Woodside Ramble 50K – Trail Jealousy
I had the pleasure of running the Woodside Ramble 50k on a beautiful spring day last weekend. It was yet another great race put on by Inside Trail Racing. This is the second time I have been able to come to these great trails to race. The first time was in January of 2012 where I ran the Crystal Springs trail run. These are my favorite set of trails to run on. The scenery is amazing and the trails are usually very well maintained and smooth (well except for the dozen or more of downed trees covering the trail this time which made it feel like we were running an ultra distance hurtle race at times). It does have a good amount of climbing (my Garmin showed 5,050ft of gain) but it is all runnable and does not require any power hiking. It is also very smooth and easy to keep your momentum going for most of the time since it is not too technical of a course. There was one big difference that Inside Trail Racing did for their Woodside Ramble race compared to the Crystal Springs trail race. It was an added climb at the end of the race. I was expecting a smooth broken paved/gravel road downhill finish and was not ready to see another small climb that definitely put a hurting on my spirits at the end of a 5 mile downhill grind. The Woodside Ramble trail is not the type of course with epic overlooking views (although there are two great views to be seen along the course). It is my favorite type of course that makes you feel very alone and peaceful in the dense redwood forest. Even in a large race turnout I was only surrounded with people at the start. It wasn’t until my return trip back to the finish where I would see a lot of the other runners. The dense forest keeps you in a very quiet surrounding where you can only see people up to about a 100 ft away at times.
The start location of the race is at the Werder Shelter area is a perfect place to have your family come to cheer you on. There is a lot of activities to keep them entertained while they wait. There is a great playground for kids to play on and a giant open grass field to bring a football or Frisbee to help pass the time. This is probably one of the best family friendly race locations compared to other races out there.
The reason I am jealous is because Inside Trail Racing team mate Scott Dunlap lives right next to this course. Scott is well known for his popular running blog of outstanding race reports filled with pictures taken while racing. http://www.atrailrunnersblog.com/2012/12/the-woodside-50k-winter-wonderland.html I so wish I had everyday access to trails this amazing. I do have the trails in Auburn that are a 20 minute drive but nothing from my door. I also noticed while driving into the race start area that there are lots of road cyclist (also a hobby of mine) riding on the roads around the town there. I probably saw more cyclists than I saw cars. Even when passing the mile 6/25 aid station there where lots of cyclists passing by both times I crossed the forest shaded road and never saw a car. This is truly a magnificent place and should be on everyone’s top races to do. If I was as talented of a runner as multi-tasker Scott Dunlap I would have taken pictures of this course while racing but I can only do one thing at a time while running trails. It is my favorite race course that I have yet to do and I will be back to do this race again for sure. See you there!