Lower Noble Canyon Training Run 2015

Last weekend a band of trail runners met at the lower trail-head of Noble Canyon to run part of the NC50k course. We did a fun out-and-back, most of us reaching the top at Penny Pines trail-head along Sunrise highway. Whatever distance or pace runners choose it was a great day!

  

An even smaller band of runners ran the same route but started an hour before the rest of us. It was great to see them coming down while we were going up. Always good to see friends along the trail!

The small band of runners that started an hour before the rest of us.

The small band of runners that started an hour before the rest of us.

On the way back down we had scattered showers which was a welcome relief and actually added to the experience.  We’re all revving up for the Noble Canyon 50k which is now just two months away!

See you on the trails.

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A Noble Course

It is official: the 2015 Noble Canyon 50k course will be the same as last year which, truth be known, is my favorite NC50k course sequence! The course features all of Noble Canyon, an exposed stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, Champagne Pass with Indian Creek Trail, then the classic “Noble Canyon Big Sandy” climb nearing the finish.

Here is a description of the fun and challenge you will face at the 2015 race. Some have described it as a lollipop shaped course; you head up Noble Canyon, do a loop at the top, then head back down the handle.

THE START:

The course starts and finishes at the Bible Camp in Pine Valley down the dirt road on the south side of the camp. You leave the start line and head north for about a mile on the asphalt road before you connect with the main Noble Canyon Trail at the Trailhead.

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ALL OF NOBLE CANYON:

The lower stretches of the course are scenic and don’t seem too technical on fresh legs and in cooler temperatures. The course weaves around the shoulder of a short mountain and after a couple miles the course exits the formal Noble Canyon trail for a short detour to the Pine Creek Aid Station where historic captain Matt Davis will fill your bottles and send you on your way to connect again with the official Noble Canyon trail.

The course soon enters the actual canyon, climbing some rocky sections and tree-covered single track trail with the mountainous walls of Noble Canyon, like bookends, on either side.  Though uphill, all of Noble Canyon is runnable if you have it in your race plan to do so.

Noble Canyon trail near Big Tree Aid Station

Noble Canyon trail near Big Tree Aid Station

After about 5 miles of climbing you enter the welcome canopy of a large tree where veteran ultrarunner and founding race director Scott Mills and his team will fill your bottles and shoo you out of the station and up the hill.

The climbing continues; up gorgeous single-track trail. If you know what to look for you can see Pioneer Mail, Champagne Pass, and Indian Creek Trail in the distance on the left.  Even if you don’t know what to look for, the scenery is splendid.

After another 2 1/2 miles of the Noble Canyon trail you’ll enter the Penny Pines Aid station captained by Ultrarunning champion Tom Nielsen. He and his experienced folks will fill your bottles and point you to the trail that runs along the cliff’s edge across the highway.

PACIFIC CREST TRAIL:

Immediately after crossing Sunrise Highway you will take a left and embark on a five mile tour of the Pacific Crest Trail. You’ll run along the cliff’s edge with a great drop ever looming on your right. You can see for miles down into the Anza-Borrego desert, wow what a great view! If you’re not trying to win this thing, you will surely snap a photo or two along this stretch.

When you come to the Pioneer Mail aid station, this year like last year, you will first need to do a short 1/2 mile out-and-back along the ever steep cliff’s edge before you enter the aid station. You can then enter Pioneer Mail where “ultraspouse” Denise Escola and her team will fill your bottles and point you to the exit.

Much of the course is exposed with few trees. Plan for a hot race day.

Approaching Pioneer Mail Aid Station

CHAMPAGNE PASS & INDIAN CREEK TRAIL:

The run from Pioneer Mail, to Champagne Pass, and from Champagne Pass down then up Indian Creek Trail is an exposed, single-track trail that is very runnable and extremely fun.  The swooping turns and “longer than you remember” climbs make for an awesome section that I’m so glad has been added to the sequence of the course.

Indian Creek Trail

Indian Creek Trail

NOBLE CANYON REPEATED AND MULTIPLIED

After the Indian Creek Trail climb you will “T” into and connect again with the Noble Canyon trail. Turn Right and you’ll shortly revisit Big Tree Aid where the shade will feel that much cooler and the water will feel that much wetter. Scott Mills will again repair your needs and send you down the mountain.

Even though you will be retracing your steps and you are now headed downhill instead of uphill, for some reason elements of the course just got tougher.  The rocks will seem to have multiplied, the stretches between aid longer, and the exposure to the sun more intense.

Matt Davis and his team will offer a blue-canopy oasis with colder-than-normal ice and will send you out for the final stretch.

Outbound a few hours ago you barely noticed running down a sandy stretch of the course. But now inbound to the finish all runners meet and remember the hot, tough, sandy climb. Over the years this stretch has been given many names including “Big Sandy” “The Sierra” “That Sandy Knoll” and other names not suitable for this family program. Needless to say all runners get to experience this late in the race final climb!

