I’ve been wanting to get out and do a full run (all 32+ miles) on the East Bay Skyline National Trail for a while now, so consider this my “intent to attempt” said trail. There’s no known FKT (fastest known time for those of you that are new to adventure/long trail running) so I’ve decided to forgo a 50k race as my last long training run for The North Face 50-miler on December 7th and instead get out and do a self-supported run on my favorite long trail in the East Bay.
I did a little 6 miles out, 6 miles back on the beginning portion today and there’s a ton of climbing involved. Here’s a few pics:
Anyway, here’s my post on the FKT Proboards site: EBSNT FKT attempt
If you don’t want to link out to that, here it is in full:
Hi, my name is Jim McCaffrey and this upcoming Saturday, November 16th, 2013, my plan is to try to set a self-supported East Bay Skyline National Trail FKT. The trail traverses the ridge line above the coastal mountains situated to the east of Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland; and ends in Castro Valley. It goes entirely through the East Bay Regional Park system; Wildcat Canyon, Tilden, Sibley, Huckleberry, Redwood and the two Chabot parks. This is the eastern portion of the yet-to-be-completed Bay Area Ridge Trail.
My plan is to start around sunrise (~6:30 AM) at the northern terminus (Wildcat Canyon Staging Area in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, on Park Ave in Richmond, CA) where there’s a short paved road that ends at the Wildcat Creek Trailhead and run/hike south. I will be carrying all of my nutrition from the start and will be using water sources along the way (there are three sources available; the first at Tilden Steam Trains, the second at Sibley Staging Area and the last at Skyline Gate). I believe that since these aren’t “natural” sources this run can’t be considered an unsupported attempt.
There will be no outside assistance of any kind, except of course a ride to the start from my partner Allyson Hurlburt and then a ride home from the finish (Proctor Gate Staging Area in Lake Chabot Regional Park, on Redwood Road in Castro Valley).
I will also be using the French Trail portion of the route through Redwood Regional Park; I believe it’s marked so that hikers can use either the French Trail route or the West Ridge route. I however think that the up-and-down of the French trail (the “crown jewel” of East Bay trails, imho) along with its beautiful single-track (as well as being closed to bikes) adds some challenge to the 32+ miles.
I will use my Garmin 310XT to GPS my entire run and will use both Instagram (@therealjimmymac) and Twitter updates from @jimmy76mac every 5-7 miles as AT&T 4G service allows (I think I’ll have a connection for the duration of the run and this will allow tracking in real time.)
Trails used and mileages:
Wildcat Creek .44 to Belgum
Belgum 1.00 to San Pablo Ridge
San Pablo Ridge 1.28 to Nimitz Way
Nimitz Way 4.72 to Curran
Curran .27 to Sea View
Sea View 2.18 to Vollmer Peak
Vollmer Peak ~.55 to Lomas Cantadas (water)
Lomas Cantadas 2.55 to Old Tunnel Staging Area
OTSA .87 to Sibley Staging Area (water)
Sibley SA 2.76 to East Ridge
East Ridge .20 to Skyline Gate (water)
Skyline Gate .56 to French Trail (via West Ridge)
French Trail 4.04 to Orchard
Orchard .18 to West Ridge
West Ridge .62 to Golden Spike
Golden Spike .78 to Big Bear Staging Area
BBSA .25 to MacDonald
MacDonald 2.52 to Grass Valley
Grass Valley 1.48 to Brandon
Brandon 5.36 to Proctor Staging Area
Approximate distance: 32.61 miles
I’ve only been able to find available info from a few thru-hikers through their websites; here’s one: http://gurmeet.net/hiking/hikes/East_Bay_Skyline_National_Recreation_Trail.html
I feel this trail is an under-rated, yet iconic gem of the East Bay (and Northern coastal California for that matter); both the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-miler and the Skyline 50k are two classic East Bay races that both use large (southern) portions of the trail.
So there you go. Tune in next Saturday via Facebook / Twitter / Instagram. I’m hoping to do the whole run in about 5.5 hours, give or take 30 minutes.
I also know there’s some really good runners in the Bay Area that could probably do this run in 3:45-ish time, and that’s what I’m hoping- I’m merely setting the first FKT so that someone goes out and breaks it. Then, someone goes out and breaks that.
Then, someone breaks that. On and on ad infinitum.
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