Month: February 2007

Scrub Part 2 (Kanan Dume to Ray Miller)

Well, I now had a reputation for getting lost, and probably won’t hear the end of it for a while.  I got up at 3am again, then made the drive out to La Jolla, where the Ray Miller trail junction is, and the Backbone ends.  It also happens to be where the new Santa Monica 50k was held for the first time this year, put on by the Pacific Crest Trail Run folks — Wendell and Sara.  It took over an hour to get there, and arrived around 5:40.  I got my stuff together, and hopped in Mike’s truck with JoAnn, Blake Woods, and Jerry for the drive over to Kanan.

We were joined by more people this time, including Robert Andrulis, David Horton, and a few others.  After our group picture, we were off, just before 7am down into Zuma Cyn, a nice rolling section out to the first junction.  I ran near the front with H’ard, this time intentionally staying with the group, since I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday.

Well…unfortunately, it wasn’t long until I goofed again.  On the stretch towards Latigo Cyn, I was with a VHTRC runner, and ended up in the front because H’ard had to mark a junction.  We ran together for a little bit, and he introduced himself to me as Ryan.  When we got to our first junction, he asked if I knew which way to go, since H’ard hadn’t caught up to us yet, and I told him that I did.  We started off down the right trail initially, then for some reason, I took the wrong fireroad down, instead of the one to the right heading up towards Latigo Cyn.  Luckily, we were able to correct my mistake once we saw our group running above us heading in the opposite direction.  Ooops… I felt a little bad, since I just met him, and also because we now had to make up time to catch up with the pack.

We didn’t see anyone for a while, then we saw Gary, Anstr, and Scott Mills on the switchbacks heading down into the canyon, and then eventually caught up to Paul and Sue Johnston just after the bridge crossing before Encinal Cyn Rd.  Ryan, Sue and I, with Scott who eventually caught up to us on the way to Mulholland, ran the whole way, making up the lost time, getting to the aid at the same time as the lead group.

After we re-supplied, we were on our way up to Etz Molloy via the newly cut section that didn’t exist until very recently.  Since they hadn’t extended it all the way to Mulholland, there was some minor bushwacking involved, but nothing like what I’m used to doing in some adventure races.  We climbed along the many wide switchbacks almost to the top, but before we got to the the motorway, we had to skirt around a locked chain link fence.  We climbed for a bit, enjoying the great view towards the ocean, then got to the bunker where we all went inside and took some photos before heading towards Yerba Buena.

There we ran adjacent to the road until we ended up at the Mishe Mokwa trailhead, where the next aid was at the parking lot across the street.  Just before we got to there, we were warned that there was a ranger hovering around the aid station, the same one as the one who hassled us the previous day about not having a permit.  After we waited a few minutes, he left, so we continued up to the parking lot.

Mark and I, along with Joe Clapper, Scott Mills, Ryan, and David Horton made our way up to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monicas, standing at just over 3100′.  We reached the top about 4 hours into the run, where the rest of the group caught up, and after a few photos, we headed down towards Tri Peaks. 

After marking the turn-around for the 40-mile day, we descended down to the infamous Butt Crack Rock.  H’ard showed us his bouldering skills, then we all continued down into Sycamore Canyon via the Old Boney Trail. 

One last climb up to the top of Ray Miller, then it was a nice 4 mile downhill to the finish.  I started the descent with Sue Johnston, Krissy, and David Horton — eventually, Blake would fly past, and Scotty caught up to us as well.  The five of us finished together, just under 8 hours.  Not long after, Paul finished, then we saw Melissa, Jerry and Mark sprint in together.

Scrub Part 1 (Will Rogers to Kanan Dume Rd)

3am – awake, but barely…typically, I go to bed around that time, but needed to get to the meeting spot at Kanan Dume by 5am.  I got there just before, and Chris and another vehicle were already there.  Soon, others started showing up, I got in akaBill’s rental with Melissa and Paul, and we’re off to Will Roger’s.  We gathered at the base of the steps for a photo, then off we went, just over a dozen of us onto the first section of the C4P Scrub run — a 38.1 miler (if you stayed on course, that is…read on).

At first, we ran as a group, then just below Inspiration Point, on the single track up to Chicken Ridge, I somehow managed to end up in the front.  I typically am never in that position, at least not for long, so I kept expecting someone to eventually pass me.  I wanted to push the uphill, since it was my weak point, and to take advantage of the cooler morning, but planned on waiting for the others at the fireroad before The Hub.  I got there in just over an hour, waited a few minutes, got cold, so kept going at a leisurely pace.  At the Hub, we took the high route to Eagle Rock, then as I looked back down at the fireroad, I saw people coming — finally.  The sun was still trying to break out of the clouds as I made my way down to Musch Camp, nearing the first aid station at Dead Horse parking lot.  Along this section, it got pretty muddy all the way through Trippet Ranch, when I arrived at the aid station — just over 2 hours.  I think we were all surprised I was the first runner, including myself, but knew the others shouldn’t be too far behind.  I waited there for a few more minutes, hoping someone would show up, since I didn’t want to continue running alone.  I started getting cold again, so began to slowly make my way back to the trail — a short section behind the restrooms, down to Topanga Cyn Blvd, cross the street to Greenleaf, then pick up the trail that takes you to the Elementary school.  We then head up Hondo Cyn to Saddle Peak, and down to the next aid at Stunt Rd and Schueren — a 3 way intersection, which I got to in about 1.5 hours.  They told me there that the rest of the group was about 15 minutes behind — close, but not close enough unfortunately to wait around that long without getting cold, so I kept going.  A short jog down the road, then we pickup the trail to the left.

