Episode number 78

Anton Krupicka | Leadville 100 Recap

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Anton Krupicka is one of the most legendary ultrarunners in history. Bursting onto the ultra scene in 2006 with a win at the Leadville 100, Anton quickly became the representative for an entire generation of ultrarunners and directly contributed to the rapid growth we’ve seen in the sport. After many years of injury that kept him away from competition, Anton made his triumphant return to racing at this year’s Leadville 100, where he finished 3rd place. In this episode we talk all about the Leadville performance but also spend time talking about Tony the human being and how he’s evolved over the past 15 years.

Dylan Bowman: Hello, my dear friends. Welcome back to the pillars podcast. I'm Dylan Bowman. And today I am very excited to bring you a conversation with one of my biggest personal inspirations, one of the true icons of our sport and an overall high quality human being that's right today, we welcome the great Anton crew pitch to the podcast. I am so excited. Of course, Tony will need no introduction to 99% of you. He has been one of the most transformative figures in the history of our sports and someone who inspired an entire generation of young athletes to find the sports including myself more than a decade ago. Tony really did become the representative for my generation of ultra runners, not only as a great athlete, but as a great writer and storyteller through his blog. And also just through his look and his style and his method of training and racing.

Dylan Bowman: He really just embodies the spirit of total commitment and ultimate freedom in a way that really did change the game and push the sport forward. But obviously some of the things that made Tony so great and so successful as an athlete have also had negative consequences for him. He has a long and well documented history with injury. That's kept him away from competition for many years, and that as you'll hear for a time also compromised his love of the game and his feeling of connection to the sport that he has been responsible for building in a lot of ways. And as most of you will probably know at this point, Tony made his triumphant return to racing a couple of weeks ago at the Leadville 100, the race that put him on the map way back in 2006. And after a seven year hiatus from racing a hundred miles, Tony put together a very solid third place, finish much to the delight of his fans worldwide, as you'll hear it, wasn't a perfect race for Tony, but it did fill in with an immense sense of gratitude to have the health and opportunity to once again, put himself in the competitive arena.

Dylan Bowman: And it was so, so great to have him back. We of course spent a lot of time talking about Leadville in this conversation, but we also spend significant time talking about the good old days discussing Tony, the human being, how he's evolved as a person and as an athlete over the past 15 years. And also the struggle that it is sometimes to break free of the caricature that often accompanies his public persona, but for all the fame and notoriety that he has received in his career, Tony is just a really honest and genuine person. And I for 1:00 AM so happy to see him back on the racing scene. And I am truly honored that he would come on the show to talk about his story with me for a little while. I hope you guys really enjoy this episode. Please welcome the great Anton crew pitch go, Anton crew pitch go. What is opera? Welcome to the podcast.

Anton Krupicka: Thanks Dylan. Yeah. Uh, I'm a, I was gonna say I'm a long time listener, but I'm at least been listening for a while. I don't know how long you've had the podcast, but , but I enjoy it. I think it's, I think it's definitely one of the better ones in the running space. So dude, I appreciate it. I'm I'm honored to be on. Yeah, thank

Dylan Bowman: You. Yeah, I've wanted to have you on for a long time and you're somebody who I've always looked up to and admired. So to, to hear that you listen to the show is, uh, is, uh, humbling for me as well. And of course everybody wants Anton to come on the show and, uh, it was only a matter of time and I think we have a lot of stuff to talk about, but I think, uh, first and foremost, uh, how's, how's the body feeling three weeks removed from, uh, the, your third place finished at the red bill 100 after a seven year hiatus of the racing.

Anton Krupicka: God. Yeah. Uh, pretty good. I think. Yeah. I mean, so like right after the race was pretty rough or maybe I've just forgotten how bad it can be, but, um, uh, I just like, didn't eat like the night, like I read upon finishing. So the next day was super bad. I don't know. I like fainted at breakfast and, uh, it just took a while to come around. I think my legs were destroyed. Like I couldn't sleep that night cause I like, my legs are in too much pain, but I don't know I would, and I was for, I would say three or four days, my left Achilles. I was just hobbling. I was just like, I, like, I kind of knew this was gonna be the case. Like, man, we're gonna have to take like two months off or something, but I don't know. It's it's come around. I've done some running and then I've, I don't know. It kind of, it's been a little bit tweaky this week, so I'm gonna take a few more days of just riding the bike, I think. But yeah, recovery feels good. Like energy feels back to normal. Um, and I mean, obviously I'm not sore anymore, but we'll see, we'll see about the Achilles. It might, might be a couple more weeks for that to be fully recovered,

Dylan Bowman: Passing out at breakfast, terrible soreness, James pain. It's like, what? Welcome back to a hundred mile racing, dude. It's so good to have you back.

Anton Krupicka: Oh, thanks man. Yeah. I don't know. It's I can't decide if I feel like one a year is all I would ever be able to handle. It's just like, they're so abusive, you know? And, and part of me now, like with this Achilles kind of lingering afterwards, I'm like, well maybe I can only do like late season hundreds because I don't want it to ruin my summer. You know? Like I don't wanna like do Western then have that, you know, have my body be all beat up for the rest of the summer, not be able to do anything. So, so,

Dylan Bowman: So UTM B 20, 22, we can count on anti on the start line.

Anton Krupicka: I mean, you know, I like, I would like to do it. It's a matter of getting in that damn race now though. Like I don't even know like what the process is anymore, you know,

Dylan Bowman: I don't think anybody does that. Hopefully in the next couple months. We'll have more clarity on that.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: We'll, we'll talk a lot more about Leadville here coming up, but again, yeah, it's so cool to have you back on the scene. It was so fun to follow and yeah, it's great to just see you, uh, back out enjoying it again. And I figure, you know, there's a lot of different ways that we could take the conversation and I was struggling to figure out which direction to go to begin. And I figure we either talk about why you run without a shirt on or minimalist footwear, which direction do

Anton Krupicka: You wanna? Yeah, those, those are pretty much the only two, like I dunno, relevant topics. I think so

Dylan Bowman: Oh dude. I mean, as a long time fan of yours and consumer of pretty much every interview you've ever done, uh, figured, uh, we do something a little bit different and, and talk about, you know, those, uh, really, uh, powerful topics of conversations.

Anton Krupicka: Oh man.

Dylan Bowman: Do you remember the first time you and I met in person?

Anton Krupicka: Oh gosh, let's see. I'm kind struggling here. It would've been like, did you run Leadville in 2011?

Dylan Bowman: No. Well you did, but remember we crew for Joe at hard rock in 2011.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Oh, is that when we

Dylan Bowman: First met that's when we first met

Anton Krupicka: That would've been that summer in 20. Yeah. That's how fucking crutches. Yeah. Yeah. I remember that. Of course. Huh. That's when we first met. All right.

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. You had, you had a broken leg and uh, you were just kind of crutching around. Yeah. Was pacing Joe at the time. It was that just exciting early 2000 tens that you, the sport, you were totally at the top of your game though, you were injured at the,

Anton Krupicka: It was like on crutches,

Dylan Bowman: But it was like, it was like the first time encountering sort of like ultra celebrity and the sport has progressed so much in the last decade, but like, yeah, that was an interesting time. And I remember just sort of like cruising around with you and Deanne as we were, uh, crewing for Joe and like everybody wanted to sort of interact with Anton and I don't know, I, I, uh, it was the first sort of like encounter with that sort of like ultra celebrity feeling for me. Sure, sure. And I was always, you know, a big time admirer of yours and a hugely influenced by you and your blog, but you always struck me as someone who's like struggled with kind of like the fame and notoriety that you've achieved. Like yeah, you reluctantly accept it as part of your, your career and part of your job. But I feel like you prefer to be like a private normal dude. Am I, am I reading into that? Right. And what's your,

Anton Krupicka: Well, I think I would like to think of myself in a certain way. And that is like someone who would just wanna be a private normal dude. And there's definitely a part of me that wants that, but then there's another part of me that's like, well, but you did like in 2007, start writing a blog and why did you do that? You know? And I think anybody who's putting stuff out into the world, they have to accept that there's a part of 'em that wants an audience. Yeah. You know, and I don't think it was even that conscious. I mean, the reason I started writing a blog is because I was reading other people's blogs. I was like, oh, this is cool. Like I enjoy like this stuff, like following what other people are doing. And um, so I mean, that's why I started one, but that I would say was, you know, the beginning of kind of like my public facing life.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. But over the last 15 years, I for sure have, uh, oh, I don't know. Yeah. I had a, a contentious relationship with having any kind of notoriety and being, you know, a bit of a public figure and that kind of thing. And, and that's probably just because I'm too like in my head and reflective about life anyhow. So you're always just kind of analyzing like the situation, like what's really going on here. And I've just like struggled to understand it for the last 15 years probably, which is why I'm most uncomfortable with it. So, yeah.

