2021 Ultra #46 – The Midpen Traverse 50K

After the last two runs, #44 and #45 on flatland, it was time to switch it up by connecting some of my favorite trails in the Mid-Peninsula into a 50K. Starting at Windy Hill, this route hits up Russian Ridge, Coal Mine Ridge, Upper Stevens Creek, Montebello Preserve, Foothills Preserve and lastly Arastradero Preserve. With close to 6,000 ft of elevation gain/loss, there’s plenty of climbing, though the hardest segment is prolly the Indian Creek Trail leading up to the Black Mountain backpacker’s camp. Here’s my Strava activity:

Midpen Traverse

Even though the previous run was just 4 days prior, I was trying to cram in one more in November. Originally I thought I might run like a turkey trot 50K (!!!), but legs simply weren’t ready on Thanksgiving day. It looks like Suunto is in the process of migrating from their Movescount website to Suuntolink App. I couldn’t get the route loaded on to my Ambit3, so I was using a combination of Strava route on my phone + turn-by-turn instructions that I wrote down. I knew most of the trails from memory, except for some new segments on Russian Ridge.

I think I made it to the top of Windy Hill just in time for a spectacular sunrise. You know, sweat, summit & sunrise – someone should make a tshirt out of it! It was looking like a gorgeous day, a little breezy on the ridge, but pretty empty given it was still early in the day.

The Lost Trail is simply one of the best ridge runs in the mid-peninsula. With the canopy and the lush ferns, it feels like you are running in Jurassic Park!

There were some new segments in Russian Ridge that I haven’t run on before. But the vistas were just amazing. Single track, gorgeous morning, not a soul in sight – I had the whole place to myself.

Crossed Skyline Highway back and ended up on Montebello Preserve after connecting via Clouds Rest (no, not the Yosemite one) and Alpine Road. From here descended down into Stevens Canyon Nature Trail and began the steep climb up on Indian Creek Trail to Black Mountain’s backpackers camp. This was the first water station, right around mile 18. Even though it’s got a “not potable” sign, I personally haven’t had any issue drinking this water. YMMV. Filled up water and loaded some more Tailwind on to and began the long descent down Black Mountain Trail and then Rhus Ridge.

The Moody Road segment was kinda meh, but thankfully short. From there I connected via Page Mill Road to Foothills Preserve (another water station around mile 26 right at the entrance) to then Arastradero. I was very tempted to stop by the Alpine Inn for a quick beer 🙂 It was a longish day out on the trails (especially given the last 50K was just 4 days before), but happy to get back to the car in one piece! 46 down, 4 more to go!

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