Ed Shamy buys The County Courier in Enosburg Falls

first_imgEd Shamy buys The County Courier in Enosburg FallsNorthern Vermont Lending Partners (NVLP), a revolving micro-loan program of the Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont, designed to assist small businesses, provided a loan to Ed Shamy and his wife, Kimberly Asch to help them purchase The County Courier in Enosburg Falls.The news hit uncomfortably close to home for veteran journalist Ed Shamy when he was laid off from his job at Vermont’s largest daily newspaper in August. Shamy and his family were eager to stay in Vermont, where they have made their home for 10 years, but the job outlook was weakening quickly.When a weekly newspaper in Franklin County came up for sale, Shamy jumped at the opportunity but soon ran into another financial reality: the credit pipelines were in a deep freeze and a commercial bank turned down his request for a loan to buy the 130-year-old newspaper.He turned to the Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont and their micro-loan programs, Northern Vermont Lending Partners. This Program provides short-term, fixed rate loans of $35,000 or less to start-up, newly established, or growing small businesses requiring financing for working capitol, inventory, machinery and equipment. To ensure success of each new loan, technical assistance is provided at no charge to the borrower throughout the term of the loan. EDCNV operates another micro-loan program, MicroBusiness Loan Program and a larger revolving loan fund, The Fund, which participates in conjunction with other lenders to provide loan requests of $100,000 or less.The EDCNV loaned Shamy the money he needed to buy the County Courier. He is now the publisher and the editor of the venerable weekly newspaper, and he’s still in Vermont!To learn more about EDCNV’s loan programs or to hear more of Ed Shamy’s story, contact Donna Reed at the EDCNV at 802-524-4546.last_img read more

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Farmers’ market report reveals continuing economic contribution

first_imgA new report released this month by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) reveals that Vermont’s farmers’ markets continue to thrive, providing substantial support to the state’s vibrant agricultural economy. There are currently more than 80 farmers’ markets in Vermont, 30 of which accept EBT (food assistance benefits) and debit cards. This report comes just in time for the 10th annual National Farmers’ Market Week, July 31 through August 7, 2010. NOFA-VT will be celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week with a film contest and the second annual Pizza to the People tour, bringing wood-fired pizza to farmers’ markets across the state. These events are part of a larger national celebration, a context in which Vermont’s farmers’ markets shine.‘Vermont has been a leader when it comes to connecting farmers and consumers,’ says Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Roger Allbee. ‘Vermont has more farmers’ markets per capita than any other state and we are always looking for ways to support farmers’ markets, CSAs, farm stands and other initiatives that link farmers and consumers. I call this a renaissance of the past ‘ people want to know where their food comes from, how it is grown and who grows it. National Farmer’s Market Week is a wonderful way to acknowledge the important work our farmers do and most importantly the food they provide for us.’The NOFA-VT report, which compiled data from voluntary surveys completed by farmers’ market managers, highlights the considerable economic contributions that markets provide to Vermont. ‘Gross sales receipts totaled nearly $7 million for 2009,’ says Jean Hamilton, Direct Marketing Coordinator for NOFA-VT. ‘Most of the markets reported that over half of their sales came from agricultural products, which we found traveled an average of only 20 miles from the point of production ‘ the farm ‘ to the point of sale ‘ the market.’ All but 7 of the markets collecting gross sales data reported significant increases in processed food sales, indicating a growing market for locally processed foods as well. ‘All of these factors suggest that farmers’ markets are an excellent way to support Vermont’s economy by buying local food,’ Hamilton summarizes.The report also calls attention to the challenges that farmers’ markets face as they grow. Many emphasized the lack of adequate infrastructure, such as parking and overall market space, along with difficulties creating marketing campaigns to attract the attention of additional local consumers. The full report, as well as more information about National Farmers’ Market Week and a full listing of farmers’ markets in Vermont, can be found at www.nofavt.org(link is external).NOFA Vermont: 7.28.2010last_img read more

