Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A person of interest at the Leadville 100

Last September the editorial staff at Tails & Trails enjoyed a rather unusual conversation with elite ultramarathon crew chief, Gaby Gorman.  Here is a link to the excerpts from that interview.
We recently conversed again with Gaby, discussing the ups and downs, the ins and outs, working as an elite ultramarathon crewer for a sub-amateur athlete.  Here are the, um, finer points from our interview.

Tails & Trails: It’s been a while since we last spoke of your success on the national ultramarathon crewing circuit.  What’s new since we last spoke?  How are you helping to prepare your runner for the Leadville Trail 100 this weekend?

Gaby: Not much.  I got a haircut recently.

Tails & Trails: Oh, I see.  Very nice.  Seriously, what else? What have you been doing to prepare for this weekend?
Gaby:  Well, I recently l flew to Colorado and I brought, like, 10 gels with me for the race.  I was nervous carrying them on the flight, you know because of the extra weight, but figured it was worth it. 

Tails & Trails: I guess that is something.  Have you prepared in other ways?  Any new developments in your race preparations, crewing wise?
Gaby:  The biggest change to my preparations has to be that now I mostly go off of feel.  For example, when practicing my crewing, if I feel like a bottle re-filling speed workout, I do it.  If not, I don’t.  Sometimes I simply feel like a long, slow pour.  And other times I might mix in short, fast pouring bursts of water into a bottle.

Tails & Trails:  Wow.  That is not what I meant and definitely, um, unorthodox.  Do you think that kind of preparation will actually help your runner?
Gaby:  Why wouldn't it?

Tails & Trails: I don't know...  You mentioned you recently arrived to Colorado.  How is the altitude?
Gaby:  What about my attitude?

Tails & Trails: Wait, I meant… nevermind.  What is your runner doing to prepare these last few days before the race?
Gaby:  Nothing.  He is boring.  He sits at his desk, eating pretzels and fruit.
Tails & Trails: Maybe that is part of his taper plan?  Resting, I mean.
Gaby:  No.  It’s not a good idea.  He needs to be up and moving.  I keep telling him.  How is he supposed to run a 100 miles if he just sits there all week?  The race is in three days.  There is still time to train.
Tails & Trails: Let’s not even go there...  Let’s talk about music.  I understand your runner doesn’t train or race with music.  How about you when crewing?
Gaby:  Oh, definitely.  I love to dance.
Tails & Trails: Really? Um, good for you.  What do you listen to then when crewing?
Gaby:  My playlist is deep but this weekend I’ll probably be rocking a little Antoine Dodson, Russel Brand, Heavy D and the Boyz.  You know, some hip hop, love ballads…  The good stuff.  I get down at the aid stations.
Tails & Trails: Really? I wasn’t aware.  How does this help your runner passing through at the aid stations?
Gaby:  I’m not really sure if it does or if it doesn’t.  I mean, he says he has fun in between the aid stations, running- just running- but I don’t know… He usually looks pretty terrible when he comes through.  When I’m rocking out at the aid stations, it’s kind of like saying “cheer up, bud.  Loosen up out there and get going.”  I think it works.  Actions speak louder than words.
Tails & Trails: That is really hard for me to comprehend.  Let’s change the topic.  Hydration is critical at high altitude.  I hear your runner likes to drink coconut water at aid stations.  Do you have that ready to go?
Gaby:  Yep.  I’ve got some coconuts for the race.  They’re hard to open and tough to drink from so he will have to be patient.  I’m going to City Market tomorrow to look for little umbrellas to give to him with the coconuts.  That will be a nice surprise.
Tails & Trails: I kind of doubt it, but do what you like.  Let’s talk about the race itself.  The Leadville 100 invokes a lot of energy out its runners.  The web is lighting with excitement on the blogs, twitter and Facebook…
Tails & Trails: …hold on.  Um, nothing.  My question is what do you think about all of the excitement and the chatter?
Gaby:  I think it’s a good thing.  It shows the passion of the runners.  Plus, I love to read what people are saying about me.
Tails & Trails: I don’t know that people are saying anything, which I assume is a good thing, right?
Gaby:  C’mon.  They’re talking.
Tails & Trails: No, really.  I don’t think they are.
Gaby:  No, really.  They are.
Tails & Trails: You know what, let’s wrap this up.  Thank you, again, for your time.  Good luck to you and your runner this weekend.  And, please, do try to remember, as Ken Chlouber says “you are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.”
Gaby:  Thank you.  I enjoyed it.  By the way, that’s not what he says at all…
Crew work complete.  2010 Leadville Trail 100.


  1. Yuuuuupppp. Might have to show this one to my girlfriend.


  2. Behind every great ultrarunner is a loyal, patient, compassionate your case she is your crew and your better half!! Have an awesome race and then get your asses down to C'ville!!

  3. GO GABY!!! All of Twitter is trending about how your are gonna KICK ASS at LEADVILLE! crewing. And for the coconuts, just buy an axe, it will work great.

  4. Gaby rocks! Go Gaby! Go Neal! Will be watching from afar....

  5. Good post. Even got a chuckle out of me...

  6. Hilarious! Who said runners are only as good as their crew? No one? Oh....oops.