I am on my way to Ojai, which is a 2.5 hour drive from home.
Around lunch time I arrived at the Rancho Grande which will be the starting/finishing area.
Check in made fun. One of the volunteer asked me if she could nail me! I'm like "sure" so she gave me two nails which I can exchange for food LOL.
Race HQ and starting/finishing area. A very beautiful place to be.
Sure looks not too difficult on the map :) but boy were we all wrong hehe.
Race director Chris Scott explaining how things work on the race pre-meeting.
Barbara Elia (100K will finish in 23:48:00) and Rod Dickson (100M will finish in 33:38:00)
The starting area where we started at 4PM Friday and should be back within 36 and 40 hours.
When I run 50 mile or longer I pre-tape my feet in order to prevent blisters.
45 minutes prior the start I got myself ready including taping my feets. I didn't tell them yet that they'll have to carry me for 100 miles and an elevation change of 56'000 feet.
I'm all ready to do this thing.
Seven minutes to the start and the first group, which starts at 4PM gets ready including myself. The other stronger groups start at 6PM, 9PM, 2AM Sat, and 6AM Saturday still to be expected to finish between 4AM and 8AM Sunday morning.
Sharp at 4PM we are off. The first section is a 1.5 feet climb to the top of the ridge.
We all took it very easy power-walking up the hill knowing that we all have a long way ahead of us.
8 minutes into the race. It's still pretty hot despite the late afternoon. Mark Metcalfe, as shown here, is going to twist his ankle around mile 11 but keeps on going and finishing in an official time of 37:56:00. He also is a 3 times Western States finisher!
15 minutes into the race we catch a glimpse of where we started our journey down at the little lake.
Mylinh Nguyen running onto the ridge. She'll be finishing in an official 36:53:00.
Running along the ridge which has a lot of up and downs itself. At this point I'm talking to Chau (Joe) Pham who lives just 5 minutes from the Ohlone50K with is wife Mylinh.
Almost an hour into the race we travel west towards the first aid station 9 miles away.
The views were spetacular.
Up and down we go taking it easy on this first section.
Awesome views at every corner.
Certain sections still had snow along the way. After the race I learned that the volunteers actually came up to the ridge prior the race to clear some of the snow on the road.
A self-portrait on the top of the ridge. I have about one hour until the sun goes down.
2 hours and 15 minutes I arrived at the first aid station at mile 9. I'm already 45 minutes ahead of my schedule.
Around 7PM the sun went down making room for the full moon to shine.
This would be my first night out there on the trail running/walking at this race. Last night I slept for 9 hours and I am confident that I'll hold up well.
Chrissy Weiss carefully making her way through a stream trying to keep her shoes dry. We all had to pass several streams along the way.
7:50PM I arrived at the 2nd aid station at mile 17.2; a full 2 hours ahead of my schedule. I now was getting affraid that I push it too hard.
Many miles during this night I was traveling alone but the full moon always stood by me looking at me. I know he was grinning and thinking "why are you doing this?" :) I caught myself many times looking up thinking "What are you looking at!" LOL
I'm on my way through some snow to the highest point of this course; the Topa Peak about 6,100 feet above sea level.
It's now 11:12 PM and I've conquered one of the hardest part of this course traveling almost 8 miles and over 4,000 feet elevation gain to the top of Topa Peak at 6'100'. It was windy and cold.
The deal was that we had to climb on top of the peak and take one of the playing cards down with us to prove that we've been on top.
Couldn't resist and pressed that little button to make the ghost of Topa say something :)
Once back from Topa Peak I gave the Lyon Canyon aid station volunteers my card and refueled myself. I now was 2 hours and 15 minutes ahead of my schedule.
On my way down to the Rose Valley aid station (6,100 feet to 3,400 feet) I encountered a few minor obstacles like those sharp bushes almost blocking my way. Bring it on Coyote2Moon, bring it on LOL.
It was super cold at the Rose Valley aid station and they reported it being as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit. When I was there I recognized that I labeled my drop bag wrong and had no warm clothes to change to. The aid station people offered me a blanked but I declined knowing that I would stay there way too long if I got too comfortable. So I took off fast with my wet stinky cold clothes trying to warm up on my way back to the Lion Canyon aid station (pictured here).
Welcome to the Land of Idiots! LOL. At this time I've now run/walked for 12 hours and 22 minutes and covered 38.7 miles.
The full moon is still high in the sky but within the hour daylight will warm up this place again.
It's now 7:17AM and I'm on my way down to the Thacher School aid station which will also mark the half-way point of this race.
Exactly at 8:04 AM I arrive at the 50.7 mile aid station and I am now 2 hours and 45 minutes ahead of my schedule. I feel great have no real issues.
At 8:43AM the first sun rays hit me and they give me new energy for the day ahead. I'm now on my way back up from the Thacher School aid station to Ridge Canyon climbing 3,300 feet within 4.9 miles. I gave myself 2 hours and 20 minutes to do that (19:43 minute/mile) and I was able to keep that schedule.
The Horn Canyon, which leads me to the Ridge Canyon aid station, was rather difficult on certain places. I had to be careful not to twist my ankle or hurt myself in any other way.
Running on top of the ridge I often kneel onto the cold snow which felt awesome on my legs.
From the ridge I was able to see the way down to Rose Valley aid station which I ran down about 10 hours ago (it's the trail you see on the pic doing down the mountain).
It's almost lunch time and I'm on my way to the Rose Valley aid station again but this time ran from the other side.
On my way down to Rose Valley aid station I was able to see to the start and finish area; however, it will take me still over 16 hours to get there.