Dylan Bowman: So, but how, how do you feel about like the influence that you had in that era of the sport? Because that was like rocket ship growth trajectory for the sport and I mean yeah. Consider myself a card carrying member of the TK generation

Anton Krupicka:

Dylan Bowman: And this hugely influence by, by your blog and by everything you were putting out at the time. Like how, how do you feel about like the direct impact that you had on the sport in that period and sort of like also to see where it's matured and evolved sort of through that generation now, and to sort of this, this next one. I, I guess what I'm getting at is like you have a big sort of hand, you know, like you were in some way responsible for this growth. Um, and for people like me coming into the sport, I'm wondering just like with some perspective, um, you know, a decade ago, what that sort of feeling was like, and did you have any awareness at the time that you were having that type of impact?

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Um, well, I'll get, I'll get, I'll get to your question, but real quick, I'm just wondering, I mean, you're like in the thick of the sport currently, you know, and I would say that I have kind of like checked out over the last five years, just like, you know, there was a year or two where I probably never went die run far, you know? Yeah. Um, I just like stopped paying attention. And my question for you real quick and I'll get, I'll answer your question though. Um, is, do you feel like the sport has leveled off in terms of growth right now? Or is it compared to say, oh, like the late OS, like, you know, around like 2010, something like that? Or is it still on a similar, as you said, like kinda like rocket ship kind of trajectory.

Dylan Bowman: I think it's still growing at breakneck pace, but I think the growth is different. Right. I think when, okay. When you were sort of like changing the whole game, it was like a, it was an age and demographic shift. I think, you know, you were

Dylan Bowman: Kid in your early twenties coming to the sport. Very much inspired myself and a number of people sort of our age to come into the sport at that time when it was sort of considered in, in old man's sport. Now, you know, I think it's much more common to have younger, talented athletes coming in, uh, in lieu of pursuing racing on the track or on the road. Right. And similarly, you know, growth with, uh, other sort of endurance curious people who would otherwise end a past generation sign up for a triathlon, a lot women, women coming into the sport too. So I think it's, it's definitely different. Yeah. And it's still, I don't know a moment of, uh, of transformation, but that's sort of been going on nonstop for the last 10 years. And I mean, a lot of it, I see as parallel to rock climbing and skateboarding, as they sort of moved out of these sort of niche, mm-hmm, kind of core communities into full on professional sports. I sort of see the same trajectory.

Anton Krupicka: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's, I guess, yeah. Like I said, I don't have a huge sense of the sport currently, but that, that makes sense to me. Um, but to answer your question, obviously, it's, it should be silly if like, I wasn't grateful for being able to have an impact on people. Um, because that's, I don't know. People spend, people are always trying to do that. You know, they're like always trying to find like how can I connect to people, reach people and for just kinda like fall into my lap, like it would be, it would be really ungrateful for me to not recognize that and be appreciative of it, you know? Uh, but I would say that at the time, and you know, the, the weird thing about any of this it's really hard to be meta is like, because you only know your own life, you know, like you, you're only yourself, so it's hard to know, like what's normal and what's not normal.

Anton Krupicka: And you know, when I was in my early mid twenties, I was just, and I feel like I'm hopefully still in this way, but just kind of like trying to do my thing and people either respond to it or they don't, you know, and, but I don't ever try and like shape what I'm putting out into the world to the expect to like perceived expectations of, of like followers or anything. You know what I mean? Um, but I mean, at the time, yeah. I mean, it always, but I feel like every generation probably feels this way. Like what, what was that like the late OS, you know, it's like me and like the Scags brothers and I don't know it was, yeah, there was definitely an energy in the sport at the time. And you're, and you kind of feel like, you know, you're, you're kind of know that you're viewed as being sort of like a young punk or something, but you're, you're kind of reveling a little bit.

Anton Krupicka: You're just like, ah, you're kind of thumbing your nose, the status quo in some ways. And, but you know, like my very first Leadville, you know, running shirt list, running with just a bottle, like that was all just instinctual to me. I didn't have anything to base it off of, you know? So like, that's just unfiltered me and it's just funny what people latch onto them though, you know? And it's funny, like what, what kind of your identity gets sort of like shaped and then sort of cemented and it's, it's frustrating to then not to always just be stuck in that, that one, like pigeon hole and not feel like you're able to break out of that. And you know, like there's a number of years where like every time I was doing a photo shoot, the photographer would be like, oh, like one without a shirt now they're just like, no man. Like, no, like, come on. Well,

Dylan Bowman: Yeah, it's funny too. I mean, like, as somebody who, uh, again, like has sort of observed your, your whole career, I can totally see that the frustration of like, sort of becoming the caricature of like the bearded long hair guy who runs without a shirt, but like at the time yeah. As you said, it was different. Right. And it did stand out and it helped that you were also the best. Right,

Anton Krupicka: Right, right. Yeah. For a couple of years. Yeah. but

Dylan Bowman: Then all of a sudden, you know, people like me were taking our shirts off and like stuffing our water bottles in our shorts and like taking, taking your sort of method of racing and just like being part of the sport. And it did just sort of like, at least ever so slightly kind of just move it forward. Right. And then it sort of moves into the, the next generation it's and equipment improves and athletes come and go. And, um, yeah, just like the whole style continues to evolve. But I think one of the things that made you so special at this period of time and why you had such a big impact on the sport, as you've already mentioned is having this blog too, right. Because like sure, you, you were, I mean, still are, but at that time, just great athlete at top of the sport winning races. And this is before the era of social media and you are also a incredibly skilled writer and

Anton Krupicka: Oh, thanks man.

Dylan Bowman: And also then the caricature thing, you know, you have the look, you have this style, so you match all these things together, being a great athlete, having the look and the style, and also being able to share the story. And it was like the perfect fucking recipe to sort of like take people like me and just turn 'em on, you know? Sure.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Um, I'm curious, like your relationship with writing now, like, cause you, you don't blog anymore. You post on Instagram and post on Strava or whatever, but like back in the day, your Leadville race report, would've been this big, huge, long, beautiful essay. And now sure. Now that's just like five paragraphs of

Anton Krupicka: Well that's because, uh that's because just hasn't published it yet, man. Um, , I've actually been doing a ton of writing in the past month, uh, like thousands and thousands of words, just for like many different things because earlier this summer, uh, I went on this big bike trip and so I've been riding some stuff around that. And then, yeah, obviously Leadville, um, writing is something that I foresee being a much bigger part of my life really it's now going forward. Uh, and it goes back to that storytelling kind of thing. Um, because I find, I don't know, I feel like people's, uh, I, I don't wanna say tolerance or maybe capacity for long form writing and long form, uh, reading again is, is picking back up. You know, I mean, people, everybody used to have like the 5,000 word race poet, you know, after an ultra and uh, but then it went to like Twitter and Instagram and now I feel like, you know, people have newsletters and stuff. Like, I feel like the race report's coming back or at least just like yeah. Tolerance or long form. Uh, but yeah, my relationship to writing is it's not as consistent as it was back in the day, but I don't know, like it became a point to where I was just doing like weekly training recaps and it's like, that shit becomes boring for me at a certain point, you know, like, and it's all in Strava now. Um, but yeah, I see myself doing more consistent, formal writing, uh, really from here on out. So

Dylan Bowman: Where did you develop that skill? Is it just something that comes naturally to you?

Anton Krupicka: Uh, yes and no. I would say, uh, I I've always had a higher aptitude for reading and writing than for math and science, even though I have a physics degree, it was super tough for me, but I also have a philosophy degree, you know? Um, so I kind of like really honed writing in college, I would say. And then, I don't know. It's funny. Cause like back in, uh, back in college, our, our cross country team, we, we have this silly, like online training log, athletic core.com and everybody would like, it was like straw is now, you know, just everybody would have these pretty involved, like little descriptions of their daily runs, you know, and that's kind of where that came from. And that is eventually for me, like moved on to a blog, you know? Yeah. Um, but yeah, I would say getting a philosophy degree in college, you required to do a lot of writing

Dylan Bowman: And uh, I'm sure. Yeah. Your avid consumption of books helps as well with the,

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. My mom was an English teacher, uh, high school English teacher and she was my high school English teacher and reading was heavily encouraged in my, when I was growing up.

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. So how do you think growing up in Nebraska has influenced the person that you are both athletically and this sort of like intellectual side to you, do you think it's, it's sort of shaped your character?

Anton Krupicka: Absolutely. Uh, in a couple of different ways, one is just a connection to the land. Um, that was something that came from my parents growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska. And then when I moved to Colorado for college in 2000, 20 years ago, um, that was something that I just that concept and that value is something I developed, carried with me to the mountains. Then, you know, that it's important to have a sense of place and to know, uh, the natural world where you reside and, um, and to have a daily practice like running to deepen that is, is just always been fundamental to my identity to my life. Um, and that comes from, you know, growing up in a real place. And, but two, I think growing up, and this is something that kind of developed in college for me. Uh, cause I went to a pretty bougie like private liberal arts school, uh, Colorado college in Colorado Springs, but here I am coming from an extremely rural part of Nebraska growing up on an in year reservation.