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Stowe Mountain Resort debuts new additions as ski season begins

first_imgStowe Mountain Resort,After being named on almost every list as one of the top ski resorts the East, North America and the World, Stowe Mountain Resort debuts new amenities and programs unequaled in the resort industry. This season Stowe debuts new additions to the resort almost 20 years in the making. With a contemporary focus on value and convenience, Stowe has set new standards for mountain recreation and home ownership.Here’s a sample of what’s new at Stowe Mountain Resort:HGTV Dream HomeHGTV will celebrate 15 years of making dreams come true when it awards the 2011 HGTV Dream Home, a new, fully-furnished modern rustic mountain home in Stowe, Vermont, early next year. The 15th annual HGTV Dream Home will be located at Spruce Peak in Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort. The custom-designed home will blend rustic mountain appeal with modern architecture, created with the bold, innovative ideas that make HGTV Dream Homes so exciting and unique. Public tours of the HGTV 2011 Dream Home will be available during the winter 2011 season. Information about the home is available at Dream Home central on HGTV.com/dreamhome.”This HGTV Dream Home is the first in Vermont, and we intend to show the features that make this location so amazing,” said HGTV Dream Home Planner Jack Thomasson. “It’s a spectacular place and the perfect location for our 15th anniversary home.”Unprecedented Real Estate Value at Spruce Peak at StoweSpruce Peak at Stowe has just made significant price adjustments on a limited number of Front Four Private Residences. The Front Four Residences at Stowe Mountain Lodge are situated on the penthouse floors. The Front Four is a private residence club offering shared ownership residences with two-, three- or four-bedrooms ranging in size from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet. The new price adjustments include all the benefits of ownership in the premier private residence club in the Northeast. Owners receive a membership in Stowe Mountain Club that entitles them to two daily ski passes while in residence and unlimited golf while in residence during the summer season. Prices start at $99,000 for a seasonal ownership plan.New pricing has also just been made available for a limited number of private Mountain Cabins and three-bedroom residences in Stowe Mountain Lodge. The Mountain Cabins at Spruce Peak provide the ultimate slopeside accommodations; featuring four bedrooms designed around 3,000 square feet. Construction has begun on four Mountain Cabins which are the only new residences available in this neighborhood. Prices have recently been adjusted as much as $900,000.‘We offer a complete resort experience comparable to the very best mountain resorts in the West. More and more Northeasterners are discovering the superior value and clear conveniences that Stowe offers its guests,’ according to Michael Langley of Spruce Peak.Live the Stowe Lifestyle with Experience Stowe PackagesThe Experience Stowe Package has provided many prospective residents an excellent chance to preview the unique and unforgettable ownership opportunities at Stowe. Interested prospects and families can spend 3 days and 2 nights at Stowe Mountain Lodge in the Front Four residences for only $799 (based on space availability.) Guests will stay in a four bedroom, 3,000 square foot residence, receive a pair of ski passes, breakfast each morning, two Spa treatments, and have the opportunity to find out more about the value of second home ownership at Stowe Mountain Resort. For more information visit www.stowe.com/live(link is external) or contact Spruce Peak at Stowe (877) 977-7823. Experience Stowe Packages are also available for Mountain Cabins.Grand Opening of New Spruce Peak Performing Arts CenterThe Grand Opening week of the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center will take place from December 27 to December 31, concluding with a special benefit concert with James Taylor. Other grand opening performances include: Ben Vereen, Sara Watkins, Eileen Ivers and the Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata. Developed to operate year-round as a major component of the east’s premier mountain resort, Stowe’s new performing arts center is a venue for a wide spectrum of events; theater, music, dance, comedy, film, lectures and multimedia presentations. Info at www.sprucepeakarts.org(link is external)Stowe Mountain Lodge South Wing Opens Its DoorsStowe Mountain Lodge was recently named one of the Top Five Hotels in the US in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader Poll. The AAA Four-Diamond Lodge will open an additional 173 guest rooms in December 2010 more the doubling the current capacity of the Lodge and bringing the total room count to 312. The South Wing of Stowe Mountain Lodge will feature the same lavishly appointed accommodations as the two-year old North Wing. Stowe Mountain Lodge offers more than 12,000 square feet of event space, as well as high-end boutiques, restaurants, farm-to-table cuisine, Spa, swimming, superb service and more. Info at www.stowemountainlodge.com(link is external)More About Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain ResortSpruce Peak at Stowe is a new slope-side community at the base of Spruce Peak and Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. The intimate alpine neighborhood boasts a world-class spa, hotel, dining, shopping and year-round outdoor recreational opportunities including skiing & golf. The resort has also been recognized for its environmental efforts by receiving Audubon International’s ‘Sustainable Community Certification.’ Stowe is the only mountain resort in the nation to receive Audubon’s highest environmental endorsement.Source: Stowe Mountain Resort. STOWE, VT (December 8, 2010) ‘ www.stowe.com/live(link is external)last_img read more

