Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Race Report: 2018 Foresthill Divide Loop 30k


I kicked off my 2018 season with the inaugural Foresthill Divide Loop 30k, organized by Chaz Sheya and the Canyons Endurance Runs crew. The Foresthill Divide Loop trail is a very popular multi-use trail, especially with mountain bikers.The race begins at the Driver's Flat trail head on Foresthill Road, and ends at the staging area about a half mile down the road to Rucky Chucky. Chaz originally designed the course as a loop, but a closure due to erosion repairs at the Mammoth OHV meant an alternate "open-ended" lollipop course with an out-and-back in the middle.

Foresthill Divide Loop 30k "B" course

Vertical profile, total vert ~2600'
I really enjoyed this race. The rolling single track reminded me of the Lake Sonoma course. Overall, it is very run-able, but the climbing does accumulate. Gorgeous views of the North Fork of the American River canyon appear occasionally as the first four miles traverse along the south side of the canyon. Cool temps and shade made for perfect conditions as the field of about 120 began to spread out on the course. Aid stations were never further than 4 miles from each other, which meant I only needed one water bottle, which I filled with Scratch Labs Green Tea at the start (fellow DPMR member Bill Hunter asked if I was recycling my urine when he caught sight of the color in my bottle), and refilled with Gu Roctane Summit Tea for the rest of the morning. I threw in a gel every 45 minutes and grazed at the aid stations to round out my nutrition. The last four miles were on the south side of the "divide" and were somewhat exposed, compounding the warming temperatures. All in all, a pretty good day.

I didn't push the pace at all, as it was a "supported training run" on my schedule. I'm still laying base miles and consistency after taking much of the Fall off last year. My aerobic capacity needs a lot of work and I'm quite heavier than race-weight. The run felt good though, and it was great to see familiar faces on the out-and-back section. I will be hitting this trail often in the coming months as I train for Lake Sonoma and the summer's hundred milers.

Race organization, course marking and all of the volunteers were spectacular. Everyone was in high spirits, and the post race festival (FOUR kinds of chili and plenty of beer) lived up to the hype. This race will become a fixture on my schedule, as my birthday is right around the corner, and I find a good trail race is a good way to mark another trip around the sun.