This is my second outing on this course which is over the famous Dipsea trail from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach just north of San Franciso. In the 35 runnings of this event it has only rained four times including my last outing in 2014. This was destined to be the fifth. The weather forecast was terrible and there had been a lot of storms passing through the area all week and a particularly bad one was due for the whole of the race.
I had been in the area all week and it being thanksgiving week there was a massive holiday atmosphere and we had a wonderful family event at the brothers place. Because of the predicted storm I decided to invest in a pair of trail shoes and picked up a bargain on Black Friday. Knowing it would be a risk running in new shoes I felt it was outweighed by the extra grip I would have got.
The predicted rain started over night before the race and effectively washed the trail away. The uphills were a river of fast flowing mud and the downhills were treacherous. Around 300 of us gathered in Mill Valley in advance of the race. Fewer than 250 would finish. At 8am we were off in damp and squally conditions. The rain stayed with us all day and got very heavy about 3hrs in for a couple of hours. In total we would climb around 10000ft which by far is the greatest of any events that I do.
climbing up 600+ steps. being in the middle of the pack this was hiking due to weight of numbers. It was also quite slippy. Within the first mile we had already climbed over 700ft quickly getting out of the village and the big houses that skirt the route. Cresting we immediately start descending on a single track towards Muir Woods and its giant redwoods. The field was still pretty bunched and as it was still a single track you really had to go at the pace of those around you. There was a big advantage to those at the front of the field.
I nearly came a copper at the steps into Muir woods and also crossing the river (via a log). Immediately we started climbing on an area called Dynamite which was just a mud bath and steep steep steep. For the next 2 miles it was a steady climb up with a river of mud coming straight down the middle of the trail. Large portions of this were unrunnable and it was a long hard hike. Cresting at Cardiac there was a well stocked aid station before we strarted the long steep decent to Stinson beach. This included a lovely flat section with panoramic views over the pacific before entering the
I found the 3rd leg back to Stinson beach particularly hard and lost concentration. When I eventually came close to the turnaround I took a right instead of a left and took a good few minutes to realise my mistake and retrace my steps to get to the timing mat. I crossed in 2hrs 9 mins but easily lost 5 minutes due to my mistake. This gave me precisely 2 hrs and 8 minutes to make it back to Mill Valley to avoid a DNF.
No medals for this event but some super little momentoes and it still remains my favourite event. Similar to the last time it takes a lot longer to recover from this event and as I boarded the plane 2 days later I was still struggling walking.
Stats for today