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Denmark, Bastion of Wind, ‘Waves Oil Industry Goodbye’

first_imgDenmark, Bastion of Wind, ‘Waves Oil Industry Goodbye’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:In another sign that the petroleum era is drawing to a close, Denmark is selling off its last oil company with barely a peep.Once considered a strategic asset, on a par with national carriers or shipyards, the oil and gas division of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is being bought by French giant Total SA. The $7.45 billion deal is expected to be completed by 2018, pending regulatory approval.Coming just three months after the sale of Dong Energy’s North Sea oil and gas production to German-based Ineos AG, Maersk’s move to offload its oil division has been welcomed by the government and trade unions alike. Even the nationalist Danish People’s Party, which supports the government in parliament, didn’t object.The irony is that Denmark will need the income from oil and gas to finance its green transition and meet a pledge to stop using fossil fuels by 2050. That will mean keeping up production from the North Sea fields, which Total has promised to do.“The more money they make on the North Sea, the more money there will be for us to spend on the green transition,’’ Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said in an interview in Copenhagen.Oil and gas revenue as a percentage of Danish GDP isn’t expected to recover muchThe receipts from North Sea oil used to average about 8 billion kroner ($1.3 billion) per year. That would pay for about 1 gigawatt of new onshore wind capacity, which is sufficient to supply power to some 170,000 homes, based on a recent deal in Norway, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Evans.Dong, a former state utility whose name is an acronym for Danish Oil and Natural Gas, is using at least some of the money it made from its divestment to build more offshore wind parks, expanding its dominance as the world’s biggest operator of sea-based wind turbines.Denmark, which is also home to Vestas Wind Systems A/S (a company that produces more turbines than any other manufacturer on the planet), now gets more than 40 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources, according to 2015 data, and aims to reach more than 50 percent by 2020. The country’s green sector already employs about 67,000 people, double the number of workers in its North Sea industry.More: World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Maker Waves Oil Industry Goodbyelast_img read more

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Adani’s Tax-Supported Mine and Port Expansion on Thin Ice

