Obviously it works for you, especially as a change of movement.

    Thanks for responding, Karel.
    Think of power hiking just as the fastest you can hike without changing cadence into a run. Very common in the ultra world for those long, steep climbs where running would blow up your quads.

  9. #449

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    I am guessing that Karel and his team will be "submitting" some data and a trip report etc to Peter Bawkin and the FKT website. Some few people will comb through it all and see if there is "adequate support" for the FKT.

    Will we on WB know when this gets submitted?
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  10. #450
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    Hi! My name is Ted and I ran with Karel for about 70km on three separate days. It was only a fraction of his journey but it was a really cool experience for me. I thought I would share a little bit of this experience here in a couple of posts. It was really fun to not only follow Karel on the trail but also here on the forum with all of the other enthusiasts. Thanks.

    I an sure everyone remembers Ingrid, Karel's mother in law from her 'very' brief updates here on the forum - I was waiting for them and wanting more too!
    Well, as brief as she may be in English she makes up for it in Dutch and I have translated one of her posts about her experience. Please keep in mind that she is a 'very proud' mother-in-law [yes they do exist] and this reflects in her writing and wonderment at what Karel was accomplishing. When not writing, she spent plenty of time helping to feed Karel as she easily noted how much weight he had lost having not seen him in a month. In fact, when I first met her she was sneaking half a stick of butter into a small pan of mashed potatoes for him!

    Here is an entry that covers several days [with my notes in quotes]

    ...

    Wednesday, day 35 of the record attempt.

    The Americans love records and sports and as for phenomenal sport performances - as we may call these 2 records - they are completely crazy.

    And yet ... for an unknown Belgian, who just seems to so easily challenge the legendary ultra-records of their heroes ... there is just a hint of suspicion on specialized forums.
    You have it here from these die-hards that it is not common ...

    Is that European tracker ok? (Karel always has a tracker that saves a signal every two minutes via satellite. He also has a watch where you can follow everything on strava.)
    Is he running every meter? They spot him or indicate where he should be. In any case he does not go unnoticed here [on the forums].

    And ok, the PCT was already an unbelievable record (52 days!) But the AT is different: notably shorter but presenting really heavy and difficult terrain over the last stretches and days - where we now find ourselves. There are many record attempts that run into difficulty. The physical – and mental – hardship is not to be underestimated.

    Well, now… now he must prove himself. Ok, the Belgium runs like a Swiss watch, without lows, without injuries (unbelievable, he hasn’t had a single injury yet!). But now, in The Whites (these are 3-4 days with exceptional amounts of climbing, loose stones, very difficult) we will see. 'Wait until the Whites …’

    If he survives that well, then they can recognize him as one of the top ultrarunners in the world.

    A little suspicion and critics of such record attempts is ok and also has its place (there have already been cheaters in the past).



    Yet, in fact, tomorrow he is out of The Whites. It was hard. There was a storm over Mount Washington with forecasted gusts of 100km / h. [Gusts were recorded over 70mph/110mph that morning]
    Ha! I had never even heard of all those mountains but now they have caused me a great deal of stress.

    Anyway, the last live FB was when he came out of the storm. He has still yet to encounter the man with the hammer [Europeans way of saying ‘bonking’/hypoglycemia] but it was heavy! 8.5 / 10 difficulty.
    Whew! This means something from Karel's mouth.

    After a 10 minute break he departs for another 30 km in the pouring rain. Joren, also a super runner, will go along for that hard segment! So cool that he can experience it too! By the way, Joren is actually one of the few that can keep up with Karel on the climbs. [I should note that Joren is dating Ingrid's other daughter ]



    In the meantime, the two have already arrived after the last 30 km. Ha! 10/10 difficulty according to Karel.

    Ps: question: How steep was it?
    Joren Biebuyck: take a steep attic staircase, full of big boulders, and crawl up it. Full of danger again and again throughout the full 30km. There seemed to be no end to it...... ‘pittig’ they both say �� [direct translation is ‘spicy’ but it suggests wicked/testing]

    Joren was just as up for the challenge as Karel – but he hadn’t spent the night on Mt Washington!!
    I find this a bit superhuman, but I exaggerate my words again.



    On the other hand, you have people like Warren Doyle. He is the record holder of 18 (!) times hiking the AT (Imagine that, 4 months away each time) His last time was last year (which by itself is still difficult to imagine . In him you see a real legend. The man knows an incredible amount, and he has sought out Karel and Joren personally on the trail. He sleeps in his car, stands on the trail to wait for them, and gives advice. And especially .... he does not stop talking about this 'dream team'.