Anton Krupicka: So like there's just poverty everywhere. Um, and so I just in college, I kind of developed a little bit of a chip of like, oh, these like, you know, blue bloods, like yeah. You know, I'm like this rural country kid. And, and that's something that I would say I've carried with me as I'm become an adult. But instead of it being like this kind of chip on my shoulder, more of like, just like, no, like you can't, you know, I live in Boulder now, like it's as like upper white middle classes, it gets, you know, and I've lived here for 12 years, but I've always, still felt like, at least in my head, like an outsider to it, probably everybody does who lives in Boulder. No one is like that Boulder person, you know, it's always everybody else, but , but I always feel like I, I have a legitimate claim to that because of where I grew up, you know? Um, so yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Do you, uh, get home very often still and,

Anton Krupicka: And it, uh, yeah, definitely. I mean the last two years, especially a lot, cause uh, my mom got really sick and then she passed away like a year and a half ago, but then subsequently like my dad, you know, he's just been all by himself out there. So I've been trying to get back really, this summer was the first time that I've gone more than a month in the last two years, not gone back to Nebraska. Um, I haven't been back since may now, but employ on heading back the next month or so. Uh, but yeah, it was it's yeah. Recently it's been something and it's been a really nice, um, I would say it's just one of those silver linings to my mom getting sick is I yeah, really like reconnected with where I grew up in that whole region. And that's been, that's been rewarding for sure,

Dylan Bowman: Bro. Yeah. I, I recall you posting about your mom's passing and if you're open to chatting about it, I would, yeah, sure. I'd be open or I'd be, you know, sort of honored to, to sort of help you talk about it. I think, you know, obviously like we all go through these, these highs and lows in our lives, we all experience these like major tragedies and it sounds like it was sort of, uh, precipitated by an illness. So maybe not a really sudden thing, but

Anton Krupicka: Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: How, how does that, how has that impacted your feeling of your own mortality and your responsibility to be a good son now to your dad and sort of carry on the tradition of your family?

Anton Krupicka: Man? It it's, it's tough. Uh, I mean I've had a quite close and definitely like solid relationship with my parents, my whole life and with my mom passing away, it was just the first time in my life when I'd had someone truly close to me, pass on, you know, and yeah, you're just, I don't know. It's, you're just confronted with like all of those things that every one knows on sort of an intellectual level and it's all the cliches, but you just feel them so fundamentally then you know, of just like love and family and relationships are the most important things, you know, and it's so easy to get caught up in all the other stuff. And there's like at the end of the day, like this is the only thing that actually matters and it sucks that it takes someone's death. I mean, I was always appreciative of my parents, but it takes someone's death to like really drive home those sort of fundamental tropes.

Anton Krupicka: But, um, I would say that's been the biggest impact in terms of, I don't know, I've, I've always been pretty keenly aware of my mortality. Um, I remember when I turned 20, I was like, holy shit, I'm almost 40 I know don't, I've always just been like aware the life is just like, like speeding up and speeding up and like you just go so quickly. Um, so I wouldn't say that my mom has in really, uh, made that head home any harder, but yeah, it's just all the usual things, you know, and um, it's been, it's been good cause I feel like it's, it's deepened my relationship with my dad for sure. It's only because I've been back to the farm so often in the past two years, but, um, yeah, I don't know. It's kind of the takeaway. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Well dude, I appreciate you sharing that. And I know obviously it's not easy to, to go through something like that, but yeah. I mean, I feel the same way. Like I've never had somebody that close like that intimate in my, you know, closest circle of friends and family pass. And, but like my grandmother is like really aging and struggling now and it has such a, she's a mother of seven, you know, my mom is one of seven children and to see how it's impacting my mother and her siblings and the feeling that they are having now of like understanding that yeah, the urgency of time, the preciousness of time, the preciousness of family is a, is a fragile, sacred thing. And totally,

Anton Krupicka: It

Dylan Bowman: Does take sort of that, um, you know, that sort of, uh, acute moment of, of awakening to, to sort of wake us up to that fact. But, um, yeah, so like kind of going back to the conversation about, um, sort of like the, the blog and stuff like that and how you sort of said that it sort of got to a point where it was just becoming less interesting posting your weekly training or whatever. Sure, sure. I mean that weekly training post though was like a critical part of the culture for years, man. I mean, like I can speak for myself, but I think there was hundreds of people like me who were just waiting for that like Sunday afternoon post to see like ridiculous number that you posted on your blog of to, of like total training volume and you, I have our meticulous record keeper and that's part of your personality too. Do you ever revisit those old sort of like training weeks or old training blogs and what, yeah. What's your reaction when you look at those things?

Anton Krupicka: I definitely, yeah. I definitely, I mean, it's not something I do often, but on occasion usually I'm like looking up some splits of some run I had done and then I'll be like, holy shit. Like that week was ridiculous. Like what was I doing? You know, it's like, it's like, oh, like this was my fastest time. Like my PR in green. Like I also like PR to Mount Albert that morning, dude, you know, just like that kinda shit. I'm just like, what, like how is it even possible? You know, but I dunno, just like looking back at the volume and of like both mileage and vertical I was doing back then, it, it kind of boggles my mind, but it also, I think it's just a Testament to how much energy we have in our twenties. And I'm not sure that the way that I spent it was the, the best way, but I definitely like spend my energy, you know, like , it was, I wasn't just like sitting around, um, you

Dylan Bowman: Think that work comes from in you a love of the game or is it like a drive to be the best and insecurity that you're not doing enough?

Anton Krupicka: Both. Yeah. Maybe all three of those things. Yeah, it was, uh, definitely loving running, but then always just being like, well, I'm not, I'm not gonna like puts around, like I'm not gonna pose, you know, like I'm gonna like do it, I guess is, and that's with that's with everything. It's like, I don't know. I'm a, you know, buzz Burrell. Um, this was, this is already a while ago, but it's definitely, it's just like, like a lot of things that he says there's always like this really like hard kernel of wisdom in it. And I had just been like, oh bud, it's like, we should get out to elbow and climb. And um, and he was like, Nope, pass. just like, he's like, if I can't do something, if I can't commit like to doing something three days a week, he's like, I'm not gonna do it at all. He's like, I don't, I it's like, I'm just Puting then. And I'm not, I'm not billing towards anything. And like, and I, I fully believe in that philosophy, but the thing was, you know, for like, I don't know, 10 or 15 years there, all I was doing was running mm-hmm and I was, that was like, I'm I just didn't wanna be like a poser basically. Like it's like, no, like I'm running a lot. I'm trying to be the best I can and I really enjoy it, you know? Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: So obviously everybody knows that it's had its consequences, right? Like you've injured a lot in your career. Do you, do you view the sort of like consistent theme of injury as being a direct result of that massive training volume or bad luck or

Anton Krupicka: Combination? Oh, it's definitely not bad luck. Um, I would say maybe there's definitely some luck involved in terms of like your genetics, uh, when it comes to durability and like how much, how much training load you can handle. And I, I would say all of my injuries that I've had that have been ongoing or a result of, uh, like mechanical imbalances and stuff just inherent to my, like the kinesthetics of my running. And when you, you know, in my twenties, if I had been able to, if, if I had the discipline to like, maybe just do a hundred miles a week, I mean, that would've been as durable as anyone in the game dude. Like, you know,

Dylan Bowman: Just why it was so frustrating as a fan

Anton Krupicka: Person.

Dylan Bowman: Like, you know, like you'd get injured and then you'd come back and then you'd be doing twice the volume that I was doing in training. And I would just be like, what's Tony stop dude. Like, you're

Anton Krupicka: Good. Yeah. But it's, but it's that kind of thing of where, like, it's just it's, it goes back to being insecurity thing. You knows. Like I, and I've always felt this, like now I would say it's taken the last couple of years. We like, we're like really stepping away from the sport and coming back to it and being like, oh, like I actually have talent at this and I am actually good at this and I don't need to do it so much in order to be good at it, you know? But certainly through my twenties, it was just always that kind of Gaw insecurity of like, cause dude I sucked at running for so long, like, you know, no success of any kind in high school or college and just really mediocre times. So out of that came just like, well, I'm just gonna run more than everyone else.

Anton Krupicka: And then ultra running really lends itself to that. And obviously like, you know, I was immediately successful and uh, I was like, well, the reason that I, I, I can go to a start line and now I'm gonna win the race is because I ran like 25 or 30 hours, you know, like in the build up to this and like for week. And, um, so yeah, it was just that like insecurity kind of like mileage security blanket sort of thing. Uh, but then when you have success, then you're like, oh, well, the reason it happened is because I have this crazy block beforehand and like, you know, I would say someone like Jim Walsey is like coming to that realization. I was like, you dude, like, you can be an absolute crusher without like putting 150 miles a week, you know? Yeah. Um, so I don't know, like it's not any more complicated than that. I think, you know, just, yeah, like getting, you know, it just reinforces itself, but then you not always get injured too. So I don't know. Yeah. So

Dylan Bowman: Dealing with injury on and off for so long, and then the past, whatever, six, seven years basically being on the shelf competitively, obviously you still get out and do do your thing, um, every day. And we all know that you're still wildly active, but having so much of a history and a consistent history of injury has that, like how to, has that been difficult to deal with on like a personal level, on like an emotional level of like, you know, you're this pro athlete, you're this iconic figure in a sport, but you can't put together a few months of training without getting injured. Like how has that impacted your relationship with yourself as an athlete?

