One week to go until Lake Sonoma 50 mile race. This will be my first ultra race of the year and I am totally excited. All of the work from January until now will finally be able to be put to use. Admittedly this race isn't necessarily the focus of the year, but it is basically the "season opener", and setting the tone at this race will hopefully signal my progress towards my top priority: TRT 100. Sonoma is going to be stacked in terms of competition. It is going to be so loaded with talent from around the world that I would be lucky to crack top 50. It is going to be neat to rub shoulders with the best in the sport. I have never competed in a race that will include the pedigree of runner that will be present at Sonoma. Lake Sonoma, as you might have guessed, is located in Sonoma wine country. I have never been there, but I hear the trails are challenging. With 10500 ft of climbing, it will be have the most up and down of any 50 mile race I have done. The out and back course starts near the south eastern edge of the lake and travels up and down the ridges encircling the lake on the south side, then heading north on the western shore where the turn-around is located. The race director boast that the race has three significant climbs, but from what I can tell from the published profile, the biggest climb is like 750 ft, so it looks like you are just going up and down all day long on roller-coaster like terrain. I don't know that this plays to the type of training that I have been doing around here, but I welcome the challenge and the new terrain!
So, with one week to go, I decided to get in a nice and easy 4 hour run at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. Windy Hill is located in the hills above Palo Alto, north of Arastradero. It is not the biggest park in the world, and doesn't boast an extensive trail system, but it is a pretty place that is characteristic of what you will find on the Peninsula. This is one of the few parks in the area that allow dogs, so there are a bunch of them (dogs). I ran what locals refer to as the "Three Ups". Actually I don't know if the locals call it that or not, but I call it the Three Ups. Three Ups is where you connect the trails at Windy hill so that you run up the three different climbs (Spring Ridge, Hamms Gulch, and Razorback Ridge) and run down each of them. Each climb is about 1000 ft, and each climb has some different characteristics. Spring Ridge is an open fire road and is pretty steep. Hamms Gulch is some nice single track with some steep stuff, and some ridge running. Razorback is a gentle climb with many switchbacks on nicely forested single-track.
|View of the Valley from near top of Razorback Ridge Trail.|
|Unique horse trough fed naturally by a spring.|
|Look at all of that lettuce Toshi! You should never go hungry.|
|Cool flower that I have never seen before.|