Monday, September 22, 2008

Skyline to the Sea 50K Race Notes

Mike Bohi and I at the start.

This is a great and fast course, perfect for first time 50k'ers. Only one caveat, you must like downhills and can't be allergic to yellow jackets or bee stings. Most of the course is run in gorgeous, tree covered, soft trails that aren't very technical. There are technical sections but far and few in between.

Not a lot of elevation gain. The toughest climbs is in the middle when they add a loop to make it reach the 50k distance. From the start you drop, drop, drop to about halfway where you enter the Gazos Creek aid station, you then do the Gazos loop, come back to the Gazos Creek aid station then continue on the Skyline trail to the finish.

Stock up on supplies before you leave the Gazos Creek aid station for the last time. It's a 9-mile haul to the last aid station. If you have two water bottles fill them both, if you only have one, tank up then refill before leaving. Don't forget to eat something!

Save some energy for the last 10k. This section is fire road and flat for the most part. I hate flats but a fast road runner can make up a lot of time here. The fire road is in great shape, you could close your eyes and not twist an ankle.

People got stung by a whole lot of yellow jackets out on the course. This was similar to my experience the last time I raced here. PCTR has three different races in this area. Thankfully I only got one since I was closer to the front. The rest of the field got hit by all the angry riled up stingers. I think it's the vibrations on the ground and moving air created by the front pack the gets them all excited and unfortunately the rest of the gang has to run through these angry clouds of insects. Marisa Walker came through the finish with 3 layers on; a shell, a thick jacket and her dri-fit shirt. She didn't get stung that way but boy it must have been hot.

There are no bathrooms at the finish but the Nature Center next door opened their doors to runners. Two bathrooms and exhibits to peruse. The volunteers were gracious and friendly and I got a quick lecture on the Santa Cruz mountains and the trails along with my bathroom stop.

Finishing on the coast on a sunny day is a piece of heaven. If you have a cooler bring it and stock it with beers. Thanks to Mike Bohi and family I got a cold one to go with all the socializing. We all hung out on the grass afterwards, a towel is a good idea. PCTR will transport bags from the start to the finish provided they are not too big.

According to Sarah the date for the next race will be moved up to the last weekend of April to avoid the stinging insects and since they expect to sell out each year they will probably institute some sort of lottery/selection process for the future.

Lastly, PCTR and the PCTR running community just plain rocks! The race race shirt is pretty sweet and printed on Patagonia Capilene. The artist is Miki Higuchi, runner and tireless volunteer. Between shuttling people from the race finish to their cars half a mile on the coast I got a picture of her and her artwork. Will post when she sends it to me since I took it with her camera.


  1. Nice Rick!! That is scary about the yellow jackets though!

  2. j~mom: thankfully they are moving the race to the Spring in order to avoid the insects. Great now there is way too many good races in the Spring! A good problem to have no?