This climb is a short one, only 4.1 miles from the starting gun, but it's steep - over 2,000 ft in those 4 miles ; I've never been up Mt Umunum, only seen it for years off in the distance. I knew some day I'd get up there, and this was it. I tried to interest Ferrell in joining me, but - not long enough to get him intrigued. No matter. Only possible glitch, was that there had been two really interesting colloquia at UCSC the previous two days - one on Dark Matter experimental searches by Stefano Profumo, and another on post-impact atmosphere formation in Earth like exoplanets, so I'd done my usual "Colloquium Run" through the Pogonip to campus and Science Hill for both, and a bit more. That was a total of 17 pretty hilly miles of running in the past 36 hours, so my legs weren't exactly fresh. But I felt OK, just stiff. In the end, I'm happy with going for it. Including the pre/post riding, I got in 19 miles and 3,000 ft of climbing, so it was a good workout and I hope give my legs some conditioning for the Northface Challenge in a month.

They ran out of waiver forms, so I was invited to just do the race but would not be on the official list (Organizer's wife is a lawyer!). No problem - I didn't expect to set any records.

Sign-in was a church on Hicks Rd. The start point was at the base of Sierra Azul Open Space 4 miles further up the mountain.

At the start point; I pause to hammer down a "5 Hour Energy", a chaser of Espresso Hammer Gel, and put on my game face! Grrrr!

Air intake fully extended, and the military gear on Umunum in plain sight in the background

What's up there in that huge concrete box on top? Stacked to the ceiling with alien bodies? Hidden documents on how 9/11 was an inside job? JFK assassination? No one knows, and we weren't allowed to the very summit.

Here's our destination for the finale, on Thanksgiving morning - Lick Observatory at the summit of Mt Hamilton.

I finished in 53:45. After they post results, I'll see how that fits in my age group.

A close race to the finish for the two top riders, just rounding the bend

Winning time: 25 minutes. Very Impressive.

Heading back to the post-race recovery, I stop for a shot of a racer with Mt. Hamilton in the background

Mt. Potassium! Well worth enjoying

...with foothills of chocolate chip cookies

This guy smashed the 65+ age group old record of 44 minutes - did it in 38 minutes!

No explanation needed.

It was time to coast down the mountain. I stopped a few times at the beautiful spots along Hicks Rd for some photos...

Fall colors: maples, rendered in dry brush in Photoshop


Last piece of business was to get some protein ASAP, and I drove back to old town Los Gatos and La Boulangerie for an egg and sausage bagel breakfast. Perfect!