Anton Krupicka: Well, it's, it's precipitated, uh, kind of a re a rejiggering of yeah. My self image and identity as an athlete, you know, it's like, why I've taken up all these other sports. It's like, oh, I'm still an athlete because these are things I can practice on a, a daily basis or very consistent basis, um, and not get hurt, uh, you know, skiing, climbing, cycling. Um, but it also kind of bitter is too strong of a word, but sort of just like, ah, like I don't need running, you know, like, you know, it's not loving me back to like, fuck it, you know, kind of thing. Yeah. And, uh huh. Uh, that I would say was a number of years, you know, probably from like 2015 through 2018 or something, you know, you

Dylan Bowman: Said like you you've sort of lost touch with the yeah. While you're not following it as closely. I remember. I mean, you have like this encyclopedic knowledge of results, you memorized splits, like your meticulous record keeper, as I said.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Is that part of the reason why you lost touch with it because you felt like the sport wasn't loving you anymore, so you had to sort of create some distance.

Anton Krupicka: Um, yeah. Well you, you just get like knocked down so many times. It's like, it's just get frustrated so many times, like you're trying to like build some finish back and then like injury crops back up or something, you know? Yeah. You just eventually just like, I'm just gonna stop having expectations for myself. Yeah. And so when you stop having expectations for yourself, you're not looking at a race calendar anymore, so you quit caring about racing and it kind of, and like, it's just, I just realize like if I don't, if I didn't follow the sport, it like cease to exist, you know, , it's like, oh, if I just don't go on iron far, like none of this stuff, it stops existing actually, you know, which isn't sort of crazy, but like, you know, when you're inside of it, it's everything like, it's just like your whole world and you think it's the most important thing going on?

Anton Krupicka: You know, it's all consuming and there's, there's kind of a joy and a freedom to that too. But, um, obviously for me it became unhealthy because I could just like never stay healthy physically. Um, but I don't know at certain point I just realized, uh, I didn't have to like the scene or even racing in order to like running, you know? Uh, and because as you can imagine for so many years up until like, you know, the last couple weeks, honestly, um, always people are just like, when are you gonna race again? And like, oh, like when did you stop wearing minimal shoes? And it's just like, dude, fuck off. You know, like, she's like, come on, it's not 2010 anymore, bro. Like, like, I dunno, it's like, it's so frustrating when you feel like you're not allowed to grow as a human, you know, evolve and change.

Anton Krupicka: Um, and so I would really great against that, you know, just like, uh, so, but I, you know, as I've gotten older, I've meld a little bit too and just have more maturity about it and more perspective on it, I would say. And now I'm just like so grateful to be able to run, let alone race that. And I just don't care about people's expectations anymore. Right. You know, like that, that was the thing about Leadville this year. It's just like, I didn't give a shit what place I was in a may queen. Whereas in the past, like I had to be with the leaders at Mac queen, you know? Ah, so I mean that kinda thing, but evolving

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. On the subject, on the subject of evolving, this just popped into my head and I think it is worthy and interesting, uh, conversation here. Um, and that is sort of like, I don't know how long it's been now, but as you were evolving from sort of like a more like running performance athlete into more of like a mountain and outdoor athlete and you moved of course from new balance, who was your early major supporter? Mm-hmm Sportiva now I can't remember how long it's been now since you've been with Sportiva a handful of years,

Anton Krupicka: Uh, six years now. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Talk about that transition for you too, because like obviously new balance had sort of hitch their wagon to you. It was the height of sort of minimal footwear. They're very much like, you know, not a core outdoor mountain brand like Sportiva is, and this was when you were really sort of coming out of that broken leg. I think actually when you started doing a lot of scrambling, more climbing, becoming more of a mountain athlete and I think on the subject of personal evolution, that sort of like, uh, an interesting line of, uh, conversation here. Talk about that point in your career, how you recognize that evolution in yourself and, and maybe what, uh, your relationship is like with Sportiva.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. I mean, really it was that, you know, that summer when we met and I was on crutches, like that's what precipitated that, honestly, because coming back from that broken leg, uh, I just started weight bearing activity and I was like, well, I can hike. And then I realized instead, but I know I was like, the leg wasn't ready for running. Then I realized you can hike really hard uphill and go totally anaerobic and like with zero impact, you know? And that just, that completely flipped the switch in my head of like, because before that, you know, I wanted to run every step of Leadville, you know, I was like, I'm gonna run up the south side of hope path. Like that kind of shit. You know, it was just, I was just a pure runner, like idolized, Matt carpenter, because he'd run every step of Leadville.

Anton Krupicka: Like I can do that, you know, now it's it's um, so just that shift, that initial shift of like hiking is a legitimate form of mountain locomotion, then it like turned into scrambling. I was like, I live here in Boulder. There's these giant like slabs of rock. It's so silly. I haven't climbed any of them ever, you know? Um, and then from there, obviously you get deeply into rock climbing. Um, but it just opens up this whole world in the mountains of like leaving the trail and following sort of geographic and terrain lines and routes instead of like lines on a map, you know? And, uh, you it's just so much more immersive and freeing and creative, uh, just interesting than running a bunch of trails all the time, you know? Yeah. Um, so that mean that was what, how that all developed. So then eventually obviously with new balance, new balance was an amazing sponsor.

Anton Krupicka: Like they completely changed my life. Um, because I don't know, this is something I think a lot of, uh, companies today could learn from is like, Hey, I was their guy. Yeah. And, but, but they like did so much to promote me and my personal brand that I don't know, it just like launched my career, you know? Um, like I feel like so many sponsorships now, like it kind of happens, but then the company, like doesn't even like really use the athlete. It's like, what are we doing here? You know, mm-hmm um, but yeah, they're a running shoe company, you know, and like, that's it. And I was doing all this other stuff. And so like when my contract came up, it was just, it made, I wanted, I wanted to switch to something. Um, I mean they wanted me to stay with them cause I don't know it was going really well. And I had great relationships there, but I was like, I just need a more comprehensive like footwear that I can rely on, you know? Yeah. And I mean, and I had been sponsored by sports for two years, the very beginning of my career. Um, and they're here in Boulder, so I had a relationship there already and yeah. I mean, that's how that all came about and it's like, they make the entire suite of, uh, footware in the mountains from running skiing, climbing, uh, yeah. Do it all.

Dylan Bowman: And on a cultural basis too, it's probably a better match too. I mean isn't sports, they're sort of like family own attempt.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Yeah. No, it's super cool. They're family owned in Italy. Um, and up until the pandemic, I would go over like twice a year usually. Yeah. Um, I think

Dylan Bowman: As opposed to, you know, this, uh, you know, sort of international company sure.

Anton Krupicka: But new balancers RA dude, because they're privately, they're still a privately owned company. Uh they're in Boston. And that has a, a huge impact on the inner mechanics of a, a corporation. Yeah. You know, it's like if, when you don't have shareholders that you're be holding to, like, you can just do wild things, you know, and, and new new balance is awesome that way, but it's, it's cool that way with, for too, because it's the same way. Like they can just, they can be super innovative with their products and cuz they're not answering anybody really. I mean obviously they have sales goals and all that kind of stuff, but uh, when you don't have a stock that you're trying to like boost all the time, it's it just, you can be so much more creative basically. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Yeah, totally. So let's start sort of moving towards the Leadville conversation. Cause obviously that's gonna take some time and we want make sure we tell, tell the full story, but one of the things I'm curious about as, uh, you know, somebody who is, uh, frequently fed your photos in my Instagram feed, was this Sage to summit trip that you did this summer documented really well in, in a way that was, I think, very entertaining and sort of episodic and sort of encouraged you to follow along. It looked like a long

Anton Krupicka: Trip. So it was a long trip. First

Dylan Bowman: Of all, explain what, what the trip was and also sort of tie in how it was helping you prepare for Leadville specifically.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah, no. So it, it all ties together because I was at the Leadville training camp at the end of June. Right. Which they have every year and sport's a sponsor of the event. So they always have a big presence there and I'm on like a panel discussion there. And uh, so I did like a 25 mile long run on the Leadville course at the training camp. And during that run, um, my Achilles like usual had been like kind of on the edge, but I just had this little epiphany in my head of like, well, cause I've been playing this bike trip and I was like, well, I can, I should just go for this trip because if my Achilles starts hurting on the trip, I can just turn into a pure bike trip instead of a bike end run trip. And like that was enough to like get me to do it.

Anton Krupicka: I was just like, okay. Um, so the, the framework of the, the Sage brush in summits was to do this. This ended up being like a 2300 mile bike tour, but linking up six different iconic peaks along the way, each one, either being like the state high point or the range high point. Um, and just because of the region of the country, uh, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, um, remember someone now that's it, uh, the mountains day. They're not like Colorado where there's a ton of mountains in Colorado, but it's a pretty populated like civilized state, you know? And when you get into these other ranges, there's definitely people in the mountains, but the mountains are just way farther back from the Trailhead. like you have to runaways into the mountain to get there. So each one was quite remote, uh, over 20 miles, you know, gannets 38 miles.

