BT was organized by Ginny Laforme and Eric Robinson, who seem to have spent every weekend of the last year finding every absurdly steep creekbed, unofficial trail, game trail, and abandoned fire break on the mountain. They designed a spectacular route, so a big shout out to them.
We started by ascending Fern creek, then descending Lagunitas Firetrail, ascending East Fork Lagunitas creek, descending East Peak Firetrail and Tucker Trail, ascending Bill Williams Creek and Indian Ladder, descending something else, ascending something else to the other peak, descending another firebreak and a trail along some old pipes, ascending Serpentine Knoll, and dropping to a pond not on any maps. That took 12+ hours, and since the mountain closes at dark, there were cutoffs at most checkpoints. I missed my first here at the nameless pond, so I took the assigned shortcut, but that still involved climbing most of the way up the mountain again. Finally, after finding the steering wheel of an old car driven off the road into the ravine, I descended another steep creekbed, while it was getting dark, looking for a rope swing with a bunch of keychain doodads attached to it. Only then could I scramble 400 vertical feet in less than three tenths of a mile up a slope back to where I parked. When I finished my watch said 15,000+ feet of climbing. Strava smoothed that out to 11,851, but still, in 36.8 miles, that's a lot. Basically, everything I could hope for.
As far as competitiveness went, it was weird being in the front of the pack for most of the day. There was nothing mentally to make me push it, since the terrain was often not entirely runnable, I couldn't tell how far in front of everyone I was, and I was reasonably sure that neither I, nor anyone else, had a real shot at finishing the entire course before dark.
Now to design my own similar route in Tilden. Any suggestions? Claremont Canyon, the trail from the top of Dwight, Gwin Canyon, De La Vega EBMUD trail, that singletrack between the Strawberry Canyon firetrail and Grizzly Peak Blvd, and what else?
|Ascend the Creekbed|
|Pre-race prayer meeting?|