The Bigfoot 200 is a trail endurance run that takes place in the Cascade Mountains where the athletes run, climb and hike around Mount St. Helens persevering for 206.5 miles with 42,000 feet of ascent. This event is not for the faint of heart nor the unprepared. It requires a lot of training, dedication, physicality, mental toughness and grit. Since it takes from two to four days to complete, they run all day and all night with strategic stops to re-fuel and maybe catch a few z's to recharge. Running through the night is especially challenging. That's where Kogalla comes in.
Rob and Barry traveled up there to meet up with the participants and get a first hand view of them using RA in this event. This is a crowd of really solid people (pun intended) who are fun to be around. Kogalla had 16 athletes wearing the RA Adventure Light. We were able to meet them, take some pics and get some feedback from them after the event. Here's what a few of them had to say about wearing RA in the race.
Jeremy Noret - San Angelo, TX
Jeremy - "Absolutely amazing, balanced, high intensity light output. I can never go back to a headlamp. The RA substantially improved my performance."
Garrett Froelich - South Lake Tahoe, CA
Garrett - "I was blown away at how my entire field of vision was lit up. I brought a headlamp to wear as a supplement and immediately put it back in my pack as it was not needed."
Jerry Fogh - Denmark
Jerry - "I'm very pleased with RA. There's no doubt about what a great product you have. I must say that even though I didn't see Bigfoot, it's the first time I didn't trip even once during night runs."
Sheryl Lambert - Carlsbad, CA
Sheryl - "I used it at Bigfoot. My biggest fear was being alone at night; but wow, what a difference my RA made! Alone or not, the visibility was unbelievable and my eyes weren’t annoyed by the shadows I get with my headlamp. I love my Kogalla light ." (Sheryl is holding up three fingers because she's doing the Triple Crown of 200s. She did Bigfoot so next up are Tahoe and Moab. That's amazing!)
William McCallum - Vancouver, BC
William - "I got many comments from other runners who said they don't even need their light when running with me or they would just want to use my light. I've been recommending it to all my fellow runners up here in Vancouver."
Cesare Rotundo - Foster City, CA
Cesare - "The enhanced light from RA really helps me see my foot placement, helps me follow the trail (not always easy with just a headlamp) and helps me spot the next reflecting tag down the line. And it lights up my peripheral vision. No other light can give you all that."
Brian Martin - La Mesa, CA
Brian - "I loved using the Kogalla lighting system. It was even better than running during midday sun because it shows all of the trail's texture. Everyone on the course recognized us as the ones with the amazingly bright lights. When we'd see others wearing RA on the trail at night we'd shout out 'hey nice light'."
Some of the athletes shared more details from their race and experience with RA.
Jeremy also shared these insights... "I hate running through the nights, I dread it. Generally my strategy is make good time during the day then suffer through night. I found when using RA, the light was so intense I think it made me less sleepy/zombiefied. With a headlamp you are staring at the bobbing little circle of light directly in front of your feet and for me I think it puts me in a trance. I still move, though much slower. My brain starts going to other tasks or I literally fall asleep and have to catch myself tripping and falling down. With the RA I felt like my night time moving speed was dramatically increased to the point it almost matched my daytime moving speed."
"From a pure race enjoyment perspective the RA also gave a more satisfying view of the course. I had a much wider perspective of what was immediately around me. Going into the race, I was scared of the ability of the RA to pick up on the course markers. The RA did exceptionally well. In fact, trail identification improved quite dramatically. While the RA has a widely dispersed, high intensity light in the immediate field of view, I was picking up reflective markers at least 200 or more yards away if they were in line of sight."
"For my run I used two RAs vertically mounted on the inside of the UD Fastpack 40 shoulder straps. I used the D-Ring straps from the Accessory Kit to attach them. On the easy trails I would only turn on one light. On the more difficult and technical trails, I would turn them both on. Much of the time the lower RA setting was plenty of light. I routed the cables up and over into the kangaroo pouch where I stored the power bank."
"I always carried two Batpack 2 batteries. If one died in the middle of the night I would have crew swap me at the next aid station so I always had my backup power (only happened once in the race). As far as managing Batpacks for this race, I had crew and they had instructions to always keep the spare batteries on the usb charger. This system worked well. The idea was to have an A night and B night set of batteries with a full night of batteries always ready to jump into action. This plan worked flawlessly with crew. For races without crew my idea is to stash one Batpack 2 around every 50 miles at aid station dropbags. Doing this first race with crew I’m confident in the ability to implement this drop system without crew."
Cesare told us that "using RA makes the difference between seeing and not seeing; getting lost and surviving in an event like this."
He also told us about his close encounter. "I was running along the path and there was a flat area with bushes on the left. I heard this huge noise and a large shape running away from the path to the left, perpendicular to the trail. It was huge and maybe 50 ft away from me. I didn't stop to check it out and the large, dark mass didn't really try to come back to me and my shining lights. I don't know if it was a bear or Bigfoot but I wonder if it would have played out differently with just a headlamp." (I wish Cesare would have had his GoPro rolling).
Will added his insights on the logistics and his strategy for RA and the Batpacks. "I attached a single RA light horizontally along the lower strap of my running vest and attached it with two velcro loops. Later in the race, I removed one loop as it was quicker to unclip my vest. The peripheral light is just so much more useful than a headlamp that shines 60ft ahead. I was out there 4 nights. I pretty much used one battery pack per night. One night I only used RA for 3hrs because I slept and ate during most of the darkness. And some of the time I only had RA on roughly medium brightness. The battery packs never died but I still started each night with a fully charged unit to limit the things I needed to think about."
Thanks to all the athletes who ran the race wearing RA and shared their pics anc comments. While we didn't use them all in this post, we enjoy and appreciate them all.
And thanks to Candice and her team for running a fantastic event. Next stop is the Tahoe 200. If you go there, come visit us at the Kogalla canopy.
- Rob, Barry & Dick