I charted the course for this ultra in the Coyote Lake Harvey Bear County Park nestled in the hills east of Gilroy, at a slightly lower elevation than Henry Coe. This is definitely one of those courses that must be run in spring or fall when the temperatures are a bit cooler. The only shade (and even that is a bit spotty) is up on the ridge. Rest of the trails roll around gentle hills facing Gilroy. The wildflowers were in full bloom and the all the valley were sprouting new leaves making these oaks look vibrant green. Here’s my Strava activity:
First Loop (20 miles)
I picked San Ysidro parking lot as the trailhead was right there and it was kinda in the middle of the park. This way I could come back to the car at around mile 20, reload and head out again. My Suunto Ambit3 route lines get pretty messy on shared segments and it’s very difficult to know which way to go. This has been my primary way of navigating on all these ultras as I mostly have to keep the little triangle centered on the route lines. To keep things simple, I split up the course into two “loops” and switched the route at mile 20.
The climb up Ed Willson Trail was super pretty. The sun on my back, poppies everywhere, the morning chill. Though, at one point I had to stay go off-trail a bit to give the cows that were grazing right by the trail a wide berth.
Second Loop (10ish miles)
Finished the first loop in 3:30. Took my time to drink a coke, reload on Tailwind and then doused water on my head. It was getting a little warm, especially in the canyon. The highlight of this section was definitely the Gaviota Trail. Just a beautiful single track hugging the rolling hills.
In hindsight, I should’ve charted the course to go up Mummy Mountain. Instead I took Mendoza trail which circumnavigates this hill. Eventually I connected back to Coyote Ridge Trail and then Valley Oak trail and made it back to the car in in 5:49 or so. Just a gorgeous day out. This was my first run to rely only on Tailwind. Never bonked or felt hungry. Either the body’s getting used to this or maybe the cooler temperature. Could also be because this run was only 4,000ft of elevation gain/loss. So wasn’t a super difficult run.
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