Kyle Skaggs (L) and Krupikachu headed for the podium after co-winning the 2008 Red Hot 50k.

Anton Krupicka (kru-pitch-ka, the nickname comes from a hilarious Irunfar interview) is the most influential ultra and mountain runner in the United States.  And not so much for his race results, which though impressive leave you wondering if you’re seeing the next Tom Danielson; someone who’s massive talent is only rarely on full display.  Rather Krupicka’s importance is due to both the breadth and depth of influence his image and thoughts have had on the sport.

I refer you to his blog, which showcases his dedicated training, lively writing, and freakish physique.  Skinny, long, tanned, hairy, and congenitally incapable of wearing a shirt above 40F, Krupicka was born to run and born to sell in the age of back-to-the-roots barefoot minimalism.  He is also the rare cutting-edge athlete capable of articulating to a wider audience subtle aspects of product design.  My hope, driven by my own desire for entertainment, is that in his latest more technical mountain running phase Krupicka has found a way to stay injury-free and motivated for years to come.  Because if he does it will be a sight to see.  Smooth trails are for mountain biking, anyway.

Recently the real Alaska Jill wrote a piece about “expert” gear reviewers which got me thinking about just how rare a creature Krupicka is.  Most of the upper-echelon athletes I’ve known have been among the least technically savvy folks I’ve met, because they’re out doing things rather than thinking about them.  Even rarer is the person deep enough into the practice of something to gain a reasonable amount of understanding, and who is also able to meaningfully synthesize and express that experience.  The paradox here is that all too often the most experienced practitioners are not the ones driving the development of the things which will make them better/faster/more efficient in the future.

As I’ve mentioned before: thank goodness for blogging.  Once the novelty of facebook finally wears off and attention spans mount a comeback, the ability to co-journey with people like Krupikachu will get the credit it deserves.  All gear reviews are subjective, but not merely subjective, and some are a helluva lot more subjective (i.e. the writers’ subjective base is more myopic) than others.

Exit question: are outdoor gear bloggers/writers who don’t take pictures of their trips, and don’t write trip reports, trustworthy?