Monday 4 April 2011

PCTR Tilden Trail 50k

Lake Anza and the reservoir, Tilden Park

SF and the Bay Bridge

Mt Diablo

SF and the GG Bridge

After dropping out of the last three PCTR ultras I've entered for various reasons on the theme of injury or lack of  recovery, I decided it'd be nice to finish one this time. And since I recently moved to the East Bay, it's convenient that the next available one was the brand new Tilden Trail 50k in Berkeley (only half an hour from home).

6,100ft of climbing on what I expected to be dry trails after a scorcher or a week with highs around 80+ degrees F. However, much of the lower trail network was shaded and the previous weeks of torrential rain had left it boggy and slippery.

That didn't make it any less fun, although I did lose both (road) shoes in one section on lap two of four (with the last loop being different) and had to walk through the mud to retrieve them. And once up to the highest section there were blue skies and perfect views of Mt Diablo as well as most of the Bay Area, with a great vista of SF.

After several months where I've been meaning to get my a@% in gear and run more trails uphill, I think I've finally got a start on the road to uphill fitness so the aim was to not walk too much. Oh, and to not pull either of my calves again. I think I managed it and probably had a running motion for maybe 4,500ft of the total ascent and a decent power walk for the rest.

As always, Sarah and Michael of PCTR put on a great event and were kind enough to leave the hardest climb to the last 400ft of ascent. I didn't ache during the race, felt recovered from last weekend's race and seem to fine the following day too. So all in all it was a 'sensible' way to train and get in a long, hilly run. Plus the 50k was fairly small with just 25 entrants so I was able to win too, in 4h19m.

Next up is American River 50 miler in a week and it looks like the elite field has thinned slightly (Chikara Omine out with a broken foot and Anton K has, I think, opted to give himself more time to get ready for the bigger, longer races of the summer). However, there's still a lot of guys who would generally win anything they turn up to, so a famous race like this will bring out the best in them. Should be fun.

I also just found out that the official rock of California is Serpentinite, which is particularly apt given my London club is Serpentine RC.


  1. Nice job, Ian. Just a small note to help get you oriented in your new East Bay world: that top picture is not Lake Anza, it's the San Pablo Reservoir that you look down on when you get up on the ridge of the 50K (21K and 35K, too). Lake Anza is the little lake next to the start of the race. Good luck at AR!!!

  2. Sorry, Ian. Think I jumped on that geography correction too soon! That probably is Lake Anza at the bottom left (the greenish-brown one behind the trees). The big blue one in the middle is definitely the reservoir, I just overlooked the other lake in the picture. Sorry about that!

  3. Rugby Club? It's good to hear that there are other ultra-runners who used to play rugby...

  4. Nice pictures, most be cool to have those trails more or less on your doorstep. Good luck at American River.

  5. Anon - thanks for pointing out the geography. I thought it was all one big lake.
    Zac - although I did play a little rugby when younger, I'm surprised you'd guess that for 'RC'. Just 'running club' instead as I'm a bit small for rugby at 150lbs :)