Monday, July 7, 2008

The ups and downs of Ernie!

Sunday I met up with the Trail Runners Club. The original scheduled run was at Malibu creek, but a small fire, set off by some duphass (pronounced du’fas) welding on the outside of mobile home (the fire actually consumed 20 acres; that’s 20 football fields before it was extinguished) meant that we relocated back to Westridge, the same starting point as last week. We were told that this would be a new route recently discovered by “Ernie” and would offer a few hills and some nice trail time at the bottom of Sullivan Canyon. Also this week we had a change in time to an hour early to accommodate the heat, I, of course got it all backwards and turned up thirty minutes earlier than that; 5:30am, after a 4am alarm call, still I saw a nice sunrise and had a nap in the car.

We set off at a leisurely pace and I was chatting to a few runners when we suddenly took a sharp right turn and headed down the backside of the ridge, we meandered along the trail which was a little overgrown but nothing too onerous. After a while the trail started to climb and we were soon on the ridgeline enjoying some spectacular views of the low cloud washing in from the Pacific and the long morning shadows thrown by the rising sun. I caught up with Billy (my photog) and Kenna were both running strong (they’re running the San Francisco full and half respectively next month) and then they shot off and I stopped to grab some panoramic video footage. The trail then dropped us back down to the Westrige trail heading back to the start. I was thinking this was going to be a very short run until I followed the flour arrows into a sharp right turn and what, if covered with snow would have been a Diamond if not a Double Diamond, it got so steep in parts that someone had tied a rope to help arrest your decent and drag you on the ascent.

A half mile later we bottomed out in the canyon. Sun glinted through the trees breaking angel-rays onto the trail and the temperature was a good 10 degrees cooler. After a short distance another hard right turn had us climbing up the other side to Sullivan Ridge from here there was a short stretch of hardtop and we were back on the fireroad. Being on the other side of the canyon we were fully exposed to the sun which was rising fast and heating up equally as quickly. Billy and Kenna pushed on and I made it up with a walk/run strategy. From here it was a three mile climb gaining about 800’, multiple mountain bikers whizzed past and all were very courteous. I reached the second turnaround point and had to double take as a I something I had never seen before; a mountain bike unicycle! Hardcore!!!

After a short decent I was back on the canyon floor knowing that I had to climb out again at some point again, after a slow decent of 1000’ over four miles that point came, and I plodded up the side of the canyon, check out the elevation plot and you’ll see how steep it was. I topped out just after the 11 mile mark and from here it was a short and easy downhill back to the parking lot where goodies lay a’waiting, along with a good stretch and some welcome cold fluids. Another great Sunday morning adventure running trails that I have never run despite living here for years, thanks Ernie!

With a five miler of Friday and another five or so this morning; I dropped my car of at the dealers for a service and ran back home (perfect multi tasking) that made a little over 23 miles for the holiday weekend, it’s been a while since I clocked that amount of mileage over a weekend. Lots of foam roller lovin’ and my handy-dandy IT strap meant that it was all under control and I fully intend to keep it there.

Here's the Forerunner data and the photos:


  1. Marcy was talking your blog up so I had to see what it was all about. That was a sick weekend ride, and a holiday weekend at that. Still can’t get over the unicycle mountain bike… I’ll have to see that.

  2. Awesome pics and vid, as always ;-)

    All I can say is "WOW to that dude with the unicycle" That's insane!!

  3. UNICYCLE... now that dude it nuts!! That is wild!

    Run/walk is good. You are always smart about doing what is right for your body.

    love the multi tasking!!

  4. Man, that sounds too much like exercise to me :-) I can see where getting out before the heat of day is a good thing!!

    Thanks for spelling duphass! I always wondered about that ;-)

  5. I'm jealous. There are no interesting places to run here.

  6. Stuart, definitely enjoy your accounts of our trail runs more than I do mine!

    Always great to see ya out there.

  7. I'm with Christie on this one. But, I'm still not complaining!

  8. you always make me wish i had been a runner when i lived out there - so many great places to explore!! will just keep living vicariously through your so. cal trail running adventures!

    that mountain bike unicycle looks insane!


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