Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Redemption and Skyline to the Sea

So I was perusing Pacific Coast Trails' website to enter into the Pacifica 50k. You see, I want redemption. I think any course that defeats you, so to speak, is one that you will ultimately have to return and conquer. Earlier this year I attempted a very tough Pacifica 50k in January, in ideal weather conditions, and didn't eat and drink properly and thus stopped at the 30k finish. I knew I could do it, but when you are low on water and food your mind begins to play tricks on you, especially when you end up going past the Start/Finish something like 6 times and see everyone milling around, eating, drinking and just relaxing. Well on my fourth time through the Start/Finish I decided to stop as I began salivating over the Carne Asada burrito of a local taqueria. I knew I was a gonner when all I could think of was a burrito while running.

Anyway, redemption time it is, although this one will be a bit more challenging. This time it will be ran in June, when the heat is one of the most prominent elements sapping your energy, with only the 7,000+ elevation gain beating it out. But that makes this one all the better. It beat me once, so now I have to up the ante and attempt it again in worse conditions. I know I will finish it. My hill running has improved immensely, and I've finally found my groove in eating and drinking, thanks to the Quicksilver DNF. So I am ready.

But then I saw something that nearly made my eyes pop out. You see, I hike, run and bike at the Saratoga Gap in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You park at the top of the mountains and there is a large amount of trails to lose yourself into. One of the trails I have always walked past and always wondered about was a trail called Skyline to the Sea. The trail name says it all: a trail that takes you from the top of the mountain to the ocean. I've wondered, how long would that take, I should give that a try, either running or biking. Lo and behold, there is a new race on the Pacific Coast Trails site, an inaugural event, called Skyline to the Sea.

Amazing. You start at Saratoga Gap and head down the mountain. Almost the whole trail is under cover of trees and is well shaded. It is a point to point, one I have never done for an ultra (although I did do one for the Napa Valley Marathon), and has an elevation gain of 3,045 and an elevation loss of, are you ready, 5,625! Oh my, oh heavens, this one has made me giddy. A net loss, point to point trail 50k on a trail that takes you from the top of the mountains all the way to the sea 31 miles away!

Heavens to Betsy, this one has now become one of my key races this year, right up there with the Napa Valley Marathon as one of my most looked forward to races. This one will be fun!


Bill Carter said...

Hi Brian

What more could you ask for?? I am totally in awe of these races you run where the elevation gain is in the thousands of feet and finally one where you are actually going downhill... and on a truly beautiful course at that. I will admit to being a little jealous, but I am happy for you and how cool it will be to do something like Skyline to the Sea.

Best of luck, my friend.

Brian Hawkinson said...

You know Bill, I think you would be surprised at how well you would do on a trail marathon or 50k. You are certainly conditioned for running, so throw a few hills in and you would be set.

I still struggle on the hills, but I'm slowly getting better.

I'm still waiting for the post where you tell us you signed up for a 50k or 50m ;-)

Andy B. said...

Brian, you will love the SttS course. My wife and I ran most of it a few months ago on our own (we didn't follow the PCTR course, as they hadn't yet posted the map, but ran it from Saratoga Gap down to Waddell). We had a great day and some cool views.

We were really looking forward to running the race, too. My wife even signed up for it. Then we got "it" in the invitation to my cousins wedding in Maryland. On the day of the race. Doh!

I'm sure you will enjoy it, and I'll be thinking of you while watchin a wedding.