Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Black Canyon Trail Run

Black Canyon Trail - Trail Run #1
Spring Valley to Crown King Rd
Mileage - 19.2
Time - 2:39
AEG - 753ft

Aravaipa Running Company is holding a point to point 100K endurance race on the Black Canyon Trail next February, and today they organized the first of three training runs to preview the course.  Jamil arranged a large group shuttle from the trailhead off of Crown King Road to the high school parking lot in Spring Valley where we would begin.  An eager pack of 30 ultra runners took off through the small town just after 8:00am to reach the start of the trail.  Many familiar faces in the crowd, including a few good friends of mine including Honey, Liz, Karen, Bret, and both Debs. 

The first section is relatively flat, smooth and easy to run.  At 4,000ft, the landscape resembles mostly high desert with incredible views of the Bradshaw Mountains to the West.  Daniel, Jamil, Stephen, Andrew and I hung together and chatted for the majority of those 19 miles. Being on the BCT reminded me once again why I love running in the mountains so much.  Then came the descent down Antelope Canyon, undoubtedly the most exciting part of the course to run!  The steady downhill had us moving fast while the hairpin turns and sheer drop offs kept us on our toes.  What a blast!  Before we knew it, the aid station at mile 12 was right in front of us.  It was the perfect time to rest the legs, especially those quads.  Bret caught up (as he always does) and joined in until the finish. 

The next, and final seven miles were all singletrack with only a few minor hills to climb.  It was pretty easy going on the aerobic system, but muscular fatigue is bound to tax the legs due to all the turns and undulation.  The race will be oddly challenging given that the easiest part of the course is in the beginning allowing for a faster pace that may become costly in the later miles when the real climbing begins.  My best advice to those racing in February, go out easy and save your strength for the later half. 

A big thanks to Jamil, Michelle, Becky and Sabrina for helping out with the shuttles and aid station!  Everyone had a great time out there on Sunday.

Stephen, Jamil, Daniel and Andrew around mile 5.

Daniel, Stephen and I tearing up a nice downhill section.

One of many twists and turns on the rollercoaster ride down Antelope Canyon

Photos by Jamil Coury

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