Last weekend I ran the Brazen Racing Summit Rock Half Marathon at Sanborn County Park outside of Saratoga, but before I get to that report, here is a report from another Brazen event I did a couple months agao, the Brazen Racing Rocky Ridge Half Marathon Championships at beautiful Las Trampas Regional Wilderness outside of San Ramon. The Rocky Ridge course is known as the most difficult of the Brazen series. The half marathon course was actually about 13.75 miles long and featured nearly 4,000 of elevation gain. Some of the ascents along the way are some of the steepest inclines I have ever run and one half mile climb in particular about half way through is affectionately known as “The Wall”! All the climbing and terrain made this a true mountain course and it would be idyllic for a mountain running championship venue.
Due to a prize purse being offered, I suspected some fast runners would show up, and indeed, one of the fastest road runners in the nation, Sergio Reyes toed the starting line. At the start I settled in near the front and tried to be as comfortable as possible entering the first major hill. At the first ultra steep ascent Sergio asserted himself and took the lead charging up the steep in good form with me in pursuit. It seemed as if he might run away with it from the start, but I caught up at the high point near Las Trampas Peak. On the downhill portion, Ivan Medina blew past both of us and continued to push an incredibly fast pace with Sergio in tow that I could not sustain. I would not see either of them until near the end of the large loop about three quarters of the way through, but I maintained a good pace and ran the entire way up the Wall. As I started the descent back to the parking area I could see Sergio far ahead and Ivan a minute or so back from Sergio.
Immediately upon beginning the last major climb of the course I began catching up to Ivan and eventually overtook him about half way up the climb. I was closing in on Sergio and by the time we reached the top of the hill I was only about 20 seconds back. However, from this point onward, the course was mainly downhill and I was unable to close the gap between us completely. Sergio finished in 1:37:55, 12 seconds ahead of my 1:38:07. I was proud of my performance and the strong finish!
Brazen Racing did a phenomenal job from aid stations to course markings to post-race food; it was an awesome event! A big thanks to the Brazen race directors, staff, and volunteers for making this such a great morning and congratulations to all the participants for tackling those daunting hills in the Las Trampas Wilderness!