When Gail Shrive takes on clients at her Tracy gym she expects them to have big goals in mind: things like ultra-marathon trail running or Ironman triathlons.
Along the way they can expect to have some incredible adventures, such as climbing the highest mountain in the lower 48 states.
That would include last week’s trip to the summit of Mount Whitney, elevation 14,505 feet, a trek that required physical and mental preparation as well as endurance against altitude sickness.
“It’s one of those mountains where there’s a lot of people turning around and coming back because they just couldn’t handle the elevation,” Shrive said. “Some of them started hallucinating, getting headaches, pounding headaches, all that stuff. It is hardcore.”
Shrive said that her gym, Revolution XT Fitness in Tracy, has its 14’ers Crew: people who are always willing to go on advanced hiking trips up the Sierra Nevada’s highest peaks, 14,000 feet in elevation or higher. Last week Shrive, 51 and her husband and gym co-owner Damon, 48, took the trip with Cindy Rogers, 61 and Veronica Zamora, 44, of Tracy and E.J. Stavick, 31, from Brentwood.
“They did amazing. They persevered and listened to what I told them to do and I’m just so proud of them,” Shrive said.
“I’ve got some special breed clients here and they’re really go-getter kinds of people. We have a small gym here but we do huge stuff and a lot of our clients come to us to reach goals like this. It’s amazing and fun at the same time because we get to do it with them, and they get to hang through some of the crazy stuff that me and my husband do.”
Shrive said that Revolution XT Fitness has taken on clients ranging in age from high school -- such as the West High wrestling team, where her daughter, West senior Kalila Shrive, competes as a California Interscholastic Federation state champion -- to clients in their 50’s, 60’s and older who aren’t sure if they’re capable of running marathons or climbing 14,000-foot peaks, and then learn that mind-over-matter is the key to overcoming these challenges.
In this case they had the added factor of altitude mountain sickness (AMS). While AMS did affect members of the group, planning and timing enabled them to take breaks, and they moved a bit slower than other hikers who ascend the peak without camping overnight along the way.
They arrived last Tuesday at the Whitney Portal trailhead, elevation 8,360 feet and about 13 miles west of the town of Lone Pine in Owens Valley, and camped overnight to get accustomed to the elevation.
They set out on the trail just after midnight Thursday morning on what would turn out to be a 26-hour trek as they hiked the 22-mile round trip to the summit and back.
By dawn they had hiked 6 miles to Trail Camp, elevation 12,000 feet, which is where they stopped to have a sunrise breakfast, adjust to the altitude, and prepare for the 99 Switchback portion of the trail.
The next 2.2 miles to the trail crest features an elevation gain of about 1,700 feet to an altitude of 13,700 feet. From there hikers need to have a permit, issued by lottery each year, to hike the next 2.8 miles to the summit, where the official height is listed at 14,505 feet, though Shrive had learned that the latest measurements put the summit at 14,508 feet.
Shrive said that the people that reached the summit with her and Damon last week have more big events coming up. She and Zamora and two other women from the gym will participate in the North Lake Tahoe Ultra World Championships obstacle course trail run at Olympic Valley next weekend, where they will run the Ultra Beast 24-hour race, which could end up being about 50 miles. Rogers will also go with one of the gym’s other trainers to compete in the Beast race, about 13 to 15 miles. She added that Stavik is training to compete in an Ironman triathlon.
“Between me and my husband we’ve done Ironman, we’ve done triathlon, ultra-marathon. That’s why we have clients who want to do certain things like that, it’s so much easier for us to relate to them because we’ve done it,” she said. “We do it with them. That’s the fun part for us.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 209-830-4227.