After a quick 1/4 mile out and back we headed towards the Rattlesnake Ridge trail. Miles 2-5 go straight up the mountain, about 2600 feet of gain. Halfway up you see the sigh to the Ledge lookout. I was tempted to go take a look, but I had no idea how far the ledge was, and I was in around 4th or 5th place at this point. The next 6 miles are downhill. There's slight ups for the first mile or two, but its mostly down and fast. I'm not a fast downhill runner and sore quads are the lingering effect of MMT. I was passed by about 6 guys over the next few miles. The last mile before the turn back up the mountain is on a crushed rock utility road. Shortly after the aid station I started to pass the 1/2 marathon runners, who had just started their race. It was fun to have a lot of other runners out there climbing back up the ridge line. The only "problem" with the race, if you want to call it that, is the traffic. After you pass the trail to the ledge on the way back, around mile 19, there's tons of people hiking up and down the mountain. It was a beautiful day, so there were probably even more people out there than usual. There was a lot of stopping and waiting, and slowing down to avoid people for about 2 miles. After coming off the trail you pass the Finish line, and there's a 4.5 mile out and 4.5 mile back. On the way out I was running really well holding low 8 minute miles. On the way back, I realized I was running well because those miles were all downhill. About 100 feet of mile down on the way out, then 100 feet per mile up on the way back. Easy if it's early in the race, tough for the last 4 miles of a 50K. It's all runnable, and I ran it all, but it feels like it'll never end.
The course was extremely well marked. I bought a "clearance" shirt after the race for $5. The trails on west coast are much different than the east coast. Mostly in the long climbs and downhills. There's definitely no 4-6 mile hills in the Philly area. Also, the trail is all smooth. There's rocks and roots, but they're all avoidable. The trail up to the Ledge was probably the most technical with rocks. The backside had more windy/switchbacky trail. Rattlesnake Ridge 50K garmin
|view of the trail|
|another pic of trail|
|view from the Ledge, halfway up where the 50K runs|
|wiping daddy's sweaty kiss off|
|Icing my legs in the cold lake after|
|all the people on the ledge|