Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lynch Canyon Trail Run Part 2


So I signed up for "The toughest Trail Run in Solano County". Thats how it was first presented to me and I've been stuck on it ever since. If it's the toughest then I want to test myself against it. I searched the web to confirm this claim and found very little in the way of reviews on this race. I went to the website and one thing jumped out at me immediately, Dave Mackey was here. For those who aren't familiar with Mr Mackey he is a Boulder Colorado ultrarunning elite having won more races than I have ever entered. He is the current course record holder for the half marathon distance. Now I know why the race offers free New Balance shoes to anyone who can set a new course record. Good luck beating Dave's 1:31:28! For the ladies it is Penny Macphail that holds the record at 1:46:20. That too is smoking fast for a trail half no matter what gender you are.


The course map is a bit confusing but it appears you run 2 loops that are mostly identical to get the full 13.1. The satellite view of the area shows very few trees in the preserve. Plan on running in the sun the whole time. This race really is starting to convince me that it just might be a really tough run. The website says the course climbs 3000 ft. The elevation chart says differently and that gives me hope. I say this because 3000 ft over 13.1 miles is brutal. Here are some comparisons of what I would consider really difficult trail runs in the bay area to chew on:
Coastal 50k= 5810 ft
Mt Tam 50k= 7000 ft
Dragon Fly Half= 2718 ft
Rocky Ridge Half= 3989 ft
 
 All 4 of these races were extreme efforts that forced me to dig deeper than I ever had. The Lynch Canyon Half looks to be right in this same ball park. The good news is that it is not a super technical course on rock & root strewn single track. It is 100% trail with 85% being wide track and 15% being single track. Sounds easy enough but my intuition tells me differently.  I say this because I have run enough races to know that trails that are single track through the "mountains" usually mean that they have switchbacks that zig zag across the face of the ascent and gradually take you to the top. Wide tracks that cut through cattle grazing land are usually man made dirt roads more or less and they are likely to be straight up the hill's face and steep.
 
Speaking of cattle grazing. An article that ran on June 4th of 2011 in the Daily Republic reported on the 2011 event. In the article it describes the rainy conditions that runners had to endure including slipping and sliding downhill amongst a herd of cows! Yikes!!
The last piece of information I looked up on this race was the past results.  You can tell a lot from these listings. In 2012 the race had 58 finishers with an average time around 2:20:00. The 2011 results showed 50 finishers with an average time just under 3 hours. But remember,  2011 was the rainy year.
 
I'm excited to be a part of the race this year and want to give a big shout out to Chris Abess the founder and race director for inviting me to this monster challenge.  I think I can nail a sub 2 hour finish but who knows. This may kick my a** and leave me seeking revenge in 2013. Look for my race report to get the full scoop on just how tough the "toughest race in Solano County" is.
 
See you there
Jonathan