Saturday, September 01, 2007

Psychedelic Climacteric 50k

A belated and somewhat differently styled report! I promised Mike Palmer a good report to potentially do something with (if that something happens, I'll let you know!) so this report is a bit shorter than my normal ones (as the readers the world over let out a sigh of relief) and a bit more about the race and less about me in particular. It *hopefully* gives a good feel of the event though :)

A crowd of runners congregated a bit after 8am, Saturday, August 31st on an
understated dirt track above the UC Berkeley Clark Kerr dorms. As we casually
mingled and introduced ourselves to each other, it seemed surreal that we were
about to embark on a challenging but beautiful 50k through the hills above us.
As a former Berkeley graduate who ran her first three miles on this track just
a few years prior, it was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this was not
going to be just a short track workout, but rather a full day event of fire roads
and single tracks through a spectacularly versatile landscape. Being just my
second 50k, I was already a bit nervous lining up with the others. It didn’t help
that one of the runners, Eric Robinson (16 miles- 4:12), was wearing a shirt from
Hardrock 100, which stated “Sea Level To Everest and Back,” along with its
intimidating elevation profile on the back. This may have just been a fun run,
but there were some serious runners in attendance.
 Mike Palmer, a well known figure in the Bay Area ultra running community, plans
this race, the Psychedelic Climacteric 50k, every year about a month before his
birthday and draws some amazing athletes (as well as new ultra runners like myself)
to the event (The course record is currently held by Jasper Halekas (2005) at
4:45:31). The difficulty of this run arises in the estimated 7,000 feet of elevation
gain that this course promises,with 1,200 of the climbing in the first two miles
 Twelve individuals completed some part of the run, with four choosing the shortest,
sixteen mile option, one completing twenty two miles, one twenty four point two,
and six of us doing the whole enchilada, the 50k.
 We all started together and, as characteristic of a small race, no one was pushing
to be in the front. Flora Trivak-Tetley exclaimed early on feigned excitement about
leading the race, and we all enjoyed being in the “front pack” together until the
steep incline began to separate the runners and remind us that this was not going
to be an easy jaunt through the hills.
 The course begins by winding up through Claremont Canyon and into Tilden park on
a steep and challenging fire road that offers spectacular panoramic views of San
Francisco, the Golden Gate, and the City of Berkeley. It was already warming
up, and promised to be a beautiful, if hot, day.
 This race pledges to deliver the best running that Berkeley has to offer and,
with its spectacular climbs and views to match, it does just that. While the peaks
were relatively modest (Chaparral Peak tops out at 1,300 ft and Wildcat Peak boasted
an elevation of 1,250 ft) the constant move from the ridge to the valleys and back
up again kept things interesting, and the 360 degree panoramas of the entire Bay
Area made every climb worth it.
 As the course moved from the more familiar areas of Tilden park and into the
sweeping fields around San Pablo Ridge, the feeling that we had left the Berkeley
that I had always known was undeniable. Running by herds of cattle (or walking in
my case, out of fear of the three bulls less than twenty feet from the trail) was
not an experience I expected in Berkeley, but one that I relished in.
 However, lest we forget that this is Berkeley, after all, Mike has us finish by
heading into the heart of the city, onto the infamous Telegraph Avenue, where the
hustle of street vendors selling everything from Anti-Bush bumper stickers to palm
readings to hand crafted jewelry melds with the colorful street characters and UC
Berkeley students, all who were enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Running
amidst the crowds reminds us about the great versatility of this city, a place
that can host shaded forests, panoramic plains, and a thriving urban community
all within short distances of one another.
 As we headed away from Telegraph and back up onto the track, countless images
of the day’s run floated through my mind. Though I had lived in Berkeley for
four years, I had never fully understood what made that city so great. However,
being out on the trails that day, it couldn’t have been made any clearer. I rounded
the track with Ernesto Matal Sol (7:46), an amazing runner who had stayed with me
the entire day, as we brought an end to the event- the last runners to finish.
Mike (6:45), Flora (6:45), and Andy Roth (6:45) were waiting (Ramona Vogt (6:58)
wasn’t able to stay around after the race), and cheered us in as we finally
received verification from Ernesto’s GPS that we had, indeed completed exactly
50k. As fitting of this understated yet wonderful event, we recorded our own times
on a sheet of paper and enjoyed sitting together, drinking ice cold Cokes, and
recounted our own adventures of the day.
 Thank you to Mike Palmer for planning such a wonderful event and giving us
all such a fabulous opportunity to truly experience everything (running related)
that Berkeley has to offer. It was an eye opening experience, and one I won’t
soon forget.
 Results from today's Psychedelic Climacteric runs:
 16 miles
Matt Hartley                3:06
Lynn Schankliess            3:52
Ginny LaForne               4:10
Eric Robinson               4:10
 22 miles (or thereabouts)
Anne Lew                    4:43
 24.2 miles (measured by GPS)
Ellen Holbrook              6:27
 The Whole Enchilada
Andy Roth                  6:45
Mike Palmer                6:45
Flora Trivak-Tetley        6:51
Ramona Vogt                6:58
Ernesto Matal Sol          7:46
Adelyn Bonner-Lyon         7:46
 The Oregon PCT Hikers 33 miles Parallel Universe Version
 Noah Smay "Bull"                 11:30

Catra Corbett "Dirt Diva" 11:30


runningtwig said...

That is awesome that you have trails like that so close! Thanks for the comments again...I remember reading somewhere on your blog about "magic" - can you describe again? Does it really help?

Thanks for your help...I'm just trying to figure things out!!

Sarah said...

Nice report! I didn't realize the course went down to the Ave. That's cool! Is this by chance to be submitted to Ultrarunner Mag??? : )

Addy said...

twig- magic (at least in my opinion) is taking a clif shot double shot espresso and two extra strength tylenols. The caffine makes the tylenol go straight to your bloodstream and you feel better right away. At least in my experience :D

Sarah- Thanks! Maybe, maybe not :) I'll let yo unkow for sure when I find out for sure!

Journey to a Centum said...

Congratulations on your 50K and I think your first DFL! Why didn't you mention the DFL? This article must be going toward a mag or newspaper. ;-D

Let us know if it get published!

Sensationally Red said...

Caffeine will make analgesics work faster. Very nice race reporting and congrats on finishing your second 50K!

robtherunner said...

Congrats on 50k #2! You're on a roll. Good luck with the student teaching as well.

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

I remember reading this report a couple of years ago. This was before my ultra days and waaaaay before I knew that I would one day live in Berkeley and call these my home trails.

With that, I will try to run the Psychedelic Climacteric 50k this year.