That’s where I first got lost — I missed the junction, and ended up at the antennas, but instead of turning back, I continued down the wrong way for quite a while until I convinced myself that I wasn’t on the trail anymore.  I finally made it back to where I realized I went the wrong way, then started down towards Piuma.  I thought the group would’ve passed me by now, since I lost at least 20 minutes, but noticed the junctions weren’t marked yet.  Then I missed another junction not too long after, which brought me down to Stunt Road again.  Instead of backtracking (didn’t I learn from the last time?), I continued heading down the street, thinking there would be a magical trail that would take me back on the course again.  I ran farther and farther down the road, and I eventually asked a resident for directions, which didn’t help.  So I eventually made my way back to where I last knew I was on course.  About 40 minutes later, I saw pink ribbons, and the junction where I made the wrong turn.  I was now about an hour behind my earlier pace, and knew that it would be another hour until I made it to Tapia.  I was concerned about people having to wait for me, but when I finally popped out onto Piuma, I saw runners — it was Rebecca and my buddy Gary Knipling.

We got to Tapia, and Mike was still there for us, so we filled up with water, and began our long climb up to Corral.  The three of us stayed together, then after Corral, Rebecca went on ahead while I stuck with Gary the rest of the way — we finished together in just over 9 hours.  I think I ended up with about 5-6 extra miles — more commonly known as Boner Miles in C4P.

Iditarod Update (Day 4)

Peter Basinger finished the short course (350 Miles) establishing a course record on his bike, with the rest of the field leaving the last CP (Nikolai Mile 300) early this morning.  The first runner checked out of CP4 (Puntilla 165 Miles) a day and a half ago.  Diane Van Deren is still at CP4, having arrived there last night, but has not left yet.  Kami Semik dropped at Skwentna CP2 (Mile 90).  Ghirardi and Berni, both from Italy look like they’re traveling together with Diane, and are in the lead for the long course (1100 miles), checking in at CP4 at the same time.

Race updates here.
More on Diane here.

C4P — The Last Howl

Here’s a quick mileage/elevation breakdown:

Day 1: 45 miles; 8640′ up, 7530′ down; 9:16
Day 2: 36 miles; 5520′ up, 6570′ down; 6:57
Day 3: 7 miles; 1200′ up, 1200′ down; 1:07
Day 4: 42 miles; 9080′ up, 9080′ down; 8:47
Day 5: 38 miles; 7610′ up, 7610′ down; 7:45
Day 6: 20 miles; 3410′ up, 3410′ down; 3:56

Total: 188 miles; 35460′ elevation gain/loss; 37 hours 48 minutes

You can find photos here.

The rest of my stories will be coming soon.

Couple Updates on Adventure Racing

PQ will be on “hold” until further notice. I received this e-mail the other day.

Also, Danelle Ballengee, who barely survived a serious fall only a couple months ago, is slowly making her way back to recovery. In addition to regaining her strength and mobility, Danelle is faced with another enormous challenge — the hospital bills that have accumulated, which unfortunately her medical insurance will not help cover.

Please try to help a fellow athlete by making a small contribution to her fund:

The Danelle Ballengee Fund, 1st Bank
PO Box 347
Silverthorne, CO 80498

My original writeup.
Ch 9 news article here.
ESPN article here.

Running the Sahara — Completed!

Charlie Engle, Kevin Lin, and Ray Zahab have just completed what many thought would be impossible — running 4000 miles across the Sahara in 111 days, running between 44 to 50 miles each day, while dealing with issues such as temperatures in the 100’s and strong winds.  Their goal was to raise awareness for the clean water non-profit group — H20 Africa.

This incredible journey was captured on film, and will be produced by Matt Damon’s company, LivePlanet, in which he will also be narrating.

I had the opportunity to meet and run with Charlie during The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica 2 years ago, in which he came in 2nd overall.  Also, interestingly enough, today during the second day of the Scrub run for the C4P, H’ard and I were just talking about this while heading up the trail from Sycamore Cyn, wondering what the status was.

News article here.

Running the Sahara website.

Running the Sahara — Completed!

Charlie Engle, Kevin Lin, and Ray Zahab have just completed what many thought would be impossible — running 4000 miles across the Sahara in 111 days, running between 44 to 50 miles each day, while dealing with issues such as temperatures in the 100’s and strong winds.  Their goal was to raise awareness for the clean water non-profit group — H20 Africa.

This incredible journey was captured on film, and will be produced by Matt Damon’s company, LivePlanet, in which he will also be narrating.

I had the opportunity to meet and run with Charlie during The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica 2 years ago, in which he came in 2nd overall.  Also, interestingly enough, today during the second day of the Scrub run for the C4P, H’ard and I were just talking about this while heading up the trail from Sycamore Cyn, wondering what the status was.

News article here.

Running the Sahara website.

Pre-Scrub Dinner

Well…just got back from H’ard’s pre-race dinner of Baja Fresh and some cold beer.  It was nice to see some old faces — Gary Knipling, Melissa and Paul, akaBill, Mark, Krissy, Bill Kee, etc.

We’re meeting at the Kanan Road trailhead at 5am tomorrow, then we get dropped off at Will Rogers — should end up with 38 miles once we’re done.

Orange Curtain 50/100

I got there just as Akos Konya was finishing the 100K in just under 8 hours — no one else was even close.  I heard Michelle won the 50K — don’t have any other info unfortunately.  I then headed over to the 5K turn-around where Jeff, Fred, and Gus were, and stayed there the rest of the time.  When we left, there were still 4 people out on the course — that was around 7:30pm.

As you can tell from the photos, the course is very flat, and runs along a bike path adjacent to the San Gabriel River — basically, it’s a 10K out-and-back that goes from the northern end at South St, and heads south to around Wardlow in El Dorado Park.