Backpacker Radio #166 | Robbie Balenger, Plant-Based Ultra-Endurance Athlete, on the Colorado Crush: the Colorado Trail, All 58 14ers, and the Leadville Trail Series

In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Robbie Balenger. Robbie is a plant-based ultra-endurance athlete, with achievements including a run across the United States and a feat he dubbed the Colorado Crush which involves hiking the 485-mile Colorado Trail, summiting all 58 of Colorado’s 14,000-ft peaks, and running the Leadville Trail Series- the marathon, the-50 mile race, and the 100-mile race…all of this in the span of 63 days! We of course go in-depth about these endurance undertakings, including how he manages his diet, his recovery, the highlights and lowlights from these adventures, the role his crew plays, and much more. You will walk away from this one feeling either very inspired or very lazy- and quite likely both.

We wrap the show with a triple crown of trees, some promising news on the Lyme disease vaccine front, we get another update from MG, and we share some of our favorite shorter thru-hikes for a listener.

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Interview with Robbie Balenger

Time stamps & Questions

00:05:19 – QOTD: What’s something that you like less as you get older?

00:15:26 – Introducing Robbie

00:16:17 – When did you get into athletics and endurance sports?

00:19:23 – What is it about running that draws you in?

00:20:44 – Discussion about marathon strategies and breaking through the wall

00:22:48 – Discussion about food during running

00:24:02 – How did you prevent injury on your transcontinental run?

00:25:20 – Discussion about shoes

00:26:12 – Tell us about your plant-based diet.

00:30:42 – Discussion about alcohol

00:31:52 – What do you eat to get enough calories?

00:34:44 – How did you occupy your mind on your transcontinental run?

00:37:29 – Tell us about the Central Park Loop

00:39:55 – Discussion about backyard ultras

00:41:07 – What would you say your mental drive is?

00:43:29 – Discussion about training intensity and strategies

00:46:18 – Do you have any recurring injuries?

00:47:26 – Tell us about NuCalm

00:56:41 – What was the inspiration for the Colorado Crush?

00:58:05 – What lessons did you learn about setting up a good sponsorship model?

01:00:19 – What was the structure and order of the Colorado Crush?

01:01:34 – What made the Leadville 100 the most difficult event?

01:03:42 – How did you decide the timing?

01:04:41 – Has anyone told you they’re interested in replicating the Colorado Crush?

01:05:02 – Fuck Marry Kill: the Leadville Trail Series, all the 14ers, and the Colorado Trail

01:05:40 – How did the Colorado Trail compare to your expectations?

01:07:13 – How do you compare/contrast road running and trail running?

01:09:48 – Any fun hallucination stories?

01:12:21 – What’s your mentality while running at night?

01:14:30 – What lazy things do you love doing?

01:15:42 – What did you learn about yourself as a man?

01:18:22 – Is it unusual to have the height of your career start late?

01:19:14 – How was your mindspace as you started the 14ers?

01:21:06 – What were the logistics for getting to and up all the 14ers?

01:23:10 – Did you have any close weather calls?

01:24:33 – Tell us about your crew

01:26:23 – Is there anything you can’t eat anymore?

01:27:37 – Anything else to share from the Leadville 100?

01:28:41 – What does the future hold for you?

01:32:00 – Where can people keep up with you?


MG Check-In

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Trek Propaganda

Triple Crown of trees

Quadzilla’s Quads

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