Anton Krupicka: Um, the other ones are all about a marathon. Uh, and it just worked out nicely that it was usually about two days of biking between each mountain range. So I could like do this long run and then give my Achilles a couple days, break on the bike and then do another long run. And, uh, I don't know, it's, it's a couple of years ago I had done a bike trip here in Colorado doing a similar thing. And it was just one of those super rewarding experiences, kind of a epiphany of, oh, this is, this is the most enjoyable way for me to like interact with the mountains. You know, it's like, because your body was running, you're limited by your body. Like, mm-hmm, like you you're limited by your skeleton really. Um, and when you're on a bicycle, all of a sudden you can cover these vast distances, like put all of your stuff on the bike, not on the back on your back.

Anton Krupicka: Uh, and it just makes you self sufficient. So, but then when you, like, you get to the Trailhead, lock up the bike, go run up the mountain. It's just the best of both worlds, you know? Um, so yeah, that ended being a, exactly a three week trip, 21 days, uh, did six different mountains ended up being six different long runs basically over in three weeks. Um, and then by the end, I mean, I was exhausted like super tired, but also like, I don't know, at least I wasn't like fat anymore, you know, like I was like, I think I must have been fit as hell afterwards. Yeah. I mean, I think I was pretty fit, but like you're also just so tired and it's all just like such low level cardio too. Yeah. You know, like, well

Dylan Bowman: Talk about like how, how that influenced your training for Leadville because it wasn't, it wasn't long before you had to probably start tapering, right?

Anton Krupicka: No, I mean, it was like, I got, it was

Dylan Bowman: Like the core couple weeks of your training.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Like those three weeks were the foundation for being ready for Leadville. For sure. Like I got back on the 26th of July, I think. And then I, I kind of, I took a few days just to like recover. I mean, I was just exhausted, dude. I mean, when you're riding, you know, between 120, 150 miles most days, and then like doing like a three to 10 hour long run, you know, like you're just exhausted. Like, I mean, the day I did G dude, like you do for a 10 run and then I had to ride my bike another four hours to go get dinner that night. Like it's just like Christ was hard. It also, that was the other thing. It just like recalibrated kinda, I just became, um, better at like remaining content in the moment, you know, because there's so many times where just every single day, there's multiple moments where you're like, God, I just wish this hill would end or this headwind would end or like this gravel road was a little smoother or something, you know?

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. But, and so you just like project to like the next town or the gas station or the, the end of the hill or whatever. And that's such an unpleasant way to be in life. You know, it's just like always looking to like pining for the future. So if you can just like literally gear down, like shifting to a lower gear and just be content with like, this is all I got right now. It, it just makes life more enjoyable. And as you know, that is fundamental to getting through an ultra, you know, it's like not being a mile 60 wishing you were a mile 95 or a hundred, you know? Um, but it's just being like, well, this is where I'm at right now. This is what I can do. I can walk up this hill and you know, I can, maybe I can eat, but maybe I can't eat.

Anton Krupicka: You know, it's just like, yeah, just being content with sort of your inadequacies in the moment , you know, and, uh, I don't know. So that was something I really carried into Leadville, but yeah, but back more to the nuts and bolts, couple of days did this local bike race here. Cause I was like on the board for the bike race. And then, uh, like two days after that, I was like, well, if I'm gonna do Leadville, like I gotta try and do a long run, you know? Uh, so I did a 42 mile on Pikes peak and that went great. Like I felt fit my Achilles, never heard at all. And I was like, well, shit, like, I guess I'm gonna do Leadville. And this, this was, uh, less than three weeks from Leadville, you know? But then I was like, well, I wanna do another long run, just cause I'm me, you know? And so like a week later, well, I really wanted a 50 mile, but I just, it wasn't. So a week later I did another 42 mile and my chilies are a little bit iffy on that. So I was like, alright, 40, two's good. I don't need to do 50. Yeah. And that was like, what was that? Look,

Dylan Bowman: The old, the old Anton would've absolutely pushed a 50,

Anton Krupicka: A hundred percent dude. I would've even made it to the start line. Like, I've been like, oh, Achilles is fucked. Like can't do it. And that was like 12 days before the race, you know? Um,

Dylan Bowman: Look at you man, growing, evolving,

Anton Krupicka: Trying to too

Dylan Bowman: Mature. That's but

Anton Krupicka: It's crazy. Cause like, as you know, like when we get to this age, I mean, what, you're just a couple years younger than me, right? Like yeah. 35 or something. I'm 35. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you we've been doing this for so long. You don't need the long runs anymore. Cause I used to do back to back long runs, you know, like that was the thing. If you were an ultra runner, you did like 40 on Saturday and 30 on Sunday, you know like, like there's no way I could do that now

Dylan Bowman: Finish a 200 mile week

Anton Krupicka: And you yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. for me it was more like 50 and 30, but yeah, it was just silliness 80 mile weekend, but now it's just like, yeah, if you can get in like a couple, six or seven hour runs, like that's plenty, I think lean up to a hundred. Yeah. But I will say, I think that's part of like, I don't know there's who knows? Not the last couple hours of hunter mile are always so hard, but I felt like particularly like I kind of created this time. Yeah. Um, but uh, yeah. I don't know. So then just like tapered the last, I don't know. I always taper only like five days or something. Yeah. Um, go into the days.

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. I, I think it's important to just yes. Kind of mention obviously like you have had your struggles man with injury and we've seen, you know, other guys like Tim Olson and Jeff Rose people of our generation who've had problems. And I think it obviously it's been unfortunate for, for all you guys I've dealt with similar stuff, myself, not to the same degree, but it really has helped to educate this new generation of athletes too. And so now like to be able to look back 10 years ago and say, man, my training was ridiculous. You know, there's probably a kid out there who's listening. Maybe I don't need to do so much or ride.

Anton Krupicka: I think that is good, you know, at least. But I, I, I can't imagine like, I mean, cuz I, when I was in my twenties, no one could have told me anything. I don't think people can tell me anything now it's just that I finally like learned the lessons, you know? Um, some of them at least. Yeah. And I don't know. I think, I think it's important to like just do wild shit when you're younger, you know, like, and, and irrational stuff. I mean, that's sort of the beauty of this sport is like, it's a totally irrational sport. Yeah. It's like, I'm gonna go run a hundred miles in the mountains. Like no one thinks that a that's possible let alone a good idea, you know? And obviously it's not smart to fully embrace that irrationality when you're younger.

Anton Krupicka: I, I'm not going to, um, I'm not gonna judge someone for doing that. Yeah. You know, like, just because he is at the top of the sport now, but, but someone like Jim Walmsley, it took him like three years to get Western states. Right. But I just, I think that's fucking rad that like, he just did not give a shit. He's like, you know, I'm gonna run six minute pace down Cal street. Like, it's just like, what are you doing Ralph? Like, how's that possible? But I mean, you know, he finally got it, right. I just, the next generation always needs to push like that. You know? And I mean, back when Scott was I mean, you know, he won his first Western, he was like 24, 25, you know, and all the gray hairs then were like, who is this asshole? Like in the belly shirt and log rolling across the finish line, you know, like it's like the younger generation always has to poke generation and I think it, they need to keep doing that, you know? So,

Dylan Bowman: So it's sad, dude. Beautiful. Beautiful. So why Leadville, why did you go back to Leadville in particular? You've won the race twice. You've now finished four times in six starts, I think. Yeah. You are more of a mountain athlete, you know, why'd you go back to Leadville instead of going to WASA or high loans or something else?

Anton Krupicka: Uh, a couple of reasons. I would say there's three reasons. One, uh, because it's flat, like my Achilles, like I think I was fit enough to do something like Nolans this summer, but my Achilles would not have handled it. I wouldn't have been able to finish it because I would've gotten to like, you know, eight peaks in or something Achilles would've blown up. I wouldn't been able to go uphill anymore. Mm-hmm um, the more uphill there is, the harder it is on my Achilles two. Uh, sport's a sponsor of it. So I had an entry. Yeah. You know, it's just like I could get, I could make the last minute decision to do it or not, you know? Uh, and then three it's like, I have a history with it, dude. Like I, I love the whole Arkansas river valley, you know, from Leadville down to Celi. I've been going there for the last 20 years in the summertime. Uh, I lived in Leadville for two summers, uh, you know, like worked there and then working in

Dylan Bowman: The coffee shop.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Yeah. And like lived in my truck over the course, like four or five summers in a row, you know? Um, and so it's just, uh, and when you get older, at least for me, yeah. You, certain things become a part of your identity and you kind of like embrace that and you, you draw strength from that rather than finding it kind of, uh, mundane or cliche or something, you know? Oh, and yeah. I mean, Leadville, the course is not inspiring, but I don't, that used to be something that was important to me. But this was something with all the injuries. Like a competition is a competition. Like I don't care like what the race course is. We just, we decide we're all gonna follow the course. And then we compete against each other and the process bring out the best at each other. And that's all that matters. Like I don't. So the fact thing of there's always road on it and that there's not much ver like none of that really, I don't know, just barely factors into my thinking anymore, you know? Um, so I don't know. That's why I went back to lead bill.

