The Way Too Cool 50K went better than I expected. The course was incredibly beautiful and challenging without being brutal. And I got a great time, finishing in just over six hours. I would say that everything went perfectly, except for two things: the weather and a parking mishap that ended up stranding my wife in the tiny town of Cool, California for a few hours.
First the good things: the course, the course and the course. Cool, California sits up against the Auburn State Recreation Area and the race winds its way through a large segment of the park. I took a couple photos on the course but my smartphone snapshots couldn’t capture how beautiful it was. I would love to come back to hike and camp there some day.
And the course was fun; technical without being frustrating. Because of recent rains, the course was definitely muddy. Thankfully, we had plenty of opportunity to wash off since the course is punctuated by many rivers and creeks. And the hills were generally rolling, with one major exception: the infamous Goat Hill around mile 25 in the course.
While the course was lovely, there was one mitigating factor: the weather. The race took place just as California was being hit with a powerful rainstorm powered by this year’s massive El Niño. We all knew it was coming and were dreading it but, thankfully, it waited until the latter half of the race to come into full effect. For the first fifteen miles or so we were hit with only a light sprinkling. By mile twenty to twenty five, though, it was a full-on monsoon. The canopies at the aid stations looked like they were going to fly away at any moment. Not that they helped much since there was a fair amount of sideways rain coming in. I just want to take a moment to thank the volunteers for their incredible support.
And speaking of support, I should also take a moment to thank my wife. Training for races likes this can be very time consuming. Although I love it when she’s able to meet me on the course, I don’t ask her to since I feel like she does enough to support me. With this in mind, the plan was for her to drop me off at the race so she could spend the next six hours with the rental car and the hotel room to do whatever she wanted.
Unfortunately as we were coming in, we passed a turnaround point and got shunted into a one-way road past the starting line leading to a parking area along the course. Once there, you leave for a few hours. So my wife had to stick it out in Cool, California which has one small strip of business and that’s it. I just want to give her a public acknowledgement for all her support for the demands of my work and training. You should go check out her blog, Tastes Like Scratch for recipes and gorgeous food photography.
All in all, it was a great race experience. The event itself was incredibly well organized, the course was amazing, I enjoyed myself, finished with a good time and finished feeling strong. I’m well on my way of meeting my goal of getting stronger on the trail. I don’t have races completely nailed down yet but I have my eye on the Mt. Si 50K next month and the Taylor Mountain 50K in June.