I love the trails out there because all of the uphill is runnable (except for one section of about 100 yards). We took it easy for the first couple of miles and then I opened things up a little. Matt fell only slightly behind and only for a minute while Scott was just a min or so behind the two of us. We stopped where the Elephant Rock turnoff is to wait and regroup. We looked down into the bottom of the next valley (about 1.5 miles away) and could see three people. I put out the challenge to catch them before they looped back around. I was in high spirits and when we hit the big downhill into the small valley before the switchbacks I really let it go, running a 5 min/mile for at least a half mile, then pulled back to a 6:30 to let Matt catch up. Scott yelled something unrepeatable from behind us because he was so psyched about how fast he was running, but we were still pulling away. Ha.
The switchbacks were new territory for me and the only knowledge I had of them were from the maps I've seen. They looked steep. In reality they were incredibly runnable and I LOVED every step. I actually caught the three guys ahead of us by the time I got to the top of the switchbacks. Like Matt and Scott they will be running the 50k next month. Once back on flat ground I felt good running fast again and loved the pace back to the end of that loop at the Elephant Rock turn-off. Once there I took some time to wait for the boys, fuel, and take some electrolytes. Once again regrouped we sped off down the trail and cruised the rest of the way back. I continued to feel awesome on the two remaining climbs and cruised the downhill in the low 7s. Taking everything into account I have to say that it was nearly the perfect run.
Avg Pace - 8:48, 2051 vert
Buffalo. A lot of them.
Scott approaching the Elephant Rock turn-off
Coming up the switchbacks. Matt is on the right and Scott is way down and to the left.
The trails out there are so amazing.