I headed out nice and early this morning to get in the first half of my first back to back long weekend. The plan was to run one loop of the Bulldog 50k
in Malibu Creek State Park
. I had checked on the open times of the park the night before and as expected it was dawn to dusk, but there was no mention that the parking lot wasn’t actually open until 8:00am, so after turning around I ended up parking down the street. I donned my gear and trotted back down the road to the entrance. The first section of the run takes you past the parking lots and then drops you down to the side of a slow moving river, which, I think, drains in to the Malibu Reservoir. This then becomes slightly rolling fire road as you go along the trail and headed further into the valley. Any fans of MASH
who run should add this to their to do list of runs as a lot of the episodes were filmed here and there are some abandoned vehicles, although they are really just rusting hulls now. A little further on and you take a left hand turn onto the Bulldog Trail; this is where the climbing starts.
There’s not much to say about the climb except it is, well, up. You start at about 900’ and top out 3.1 miles later at 2356’, where you turn onto the Backbone Trail or head up another 500' to the antenna farm at Castro Peak, the Bulldog Trail actually turns off before this point but the race route follows the Backbone Trail along the ridgeline. At this point I made the decision to do an out and back rather than the loop, I was being pushed for time and the delay caused by Crags Road meant I was behind schedule; it had taken two and quarter hours so far . At the Backbone/Castro junction I stopped to take some photos and was surprised to see someone running up behind me, I had walked some of the route that was either too steep or too gnarly to run so this other runner had actually been on my heels, still from experience it’s easier to run someone down than to open a lead. I packed my camera away and headed back down the trail. An hour or so and I was at the bottom of the valley, threading my way back through the crags, strange sight of the day; a pedalo! I took what I thought would be an alternative route back to the park entrance but it proved to be a dead end and after back doubling I was back at my car 15 later.
Another great run in the bag, albeit a bit shorter than planned and at a pace slower than I anticipated due to the terrain, next time I try the loop from the other direction to see if it's more runable. My legs feel pretty good and I am having an easy afternoon. I may go to a free yoga class tomorrow morning and then in the evening I have my second long run.
Here's the Garmin data:
Here are the rest of the photos
and here is some video
of the the views, they were amazing.