2021 Ultra #34 – The PG 34

Another coastal route that I had saved for a warm day or a low AGI day. Also, this was to give my ankle a break from the last, gnarly vertical run. I have to admit, I didn’t want to roll out of bed when the alarm went off at 4:30am. Dragged myself out and made the hour and a half drive to the northern entrance of the 17 mile drive. But as is almost always the case, the first few miles brought back huge smiles as I ran on empty roads, obscured by mysterious fog with the beautiful sound of the ocean near me. The PG in the title, btw, stands for Pacific Grove. Here’s my Strava activity:

17 Mile Drive, 2x

I don’t know if there was a rhyme and reason for picking counter-clockwise on the first lap and reverse on the other, but I think it worked. I had to dodge traffic on the way back and the ocean view kept me going in the last, few, tired miles. I drove out and got there right around sunrise and there was ample street parking just outside the northern (paid) entrance.

The Lone Cypress!

The Shepherd’s Knoll and the Huckleberry Hill were both super cool, though I had much better views on the 2nd lap. Up here somewhere, my right glute was starting to get “stuck”. It just felt sore and running the flats were a bit difficult. Had to stop, stretch and walk it off and eventually it would “fix” itself. From here it was mostly descending down towards Spanish Bay and then make it past the entrance to the car.

I didn’t really need much hydration because of the cooler temps and had most of my 1 liter of tailwind still in the bladder. Stretched a bit more, dragged my feet a bit (one downside of doing laps! have to get away from the car quickly) and headed out in the reverse direction. The fog was starting to melt away and I could see the blue skies. It was a bit slow going and eventually made it back to Shepherd’s Knoll right around mile 24. I was starting to feel warm and thirsty and luckily found a water fountain at the Hwy 1 entrance to 17 mile drive! Also made it a point to stop at the Pebble Beach Market (mile 28?) to grab a bottle of water and a can of coke. The downside of this lap starting here was dodging traffic on a stretch with no shoulder. Was a bit of stop and go, but there were plenty of bikers on the road forcing the cars to slow down.

Finally made it back to the car with a fair bit of walking the last couple of miles and 34 miles for ultra #34 done! The first lap is still my favorite, though the traffic dodging is really on for a couple of miles between the Pebble Beach Market and Fan Shell Beach.

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