    Warren also knew all of the previous record holders and guided some of them.

    He was stressed on the storm night of Mount Washington:
    'Now this is it, this is it', this is the moment. Yeah, you said it, stress ... ��

    But now, after most of the Whites are behind, this is Warren: 'Unbelievable what he did, he's a gazelle, an artist runner, never seen before' .... etc (does everyone exaggerate like this now?).

    He is also in the clouds about Joren. He continues to give him figures, graphs and miles to find the ideal plan. Joren remains his cool self in the face of all challenges.



    Then, for example, there is a runner such as Ted Erkkilä. Imagine: he leaves at 8pm in the night from his home, drives 2 hours, sleeps a short time and then at 1 am climbs to the summit of Mt Washington - into the storm! He waits for hours but must be vigilant to not miss Karel in the fog and wind. The crew knew Ted would be there but Karel does not and says 'good morning' to the person he is surprised to see appear ahead out of the fog so early in the morning. He is happy to see it is the same runner he had run with two days earlier and they run together from 6 until 11 am in the morning.
    Then Ted had to drive home for another 2 hours.
    What can you say about this ....?

    [I edited this section a little for the timepoints and small details. She thought I had slept on the mountain!]


    Ha, and at the specialized AT forum they are now also excited: 'awesome what he did, this is better than cable tv (haha)’, ‘epic 2 days in the Whites' .... Wow. ‘How the Whites were won!’, ‘Incredible effort.’, ‘No rain, no pain, no Maine’

    ....

    There is an interesting link (for the die-hards) at https://fastestknowntime.com. Click on ‘Karel’ and then scroll down and there you see a comparison of day-by-day how much Karel is advancing compared to Stringbean, the previous record holder ...

    But flowers are at the end and there is still a lot to follow!
    It is only 600/3500 km more, of which 120 km are 'heavy'.
    Keep you posted.

  11. #451
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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    I am guessing that Karel and his team will be "submitting" some data and a trip report etc to Peter Bawkin and the FKT website. Some few people will comb through it all and see if there is "adequate support" for the FKT.

    Will we on WB know when this gets submitted?
    Ideally the trip report is simply shared publicly. Or at worst a link is sent and posted at the FKT website that all can access.

    The only time it really is done privately (at least for these) was when it was offered to a Kaiha (or Jenny really) because there was some harassment going on. However they chose to drop it.

    With Knotts- extra stuff was asked from him directly. So in that sense it was private I suppose.

    I'm sure there are other FKT's where someone just sends things to Peter to post... not everyone everywhere is a tech wizard.

    For the most part the whole thing should be transparent and available for anyone to review. The point of the community review is so that there are no "judges".

    In theory- his tracker data was made public and available for download at any time. So his GPX data is available.

    A daily split sheet from Karel or his team would be a minimum next step IMO.

    A written trip report would be next up.

    So if I had a serious question for Karel it would be if he intends to honor those standards and follow through with getting that information out.
    I know that Karel shouldered the additional burden of dealing with Guinness... but don't know what that process is or what it looks like.
    The witness statements is a solid piece to add to either pile of data regardless, so simply scanning those in and sharing publicly would be a good way to back things up further.

    I have little doubt Karel did what he said he did, but that's not really the point, nor is getting a third party involved to verify anything or crunching numbers or data files.

    What's amazing is that it is an honor system, and that's worth protecting by maintaining the traditions that make it work.

    What's inspirational is when someone actually shares a story, not simply a time.

  12. #452
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelsabbe View Post
    I think I will stick with FKT's (preferably the long ones). There is one more 100% marked long trail that I know, and I will most likely go for this FKT in the future (currently trying to keep it under the radar which trail it would be :-) ). I would love to run a race like the Barkley Marathons which is more FKT style than say a UTMB (but I don't really know how to get selected for this race, I'll look into it though. With Andrew Thompson and David Horton as finishers it seems that it is a race that A.T. record runners do good at). I would like to run a UTMB but only if I could be competitive, so currently this is not possible because I cannot take time off work to train for this.
    Ask and you shall receive.
    http://barkleymarathons.com/?page_id=208
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  13. #453
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    Ask and you shall receive.
    http://barkleymarathons.com/?page_id=208
    You might note there is no address

    There are a few here who could provide the improper introductions if desired.

    “If you belong here, you will figure out how to get here.”

    Worst of luck to those who try

  14. #454
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    Hi again. Here is some more detail of what a day running Karel was like.
    ********

    “Have a proposition for you if you are interested…”, read the message from Brian, a local trail race organizer and general trail super enthusiast.

