When I think of trail runners in most other parts of the country, I should feel a bit embarrassed by the riches we have in the Bay Area. But then I get over it and start trying to choose my next race.
In addition to hundreds of miles of amazing trails, we have many great companies that put on top notch races on most of the best of those trails. And now there's a new entry to that list of companies, NORCAL AR & Trail Running Series. Before this year, they only organized adventure races involving a mix of running, bikes, orienteering, and kayaks. This year they are also putting on trail races.
Since I have been fighting with a knee issue, we decided to run their 10K course (their shortest - there were also 17K and 35K distances) at the Grizzly Ryder Trail Run out of Huddart Park in Woodside. I figured if things went badly, I could walk the whole thing and hopefully still beat one or two 35K runners.
There are two main reasons I love doing trail races out of Huddart Park: The trails are fantastic, with lots of single-track and MANY trees; and it's relatively close to where we live - about a 20 minute drive.
There were about 150 runners total, with the 10K distance being the most popular. I wisely chose to start at the back of the pack. Note the sunshine - if this had been on exposed trails it would have gotten uncomfortably warm very quickly. But almost all of the 10K course was shaded by trees.
I managed to keep Mrs Notthat in sight for the first mile or so, but she slowly pulled away. The trails were nice and soft after the rain from earlier in the week. There were lots of wildflowers and much greenness.
We spent a lot of the first mile or so running along a creek. We started with a bit of downhill, some rolling hills, and then the Main Event - a 1200 foot climb.
I've done this climb a number of times, so I know it's not particularly steep, but it is relentless with many switchbacks. Before you knew it (HA!) though, you were at the split where the longer distances kept going up while the 10K runners started heading back down.
In an effort to let my knee get better, I have not been training like I need to be. So I was ready to give this guy, directing traffic at the 10K split, a big sweaty hug. But he looked like a nice guy so I decided to just thank him and start heading down the hill.
And before I knew it, I was done. I had feared a finish time of around two hours, so I was thrilled with a sub 90 minute time. Mrs Notthat only beat me by a few minutes (she's standing next to the clock trying to look like she's been there FOREVER).
I must not have been too sweaty since Mrs agreed to let me touch her for this picture.
From there we headed to Bucks in Woodside. Mrs Notthat ordered these. They were great, but, YIKES!
We had a great time at this race! The medals were great and, in lieu of shirts, we got really nice pairs of socks.
The course was reasonably well marked, although there were a few intersections towards the end that I had to stop and figure out a bit. Even with that, I never had any doubts that I was on course the whole race. The 10K course had no aid stations (which is typical for this course, which I believe is identical to the PCTR version of this race); the 17K had one aid station at the turnaround, and the 35K ended up with three aid stations. So I can't vouch for how well stocked they were, but given the food at the finish line (standard aid station goodies) I suspect they were fine.
Their next race is the rescheduled Mercury Mine in Quicksilver Park - another park with many great trails (the original race ended up being cancelled by the park rangers due to heavy rains the day before). This is the day after I'm running Brazen Wildcat, but if I'm feeling up to it, I'm hoping to make it out there.
Left knee willing.
That's it - move along...
PS: Here is a link to some other pictures I took.