A Bike/Run to Sand Point

July 17, 2016

Rick and I had such a great training day last month with a bike/run in Nicene, that we decided to do it again, in preparation for Donner Lake Triathlon a week later. This time, we'd cut is shorter - we'd hand off my mountain bike at Sand Point. I had been a good boy and not over-trained during this week after the tough June Lake Triathlon, and felt now I could do a good long run and hopefully not over-stress anything. So my thought was perhaps to run from Sand Point down to Five Finger Falls, retrace, and then head down West Ridge to my car at the Park entrance. That would be about 15 miles. I promised myself I'd terminate that run to the falls if I didn't feel strong.

Sand Point is a little over 9 miles of fire-road above the Park entrance, which is still in the fog far below here

We stuck together on the fire road, till the West Ridge trail "T"-ed in . Then I took off, arriving at Sand Point in about an 70 minutes. Rick arrived from West Ridge about 10 minutes later.

Happy people! Redwoods and mountain trails will do that for 'ya.

OK, time to split. First business is to raise the seat post on my bike, after tying off my helmet on the front stem.

I felt good, and did indeed run down to Whites Lagoon trail and headed down towards the Big Slide trail so I could get to Five Finger Falls.

I find 5 Finger Falls a magical place and usually see no one on the upper Aptos Creek trail as it's the most remote trail location in the park. The Big Slide trail was washed out this past El Nino winter, and completely impassable because of landslides exposing vertical cliffs. Until it's repaired, and that will be very expensive, the only way to get to the falls is from above. An ordinarily long hike therefore becomes an extremely long hike. But since I'd biked up and Ferrell was taking my bike back down, this was an opportunity. So I went for it. Alas, because the Big Slide trail was washed out, the mountain bikers had "built" a number of informal unmarked trails below Whites Lagoon, and after running a total of 7 miles going up this one and down that one only to decide it was wrong.... I gave up. I had hoped to get to Aptos Creek so I could drink and save my CamelBak for the long waterless stretch before getting almost all the way down West Ridge Trail. Anyway, it was a cool day and so I never quite ran out of water, and it all worked out OK. Food, I could've planned better. I had 3 fig bars and a small packet of salty something handed out at June Lake last week. Not enough, and I didn't bring a 5hr Energy either. I did drink and douse well when I got to the creek at the bottom end of West Ridge Trail, and was OK with the remnants in my Camelbak for the last few miles. 16.4 miles total for me, more than I anticipated I'd do, and yet I handled it just fine. My left hip psoas, hip flexor, IT band area never did get inflammed. Perhaps the heavy workout on the adductor/abductor machines at the gym that week, and the one-legged squats really helped. I was SORE, though, by the next day. But it was a good soreness; just hard workout-soreness. It'll all turn into better fitness!