West Coast Road Trip – Day 6 
Saturday, March 20, 2010, 10:25 AM
Posted by Administrator
The Pirate’s Cove 20K Trail Race was the only part of the road trip that we committed to in advance (with money, that is) as we were concerned the race would sell out. And it did.

There were also 8, 30 and 50K events and these races were part of the Pacific Coast Trail Run Series. It was so well organized that I wish we could have done more of these races, but this was the only one that fit into our schedule. I encourage Tucson trail runners to check out the series for some possible weekend trips.

We headed through the fog over the Golden Gate Bridge and easily found the race site next to Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The 50 and 30K runners went first, followed by the 20K runners about 15 minutes later. The race director was welcoming to all new trail runners and gave them some recognition and encouragement at the start.

The race started with a long, grueling climb, but the amazing views made the effort worthwhile.

I fell near the back of the pack, but made up a fair amount of ground on the screaming descent into the aid station at mile 4. Paul taught me how to be an aggressive downhill runner and it paid off as I passed a number of racers gingerly making their way down the hills. I was a little concerned that I was trashing quad muscles that I would need later in the race…but I decided to enjoy the speed while I could!

The aid station marked the beginning of the next big climb. A few people passed me back on this uphill (definitely an area in which I could use some improvement), but I blew by them again on the downs.

I was amazed when a volunteer at the next aid station informed me that I had just 3.7 miles to go. My GPS died recently and so I had no idea what my pace was during the race. As my legs were fatigued from yesterday’s San Fran activities, I was figuring for a 3 to 3.5-hour finish. Looking at my watch, I realized that I might break 2:45!

With an added spring in my step, I took off and tried to hang on to a couple that was running just ahead of me. I knew that the remainder of the race was downhill, and so I just kept pushing.

Paul looked stunned when I hollered to him as I approached the finish line with a time of 2:42. There’s no finish line photo as he hadn’t been expecting me so soon.

As a form of ice bath, Paul had essentially gone swimming in the ocean for about 10 minutes. The water was probably in the mid-50’s. I was concerned with being swept out to sea and so just waded in.

The pain of the cold soon turned to numbness, but I knew that the park had showers and was looking forward to a nice hot one. Then, Paul informed me that the shower water was freezing. And when I entered the shower, I discovered that it was also outdoors. But, I felt disgusting and so I sucked it up and took the coldest shower of my life. To top it off, the stream of water came out like a rocket and was actually painful. I felt like I was getting hit with a fire hose.

Next up – wine country! At the suggestion of a friend via Facebook, we headed to the Grundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma for a tasting. Then, we hit one of the mass-producers, Kendall Jackson. I can’t say that I really get all of the aromas and flavors claimed on the tasting menu (you know, dried rose petal with a hint of white pepper and a firm finish), but I definitely preferred the taste of the wine from the smaller, more exclusive winery.

Finally, we headed to Bodega Bay, ready to set up camp. We knew it will get colder as we headed north and so wanted to get as much camping in as we could now. Unfortunately, both campgrounds in the area were completely full – apparently, that happens on the weekends. We lucked out by getting the last reasonably-priced hotel room in the area at Bodega Harbor Inn.

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