Dylan Bowman: So 15 years ago already. It spends one time. I actually, I remember in 2009, this is when I was just getting into the sport. Incredibly inspired by you in particular, drove over independence passes when I was living, living in Aspen. Yeah. Twin lakes. That's when you could just like find a parking spot in twin lakes and hang out, you know,

Anton Krupicka: Now no, it's, it's totally crazy. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: I remember, you know, just hanging out there and watching you go both outbound and inbound through twin lakes and just being completely inspired, like, oh my God, this guy lives in a truck. He doesn't wear a shirt. He's got his water bottle in his shorts. Like this is ultimate freedom, man. I remember too, the story of didn't you like sleep in a public bathroom in two. So what I'm getting at is like, I don't know, it's been 15 years since you won the race and you have a long history with the, with the town and time does just like move so quickly. I mean, how do you, like when you were sort of on the start line this year, how were you thinking about your history with the race in particular, the significance that it's had in your life as an athlete, cuz it really did solidify you as this legend of this icon of this sport. Sure. Were, were you thinking about all that stuff this year when you ran again?

Anton Krupicka: Yeah, definitely. Uh, I think something, at least that I've gained with age and it's another one of those cliches, but just like so much more gratitude, you know, like walking to the star line this year, just like, damn, like I can't believe I'm back here, like doing this. Like it is one of those things. I just didn't know if I'd ever be able to do it again. You know? And you, I was totally like connecting back to 2006, 2007, you know, the first, the two years I won and yeah, I don't know. It just, it feels, you know, it goes back to like why I did that race, you know, is, you know, this year, um, it's what I was saying about having like a history within, in tradition. It, those kind of connections feel much more meaningful in your late thirties cuz you haven't even developed those things yet in your twenties, you know? Um, like you haven't lived life yet at all. Yeah. And I'm sure there's 50 year olds out there saying the same thing about when they're in their late thirties, you know? But uh, so I look forward to that, but yeah, it absolutely, it was a not, it wasn't anything that like I was always like on race morning, it was this balance between like just gratitude and like, man, just, just like be grateful you're even here. And like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna fuck. He, you just usuals as long

Dylan Bowman: Let's about race execution. I was following it sort of intermittently when I could from and were, were back in like 20th place coming through the fish hatchery or whatever they call that aid station now. Yeah. So I mean, and traditionally at least when I was running the race, when, you know, in the early 2000 tens, I mean you were way off the front. I remember in 2000 thousand 10 you ultimately dropped out. But I think you had like a two hour lead on me at, at some point in, oh

Anton Krupicka: You running in

Dylan Bowman: 20 10, 20 10. My first hundred dude you dropped, oh

Anton Krupicka: That was your first hundred

Dylan Bowman: you dropped out and I got a podium position because

Anton Krupicka: Oh yeah. I dropped out in the lead that, well I passed out the lead that year, but um, yeah,

Dylan Bowman: But you, you like took a conservative approach to the race this year. So talk about like what your strategy was, obviously seven year hiatus for running hundred miles. Is it just caution?

Anton Krupicka: A hundred percent dude. I mean, I just didn't know if I could run a hundred miles still, you know, like I'd only done 40 in training. Uh, I'd been seven years. I just didn't know if I could do it anymore. Honestly. Um, you know, I didn't know if the body would hold up like, like structurally, but also just sort of, uh, um, you know, metabolically, all of it, like just felt, it felt brand new to me again in a way, you know, I obviously it didn't feel brand new, but I felt, it felt like an exciting, uncertain challenge again to where like I was like fully respecting the distance instead of being like, oh, I'm gonna race this, you know, it's like, I'm just gonna like get through this and try and finish, you know? But I mean, having said that, you know, I went through may queen and fish hatchery, like in the same time that I did when I ran 16, 14 in 2007 dude, you know, it's like, and I ended that and I took, I took, um, like confidence from that. I was like, 20 dudes are not gonna break 17 hours today. You know, like, I'm exactly where I need to be. But you know, the last time I did it in 2012, I absolutely like just went with the front. And we were like on the same pace that those guys were this year, you know, through Phish Hatcher or whatever. And it's just, it's too fast, at least for me, like I'm not fast enough. I'm not a good enough runner to be able to run that fast, that early. Um, so

Dylan Bowman: When did people start kind of coming back to you? When did you start?

Anton Krupicka: Uh, I mean, honestly going over Sugarloaf. I mean I started moving up immediately and then, uh, but I caught Ian, uh, Sharman, uh, um, right around the 50 K mark, like right before you get on the CT there mm-hmm um, and I knew that he was running, but uh, when I caught up to him, I was kind of surprised. I just didn't think I would catch him so early mm-hmm so I was like, oh, like we must be, I must be like the top 10, at least now, like Ian wouldn't be that far back, you know? And, uh, so yeah, just passed a lot of people between like pipeline and, and hon honestly, and like twin lakes honestly, but then, um, yeah, we're still steady, like going up hope pass. Um, we both caught Matt and passed him there, another dude, uh, to where like, and then like when we got to Winfield, but this is the funny thing, dude, like those guys and by those guys I'm talking about Adrian, uh, Tyler, Andrews, I think.

Anton Krupicka: And then, um, what that, what's that dude's name? Cody Reed. Yeah. Uh, they got to Winfield in like seven 50 and before this year I'd never gone to Winfield that slow. Like I've been to Winfield in seven 20 before, you know, and I was just like, these guys, I was just like, these guys aren't even going that fast. Like what's the, yeah. You know, why are they blowing up? Like they didn't even end up like going that fast, you know, but Adrian didn't, he ran a perfect race like that, dude, if he wants to like continue in the sport, he's gonna be a, people are gonna have to reckon with him for sure. Like 16, 18 debut. There's crazy. Yeah. Um, but uh, you know, there's other few days they blew up for sure. Um, I don't know. So yeah, go ahead. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Well, I mean, I, yeah, I just kind of wanna hear more of the story of the race. So it did seem like you and Ian were kind of like duke it out for a little while. I mean, were you

Anton Krupicka: A hundred percent dude? Yeah. Yeah. I went, I was just like, yeah, I was just like, I wasn't concerned about anyone in front of us. There was so Ian, I passed, I, I, I remember telling him like, oh, I'm sure we'll see each other again, dude. You know? Cause he was just kind of walking a hill or something and then he passed me going down to the twin lakes and when he went past me, he is like, everybody in front of us has never finished Leadville before. And I was like, okay, like that was just something. I was just like, like, oh, like Ian's head is in the game right now. Cause I was just kind like, I was just kinda like along like down memory lane at that point, because my whole thing was like, I'm not gonna start racing until 65 miles. Yeah.

Anton Krupicka: Like you get up that climb out of twin lakes, you know? And uh, so then going up hope like Ian, like kinda, I had a bad patch on the bottom of hope, which is the first time that's ever happened, but I just didn't feel very good going up hope. So Ian put a little gap on me, but we both, by the top I felt a lot better and uh, started catching people after the age station again, um, get to turn around. Ian's a little bit ahead of me. Uh, but we, I, Cody Reid runs outta the age station with me and he'd been talking about breaking the course record before the race. And I was just like, you know, my head, I was kind of being a little Dick. I was just like, oh, you playing on like negative splitting bro or what? Like , you're not even on course tracker face it halfway right now.

Anton Krupicka: But I mean to his credit, to his massive credit, in fact he ended up finishing. I know because he ran outta the aid station. We do. But he was just like determinedly, like running little Hills and stuff, but he was so fucking out of it that he was like missing turns and I had to keep shouting at him to gate, keep him on course. Yeah. I was like, you know, right handed, like, you know, he's missing flags. I was like, there's no way he's gonna make it over the hill. Let on finish, you know? Yeah. But he, he gutted and that other dude did too. Uh, Tyler Andrews, like they both had like 21 hour finishes or something off of, you know, a sub eight hour, first half. Um, wow. So mad props there.

Dylan Bowman: That's that's cool. That's cool. Yeah. I from ch everybody, I mean, who I was talking to about the race was like, yeah, Cody, Cody dropped or whatever. And then I saw his, his post, like of him at the finish line. I was, was like, wow, respect,

Anton Krupicka: You know? No, totally like it's done. Yeah. Forgive me. I've dropped twice. You know, going after the course record. Um, I mean, it was always late. It was like 80 miles, but uh, yeah. Anyways, uh,

Dylan Bowman: You eventually made your way into second place. It seemed like, right?

