It's been a while since I've raced a 50k. As far as ultra races are concerned, it's a distance that still intimidates me, mostly because of the speed. My last 50k, Way Too Cool, ended in complete carnage because of my lack of pacing. By mile 18 my legs were busted, and I could barely walk without cramping. This year has taught me a lot about running and racing, and it was at the Skyline 50k where I felt that I implemented most of what I've learned. It's worth mentioning that this was one of the most well organized, friendliest, competitive, yet low-key ultras I've done, as well as the 33rd running of the historic race (who knew!). I'm already looking forward to next year.
|Photo credit: Noé Castañón|
After a quick refill, I started the gradual MacDonald climb out of Chabot, and feeling strong, I hammered the descent to Big Bear. The climb to the Skyline Gate a/s (mile 14.4) had been in the back of my mind all morning, and I knew I could gain some time, so I put my head down and chugged along. I managed to put some distance in YiOu, Jean, and Karl who were close behind and could see the leader, Evan, a few hundred feet ahead. He kept an even effort over the rolling East Ridge trail, growing his lead. As I rolled into Skyline, I glanced behind and saw YiOu and Jean in my peripherals. (click the link for Jean's race report)
|Photo credit: Joe McCladdie|
My legs were beginning to feel flat, but after popping a Huma gel (which I'm going to review later...seriously these things are little pouches of gooey Chia seed heaven) they started to come back. After miles and miles of flowing single track that snake in and out of powerful redwoods, I popped onto West Ridge and began the beautiful descent down Toyon: a steep, and fairly technical single track system, that delivers the runners back to Big Bear.
The mile climb out of Big Bear was a real grind by this point, but I was still moving well. I crested the top and began to open up the legs on the MacDonald descent back to Bort Meadow. Everyone few steps, I could hear YiOu not too far behind, and in a panic, I took a wrong turn back onto Grass Valley. I realized my mistake after about a minute of running; nothing too serious, but frustrating nonetheless. Back on the correct trail, I pushed the pace to make up for lost time, but it wouldn't be long before YiOu caught me. She put in a hard surge on the rolling single track, but I couldn't counter. I ran within sight of her for the next couple of miles, until she floated away on the final climb to Honker Bay.
|Some of the Quicksilver family|
|Gettin' that post-race grub on|
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton
Injinji RUN 2.0 Original Weight no-show
Nike 2" Raceday shorts
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus
Huma Chia Energy Gel