first_imgAdani’s Tax-Supported Mine and Port Expansion on Thin Ice FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Australian National Herald:An investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners programme has uncovered previously unknown tax haven ties for Adani Group’s Australian operations, with key assets ultimately owned in the British Virgin Islands.“Adani Group has promised a $22 billion windfall in taxes and mining royalty payments for Australia over the life of the giant Carmichael coal mine it has been given approval to build in outback Queensland,” the report said and added, “but experts say an opaque web of companies and trusts behind its Australian assets gives it ample opportunity to minimise the tax it pays.”“Adani has put in place multiple ways in which they can minimise the amount of tax they pay in Australia, and maximise the amount of profits if they choose in Caribbean tax havens,” the report quoted Adam Walters, research director at the consultancy Energy and Resource Insights.In what counts for a double whammy, the Adani Group’s entire A$3.5 billion ( ₹178 billion) debt-funded ‘investment’ in Australia is gravely at risk, the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said on Monday.In a new report, it details how Adani’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal has excessive financial leverage, negative shareholders equity and runs the risk of becoming a stranded asset if Adani’s Carmichael mine does not get a $1 billion Australian subsidy.The Abbot Point Coal Terminal is due for a $1.5 billion debt refinancing next year and a cumulative debt refinancing of $2.11 billion by 2020.Currently, operating at just over 50 per cent capacity, the Abbot Point Coal Terminal needs the Carmichael mine to fill the gap created as its current take-or-pay contracts progressively expire.”Securing this refinancing is going to be a real challenge, not the least because the port value has been tied to the success of the Carmichael coal mine proposal which is itself yet to secure funding and which the ‘big four’ Australian banks have refused to touch,” an official statement quoting report co-author Tim Buckley said.Buckley’s the IEEFA’s Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia.“The potential for a loss of up to $1.5bn on any decision to walk away from Carmichael mine and rail proposal, explains why the Adani Group has been so focused on securing Australian tax payers money and royalty holidays to subsidise his loss making ventures,’ he said.“To the extent able to be analysed from Australian Securities and Investments Commission records, Adani’s entire mine, rail and port operation in Australia looks to be 100 per cent debt financed and shareholders funds now tally an unprecedented, negative $458 million combined. The value at stake for the Adani Group’s Carmichael mine proposal is far bigger than previously understood,” Buckley added.Whilst Adani continues to search for overseas project funding, the report, “House of Cards: The Escalating Financial Risk of Adani’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal”, the report traces events that make the Carmichael project an even greater financial risk.The events include Adani’s major proposed off-take coal customer, Adani Power Ltd’s 4.6 GW power plant at Mundra in Gujarat, is financially distressed and its equity is for sale for just ₹1 but has no buyers so far.India’s thermal coal imports have continued the downward trend of the last two years and are down 13 per cent year-to-date in 2017 compared to the prior year.And, in the light of new solar infrastructure projects delivering electricity at prices now 20 per cent below many Indian thermal power plant tariffs, financial analysts don’t see any imported coal demand to justify more expensive seaborne supplies.More: Adani, uncovers unknown tax havens Australian media investigates Adani, uncovers unknown tax havensAustralian Associated Press:India’s former environment minister says he’s appalled by Australia’s decision to approve Adani’s new coal mine in Queensland, and has questioned the Indian miner’s environmental track record.Jairam Ramesh has told the ABC the mine will threaten the survival of the Great Barrier Reef, and Adani’s history in environmental management in India “leaves a lot to be desired”.“There’s no reason for me to believe that Adani would be a responsible environmental player globally,” he’s told the broadcaster’s Four Corners program.Mr Ramesh said the federal and Queensland governments had not properly looked at the Adani Group’s environmental and financial conduct in India before approving the thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin.However, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday reiterated strict environmental controls were in place.“We stopped the dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef,” she told reporters.“We have made sure that strict environmental conditions are attached.”The concerns over Adani’s track record come at the release of new analysis by The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which details extensive financial risks to the project.The Abbot Point Coal Terminal, which is leased to Adani by the federal government, is due for a $1.5 billion debt refinancing next year and a cumulative debt refinancing of $2.11 billion by 2020.“Securing this refinancing is going to be a real challenge … because the port value has been tied to the success of the Carmichael coal mine proposal which is itself yet to secure funding,” said Tim Buckley, IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australasia.Former Indian minister appalled by AdaniEconomic Times of India:Adani group’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal in Australia faces the risk of becoming a stranded asset if its proposed Carmichael mine fails to get 1 billion Australian dollar (AUD) subsidy, according to a report by US- based institute IEEFA. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and environment, has found that Adanis’ Abbot Point Coal Terminal (AAPCT) is excessively leveraged and promises negative shareholders equity. The Abbot Point terminal, IEEFA said, also “runs the risk of becoming a stranded asset if Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine does not get the AUD 1 billion Australian taxpayer subsidy it seeks.” The IEEFA further said the analysis finds more broadly that “Adani’s entire AUD 3.5 billion debt-funded investment in Australia is at grave risk.” More: Adanis’ Abbot Point Coal Terminal at risk of becoming stranded asset: Reportlast_img read more

