Monday, November 23, 2015

A Damp Whiskey Hill Redwood Run

Most of the races I do require driving about an hour each way, so when a race is held that's only about 20 minutes away, and in a park littered with amazing redwood trees and stunning trails, I jump at the chance. (Well, not actually jump, since the USGS earthquake tracking people have asked me to stop doing that.) The Whisky Hill Redwood Run, put on by BayTrailrunners out of Huddart Park, was worth (pretend) jumping for.

I did a bit of digging, and this race was my 15th race out of Huddart Park (there were two others where I just volunteered).

Note the sunshine. I like that it was wettest under the shelter.
This was a nicely old-school race. There were two distances, 10K and Half (which is what I ran), and about 70 total runners. As a bonus, it had rained overnight, stopping about two hours before the race. What this meant was that the woods would be perfect with all the dirt rinsed off the trees and shrubs, and the trails would be dust-free and soft.

"Which way do I go?" (This was about 50 feet into the race.)
Wow. Just, wow.
A fun thing about this race is that BayTrailrunners has a knack for putting us on trails that are rarely used for races, which is very refreshing.

That blurry bright green spot is Yram, not her real name, who is a real photographer that takes amazing shots of runners on trails. (Her website. The pictures she took at this event.) So, while this is the picture I got of her, here is what she got of me.

I like how I look almost like a real runner!

Like pretty much all Half races in this park, you spend the first three miles going uphill. At mile 3.5 or so, we reached the first aid station, where we crossed Kings Mountain Road. At this point we were on an out-and-back section, and so would see this aid station again.

A tree wearing a brightly colored coat.
Eibbed, not her real name, pointing out that I turned around the opposite way the signs indicated, and would likely be disqualified.
Eibbed lives in the East Bay, so many of the races I have to drive forever to are in her backyard, more or less. For her, this race was a bit of a drive, but since she had never been here before, and I wouldn't shut up about the park, she decided to drive over. And as it turned out, we more or less stayed together throughout the race, taking turns pointing out banana slugs and hills. (There were lots of both.)

At about mile 7.7, we were back at the aid station and ready to start the nice long downhill return.

A banana slug. We saw only one going up, but about half a dozen coming back down.

Large chunks of the downhill are on relatively smooth trail, so you can really make up some time. There was a loud whooshing sound as Eibbed flew past me.

One thing the park doesn't have is long-distance views. This one's about it, and it's only because the power company forced it to be there.

The third aid station, about mile 10.

The recent rains brought down a few dead trees.

The course required us to finish by climbing up a trail that we normally start races by running down. I was mostly done with climbing by this point, but since we were less than a mile from being done, I stuck it out.

The finish. Up another hill.

A proper photo of Yram standing next to Trebor, the RD (and not their real names).
A fun thing was that there was a raffle before the race, and I ended up winning a Pearl Izumi hat!
This race was a blast. I wasn't last, but last was not far behind. The course was well marked, with signs at most of the intersections - and it always amazes me how running a familiar trail the opposite way you normally do makes it seem completely new.

For some reason, December and January have a number of races out of Huddart Park, so I will likely be back soon.

Which is OK by me.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.

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