The Trail Runners Club, met today to run the Ray Miller trail in Pt Mugu, just south of Oxnard/Ventura and north of Malibu. The trail has been described as such…“if you only can only run two trails in Southern California one should be the Ray Miller Trail and the other should be the same trail in the opposite direction”… I have had the pleasure of running here twice before, last October for an XTerra Race and last November for the PCTR 50k so I was a little familiar with the trail but time plays on the memory and I had forgotten what a beautiful part of the world this is.
The weather was co-operative from a running perspective, not so from a photographic one, call me selfish but I’ll admit to preferring the former over the latter and the clouds were low and wrapped over the peaks like a shawl over your grandmother’s shoulders. The group congregated at the trailhead to make sure we picked up any late stragglers, I stretched everything that had decided to contract overnight, retied my shoes and with an unceremonious “try to regroup at the fireroad” we were off.
The trail, in much the same fashion as last week, went along for oh…about 3 yards and then headed up. It was a single track path the hugged the contours of the hillside gentle in places and more steeply in others pulling us higher and higher, within a mile we were 500’ up and within three just over a 1000’, this section was actually the final 8k out and back for the PCTR 50k and I remember having to walk more than I ran from last year, this year I was able to reverse the ratios and found myself not at the front but within sight of the faster runners, we were by this point pretty spread out but with a few minutes were all together in a sweaty, puffing, gaggle; I am not sure what the collective of runner is. We regrouped made sure that everyone had a rough understanding of where we were heading and set of on the final push up to the highest point, about 1130’ at the 3.25 mile mark, here’s a 20 second panoramic video clip shot just over the peak. From here we were running down through the rolling meadows with bone dry shoulder high grasses I ran with another club member, Jes, through this section and we chatted away several miles with the topic of conversation mostly about running and races past and future, Jes has her sights on running 50 miler and will be racing the 50k here this November, she has also, like me, been working on getting Billy signed up for his first ultra. We left the meadow and started on the section of trail that contours around Mugu Peak and would lead us back to the start/finish, I had run this section twice before as mentioned above but from the opposite direction and it looked familiar and different all at once. We picked up the singletrack again and as we rounded the peak were treated to a stunning view of the coast. I pulled ahead of Jes but she caught me up while I was faffing about taking photos, I grabbed the almost compulsory group (is two a group?) snap, you can just make out the sand dunes behind us and we were off again. The trail wound its away back around the peak losing altitude at every turn, eventually reaching a rocky section that is best taken at a gentler pace as there are some big(ish) drops if you misplace your footing. Once at the bottom the trail flattened out and within half a mile I was back at the parking lot with another 10.79 miles under my belt.
Another great run and while a bit shorter that most it is possibly more challenging than some you may find further south and well worth the drive out to.
As for the rest of the day; with the kidios doing kidio stuff and then we had a good old fashioned steak dinner!
For your pleasure the Forerunner data and photos.