Just finished the PCTR Pacifica 50K a few hours ago. Hats off to Wendell and Sara for yet another spectacular race. They should teach courses on putting on races. They are that good.
The course was a challenging set of loops. We started with the 20K and 30K racers and that helped to push a strong early pace. Ryan Commons (50K ) and Will Gotthardt (50K) set the pace for the first three miles and then Jason Wolf took off on the last stretch of the Montara fire road. I was close to Will and Ryan on the way to the summitt of North Peak but couldn't keep up with them as they rocketed the descent. I found it hard to believe that anyone could go that fast down the rocky, off-camber singletrack section but they did it. I was only a turn behind them (50 m) when I took a wrong turn and lost about 40 seconds hoofing it back to the course.
I thought for sure I was out of contention for first and second place but good hydration, fueling and tailing a fast 30K racer was all I needed to catch up to Will G. Ryan C. was at least 10-15 minutes ahead at this point and it looked like fourth place was 20 min back so Will and I ran conservatively up to North Peak on the fourth loop. I knew what a strong descender Will is so I thought if I could stay with him to the last lap maybe I could put enough distance between us on the last climb that I might squeak into second place.
As it turned out when I started the descent and tried to mimic the nimble steps and blistering pace Ryan and Will demonstrated on the first lap, it worked! Soon I was alone on the last climb. I was haunted by the possibility that Will was just behind me, lurking out of sight. I tried to push the pace and as luck would have it, I finished second behind Ryan Commons. My finishing time was 4:52:53, just about ten minutes behind the victor and new course record holder.
I had a great time chatting with Will, Ryan and Jason Reed at the end of the race. I look forward to racing with them again in the future.
What went well?
-Hydration - I drank a full 20 oz of sports drink every 6-7 miles.
-Fuel - I ate a gu every 40 min
-I washed my legs with dishwashing detergent to get the dirt and poison oak off when I got home
What didn't go well?
-I somehow managed to get poison oak on my face (cheeks, eye, ear) and neck. I probably got it when I took my shoes off and then scratched my face in the car on the way home.
-Four days after the race I needed a cortico-steroid shot, prednisone pills and salicylic acid to get the rash under control. Lesson learned - Just becuase I didn't see the tell-tale "leaves of three" doesn't mean I didn't come in contact with poison oak.
I'm really looking forward to competing in the PCTR Woodside 50K February 2nd. It is one of my favorite courses and we don't have to battle the 17K or 35K crowd on the way out and there's usually only a few that I see on the way back. Should be fun!