2021 Ultra #19 – Cloudy With a Chance of 50K

Right after the Grand Ventana Traverse, I woke up the next morning with a sore left glute. I have been working on it this week and for the most part it has been on the mend. The 1,000 cuts of manzanita, black sage and poison oak though, that’s a different story all together. For the 19th ultra, I decided to run the Skyline 50K route, from Lake Chabot to Skyline Gate in the Redwood Regional Park and back again. It was cloudy and foggy up until the last mile, which suited me just fine. Here’s my Strava activity:

Lake Chabot to Skyline Gate

It’d been a busy week, but I have the “packing list” down for these weekly ultras. Showed up at the Lake Chabot parking lot at 6am and started running soon after. I was worried about the water sources along the way, but there were so many fountains, faucets along various campsites, both on the out and the back. I didn’t really touch my 1.25 liters of Tailwind up until the turnaround point at Skyline Gate.

Having run this course three or four times, I am so used to Adam Ray’s pre-race announcements, the cheers from the other runners, etc. before the run. This time around, just me, a few geese and off I went. Early on, I took a wrong turn and took a while to figure this out, backtrack and find the route again. You know, during a race, I seldom paid attention to the trail names, just followed the ribbons and the occasional course monitor. It’s kinda cool to look and learn the trail names on these self-supported runs.

Sticky Monkey

I was recalling the Bort Meadow aid station, the climb up, the descent to Big Bear aid station and then the redwoods. It was all coming back. Made a mental note to bring our dog for a hike in Stream Trail. The redwoods were so amazing.

There were a bunch of water sources along the way here. Took my time to hike up the last climb to Skyline Gate. Texted my wife (cell signal on a run, what a novelty!) that I was running behind and headed down W. Ridge Trail and then French Trail. French Trail is one of my favorite sections on this route and it didn’t disappoint.

When I eventually got back to Big Bear, I was imagining bells from the volunteers. It was kinda quiet with a couple of cars parked and nobody there. Aww…Could’ve definitely used a sip of coke right there.

Big Bear to Bort Meadow descent is pretty nasty on the ankles since it’s hard packed, almost corrugated trails with no even footing. It was a bit slow going especially since my legs weren’t completely back from the Ventana Wilderness run just seven days prior.

The last few miles went by pretty uneventful. The sun hung back behind the clouds, not much foot traffic and I ended back up at the Marina right around 6:30. It was a gorgeous day out in the east bay!

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