    He wanted to know if I could take off of work to join a Belgian guy name “Karel Sabbe” who was running the Appalachian Trail and would be passing through in a few days. He had contacted the crew about meeting up and it was a “go”. We just had to wait for him to arrive and see where we would start.

    It turns out we did not have to wait for long. I have done some long(ish) cycling tours and I know how hard it is to judge how far you can make it in a day even on the road. But Karel seemed to be easy to predict: always stopping to camp after a long 50 mile day around 7pm. We heard from his crew the exact road crossing they would be at and made plans to meet the next morning.

    Logistics. There is a lot of logistics even to follow along. I can’t begin to imagine all of the logistics for the crew. Brian had me meet him at a rest stop at 2am to ‘stash’ a car for the day near where we expected him to finish (again, easy to estimate). We then drove over an hour together to the meeting spot.

    There was no moon and it was pitch black on arrival. The only indications that we were in the correct spot was a sign marking the AT and a gigantic SUV. After our eyes adjusted we noticed the tailgate was open and very tall man was moving about and went to greet him. Joren had been up for a bit already and was preparing breakfast and coffee. He was also standing in a giant patch of poison ivy.

    We discussed the plan for the day and after a few minutes he went into the woods to wake up Karel in his tent. They came out of the woods together, with Karel already wearing his signature yellow shirt you have probably seen in so many photos. Greetings were short and Joren got to work getting Karel his breakfast and going over the details for the day. Brian and I would alternate running with Karel every 10km or so. The was no waiting around: three headlights disappeared down the trail with Karel eating his breakfast on foot and Joren returning with the dishes about 10 minutes later. It wasn’t even 4am yet.

    Joren showed me a trail head on the map where I could meet the runners and I left to go there and take a nap while Joren woke up Karel’s wife Emma who was still asleep in the SUV. They would pack up camp and meet up later.

    About two hours later I saw Karel and Brian arriving through the morning twilight. I passed off the keys to Brian and told him to check his phone for a message with the map fo the next meeting point. We were off in a moment.

    One of the first sights on the trail for me was a small camp with 3 hikers. I don’t normally see camps on my runs, so it really helped to set the mood for me. This wasn’t a normal run in the woods - I was a witness on a journey being shared by many.

    I ran behind Karel for this section. I wanted to get a feel for how he ran. How fast did he like to go? How fast would he ascend/descend. How did he eat and drink?

    Karel was happy to chat - or to spend long stretches silent. Earlier in the journey he had had some serious runners on the trail with him joining him for up to a marathon a day. Day after day. It wasn’t something that I would be capable of. But running with Karel was very smooth. He runs with purpose, but not haste. He seems never to slide or stumble - which I do all the time. This has been mentioned before, but he goes uphill very well. Luckily I can too so the run quickly became more about enjoying the terrain and the rising sun from the hilltops than the speed we were moving. I began to get my eye trained to see the white blazes. There were plenty on this section of trail and we never had to stop to navigate (Karel keeps an app on his phone with a detailed map and GPS location in case he needs it too). In fact, we only stopped once to refill a bottle at a stream (Karel carried a bottle with a filter built in for this).

    After two hours we arrived at the road crossing right on time at just the distance Joren had predicted. Him, Emma and Brian were waiting. New trail info, food and drinks were quickly taken and he was off again. It was a well rehearsed dance they had done so many times before.

    Another two hours and it was my turn again. It was a short segment - only about 7km - but it would be up and over Bear Mountain which is a very popular hiking destination. Despite this, it was a very quiet morning with very few people on the trail. There is a lot of trail work on display here with very good footing and it is possible to let the eye wander from looking at the path ahead to noticing the surroundings.

    The top of the descent of Bear Mountain is currently closed with a small detour. It is only a 100-200yd section and I did not realize the significance for Karel at the time but now I know that hitting every foot of the AT is job #1 - especially after the difficulty he had proving his accomplishment on the PCT. There were workers visible on the trail and I told him we could just ask to go through. Karel took a moment to document this with a photo of the sign and the map and we went the ‘official’ route around the construction and took another photo at the end of the detour.

    After a short trip running through the zoo (the bear was awake and on display) we met with the others. Karel was in for a small treat: Emma would run with him over the Bear Mountain bridge with him. It was a sweet moment. Despite being on the same trip they seemed to have precious little time to experience the journey together. Brian also started running here but stayed 50m back to respect the young couples time together.

    Brian had just completed a 100 mile race a few weeks before and was still recovering. It was already tough sledding keeping up with Karel on the hills and he was starting to get distanced at the summits only to catch up on the descent. (To be fair, Brian did end up with the hardest sections). It did not help that heavy rain started to move into the area just halfway through the days mileage. By the time they finished the segment it was coming down buckets.

