Yesterday, Lucy and I set out on her longest run before she does the Santa Monica 30k — her first trail race that she’s been preparing for for the last several weeks. The route I chose was one of my favorites near where we live — start/finish at Bailey Cyn, passing Jones Peak, over to the Toll Rd, peak out at Mt Wilson, return via Manzanita Ridge to Mt Wilson trail, and up the connector to Jones Peak again, and finish up where we started. This would be about 16 miles, with 5000′ of climbing — similar stats as the Santa Monica race.
On the way up to Jones Peak, we bumped into Hiker Bob, who I’ve seen on many of my runs out in the area. He’s built and maintained much of the trails locally, and in fact, is responsible for the connector route that would take us up from Santa Anita Cyn to Jones Peak towards the end of our run.
After we got up to the saddle, we climbed a bit to the top of the ridge, then we chose the left fork, which took us in a north-westerly direction to the Mt Wilson fireroad to the observatory. This trail is not listed on any map, but is well-maintained. Along the way, we passed Hasting’s Peak, where there used to be a flag and a metal canister holding the log book. I was eager to show Lucy this, but soon realized that they were gone — all that remained was a bent metal pipe that was used to hold the flag up. Underneath on the ground was a plastic ziplock bag that contained a notepad, with several people’s logs who also wondered what happened. The only thing I could think of as to why they were missing was because of vandalism. I got a little depressed, but knew that it would be pretty easy to replace it, and so made a little mental note that I’d return with a new flag and canister the next time I’m able to head up there.
From the Toll Rd, it was another hour or so to the top, and we made it in about 3 hours after we began. We filled up our bladders, and made our way to the front gate to take the fireroad down instead of the singletrack we used on the ascent. At the Wintercreek junction, we hung a sharp left, then headed towards the Manzanita Ridge junction which would take us down into Santa Anita Cyn. Those familiar with the AC100 will know this section as the long downhill to Idlehour after the climb up Wintercreek from Chantry.
Between the ridge and Orchard Camp, we came across another runner (Dan) who we joined up with. I found out that he’d done some ultras, and was trying to better his already excellent sub-5 hour Bulldog time, plus an additional goal of a sub-3 hour road marathon this year. We ran together until we hit Hiker Bob’s connector, and then we parted ways — he continued down Mt Wilson, and Lucy and I started our last hike up to Jones Peak.
This last section was tough — the sun was out in full force, and we still had to climb about 600′ in just under a mile before we could start our descent back down into Bailey Cyn. Lucy slowed significantly, but managed to find her reserve as we peaked out and started our final 2200′ drop down into the parking lot. We finished in about 5.5 hours. I think she’s definitely ready to take on the Santa Monica 30k, and am looking forward to seeing her do well.