You continue retracing your way back to the Bible Camp and across the Finish Line where the Rat awaits your smooches.

Good luck in your training and I look forward to seeing you on the trails.

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Open Desert Training Run

This weekend 10 runners scoped out the opening desert stretch of the Lost Boys 50 course. Cold rain was predicted for much of the nation including for most of San Diego county. At closer look the Anza-Borrego desert would possibly be the only rain-free spot around. Most of us carpooled from the trail-head along Highway S-2 over to Pinyon Wash, while three runners started directly there at Pinyon Wash.

As we set out the desert sky was “partly cloudy” with occasional piercings of direct sunshine. We could however always see the dark rainclouds that remained active in the mountains to the west. We were favored with a rainbow for much of the first stretch.

Mary Lou and Alisa as we head up Pinyon Wash, see the rainbow.

Mary Lou and Alisa as we head up Pinyon Wash. Rainbow!

We enjoyed "partly cloudy" skies while most of the nation saw cold rain that day.

We enjoyed “partly cloudy” skies while most of the nation saw cold rain that day.

You know you are going the correct way in the first 10 miles of the Lost boys 50 course if you are trending uphill! The climbing is sometimes subtle and other times it is very direct. Thank you to Larry for partially marking the open desert stretch for this run!

Tracy D. and Chris Sigel, set out a few minutes before the main group and successfully navigated the first 15 miles using the written turn-by-turn directions found on the website. They said the directions were awesome and extremely helpful! They then retraced their steps back to Pinyon wash covering about 30 that day. We also saw JC out there scoping out the course.

The rest of our group lead the way and also successfully navigated the trickiest sections of the course based on their previous study and the verbal instructions Brian gave before we started.

Nice day for a run!

Nice day for a run!

Brian G., Matt B., Cory S., Alisa F., Jason A., Steve F., Mary Lou L. at the fence crossing of the Lost Boys 50 course.

Brian G., Matt B., Cory S., Alisa F., Jason A., Steve F., Mary Lou L. at the fence crossing of the Lost Boys 50 course.

Near the fence, group shot!

Near the fence, group shot!

After we exited the open desert floor we entered the canyon to the right with a wash and those dry waterfalls.

The wash that runs on the floor of the canyon has unique scenery and the fun dry waterfalls.

The wash that runs on the floor of the canyon has unique scenery and the fun dry waterfalls. Look close for the runner in the shadow on the right.

Shortly after exiting this canyon/wash the course pops up onto the dirt road and quickly comes upon a popular 4-wheel drive spot known as “Pinyon Mountain Drop-Off.” That day we were favored with a small show and we watched a couple trucks “drop-off.”

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We had a few minutes of cold rain as we approached the top of our climb. After 10 miles and a few hours of climbing we eventually crested at Pinyon Mountain Divide and started the descent. Larry met us at the aid station spot at Pinyon Pountain.

And we all enjoyed 6-layer dip, chips, cookies, and soda at the end! I’m still looking for the 7th layer (let me know if you find it…).

See you on the trails.

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A Few Lost Boys, who knew exactly where they were…

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LB50 Photo Tour, First 15 Desert Miles

This week Larry, Mary Lou and RD Brian scouted out the first 15 miles of the Lost Boys 50 course. We had a great day weaving through the desert washes including the famous cross-country section and LB50 dry waterfalls.

See the Maps Page of the LB50 website for detailed turn-by-turn directions of this section.

Click here for a printable version of this post (I suggest you save this file to your cell phone).

Don’t forget we will be having a training run on Feb 28, 2015 to preview this section.


The LB50 start line is where Pinyon Wash meets Highway 78 (white hwy mile marker 81). Start by heading south on the dirt road inside Pinyon Wash. Stay on the main road for 5 miles until you reach the boulders at the dead-end.

Start line for the Lost Boys 50, Pinyon Wash.

Start line for the Lost Boys 50, Pinyon Wash.

Boulders Aid Station (mile 5 of the race).

Boulders Aid Station (mile 5 of the race).

Leave the boulders aid station by scrambling up and over the boulder field and stay along the canyon floor in the wash.  About 0.80 miles past the aid station you will reach the mouth of the canyon (open desert directly in front of you). Stay to the right hugging the small hill on your right. Then head directly south targeting the mouth of the two hills in front of you.

Larry scrambled up an over sections of boulders shortly after the Boulders Aid Station.

Larry scrambled up an over sections of boulders shortly after the Boulders Aid Station.

Pinyon Canyon which is shortly after the Boulders AS.

Pinyon Canyon which is shortly after the Boulders AS.