    Joren and Emma waited at a gas station right at an intersection of the trail and had some warm Mexican food waiting for him. One of the most amazing things about the trip is that Karel just seemed to eat anything. I’m not sure I would have eaten that burrito before running! He just had absolute trust in the food that his crew was giving him.

    I had brought 3-4 shirts and as many pairs of socks and shoes expecting rain and not knowing what to expect. Karel did stop for new shoes and (toe)socks just after the bridge but kept the SAME SHIRT on all day wet or dry. He told me a new shirt would just be wet in minutes anyway and it was better to have a clean shirt the next day. Apparently, on the PCT even this would have been a luxury.

    I was ready to run again, but in the rain and over the tough 20km section to come Joren would join Karel personally. You could tell Joren took pride in being there at all times for Karel and when possible by his side during the toughest parts.

    The running for the day ended with me and Karel running the last 10km. I felt I knew his pace well and lead most of the way here. I learned to the feel the small slowing in pace and listen for the sound of Karel opening a wrapper to have another snack. He ate about every 20 minutes! His crew was packing him all sorts of treats to keep him eating. Emma had just brought a lot of his favorite gummy candies from Belgium - a little bit of home goes a long way to keep up your spirits - as does all of that sugar.

    Remarkably, we were running just about the same pace we had been 12 hours earlier. But it was a gentle section through a state park with moments of quiet and moments of pouring rain. The trails had been baked for weeks previous so while wet had great footing and little mud. It was a wonderful end of the day and we finished just as the rain was stopping and the last golden rays of the sun were hitting the forest. Sublime.

    As we finished we past several group setting up their tents. Then, just as I had the rest of the day, I wanted to say something to these hikers about who Karel was and what he was doing - I wanted to share how cool it was and that they were witnessing something amazing. But while Karel always had a greeting or other nice word for those we met or passed he isn’t really one to boast or brag. Maybe even more, however, I feel that he wanted to respect their journey. To let them experience it on their terms without having to compare it to his.

    Brian and I were rewarded with burritos for our efforts and said goodnight to Karel who was asleep by eight pm - less than an hour after finishing. Then stayed at a B&B just a mile or two from the trail as a treat and Karel was really looking forward to a warm shower after hours of rain (it also gave the crew a place to clean all the dishes and clothing). I think that on a trip like this sleeping/recovering is super important and a few nights in a bed along the way helps. On one hand they were on a budget and couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel every night and logistically is is easiest to stay at the trail. But on the other hand I feel that Karel and Joren really enjoy staying on the trail as well as respecting the traditional thru-hiker experience of sleeping on the trail whenever possible.

    Brian had brought beer from most of the states still left on their journey for the crew and we were able to chat over one what was next for Team Karel as we filled out witness forms for Guiness. As luck would have it Brian and I were heading North the next weekend and talked about the possibility of meeting up again (more on that later). Finally though, it was time to find my car and start the drive home with thoughts of the day to accompany me. Amazing day. I felt really lucky to get to experience it.

  15. #455

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    I'm told by one of the past Barkley finishers that he provided such an introduction. Whether it's enough, who knows? And whether Karel is suited fo finish Barkley is another question entirely. Two former AT speed record holders have also finished Barkley, but that doesn't mean another can do it. In fact I don't think either finished on their first try, did they?

  16. #456

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailRunnerGuy View Post
    Two former AT speed record holders have also finished Barkley, but that doesn't mean another can do it. In fact I don't think either finished on their first try, did they?
    Technically, a third AT speed record holder also! Flyin' Brian Robinson was the first triple crowner.

  17. #457

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    don't think i have seen this posted yet. for those curious, karel sabbe was a guest for the FKT website's 'fastest known podcast' - https://fastestknowntime.com/podcast...-2-karel-sabbe

    i don't want to give it all away, but there was some interesting discussion on some of his strategies - notably fully switching out his pack/gear every time he met his crew and his consistent early morning starts.

  18. #458
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    Quote Originally Posted by greatexpectations View Post
    don't think i have seen this posted yet. for those curious, karel sabbe was a guest for the FKT website's 'fastest known podcast' - https://fastestknowntime.com/podcast...-2-karel-sabbe

    i don't want to give it all away, but there was some interesting discussion on some of his strategies - notably fully switching out his pack/gear every time he met his crew and his consistent early morning starts.
    Thanks... once the 'season' ends my brain shuts off. Didn't even know they had a podcast!

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