There were two first time events today: the first time running at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve and this first time running in La Sportiva’s Fireblade performance trail running shoe. Both were successful!
First, the La Sportiva’s Fireblade (pictured to the right – mine are gray). This shoe won the Runner’s World Best Debut award last year and has received phenomenal reviews. I decided to try them out and from the beginning they felt super comfortable. The shoes handled everything on the trail masterfully with excellent traction up the hills and muddy sections. Coming in at 11.89 ounces, the Fireblade was able to provide sufficient cushion without weighing me down. I highly recommend checking out the Fireblade as a lightweight trainer for trail running!
Second, the run at Windy Hill. I had previously overlooked this open space preserve thinking that it was nothing more than an exposed and windy area with steep fire roads. While running in Portola Valley last week, I realized that most of the hillside is not barren and is in fact heavily forested – my kind of running! Also, I found out that only one trail is a fire road, the Spring Ridge Trail, and the others are single track trails. I decided to go up the Razorback Ridge Trail and down the Hamms Gulch Trail hoping for the best. I was super excited to find excellent single track switchbacking up the hillside in thick forest consisting of oak, madrone, and fir.
The 2.3 mile hill section up Razorback Ridge is one of the best hill climbs I have ever done! Great slope grade for running (and maintaining a rhythm), super nice surface, and great scenery. Moreover, on a warm (68 degrees!) and sunny weekend afternoon, there was nobody on the Razorback Ridge trail! Once atop Skyline Ridge, I took the Lost Trail for 1.7 miles to the Hamms Gulch cutoff. This flatter section of trail was awesome with great views of the bay near the Hamms Gulch junction. The Hamms Gulch Trail downhill section was tons of fun. I started from the Portola Valley parking lot near Sausal Pond and added a small loop of Meadow Trail; total running time was 77 minutes for ~11 miles. All smiles on this run and I will definitely be back to run this loop again 🙂