Many ultra-runners take at least some time off during the holidays. They come back early in the year to find out that all that good eating has affected the size of their hind quarters. In order to get back into shape for the racing season these runners participate in semi-organized 50 km runs. There are several popular runs like this that our running club likes to participate in. It just so happened that there were two of these runs scheduled back to back Saturday-Sunday. Toshi had the brilliant idea that we should run both of them. Better yet, he suggested that we run one, and then backpack our way to the other one. I was game, but I had to one up him, so I suggested we start out on Friday at the bottom of the hills and backpack our way up to the first run as well.
On Friday at 2 p.m. we set off from the Arastradero parking lot. Joanne and the kids were there to see us off.
|The girls escorting us on the start of our journey.|
|From Los Trancos Trail looking down at Palo Alto|
This is one of my classic routes to get up into the hills: Arastradero through Foothills through Los Trancos, through Montebello up to Table Mountain.
|Toshi's GU chomps and Poison Oak Sandwich.|
|Nice Sunset the first night.|
|Toshi's first successful tarp setup.|
|Smallest toothbrush ever, perfect for fastpacking.|
|Sunrise the next day.|
|Pierre and Jack.|
|Speeding through the forest.|
|Jean and Toshi leaving me in their dust.|
|The 2nd Saratoga champs.|
|Having some fun at Castle Rock|
|Showing some skills.|
|Check out this cool tree-rock combo.|
|Another fun "Car on the Trail" pic|
|Cooling off the feet.|
|Incredible views from the top of El Soreno.|
The next day we got up pretty early because we wanted to get down into Los Gatos to get a real breakfast. It was heaven: coffee, milk, and a egg, bacon and cheddar bagel. You have not experienced this level of culinary satisfaction until you have spent a couple of days in the forest with nothing but dehydrated pouches, gu and cliff bars.
We showed up at the start line of our second 50 km run and then we were off. This was a pretty hilly run through Sierra Azul, up over Mt El Sombroso and then down to Quicksilver, only to turn around and do it again. I think it is a little over 7000 ft of climbing. I took it easy on this run and actually felt surprisingly strong for all that we had been through already. I had a lot of fun hiking, running and socializing with the other runners tackling the mountain. They have a fun aid station for this one near the half-way point that Sean and friends organize with all kinds of goodies. It really makes for an enjoyable run.
As I was heading back down from Sombroso to the finish I ran into Toshi who looked like maybe he had a little too much of those "goodies" at the aid station, so I joined him for the final leg of the run. We finished it in some unimpressive time, but in the end, I think we understood what we were out there to accomplish, and it was good.
|Old man Jim is still talking about that "apple juice"|
We did not run the 50 km runs with our backpacks, we stashed those in other runners cars.
I used the same gear as the other trips I have been on and don't have anything remarkable to say performance wise about it. I really am contemplating getting a better sleeping pad. The Klymit Inertia X-light is just not getting the job done. It is only 1.5 inches thick and is not full length. I am now thinking about getting Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite because it is 2.5 inches thick and full length and only about 6 ounces heavier. I think I might have to take the weight hit for more comfortable sleep.
I am sold on Curries for dehydrated food option, and I like the organic Mary Janes Farm brand that you can get at REI.