New Concepts: Dakota Jones’ Road to Cavalls del Vent

I spent most of August doing two things, preparing for my trip to Europe and explaining to people the races I intended to run while there. The conversations began to follow a formula:

“Oh! You’re going to be in Europe for two months? Are you going to run UTMB again?”

“No. I’ve got one race at the end of September and another a month later.”

“How long are they?”

“The first is eighty-four kilometers and the second is about seventy-two.”

“What is that in American? Like, forty something….“

“It’s roughly 50 miles.”

“What are they called?”

“The first is called Cavalls del Vent and the second La Course des Templiers.”

“…..oh. Hey look, there’s our mutual friend!” grateful for a distraction. “Hey mutual friend!”

Mutual friend walks over.

“Hello good-looking and tan young friends of mine. What fascinating conversation were you engaging in?”

“Well,” says the first friend, “Dakota was just telling me about the races he’s going to do in Europe, Cabalstabet and some French thing.”

Mutual friend turns with interest to me.

“Oh you’re going over to Europe to race? Very cool! Are you running UTMB?”

“No, I’m doing two shorter ones instead.”

“Oh, how long are the races?”

“Roughly eighty kilometers.”

“Eighty kilometers? Let’s see, that’s… That’s a long way, probably.”


“Where are they?”

“Well, the first is in the north of Spain and the second is in the south of France.”

Mutual friend’s eyes take on a glazed look. “Wow, that sounds so beautiful. Hey, have you met Co-worker Bob? He runs some trail races! Hey Bob, Dakota is going to be racing in Europe this fall.”

Co-worker Bob comes over smiling. “Oh yeah? Are you running UTMB?”

Grinding my teeth, “No. The first race is called Cavalls del Vent and the second is called La Course des Templiers.”

Bob’s eyes narrow. “Huh. I’ve never heard of them. How long are they?”

“About eighty… Let’s just go with fifty miles.”

“What are they called again?”

And it was at this point that I would usually take the nearest chair and ask them to beat me over the head with it and just get the job done quicker. I learned several things from these encounters. 1) Americans have no conception of what a kilometer is; 2) Americans have enough trouble with English, and anything beyond that is asking far too much; and 3) Nobody in America has heard of any European race besides UTMB. To make this point clearer, and since I’d be surprised if anyone is still reading by this point anyway, I’ll make it visual.

Dakota Jones - America vs Europe

Then again, once I got to Europe I encountered a whole host of new problems, primarily due to the fact that I am in no way exempt from the American label in the graph above.

Dakota Jones - European Survival Skills

But why dwell on that which is frustrating? Better to focus on the future, instead. My future looks like this: Ultra Cavalls del Vent elevation profile

That’s the course profile for the race I’m going to run this Saturday. For anyone reading this who may be unfamiliar with the metric system, those numbers on the left are called “meters” and you can roughly multiply them by three to get an idea of what the vertical is in feet. Or, I can tell you: according to Google, 6,000 meters equals 19,685.04 feet. And while we’re at it, I’ll add that 84 kilometers equals 52.195 miles. Here is a rough outline of my enthusiasm for this race since deciding to run it:

Dakota Jones - Cavalls del Vent - psyche vs terror

As you can see, my levels of psyche and utter terror stayed at a consistent 90% and 2%, respectively, from May through June. But starting in August comprehension began to dawn and by about the beginning of September (what we’re calling here the “Reality Benchmark”) two things happened: utter terror began to skyrocket while psyche started to waver.

The significant volatility of psyche combined with the steady rise in utter terror has had more than a few investors ridding themselves of stock and running instead to the much less risky Anna Frost (FRST). Then again, while Dakota (PREZ) is by no means a blue-chip, I’ve been yielding dividends of nearly 8% since April, and just released my latest training as well. Here’s a summary:

Dakota Jones Pre-2012 Ultra Cavalls del Vents training

The secret to success, my friends. You know, it’s not easy living the running-and-travel lifestyle in Europe but, well, somebody has to do it.

