Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mt Diablo 50k - great views and big climbs

View from Mt Diablo.
Another Pacific Coast Trail Run this weekend, again near Oakland. This time an even hillier one and I hadn't realised just how hilly the Mt Diablo 50k was until I checked out the profile a few days before (8,900ft of climb by going up and down Mt Diablo twice). I think I'm right in saying that Mt Diablo is the highest point in the mountains surrounding the Bay Area, too.

Plus the fact the best times on the course were by some very fast guys and yet only one person had broken five hours. Five hours? For a 50k CR? Hmmm...looked like it might take a while, especially since I've not been able to train much and wanted to 'take it easy' so I could get back to training mid-week.

The event also includes a single loop of the course (25k) and a slightly different course for 8k, the latter starting 15 minutes after the longer runs. So the single and double loopers started off together and went straight uphill, which was almost non-stop from around 600ft to the summit at 3,849ft.

Start line.

I'd hoped to run most of it, but the race was basically a long hike followed by a fast downhill, then the same again. And the second lap certainly felt like a harder hike, particularly when I got my nutrition wrong by not eating enough or taking in any salt. I cramped a bit near the top, but the views made it worthwhile.

On the way up.

The Observatory at the top of Mt Diablo.

Time to turn back and go down...then do it all again.

The checkpoint half-way up.

What a great course and what perfect training for the mountain ultras. Well organised and very friendly too, like all the PCT runs. I ended up taking a bit less time than I'd expected (5:09 and 1st) even with the slow crawl up to the top each time. But the long run back was such easy running, even if it left me with sore legs for the next day.

Got two more of the PCT runs this year so am looking forward to them too. This run will help get me back in shape for the North Face 50 miler final in San Fran at the start of December too, which has over 10,000ft of ascent.

Oh, and Will - if you read this, drop me an email at as it'd be good to sort out some training runs like we discussed after the race.

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