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EDP’s U.S. wind, solar assets may spark bidding war

first_imgEDP’s U.S. wind, solar assets may spark bidding war FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:France’s Engie SA and Denmark’s Orsted A/S are among suitors considering a bid for the 7.6 billion-euro ($8.9 billion) renewables unit of EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, according to people with knowledge of the matter, adding a potential new twist to China Three Gorges Corp.’s pursuit of the company and its parent.Engie and Orsted are working with advisers on evaluating offers for all or part of EDP Renovaveis SA, the people said, declining to be identified as the discussions are confidential. Paris-based Engie is most interested in the firm’s U.S. portfolio, but is considering making a bid for the complete renewables unit, two of the people said. The deliberations are in early stages, and the suitors may opt not to make a formal offer, they said.EDP Renovaveis is also drawing interest from other European utilities seeking to expand in renewables, the people said. Potential buyers are preparing for the Chinese firm to sell certain assets to secure regulatory approval should its takeover offer succeed, the people said. Engie could even team up with the Chinese to buy certain assets to help facilitate U.S. approval, they said.The Chinese firm’s bid would be subject to several regulatory approvals, including from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. Three Gorges said in the offer announcement on May 11 that it doesn’t rule out accepting some “mitigation measures’’ from that regulator.EDP’s North American unit controls a sprawling clean energy portfolio, with whole or partial stakes in more than 5,600 megawatts of wind and solar farms. Selling it all at once “would be the biggest renewable-energy portfolio disposal ever,” Angus McCrone, chief editor of Bloomberg NEF, said in an email.. EDP’s North American portfolio includes 45 wind farms and five solar farms, according to a list the company provided in May. Most of the North American plants are in the U.S.More: Engie weighs offer for $8.5 billion EDP Renovaveislast_img read more

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Glencore writes off almost $1 billion at Colombian coal mines due to falling European imports

first_imgGlencore writes off almost $1 billion at Colombian coal mines due to falling European imports FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:The economic case against European coal is proving too much for even Glencore Plc.The world’s biggest coal shipper cut the value of its Colombian business — which mostly sells to Europe — by almost $1 billion as it adjusts to the struggling market. It also plans to stop mining coal in Colombia in next 15 years.The announcement is another example of how climate change and Europe’s dwindling demand for coal is starting to reshape the global energy industry. A glut of natural gas, along with a milder winter, and higher costs for carbon-emissions allowances, has tilted the economics of generating electricity away from coal and toward using more gas.Investors are piling on pressure over climate change impacts and last year Glencore agreed to cap coal production. But it’s the economics that are proving decisive. “The Atlantic coal market, I don’t see a big recovery,” Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg said on Tuesday. “It’s clear the amount of coal being consumed in the Atlantic is decreasing.”The collapse of European coal demand is not just a headache for Glencore. BHP Group, the biggest mining company, is looking to exit the business. One of its assets is Cerrejon, a mine in Colombia it owns with Glencore and Anglo American Plc. In the current market, there are few natural buyers.[Thomas Biesheuvel]More: Europe’s dying coal industry is forcing even Glencore to changelast_img read more

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French developer Neoen completes expansion of world’s largest lithium-ion battery in Australia

first_imgFrench developer Neoen completes expansion of world’s largest lithium-ion battery in Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The 50-megawatt expansion of what is already the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, the Hornsdale Power Reserve in [South] Australia with batteries from Tesla, has completed its network connection, according to independent power producer Neoen Australia.Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s biggest operational lithium-ion battery, abuts the 315 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm in Jamestown, South Australia. The project is now rated at 150 MW/193.5 MWh and dwarfs any other lithium-ion battery system in operation around the globe.As pv magazine Australia has reported, the expansion of the Hornsdale battery is intended to provide grid-scale inertia services and fast-frequency response on Australia’s National Electricity Network.The battery has already brought down grid stabilization costs by roughly $40 million in its first year of operation, according to consultancy Aurecon. At the same time, Hornsdale generated roughly $50 million in revenues in less than two years through the provision of both Contingency and Regulation Frequency Control Ancillary Services and through arbitrage trading. Even during severe grid anomalies, such as those impacting an interstate interconnector after a lightning strike, the big battery has successfully kept the lights on in South Australia’s renewable-heavy grid.Hornsdale will be tasked with supplying fast-frequency response and system inertia – termed “synthetic inertia” when delivered by battery storage. Historically, large fossil-fuel or hydro-electric units, or synchronous generators, have provided system inertia by virtue of their spinning turbines.Ian Learmouth, the CEO of Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a governmental green bank that has provided debt financing for the project, said that the provision of synthetic inertia is “critical” if renewable penetration levels are to continue to grow.[Eric Wesoff, Jonathan Gifford]More: Top global Li-ion battery projects: Tesla grows lead as Hornsdale expands to 150 MWlast_img read more