There are 54 comments

  1. Jordi

    hahaha! I'll be in 'cabalsdeblen' to cheer up and support! You're a very interesting individual. If I ever talked to you I'd be able to help thinking what must he be thinking right now out of this conversation…?? ;))

    Good luck on saturday!!

  2. Augustlights

    Well, if this running thing (how long again?) doesn't work out, you've got the charting and writing thing covered. I hear Wall Street calling your name…

  3. art

    I can barely keep the American races straight, what with all the new startups the last few years.

    and now I'm supposed to learn Spanish and French !!?

    sometimes English feels like a second language.

  4. Mike Papageorge

    I was long on MIKE & CDV about 3 months go myself, but arriving here in Baga last night and touring the mountains today, I believe I am going to short MIKE and buy more CDV. Given the mounatins and the rain here… *shudder*

  5. Fernando N. Baeza

    Ha! Marvelous article! I like how you put in the true subtle perceptions of our view on the Eurpoean racing scene. Genius! But one thing I have to humbly disagree with…Id ride my chips for (PREZ) stock anyday! Its a win win everytime! :D The (KJOR) AND (TONK) stock seems to be on the rise as well. Ha! My best to you at both races Dakota, buena suerte amigo!

    Fernando Najera Baeza

    San Antonio, TX.

  6. AllGutsNoGlory

    Thanks Dakota for your great writing, both on your blog and here. It's great to see young people possessing such a combination of cultural sophistication and athletic skill – for most of us, it's hard enough to gain any understanding in even one of those areas with the years. I've been fortunate enough to be able to visit the region where Cavalls is held, and even do some running there. It's absolutely beautiful, no doubt it will be a great race in every way. Good luck & have fun!

  7. Capn_Q

    Based on the utter-terror trend carrying it well above 100%, I would expect PREZ to split before the end of the quarter, although as other analysts have noted, an increase in women may stabilize the outlook.

    Good luck Dakota!

  8. marco denson

    I love it. This article is hilarious. People at work always ask me the same thing, "how long is the marathon you are running this weekend?" I don't say anything anymore.

    Then there are the people who will tell you they used to know someone who ran "marathons" all the time and died of a heart attack, so maybe running is not so good for you after all.

    Buena suerte en UTMB Dakota!


  9. Myles Smythe

    The course profile looks awesome, best of luck. Luckily rock climbing and running have familiarized me with the metric system. And thanks for the formal lesson in Dakota-nomics! Now if only I could figure out how many stones I weigh.

  10. Craig

    Dakota, so what grade do some of those technical climbs get? 7c, 6b+? Oh wait, Americans can't convert European climbing grades to our much more micro-contrived Yosemite decimal system, created to stroke our own egos. Go 'Merica!

  11. Simon


    Thanks for that, it's one of the funniest things I've read in years…

    As a British ultrarunner I just have the one questions – do you Americans have any other races than Western States ;-)

  12. Pedro Caprichoso

    In Portugal we also have some races with peculiar names, such as the "Oh meu Deus", which means "Oh my god" – it´s an 100km race with 4200m +. Do the math!

  13. Anonymous

    Interesting that while Americans don't (regularly) use metres when measuring distances they still feel the need to spell it incorrectly.

    Good luck for the races!

    1. Charlie

      Metres is one of the stupidest spellings in English!(funny how the IRUNFAR spell check highlights the correct spelling as wrong).

      I'm certainly overweight FRST for this one.

      1. Anonymous

        Please go on about why the spelling is stupid. The unit of measurement originates from France (I believe), hence the 're'. America, fuck yeah?

            1. Stephen J

              Swearing to be removed, if you wouldn't mind. Anon can be changed to Stephen Johnston. The tone of previous posts were intended to be coming across as cheeky, rather than dick-ish, btw.

  14. Tim

    Bạn có làm toán để xem những gì 4 lít khí sẽ tương đương với 1 gallon xăng. Một số toán học kỹ năng cần thiết :-)

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