Well, to be honest, this isn't about new trails but more precisely, new races. While perusing the RW trailrunning forum, as I am wont to do, someone pointed out a new race in California-- The Dirt Roads and Trail Endurance Ultra Marathon, happening on Oct 2-3, 2009. Normally a new race is cool, but not THAT cool... possibly not blogging-worthy cool. (And yes, I realize not everyone is as enchanted as I am by some of the things I post. But it's MY blog!)
So what's so great about this new race, you ask? Well, for starters, it's rather insane. The preliminary numbers suggest almost 35,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain (and subsequent loss, because it's a loop course that ends almost at the starting line). More importantly though, this race is in the Santa Ynez Valley, the site of my Thanksgiving trails and revels. I had been thinking while I was there, it was too bad there wasn't an ultra in Los Padres, the National Forest stretching back from the Santa Ynez Mountains, the area that is referred to as the Santa Barbara "back country." (Incidentally, Los Padres stretches over huge areas of California-- it's much bigger than the Santa Ynez Mountains section.) And lo, someone was already on top of that idea!
The very end of the race will be, from what I can see on the race map, on some of the trail we ran up to Knapp's Castle, or very, very close. I guarantee the picture above looks toward the terrain the race course will cover.
Additionally, the race will take a short trip (short in ultra terms, you understand) through the a section of the Santa Barbara front country, on some of the trails from 9 Trails, the ultra that unfortunately had to move to Ojai because of the fires this year. This is actually quite nice, as it might allow more people to cheer on runners at a rather tired section of the course, since the trails are very near the city, unlike some of the more remote trails in the first 50 miles.
I would love to support the land of my roots, but I'm not sure this is an intelligent pick for a first 100 miler. (Some might question if a 100 miler was ever an intelligent pick, but we're ignoring that...) If you are blazingly hardcore and have quads of steel, I think you should run this! I don't know what my school schedule is next year, but if I don't have class that weekend, I will probably try to come down and help out.
However, for the less-hardcore amongst us, I also found the same group is putting on a 50k-50miler-100K in the same area on June 6th- the Blue Canyon Trail Race. Most unfortunately, this race will be a week after Ohlone, which has been moved to May 31st. While there are several trailrunners in the Bay Area who would think nothing of running back-to-back insanely hilly 50K courses, I am not sure I am one of them. It's too bad, because I think this could be a fabulous race as well (and much more accessible for the mere mortals). This time of year has way too many cool races-- Ohlone, this race, the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey that I have always wanted to do, PCTR's Mt. Diablo-- the list goes on!