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What It Takes To chase a four-day record in the Sierras, this heavyweight speed hiker will pack light

Sept. 08, 2003
Sept. 08, 2003

Table of Contents
Sept. 8, 2003

Inside Cover Image
Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Si Adventure

What It Takes To chase a four-day record in the Sierras, this heavyweight speed hiker will pack light

Hiking trailblazer Brian Robinson, 42, of San Jose, heads to the
Sierras next week to chase a speed mark set by Peter Bawkin, who
last month blazed the 220-mile John Muir Trail in 94 hours, four
minutes. Here's what Robinson--who hiked the Appalachian,
Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails in a record 10 months
in 2001--will bring for his trek from Mount Whitney to Yosemite.

This is an article from the Sept. 8, 2003 issue

JACKET

GoLite Dharma Jacket ($239)
www.golite.com
Outdoors people count on jackets to be 100% waterproof, but even
the best Gore-Tex jackets can't withstand a solid week of rain in
the Northwest. I don't think I will encounter any super
rainstorms this time of year, so I'm willing to go with a mostly
waterproof layer like this 21-ounce jacket.

SHIRT

GoLite C-Thru SS Solid ($35)
www.golite.com
This four-ounce wicking shirt is the only shirt I'm bringing for
my four-day trip. It's made of a polyester knit, which is soft
and comfy. The shirt acts as a base layer at night, and it will
serve as the only layer I wear during the day. It's a classic
running shirt that keeps the sweat from sticking to my back.

SUSTENANCE

Snickers Bar (65ยข) www.snickers.com
Gu Energy Gel ($1) www.gusports.com
I'll consume 6,000 calories a day, which is great since I'm a
junk food junkie. I'll be chowing 12 of these 280-calorie
Snickers bars a day, or one every two hours. When I completed
hiking's Triple Crown, in 2001, I ate 900 Snickers. I never get
tired of eating the same stuff.

TREKKING POLES

Leki Enzian Non Anti-Shock ($59)
www.leki.com
I was so psyched when I found these in the discount bin at an
adventure gear store earlier this year. Most poles are antishock,
but I personally think antishock is a marketing gimmick. Plus, it
causes the poles to squeak, which can be really annoying when
it's otherwise quiet in the woods. These 10.4-ounce Lekis are my
four-wheel drive and give me better traction when I'm doing
substantial uphill walking.

WIND SHELL

GoLite Ether Wind Shirt ($99)
www.golite.com
What I love about this is that when I go for a 25-mile training
run, I can shove this nylon shirt in my pocket. It's like
carrying a handkerchief. The best thing about this three-ounce
water-resistant shell is that it has a hood, so it doubles as a
windbreaker and a rain jacket.

HEADLAMP

Petzl Tikka ($25)
www.petzl.com
There's no stopping at night. I recently upgraded from carrying a
big flashlight with four C batteries to this 2.5-ounce LED
headlamp. I've modified the strap to fit around my waist. This
way I can see the shadows 20 feet ahead, which gives me ample
time to differentiate between a rock and a hole on the
single-track trail.

RAIN PANTS

GoLite Reed Ultra-Lite Rain Pants ($69)
www.golite.com
The problem with rain pants is that the wetter it gets on the
outside, the clammier they get on the inside, from all the
condensation and sweat. These six-ounce pants are not very
durable, but they are so breathable that it almost feels as
though I'm wearing shorts that keep the wind, rain and bugs away.

BACKPACK

GoLite Race Adventure Racing Pack ($99)
www.golite.com
At first I was hesitant to use GoLite's pack because I'm partial
to GVP backpacks. But I was really looking for a bag designed for
running, and the GVPs bang around a lot. Most light packs don't
control sideways movement. This 24-ounce pack has three straps,
which keep the bouncing and the swaying to a minimum.

SHOES

Brooks Cheetah II ($45)
www.roadrunnersports.com
I don't like wearing trail-running shoes because they're stiff
and heavy. Among the fringe speed-hiking crowd, a lightweight
running shoe, even on the rocky Muir Trail, is preferred. I have
tried at least 50 different racing shoes, and I always go back to
the classic version of the Brooks Cheetah. At 12.25 ounces, it's
like a racing flat with a cushioned midsole for my size-11 feet.

ALTIMETER WATCH

Suunto Altimax ($185)
www.suuntousa.com
I've used this barometer-thermometer-altimeter-watch for more
than 8,000 miles, and it has yet to break down. It would be nice
to have a GPS, but I haven't seen one that is as light as the
Altimax. I find this 1.3-ounce watch eminently useful in
determining altitude change. I don't plan on sleeping much, and
when I need a 15-minute power nap, I can set my alarm to wake me.

COLOR PHOTO: BRAD MANGIN (11)