105.9 miles, 9:23:29 moving time (11:57 elapsed), 12,615 ft elevation, 54 trophies
This was a hard day. My fourth time doing The Mulholland Challenge, put on by PlanetUltra.They had their work cut out for themselves this year. The weather was very iffy for the Saturday event. PlanetUltra has a “rain or shine” policy. However, this course is crazy to start with and doing in the rain seems completely nuts. They ended up doing the event on Saturday AND Sunday. We all went on Sunday. We heard that on Saturday it was raining on and off all over the course. Particularly at the top of stunt, the rains were heavy and windy. Gawd, that would have completely sucked.
Seven of us (Gregg, Lynda, Steve, Luis, Bob, Jonathan, and me) loaded up in Lynda’s Sprinter Van, with Sue caravan-ing behind. The fwy was closed one point, but it was fine. As we unpacked and got our race packets, the hardest part was figuring out what to wear for 9-10 hr. Cloudy could turn to freezing cold, or blow through and be beautiful. We had all packed all kinds and make the last minute choices. I ended up with skull cap, a light jacket, arm warmers, jersey, shorts, and leg warmers, and full finger gloves. Throughout the day, the jacket would come off and on and the arm warmers up and down, and the leg warmers folded up and down. The weather ended up being very pleasant. I would sweat through on the climbs and then cool off on the descents. We met up with GT (who was sick and gave it a valiant effort, but cut loop after Stunt).
The course was changed significantly from the last few years. The mileage came down to 106 miles (from 125). Mainly cutting out Malibu Canyon.
The course started with a big old loop through Mulholland –> Old Topanga. By the first sticker stop, we saw RichS, PeterD, and Dino.
Stunt Canyon –> Piuma. At the top of stunt, it was a beautiful view. Lynda encouraged GT up to the top, since he was feeling bad he turned back. It was nice to get Stunt while we were fairly fresh. Great SAG Stop at the top. In prior years, it was the last 30 mile loop (of 125) gasp. The descent down Piuma is hairpins and screamers. We almost thought we lost Bob. But he found us. Whew.
The ‘rollers’ along Mulholland are 8-10%. It slowly kills you. SAG Stop at Peter Strauss Ranch. We kept the stops fairly quick. Food, water, potty, GO.
Rock Store. It was tough today. I knew the rest of the day would be long and hard. Somewhere along Mulholland there is a camel farm. Hump day!
The descent down Leo Carillo is fun.
Pacific Coast North. We crossed the Ventura County line.
Yerba Buena ascent. Crappy roads and steep ascent for miles. SAG Stop. and the the real climb up Cotherin begins.
Descent on Deer Creek was spectacular today. Overlooking Pacific. Sunny. Waves. It was great. Stopped for selfies.
PCH back to Decker.
OMG Decker… It is all you’ve heard about and more. This is at Mile 87. Shoot me now. 16-20%. Even after it ‘flattens’ out, it’s a 6-8% climb for miles. SAG stop at the fire station. I was dead. I took a few breaks and walked a bit. I heard I was the 8th guy left on the course. damn. Lynda was a trooper waiting for me. We took off back to the hotel for the final 15 miles.
Finished at 6:01 pm. Debra (PU) said she’s gonna give it to me, since we started 5 minutes late, I made it within the 11 hour cutoff. Whew. I woulda hated to DNF on that course today. The silly part was the last street light. I got stuck waiting there for a good 3-4 minutes. I watched on my Garmin, just ticking away.
We packed up the van and had a huge greasy burgers at Islands down the street, actually at the intersection where I sat and waited.
One good thing was that I never hit a ‘dark place’ today. I kept on my nutrition plan and ate from mile 1 through mile 90. I ate all my rice cakes, waffle stingers, goos, Anti-fatigue pills, endur-lytes, and adrenals. I know that kept my spirits up.
Lynda, Luis, Steve, Bob, Gregg, Joe. (Jonathan, Peter, Dino)