Sunday, April 20, 2008

Climbing into the back of beyond

Will G. and Ryan C. were kind enough to give me an introduction to the first 20 miles of the Ohlone course on Saturday morning. I'd read and heard stories about Ohlone but I'd never set foot on that set of trails. So Saturday morning I found myself milling about in front of the Mission Peak gate waiting for Mr. Ryan Commons to roll up.

He sauntered up the hill ready to go and we set off. Will was to meet us in Sunol with Beth Vitalis.

The climb up Mission Peak was comfortable but plenty challenging. Here we are on top.

On the way down the back side of Mission Peak the charm of the Oak trees and pasture land was evident. Lupine, Indian Paintbrush and California Poppies blazed on the hillsides and across meadows.

Will, Ryan and Beth before Beth headed back to Sunol. She ran the Diablo 50 the previous week but still kept pace for a good seven miles of climbing. Beth has won the Ohlone 50K at least three times. It was a real treat running getting to meet her!

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Will, Ryan and I before the final climb up to Rose Peak

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I wasn't monitoring my calorie intake very well and found myself bouncing between extremes of running well and then getting light-headed and slowing to a crawl. Will on the other hand was consistently strong and set a blazing pace throughout. He didn't run all the way from Mission Peak but I'm sure that wouldn't have shortened his stride at all. Here's the tough guy on top of Rose Peak.

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Rose Peak Summit. I was too tired to to take advantage of the view and the thought of standing up and getting the full brunt of the icy wind was not particularly enticing. There was ice frozen on the trees and it was melting and falling on our heads as we passed.

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The way down from Rose Peak was more or less uneventful. We didn't have to face down any menacing herds of cows like we did on the way up. Ryan decided to make the return trip a little more exciting and he slide tackled a phantom opponent on an unveven piece of terrain and sliced his knee up. At least that's what it looked like from a few feet behind.

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The run ended up at 28 mies with about 7000 feet of climbing. I ended up with a healthy respect for the Ohlone course!


willgotthardt said...

I just figured my fugly mug broke the links.


Great day/run Thomas, enjoyed it.

Will G.

rdljon said...

Sorry I couldn't be there for the run. I stayed in town to rest the legs for the race to come. I hope all is going well. I have run the Ohlone course many times and I know of the many climbs. Is there any flat section in that park? Well, good luck in your upcoming race and I will talk to you soon.