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IEA: Renewable energy generation rose during pandemic’s onset, while coal cratered

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:New statistics published by the International Energy Agency outline how coal-fired generation is bearing the brunt of Covid-19 triggered cuts to energy use, while renewable energy supplies continue to flourish.The latest monthly statistics published by the IEA found that in OECD countries, which include Australia, electricity generation from coal fell a massive 21.6 per cent in March, compared to the same period 12-months prior.Meanwhile, the share of electricity generated from solar generation grew an impressive 15.6 per cent, with wind adding an additional 4 per cent in March. Gas generation was comparatively stable, increasing 2.7 per cent in March, driven by increased demand from Northern American members of the OECD.The drop in coal production significantly outpaces the overall fall in total electricity consumption, which fell 3.6 per cent in March across all OECD countries, as the economic impacts of Covid-19 shutdowns started to have an impact on economic activity.However, renewable electricity generation bucked this trend, growing 7.1 per cent in March, driven by substantial growth in solar capacity across the OECD, along with a boost to hydroelectricity generation helped by strong rains in Europe. With renewables continuing to be dispatched due to lower marginal costs, it has been the more costly coal generators have been pushed out of the market first, in response to falling electricity demand.“Across all major regions, the power mix has shifted towards renewables following lockdown measures due to depressed electricity demand, low operating costs and priority access to the grid through regulations,” the IEA said.[Michael Mazengarb]More: Covid-19 makes massive dent in global coal generation, as wind and solar thrive IEA: Renewable energy generation rose during pandemic’s onset, while coal crateredlast_img read more

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Simple Math & The 50-Mile Footrace