Anton Krupicka: Yeah, exactly. So marched back up the pass, uh, REPA, Ian's still just like totally easy. Uh, we both passed Tyler on the downhill into twin lakes, so we, so Ian and I came into twin lakes second and third on the way back in mile 60. Yeah. And then we walked up that hill. How to twin lakes together. Basically. I just stayed behind him cuz the whole race. I was like, I don't need to worry about these guys in front. Ian is the guy that I'm racing. I was like, Ian's the guy to beat. He's never had a bad race at Dale dude. Like, and he's his, his record. There is impeccable, it's like four wins and they're all like sub 17. It's crazy. You know? And I was like, Ian's the guy I need to worry about. But we were walking up that hill like 62 miles or something.

Anton Krupicka: And Ian, like, it just felt easy. I was just like, we're gone. Like I can't like wait behind the, in anymore. Like I gotta, so I waited the top of the hill and just started running then. And uh, we ran hard, you know, like all the way to pipeline. Um, and usually I blow up there, but because I was conservative this year, I had the legs to run hard, you know, running like mid seven minute pace, which before it'd be like 10 minute pace for me if you're there, you know? Um, and uh, I wasn't ever trying to like catch Adrian. I was just like, I'm gonna do what I can do. And if Adrian makes mistake, then yeah, I'll be there to like try and take the lead. But, um, I was mostly just trying to make sure that Ian couldn't like, come back on me, you know?

Anton Krupicka: Um, little did I know Matt was making a surge passed Ian there before Sugarloaf? Um, yeah. I, I felt good on Sugarloaf hiked up that thing and then like ran hard down the other side. I was like, I, I just wanted to, like, I wanted to break 17 hours. I was like, I can do that. Like that's gonna happen, you know, got into, got into may queen. And I was like 1450 something. I was like, oh, I can do sub 17. For sure. Like, I can go sub two hours to the finish, you know? Yeah. It

Dylan Bowman: Must have been hurting then.

Anton Krupicka: So you yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Ran an hour 17

Anton Krupicka: Last, uh, two, what would that been? Two 13 to the finish. I think 13 from may queen, which is just like, it was bad, dude. Yeah. I was just like, I think I just ran too hard off of Sugarloaf was kind of like just gased a bit too much. And then just like kind of, I just like, you know how it's from around that lake dude? It's brutal.

Dylan Bowman: I mean, it's the last 15 miles of the first hundred mile you've done in seven years. Is

Anton Krupicka: It? Yeah. And that's the thing, like I think I just kind of forgot like how stubborn you have to be at the end of those things. Like, and so like, no, I'm not gonna hike this hill. Like I have to fucking run it, you know? Like, but I, I just wasn't like, I just wasn't. I was just like, I got second I'm psyched. Like this is going so much, like this is going exactly as well as I hoped he could, you know, but then just comes like bounding by at the boat ramp, you know, I'm just like, oh God. But I, I tried, I was like, okay, like I know that he's like put in a surge right now to look good going by me. So like, don't be discouraged. Like just kinda like pick it up some like try and like manage the gap and like come back on him, you know? But there was nothing dude. Like I just didn't have anything in the legs. It was just like, no, not there. So

Dylan Bowman: Dude, so cool to be competing again, you know, in those last

Anton Krupicka: Yeah, that was the thing. Like, I, I waited so long, like, you know, 65 miles to, to race and it was super fun to like race for 30 miles, you know? Yeah. Um, but yeah, so,

Dylan Bowman: So what was the feeling like for you to run up the Boulevard again? Whatever the fourth time cross? Well

Anton Krupicka: Time. Yeah, it was, I mean, it was good except the Boulevard sucks so bad dude and like brutal,

Dylan Bowman: Awful.

Anton Krupicka: Unfortunately I did not, I did not run every step of the Boulevard. there's definitely, if you know that road, it's not that steep, but you're just like, God damnit, you're looking for any excuse to walk. It's like, I'm gonna eat a jail. I'm gonna walk on me to jail. You know, like, oh, it goes a little bit steeper. I'm gonna walk this bitch. You know, it's just stupid stuff. Um, but it was, yeah. When you get to the Boulevard, you're just like, I've done it, you know? Okay. Awesome. And uh, but you can't, at least I can't really enjoy it until you've done that last hill by the hospital and like crest over can see the stoplight and you're like, all right. Um, and that's always special. It's just finishing 8,000 dude. It's hard, you know? And, um,

Dylan Bowman: Did you feel the, uh, the digital and physical energy that was being kind of directed at your race because O obviously like you are an icon man and everybody is rooting for you.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah. Appreciate that. Even

Dylan Bowman: Though Adrian and, and Matt finished ahead of you and both had awesome races, both certainly worthy of their own attention and respect. I mean, everybody was so psyched to see you back on the podium again. Did you feel that

Anton Krupicka: yeah, dude, I got a lot of love on the course. Um, you know, cause you it's an out and back, so you crossed the entire field and I got a lot of energy coming back, hoe pass, like with everyone still going uphill. Yeah. That was, yeah. It's nice, man. Of course. It's uh, you take, you take energy from wherever you can get in these things. And so I was grateful for that for sure. Yeah. Um, yeah, I would say I felt it to a certain degree and like I just on a personal level, like I was fully aware of kind of how significant it was. Just kind of like the arc of like my history and the sport stuff. He was like, oh, like I'm finally finishing a hundred miles again. You know? And so yeah, I was, I was aware all day, I guess. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Well, on, on that subject, how are you feeling about your legacy as Anton crew pitch guy in the sport and, and how are you feeling about this sport right now? And what, what do you hope your impact is in the next couple of years?

Anton Krupicka: Uh, I mean my impact in the sport in the next couple years, I would just like to be able to do like 100 a year, I think. Um, and if that means not even doing any other races, I'd be okay too. just because I'm so like I need movement in my daily life and doing hard ultras, just jeopardizes that every time, you know, it's like all of a sudden I can't have after like three months, you know? Uh, but in terms of, I don't know, I don't have any like, hubris about like, like I'm not at the top of the sport anymore, you know, it's not, it's not something, but you know, like this year, UT M B when I, when, uh, when Ludo was like, what he, fourth, uh, Palmer yeah. Was like 46, you know? And I was just like, well, shit, maybe I got like 10 years of me still, you know, if I was just like playing my cards.

Anton Krupicka: Right. And like, you know, don't like overcook, anything like don't try and do like three, four races in a year or something. Oh. Um, so I don't know. It's more just like, I wanna, the main thing is over the last 10 years, I've done a lot of, kind of wild stuff in the mountains that isn't running, but none of those things have been, has like all consuming difficult, there's racing a hundred miles on foot, you know, like you can, like, I've done ski tours that are like 30 hours and you know, you skip a couple nights of sleep and it's just miserable. And, but it's not like trying to run hard at mile 80, you know? So I, and I just think doing things that are excruciating, like, uh, our super valuable, because yeah, I have a privileged life, you know, I live in the first world, uh, I'm a middle class, straight white dude. Like there's not a lot of hardship in my life. And I'm in the privileged position of having to contrive that in order to learn those lessons that come from, uh, you know, overcoming hardship and, uh, racing a hundred miles is, is one of the hardest things, dude. So what

Dylan Bowman: About the legacy question? I mean, did it feel good of like, man, I still fucking have it like of

Anton Krupicka: Course. Yeah. Yeah. That was something I like,

Dylan Bowman: Like, that's probably something that's been knowing at you for seven years since the last time you ran a hundred miles, right? Or is

Anton Krupicka: It, I wouldn't say the whole seven years, but yeah. Like I lost my confidence for a couple years for sure. Yeah. Because that was always the essential thing for me. Like back when I was racing consistently was like, anytime I lined up, I believed I was gonna win the race. Yeah. You know, and I just think that's fundamental to being able to compete is like, you have to back yourself on the start line. Yeah. And I definitely lost that for a couple years. And this year lined up at Leadville. Like I knew it was totally possible. I could win the race, but it wasn't like you

Dylan Bowman: Weren't in the same pressure that you did.

Anton Krupicka: No, no pressure. I felt zero pressure. I was so relaxed before the race, like, I don't know. And so much of that pressure self-imposed in previous years, you know, like, or I don't know, you, even if there's external pressure on you, you can choose whether to pay attention to it or not. Then I would pay attention to it. And if there was any external pressure this year, I just didn't notice it. You know, like I didn't, I chose or I chose not to like pay attention to it and I don't know it's but it was vindicating in that like, oh, it was almost like affirming, I guess of just like, yeah, this, this is a form of running that I have a talent for. I guess mm-hmm, like, I don't have a talent. I never had a talent for running 5k or 10 K but 50 or a hundred miles.

