2021 Ultra #21 – Moonlight Madness 50K

It’s not every day that you get to perfectly time and run with the rise of a super, flower, blood moon! With a 8:15pm sunset and a 9:05pm moonrise, the stage was perfectly set. The weather was looking great, no major wind advisories and no cloud cover to block the view. Only question was where in the Bay Area can you run to a spot, watch the moonrise and then run back. From my home, Dumbarton Bridge turned out to be that magical place. Here are my Strava activities, part 1 (the out) and part 2 (and the back):

Super, Flower, Blood Moon

From the Stevens Creek trailhead near my home, along the Bay Trail to Dumbarton Bridge is about 15 miles. With the recently added Ravenswood connector, this run became that much more possible without having to take detours via residential streets. I left home around 6:20pm, hoping to keep the pace very relaxed and get there around 8:40pm. As soon as I got out in the open, near the Microsoft Campus, it was clear that I was going to be fighting the wind all the way. The sun was never in my eyes and the weather was just perfect.

It’s been a while since I ran through the Adobe Creek section in the evening. Quite a lot of busy, chirpy, noisy birds! Running against the wind, an 8:45 min/mile felt like a struggle in some of the sections,

By the time I got to the Ravenswood Connector, the sun was just starting to set. Saw a sign and made a mental note that this section was gated and the gates were going to close at 10pm.

Made it to the Dumbarton Bridge west-side parking lot right on time. Added a windbreaker, chowed down a Pro Bar and waited for my wife and older son to show up. They got there at 8:50pm and my wife, acting as an informal crew, brought me a hoodie and an ice cold coke! We caught the tail end of my younger son’s basketball game (streaming High School sports!) while we waited for the moonrise. And right on time!

As the photos show below, I’m really impressed with the camera on the newer iPhones. Even in low light conditions, the long exposure shots really made what I saw with my own eyes come to life.

The moonrise was pretty epic. I tried taking a time lapse, but I was shivering a little and it got all shaky. Knowing that the Ravenswood Connector gates were going to close, I started my journey back right around 9:25pm. There was nobody out on these initial miles, which I was a little surprised to see. I was hoping for more folks to be out enjoying this amazing moonrise. But oh well, just me, the moon traversing over the bay and the loud noise of critters that accompanied me the whole way back.

This was one of my favorite shots. The red beacon was blinking, but the timing worked out such that the slow exposure shot captured the reflection in the water. The cool thing about the journey back was I was in line of sight with the moon the whole way!

Another favorite, this was taken at Shoreline Lake. There were a few birds on the water that took off as I clicked the camera, leaving a nice ripple in the water with the reflecting moon. The last 6 miles or so were largely uneventful, just completely alone as the miles slowly ticked off. Made it back to the trailhead around 12:55am and home a bit later. That was truly an amazing night basking under the moonlight!

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