½ Nine Trails

Spotted Hideseed
Poison Oak
Canyon Sunflower bud
Lemonade Berry
California Blackberry
White Nightshade
Pacific Pea
Sticky Snakeroot
Coastal Morning Glory
Bay Laurel
Purple Nightshade
Common Rush-Rose
Jesusita Connector
Cliff Aster
Common Manroot
Rattlesnake Connector
Common Manroot
Common Manroot
California Dodder
Greenbark Ceanothus
Bush Sunflower
Cold Spring West
Bush Poppy
Common Manroot
Purple Nightshade
Cold Spring East
Sticky Snakeroot
Hot Spring Connector
CS<->SY Fireroad
Bermuda Buttercup
Black Mustard
Tall Stephanomeria
Coastal Morning Glory
The Wall
Buena Vista Connector
Hillside gooseberry fruit (gooseberries)
Buena Vista
BV<->Romero Fireroad
Red-Stemmed Storksbill
Romero Connector
Bermuda Buttercup
Sticky Snakeroot
Canyon Sunflower
Brass Buttons

Mike told Brett he should run ½ Nine Trails (that is, from the start to the turnaround but not back) today, with the first part easy, the second part hard. The rest of the Backbone contingent decided to join him. As did Karen and Ken.

It takes me about 3½ hours when not pushing things. Going in a group would mean the first half would be slower (because I’d wait for people), but the last half faster (because I wouldn’t wait and I’d push). Ideally I want to drink a liter per hour, but my biggest camelback only holds three and I didn’t want to run with it because I’m going to do the race with the 2 liter one (and 3 liters is heavy). If I don’t pay attention to my drinking (drink when I feel like it) then 2 liters will last about that long — depending on the temperature. Anyway I chose the 2 liter one.

Two days ago it was 81 when I biked through Goleta at 4. Yesterday was cooler. I hoped today wouldn’t be too hot.

We gathered at Cater at 6:30. It was chilly. The sun hadn’t risen yet, but it was definitely thinking about it. There was light. I turned on my watch. It immediately turned itself off. Damn it! What’s wrong with those batteries? It worked fine on Thursday (and I recharged it then). Sigh. Another run without a watch.

We don’t seem anxious to start, but eventually we move toward the trailhead. Jon and I seem to be the only ones running at first and we pull ahead of the others. After a bit Mark joins us. We wait for everyone at that water fountain (and I drink a fair amount because I’m worried about water). We wait again at the top (Inspiration).

I go off in the bushes to piss, and two little birds come out to watch me. Perhaps they are thirsty and hope it is raining? Anyway they don’t seem to be afraid.

When all have assembled save Ken I wonder if he’s OK. Karen tells me that he broke his leg so she had to shoot him. But after a bit he comes back from the dead.

Then we head down towards Tunnel. Mark and Jon quickly pass me, but I catch up with them once we start going up Tunnel. And then pull away. I don’t wait for them at the Rattlesnake Connector, thinking they’ll catch me going down it, and they do — just as I am reaching the bottom. So I don’t let them pass but head up Rattlesnake, and pull away again.

I trot down Gibraltar, and pause at the little thicket of fennel near the powerlines. One of them has dodder growing on it (and blooming of course). It’s been blooming at least since December. Dodder isn’t supposed to bloom in the winter…

Jon catches up with me, and we run together to the hairpin where we wait for Mark (who has been having trouble with his shoe and keeps stopping to fiddle with it).  Then Jon and Mark take off down the trail at what looks to me a dangerous pace… But I’ve almost caught up by the bottom.

But now it is time to run hard, and I charge up Cold Spring and don’t see them again.

They don’t catch up with me on the downhill on the other side.

Charging up the Wall isn’t as easy…

And charging up Buena Vista is practically impossible.

I get to the bottom of Romero. My camelback is empty. No one is here. I consider pulling out the book I brought with me (partly as a test to see if I could carry a book with me).

Enh. I turn around and go back. After maybe ⅔ of a mile I see Mark. A bit later I see Brett and Jon. I had thought I might run back until I met everyone, but somehow it seems better to return with these two.

So we all go back.
Romero Gate

Then we wait. And wait.

Eventually we decide to leave. Ken has a car, so he can carry the others home.

And I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

2 Responses to “½ Nine Trails”

  1. Adger Says:

    Sounds like the water worries didn’t materialize. If so, what’s that about? Wonder if you are starting to be electrical about watches the way Mammy is?

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