Anton Krupicka: Like finally been able to accept that you have above average at that, you know? Um, so yeah. It's and it, so it's just sort of like, yeah, it's just an affirmation of your identity a little bit, you know, I was like, oh yeah, like I am a runner and I can do that. You know, it's funny, this is a little bit of a tangent, but, um, maybe, maybe it was a G w I did a podcast with him. No, it was Haley. I can't remember. It was Haley. She asked me what would, um, like if you were young in the sport right now, like if you were 20 something in the sport right now, and you looked at yourself like saw you like get third, 11 this weekend or whatever, like what would you think of that dude or whatever? And like, my response was, I'd be like, oh, that's kind of like, like that asshole can just like ride his bike all the time and like still get like podium at Leadville. Like, like that, that would've been my perspective on me right now. I think, you know, I was like, like, oh, who's this like random dude. Who's not even a runner really, but just kinda like, I Don

Dylan Bowman: Like Wyoming for three

Anton Krupicka: Weeks. Yeah. I've been like, decided to line up at led though. Like I've been kind of bitter that, like I had done that well, you know, but, um, yeah. I don't know. That's just the reality of my body right now though. Dude is like, I can't put in the volume, so I'm, I'm by my bike instead. So,

Dylan Bowman: Well, congrats dude. It was so fun to follow and yeah, I'm a Le one of a Legion of your fans who was so excited to see you cross that finish line again, to see it go well, too, you know, it would've been awesome to see slog it out for a 21 hour finish like Cody, but it was so cool to see you fricking back on the podium, you know, after seven years knocking the rust off and smashing it, dude running low 17. And I think, you know, just that alone, that one little piece of experience coming back to the game, you could probably run an hour faster next week if you're, uh . Is that true? So

Anton Krupicka: Thanks, man. Yeah, I really appreciate you saying all that, um, is, uh,

Dylan Bowman: Is Billy making a video about the whole

Anton Krupicka: Thing he is and it should be all really soon, honestly, like I'm talking like the next like week to 10 days. Okay. Sweet. Uh, yeah, yeah. He's yeah, he's making, I think it's gonna be in like the 10 to 15 minute range kind of thing. Um, we were just talking about music the other day. Uh, so I think it's really close, but yeah.

Dylan Bowman: Cool. Well, we can't wait to watch, um, let's start wrapping up. I wanted to quickly just allow you to talk a little bit. You've mentioned your partner, Hailey, a couple of times and you just posted, I think it was yesterday about her recent feet of strength and endurance

Anton Krupicka:

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Some 500 mile bike race brag about her a little bit. And it sounds like that's something that might be peaking your interest too in the future.

Anton Krupicka: Oh yeah. Um, I mean, Haley was Loveville was really cool because, you know, Haley and I have been together for three years, so she's never seen me race before, you know, um, let alone like includes me. That

Dylan Bowman: Must be crazy for her,

Anton Krupicka: Right. Yeah, exactly. I don't know,

Dylan Bowman: Get like stopped around Boulder and asked for selfies and autographs and stuff.

Anton Krupicka: Well, yeah, I mean that, yeah, I mean, that goes on for sure. Um, and she's, so she's used to that, but she's never like been in the scene and she's just, I don't know, she'd never done an ultra she's run a few trail marathons mm-hmm um, so she's been a runner for a long time. Uh, so she like understands the sport, I guess, but she, her background's really in climbing. Um, and that's how we met, she was working at sport actually, but, uh, yeah, I don't know. I think it was just, I, it was, I don't know, good for our relationship just to like, for her to see this side of me that is so fundamental to my identity that, you know, she could, for all she knew they didn't really even exist, you know? Um, but, uh, just in general, yeah, she's really gotten into riding bikes.

Anton Krupicka: Uh, which of course is something I really enjoy as well. And so, yeah, she did this new bike packing race this past weekend from Fort Collins, Alamosa 530 miles and, uh, ended up going really well for her. She finished third overall, um, first woman obviously. Uh, and I don't know. It's cool because she's the kind of person, you know, I've, , we've done so much bike tour over the last three years. And because I'm me, like, I'm always just like pushing the envelope too much and like just making her do like heinous shit. And so there's been like plenty of psychological breakdown moments out there, but I think like all those I've like paid off this past weekend for her because I don't know, dude, she was just like rolling up the men, you know, like, yeah. It's it's, she is super consistent the whole way. And it's like, yeah, like all those times when I just like broke her mentally unintentionally on these bike ride, I think they, they, you know, they served her well. Um, yeah. I don't know. Uh, so yeah, I dunno. We're together. Good. we lived together. We actually moved in together, like officially, like right before Orlando. So don't ever move. I mean, you've done plenty. It's so bad. Like mood is the worst, but

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Well that's cool, man. We'll look forward to watching you, uh, do some 500 mile race here at some point.

Anton Krupicka: Oh yeah. Probably more than that, actually. I don't know. Like you can go forever on a bike dude. Maybe like a thousand or 2000 mile race, but yeah.

Dylan Bowman: I mean, that's the brand dude, that's the TK brand. You gotta protect that thing go. Well,

Anton Krupicka: That's just where bike pack. Yeah. Yeah. But that's just where bike pack racing. That's like the sweet stop for backpack racing. Like the week, the one week to two week, like duration is, is good, but

Dylan Bowman: Well, should we wrap up now or should we start talking about why you run without a shirt on

Anton Krupicka: Oh man. Yeah, we can go into it. Nah, I think we've covered everything.

Dylan Bowman: Tony. It's such a pleasure to chat with you, man. Thanks so much for coming on the show. Congrats on Leadville and uh, hopefully we'll chat again soon.

Anton Krupicka: Ah, thanks a lot. Deebo uh, really appreciate it. And uh, you still running ground R

Dylan Bowman: I am dude,

Anton Krupicka: My ticket

Dylan Bowman: Today, dude.

Anton Krupicka: God, it doesn't like what a month?

Dylan Bowman: Yeah. A month. Good news is. Yeah. You know, just a quick, short little training.

Anton Krupicka: Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: But honestly like the training from hard rock is still there.

Anton Krupicka: You know? That's awesome.

Dylan Bowman: A couple weeks of training go slot.

Anton Krupicka: Other, what was your downtime like after hard rock? Like how long did you take

Dylan Bowman: Six weeks? Like six

Anton Krupicka: Weeks. Anything, dude, if I took six weeks off, I'd be like 15 pounds heavier. I just like, I don't know. I'd give that. That happens

Dylan Bowman: Girl.

Anton Krupicka: it just comes off. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman: It extra discipline when you turn it back on. But yeah, I bought the ticket today, so yeah, that I have one, one week of training under my belt and

Anton Krupicka: Nice couple

Dylan Bowman: More and then we'll fly across the world. So

Anton Krupicka: That's awesome, dude. Well, I'll be excited to see how that goes for you. I mean, dude, you're hard rock like blew my mind. I was just like fucking diva, these like 22 hours at a hard rock. Insane

Dylan Bowman: We had per we had perfect conditions. Perfect conditions, dude.

Anton Krupicka: I don't give a shit like conditions, barely factor into stuff like running that fast. There is so bad ass. Like this

Dylan Bowman: Goes into exactly what we've been talking about, man. Like I got to that start line and I was just so happy to be there. You know, like I had no care in the world. Right. Who else was there? Who I was competing against. It was just like, finally we made it we're at Harvard

Anton Krupicka: Two years later. Right.

Dylan Bowman: And like for you, it's like you, you know, you felt like you were not stressed. You had ratitude right. You came to the start line, not with pressure on your shoulders. Not wanting to impress anybody, but just to go out there and do it. That's exactly how I felt. And it was, you know, yeah. One of the best, best days of my life, one of the best runs of my life. For sure.

Anton Krupicka: So that's awesome, man. I, I don't know. I just feel like you really like pushed it forward there. You know, it's just like now you have to be running sub 23 to like be going fast which, or certainly sub 24, you know like, but I mean, not that many people have broken 24, like it, I dunno. It's crazy, dude. So congrats. Yeah. Thanks man. Thanks. Yeah, it was, it was a

Dylan Bowman: Great day, but uh, yeah dude, again, appreciate the chat and uh, yeah, I hope we can catch up again

Anton Krupicka: Soon. Right on dude all.

Dylan Bowman: Thank you so much, Mr. KKA. What a guy, what a legend. I hope you all really enjoyed that episode. If you did, it'd be great. If you could share it with your friends and training partners on social media or leave us a review in apple podcast, it really does help. The show makes me feel great. And it also, it actually helps me to understand what's resonating with you guys and what direction you want me to take the show. So please do leave us a review in apple podcast, tag us on social media and generally help us spread the gospel of trail running as far and wide as possible. Couple more things to touch on before I let you go. If you are a trail runner who wants or needs some guidance and comradery in your journey, you can sign up for our mobile training app.

Dylan Bowman: It is called pillars. There. We have a great library of training content to help you be the best athlete you can be all while having fun in the process. It's only $10 a month when you sign up for the year, which is a crazy good value compared to most training and coaching services. We do have a free trial. So if you're on the fence, at least go check it out, download the app. It's risk free. And as always, if you want to be a member, but you can't afford it, just email, hello, pillars.com. And we will hook you up with a free membership. Also, if you want to just support the podcast directly, you can do so through Patreon, we have just launched a Patreon page, uh, and we are so appreciative of the people who have gone to support us there. I have links to our Patreon page and to the app, download links in the show notes. So please do consider supporting us. If you find value in what we do that is it for now. Appreciate you all so much for being here and listening to the end. I love you all dearly. We'll talk to you again very soon. Bye bye.

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