first_imgWhere’s the finish?When I run and have nothing better to do, I often find myself crunching numbers – miles remaining, miles completed as percentage of anticipated total, average pace over last quintile as expressed in meters/second, etc.There’s just a certain allure to it – a sort of puzzle-solving pleasure like that derived from crosswords. Take a nice, round 10-mile run. What is not to enjoy about that magical 0.8 mile that separates the one-quarter mark at 2.5 from the one-third point at 3.3, the latter feeling like a much more significant waypoint in a purely qualitative sort of way? And granted, the true one-third point is actually closer to 0.83 mile beyond the quarter, but by the time you work through the math and figure out that the extra 0.03 mile is, like, not quite 50 meters, you’re already closing in on the 3.5-mile mark. And then it might occur to you that there exists a strange conflation between the English and metric systems in distance running, and just for the hell of it, you might decide to work through that same 0.03 calculation in yards, which is a good bit tougher to work out as you’re trotting down the road, while simultaneously devoting certain baseline mental energies toward monitoring and preparedness functions for oncoming cars, dogs, holes, etc. So when you’ve finally worked it out to 0.03 mile = 52.8 yards, you’re really getting close to mile 4, at which point the halfway mark is just around the bend, and then you’re in the home stretch.Trust me, this is a fantastic way to pass the time while running.And so, as I trained for my first-ever 50-mile race this fall – Virginia’s famous Mountain Masochist Trail Run – I coped with the attending dread and exhilaration in numbers. E.g.: A five-mile jog is a piece of cake, ergo the MMTR is no more than 10 easy little runs strung together. Child’s play. Or, e.g.: Because my 26-mile tune-up on the Wild Oak Trail in October turned into a death march, the MMTR is going to be doubly, unimaginably painful and hateful.Because I’m a glass-half-full type, or maybe just a fool, I zeroed in on scenario #1 during the sleepless night before the race in my Lynchburg hotel. Every little thing will be alright, right?And so here I am, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, surrounded by bobbing headlights in the 6:30 a.m. chill, continually downshifting my pace in the flat and easy early going. Slow, I tell myself. Slower. Long way to go.5k. Cross the James. First hill. Re-cross the river. Orange glow spreads from the east. Aid station #1. My pace is a bit slow, I think, but I have a history of quick starts and spectacular flameouts. Better safe than sorry. And here begins the first extended climb. I run practically the entire thing, keeping count of the people I pass, my confidence high, my pulse even, all systems go.This being the Mountain Masochist, though, there soon comes the next long climb, and yet another, and the next and the next. 10 miles, then 15, then 20, and the simple constraints of endurance and ability make themselves apparent. I can no longer run the entire hills. I transition to Plan B: 100 steps running, 50 steps walking, 100 steps running, 50 steps walking, repeat until hill ends. It is 10:15 by my watch and my thinking feels clouded for the first time. Am I almost four hours in, or five? I rehash the “10 easy runs strung together” mantra. I am somewhere well into Easy Run #4, and it is not feeling so easy. Doubt is now cast on the efficacy of my approach.Heading up Buck Mountain, somewhere past the halfway point, my 100-50 run-walk system goes out the window, replaced by an unstructured and desperate less-running, more-walking technique. And then, few miles later, toiling up (always up, up, up it seems today) to Hog Camp Gap, I adopt my third and final uphill paradigm of the day: walk slowly, while hanging head and cursing.There is a heinous matter of true race distance that begins to factor in now. The MMTR, they say, with wink and nod, is a 50-mile race. Maybe “a bit long,” the race director might admit. Maybe more like 52. Or 54, even, according to someone’s Garmin last year. The true seriousness of this fuzzy math becomes apparent somewhere around mile 30. Do I have 20 miles left, or do I have 24? For someone who parses numbers down to hundredths of a mile, this is a nasty, nasty little problem to deal with, and its nastiness has a strong positive correlation with fatigue.Somewhere on Pompey Mountain, c. mile 38, as I’m starting to get truly pissed about the fact that I have 12, or maybe 16, miles left, I realize that something bad is at work in the gastric tract. It occurs to me that I haven’t peed for hours, though I’ve been drinking plenty. I am feeling very, very thirsty, though my stomach feels and sounds extremely full. Worrisome. I glance at my watch. My pace over the last couple miles is unspeakable, off-the-charts slow. Very worrisome. And thus commences a series of throw-in-the-towel calculations: number of miles left divided by number of hours until 6:30 p.m. cutoff equals minimum pace required to finish, calculated for both best- and worst-case scenarios re: variance in distance potentially remaining. Because 4 miles amounts to about an hour at this pitiful point, my margins of error are both enormous and depressing, and I guess this is what I’ll look back on as a low point.I notice a bunch of runners are passing me. According to my projections, I think I’ll probably stagger in by dusk, but I’m in uncharted waters now. I’ve never run this far before, and I don’t know what will happen. And besides, I’m not sure I really trust my math at this point.And then, relief, in the form of the therapeutic puke, a messy little episode that raises numerical considerations of its own: the astounding apparent volume of my stomach, the rate of flow at which the torrent of sports beverage-colored liquid speeds down the trail, the number of witnesses (this happened in the immediate vicinity of an aid station) looking on with revulsion and worry, and so forth. I wipe my chin. I feel a lot better, though that’s not saying much, and I head on down the trail. I will later learn that this whole full-belly problem probably had something to do with electrolyte imbalance. Rookie mistake.I spend some miles beside an incredibly cheerful runner whose encouragement means more to me than he will probably ever realize, and whom I do not have the energy to properly thank. I fall back, and now am beside another friendly stranger. I am unable to compute figures any longer, I am uninterested in computing. I am running on the last wisps of fumes, hobbling along in his wake, unable to pick my feet up above the leaves that carpet the trail, relying on blind luck to avoid roots, rocks and other mishaps.On and on, and endlessly on. Stomach is still unhappy. Legs and feet in vicious revolt. Volunteers at last aid station crack jokes about piggyback rides that were probably funny but just seem cruel. Mental wherewithal on the verge of abandoning me entirely. Tears seem to be forming in my eyes, and still, curve after curve, more trail ahead.And then, serendipity, the last corner, the finish comes in view, I hear my wife whooping encouragement, I sense clapping in my vicinity, I think someone official-looking might be shaking my hand, and now I am lying in the sweet green grass, twitching like a fish, confronted with the day’s final set of figures – 9:28:05, 34th place, and, most satisfying, the number of 50(?)-mile finishes now under my belt: 1.last_img read more

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