Monday, April 28, 2008

Big Basin Redwoods 17K - Boulder Creek CA

I drove down the backside of my Santa Cruz Mountains to Big Basin for another Pacific Coast Trail Runs classic. Just the 17K today. I hadn't run at all since getting back from Boston a few days earlier.

A smaller crew of regular ultrarunners were there, probably because Miwok is next week. Kevin Swisher, Ray Sanchez, and Thom Clarke toed the line as likely favorites for the 50K. Leor Pantilat was there as well running the 25K. Paul Taylor was there to challenge me for at least masters in the 17K.

Paul and I chatting before battle, with 50K winner Kevin Swisher in the foreground

I went out hard in the top few on the 17K loop that all but the 9Kers had to do. As we hit the first long climb about a mile in, I noticed that indeed Paul Taylor was hanging on my shoulder. As we crested and I made a customary wrong turn ("when in doubt keep going up?" Paul correctly headed down on the right course. I tried to keep him in sight but he's a faster descender. As we approached the next climb I caught back up and joined him in a walk, thinking it was better strategy to just hang with him and kick later. But I can't walk the hills. So I took off and run upwards.

This is a great course with a lot of runnable climbing (over 2000 feet) in just 17K. I kept up a run and didn't hit any more extended downhill until the last mile or so. I bombed down as hard as I could at the end thinking Paul had to be close. I finished in 1:29:21, good for second overall and first master. Paul came in at 1:35 even.

I hung around chatting with Paul, his friend Alistair Adams and 25K winner Leor Pantilat briefly afterwards, before heading off to nearby Felton to La Bruschetta Sicilian restaurant for a fantastic brunch in the warm sunshine.


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