Well, I now had a reputation for getting lost, and probably won’t hear the end of it for a while.Â 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.Â 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.Â It took over an hour to get there, and arrived around 5:40.Â 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.Â After our group picture, we were off, just before 7am down into Zuma Cyn, a nice rolling section out to the first junction.Â 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.Â 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.Â We ran together for a little bit, and he introduced himself to me as Ryan.Â 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.Â 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.Â Luckily, we were able to correct my mistake once we saw our group running above us heading in the opposite direction.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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′.Â 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.Â
After marking the turn-around for the 40-mile day, we descended down to the infamous Butt Crack Rock.Â H’ard showed us his bouldering skills, then we all continued down into Sycamore Canyon via the Old Boney Trail.Â
One last climb up to the top of Ray Miller, then it was a nice 4 mile downhill to the finish.Â I started the descent with Sue Johnston, Krissy, and David Horton — eventually, Blake would fly past, and Scotty caught up to us as well.Â The five of us finished together, just under 8 hours.Â Not long after, Paul finished, then we saw Melissa, Jerry and Mark sprint in together.