I had a great time at the Quicksilver Trail Races this past Saturday in the scenic and hilly trails and fire roads of Quicksilver Almaden County Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose. The 50k and 50 mile ultras have been held for 27 years with the 25k option added more recently. The ultra races started at 6 am under clear skies with crisp temperatures. After a few minutes, there is steep climb for a mile followed by a steep descent back to near the starting area where a left turn is taken onto the single track of the New Almaden Trail. The 6 miles of single track is a delightful stretch of trail traversing through canyons in oak woodland with wildflower meadows. After the New Almaden Trail, the course is all fire road, but equally scenic with spring wildlfowers in full bloom and spectacular views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley. While the 5,440 feet of cumulative elevation gain in the 50k (8,530 ft in the mile) means that the course is inevitably hilly throughout, there are several miles of relatively gradual fireroad allowing for a nice rhythm.
My plan was to run consistent throughout by focusing on staying comfortable and refueling. I was able to accomplish these objectives and stay below split times I thought would be feasible. One of the most difficult parts of the 50k is mile 29-30, which features a series of super steep short climbs on the Hacienda Trail, but I was able to muster the energy to move through this challenging area knowing a downhill finish would follow. I ended up crossing the line in 3:30:10, lowering the previous course record by Tim Monaco (3:44:30) set in 2002 by nearly 14.5 minutes. There were great performances all around. Zach Landman won the 50 mile in 6:50 and Gary Gellin took the 25k in 1:44 to break my 25k record from 2008 by a minute. Congratulations to all participants!
Quicksilver Running Club knows how to put on a great post-race party with a BBQ billed as the “best in the nation.” It’s tough to argue with this statement with a spread that includes all the traditional BBQ items (burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, salad), appetizers, beers, and a marvelous selection of deserts (apple pie, brownies, cookies, ice cream bars, cheese cake, etc.). I even saw some sushi! The race has a great “community” feel with runners mingling at the finish enjoying the beautiful spring weather. Thanks to the Quicksilver Running Club, race directors, and all the volunteers for putting on a top notch event!
Complete results here.
- Dam (mile 9.7): 1:05:57
- Capehorn (mile 14.5): 1:35:20
- Dam (mile 19): 2:04:43
- Dam (mile 23.7): 2:37:12
- English Camp (mile 27): 3:00:50
- Finish (mile 31+): 3:30:10