Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rattlesnake Ridge 50K Race Report

Since I saw no others online, I figured I'd do a quick report.  We were out visiting Kym's sister for 12 days, so I looked for a place to run or race while I was here.  I found the Rattlesnake Ridge races.  I was torn between the half marathon and the 50K.  Since I just ran MMT 5 weeks before this race I'm not 100% recovered, but I'm definitely not in half marathon shape, so I went with the 50K.  The elevation would be more than any east coast 50K I'd ever run.  So, in prep, a few days before the race I ran up Mt. Si.  I parked in the wrong spot and ran up the Old trail from the Boulder Loop.  It's apparently much more steep than the normal Mt. Si, and there' wasn't a single person on it.   When I intersected with the Mt. Si trail there were a few dozen people I passed in the last 1/4 mile up.  There was a thick fog at the top, so it made my decision to not climb the haystack easy.  I made a wrong turn at one point, and added about a mile on the way up. So, the climb up was 4.2 miles with 3600 feet of climbing in 1 hour 22 minutes.  The run down was 3 miles with about 3300 feet of descent in 40 minutes.  Nice way to pound my quads just before the 50K.  Mt Si run from little Si lot I think garmin

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