Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Time for recess at the Twin Peaks playground


Time for recess!!

     As I have said many times before the Twin Peaks area of Corona, California is my favorite place to run. It offers some incredible views, diverse terrain and some ridicously long hard climbs over miles and miles. Knowing it was going to be a hot day I packed 300 ounces of frozen water into my backpack and hiked it up the first seven miles to create a water drop for Erin Chavin and me. This would allow us to refill and continue up the remaining four miles to Santiago Peak. Once at Santiago we would be able to make it back down to the water drop to refill again before decending the original 11 miles to the start.

My two new friends I met on the way up Indian Truck Trail


     The climb from the start was filled with splendid views and every mile up the road changed constantly. Sometimes it would be a pine needle forest, other times just bare exposed & hot then other times it would open up showing the surrounding peaks.
To the right is a photo I captured of the Indian Truck Trail that we followed up to the Upper Holy Jim singletrack.  The same route that is used for the beginning of the Twin Peaks 50++ Mile Race in October.

   Once refilled we worked our way up the last bit of road section to the singletrack climb.  This area is a non-stop switchback climb giving us view after view of the peaks. The sun was heating up the day, but there was some shady spots that shielded us from the heat. This was not nearly as bad as the heat from my previous California runs, but still hotter than an average run in Michigan.

Erin pausing for a photo with Santiago Peak in the background
   Reaching Santiago Peak was the highlight of the climb. Last time I was at the top of this peak was in the race last year. A race volunteer noticed I had a camera and offered to take a picture of me. It is the photo I currently use as my Google profile picture. At the time I didn't notice but I was showing exhaustion which is displayed nicely in the photo. So Erin took some pictures of me today with a smile on my face. The entire climb up I was smiling much more than in the race partly because the run was much shorter with only one big climb versus the four climbs totaling 17,500+ in elevation gain on the race course.
Erin on the climb up the Upper Holy Jim Trail

Now it was time for the 11 mile downhill run. Feeling full of excitment it was time to charge down the course.  The first few miles Erin and I exchanged the lead manuevering the rocky road section to the Upper Holy Jim. Erin made a quick stop and moved on to the trailhead. Arriving just a moment before her I looked back to catch a quick glimpse as she lost her footing and hit the ground with a scream. Concerned I headed over to check on her. Her hand was took the blunt of the fall so we washed it up and tied a bandana on it to keep it clean on the way back down.  Once we got back to the water drop we stopped to refill the bottles and clean up her hand.  It was a good thing we packed all that water and used about 2/3's of it.  With just seven miles left we made a final charge down the course in the time of an hour flat.  Quickly we got our gear back in the car and headed home as the moon was starting to reveal the night. 

A few more pictures from the adventure.....

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