San Juan Trail 50K April 7, 2007
Two weeks before the San Juan Trail 50K Tanya and I decided to sign up. There isn’t any better of a way to spend a Saturday than running on a new trail with many other trail friends.
We left Rancho Cucamonga race morning with Jeannette a fellow trail runner at 5am. Unfortunately we missed the turn off to the race and ended up arriving there about 20 minutes after the start. My friend Kurt was waiting for us at the start, he wasn’t running, but it was very thoughtful of him to come out to wish us well. He also had baked us 2 loaves of Banana Bread (yum).
After checking in and picking up our bib numbers, we headed out onto the trail. I think we all had a bit of anxiety because we were starting late, for the first few miles I kept feeling like I needed to catch up. But at the same time I had never run this race before and I did not want to go out to fast and then pay for it later. Tanya did remind me of this very quickly, I do have a tendency to do this sometimes.
The morning’s weather was over cast and very foggy and we headed out onto the trail. I was very thankful for this weather, because the first aid station was 10 miles away. I love single track trail, and that is what the first 20 miles of this race will offer. Tanya and I were in our element, together feeding off of one another trying to get into a flow. The first 10 miles seemed to breeze by. The scenery was absolutely beautiful; I could only imagine what we may have not seen because of the fog. We actually passed 5 people in those 10 miles.
After a refueling at the first aid station, Tanya and I were on our way back up the trail. After a small lollipop loop of about a mile we headed back on the same trail we had first run on. So that meant another 10 miles to the next aid, but this time we were headed up hill. Again I was thankful for the cool overcast weather.
We made it to the next aid station (20 miles) a ½ hour slower than our first 10 miles, we where pleased knowing the hills we had to climb. Again we refueled and headed out for the last 10 miles this is where the fun began. At this point the course consisted of a short paved road then onto a steep hard fire road for about 3 miles to the next aid station. While on this section be began seeing other runners heading down the same road to their final stretch to the finish.
When we made it to the third aid station, we saw friendly face Gary Hilliard (Director of the SoCal Ultra Series) who was volunteering at the aid station. Gary gave us dome word of encouragement and then Gary filled us some info on the trail to come. He told us about the steep mile and a ½ climb back up from the creek to the fire road.. Was he ever right, how does a 19+% grade climb sound! We finally made it back to the 4th and last aid station. We just had a few more miles to go! We passed to more people in this other lollipop section. Back down the fire and paved road, across a field and there it was the finish line 8:03:27. Not our best 50K finishing time, but we were happy to be finished and have spent another day together on the trail. Unfortunately Jeannette did not finish, but she did share how beautiful she thought the course was.
It was great seeing so many ultra running friends, and witnessing an incredible runner Jorge Pacheco. Jorge started the race at the same time we did and still won in 4:45:10! Awesome! Thanks BAZ and all the volunteers. No better way to spend the day!
Marc and Tanya
PS: This was my first attempt at writing a race report, I look forward to sharing many, many more. Thanks for taking time to read it, your comments are encouraged.