Pinyon Canyon which is shortly after the Boulders AS (approximately mile 5.5 of the race).

Pinyon Canyon which is shortly after the Boulders AS (approximately mile 5.5 of the race).

Larry and Mary Lou in the wash that hugs the small hill on the right (miles 5.8-7.08 of the race).

Larry and Mary Lou in the wash that hugs the small hill on the right (miles 5.8-7.08 of the race).

The "target" has a red "X" in this photo. This is where you head south, aiming for the mouth where the tall hill on the right and the small hill on the left funnels into the mouth (mile 7.08 in the race).

The “target” has a red “X” in this photo. This is where you head south, aiming for the mouth where the tall hill on the right and the small hill on the left funnels into a mouth (I’m standing at approximately 6 miles into the race when I took this photo and the “X” is at approximately mile 7).

When you reach the mouth of the canyon you will come to a fence, go through the fence then take an immediate right and work your way up the wash for another 0.85 miles until you reach the dirt road. This stretch contains the classic dry waterfalls and the old broken down sheet-metal structure.

The fence at the mouth of the canyon, turn right immediately after this fence and stay in the wash (mile 7.08 in the race).

The fence at the mouth of the canyon, turn right immediately after you cross this fence and stay in the wash (mile 7.08 in the race).

RD Brian at one of the famous Lost Boys 50 dry waterfalls.

RD Brian at one of the famous Lost Boys 50 dry waterfalls. The course goes up and over this and another series of short falls (mile 7.65 in the race).

Once you reach this old broken down sheet-metal structure on your right you know you are on the right track. The main dirt road will be coming up shortly (mile 7.75 in the race).

Once you reach this old broken down sheet-metal structure on your right you know you are on the right track. The main dirt road will be coming up shortly (mile 7.75 in the race).

Once you jump onto the dirt road turn right and just stay on the main dirt road all the way through the Pinyon Mountain Aid Station (mile 12 in the race) and down to the junction of the marked California Riding And Hiking Trail (mile 15 in the race) where you will take a left onto this trail.

Steep Jeep road along the way.

Steep Jeep road along the way.

Head up the steep Jeep road on the left side of this frame, the course came up from the dirt road on the lower right side of this frame (mile 8 in the race).

Head up the steep Jeep road on the left side of this frame, the course came up from the dirt road on the lower right side of this frame (mile 8 in the race).

Running along the top of the Pinyon Mountain section (approximately mile 10.3 in the race).

Running along the top of the Pinyon Mountain section (approximately mile 10.3 in the race).

Mary Lou running along the top of the Pinyon Mountain section.

Mary Lou running along the top of the Pinyon Mountain section.

Take a left onto this single-track trail marked as the "CA Riding and Hiking Trail" (mile 15 in the race).

Take a left onto this single-track trail marked as the “CA Riding and Hiking Trail” (mile 15 in the race).

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Unveiling of the new Lost Boys 50 Logo

LB50_Logo

We are excite to unveil the new Lost Boys 50 Mile trail Run Logo and explanation of all of the parts and pieces. Above is the graphical logo and below is a photo of the actual finishers medallion!

LB50Medal

Actual Lost Boys 50 finishers medallion!

  1. The basic shape is a compass with N, S, E, and W insignias in each corner. A compass embraces the nomadic feel of the race course. Even though we embrace the essence of “Lost” the course will actually be marked extremely well, especially the desert section.
  2. North is represented with the “fleur-de-lis” often used to indicate North on a compass rose.
  3. The background contains topo (short for topographical) lines. The topo represents a map – tying back to the compass.
  4. The Sand color background is for the lower Anza-Borrego State Park stretch.
  5. Green lettering is representative of the upper section which is run up at elevation in the green pine trees of Cuyamaca Peak. This shows the contrast between desert and mountains.
  6. The LB50 finishers medallions are genuine 24 carat gold plated.  The gold inclusion is influenced from the Stonewall Mine that is just across the lake from the finish line.
    Stonewall Mine 1889 or 1890, with Hoist House and Mill Buildings (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25011)

    Stonewall Mine 1889 or 1890, with Hoist House and Mill Buildings (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25011)

    Stonewall Mine was well publicized as a highly successful mining operation by 1886.  Gold production at the mine continued to be strong throughout 1886, 1887 and 1888 under Waldo’s direction.  For example, 5,182 tons of gold ore was mined and processed in 1888 with a total value of $198,666.  In 1889, Waldo directed the construction of a new 20-stamp mill that was added to the existing 10-stamp mill.  Reportedly, a total of 300,000 bricks were made on-site for use in the new stamp mill.  In this same year, the work force reached 200 men and the mine had been sunk to a depth of 400 feet. The mine shaft, identified as Feature 81, reached a depth of 600 feet in 1892.  Stonewall Mine under Waterman’s ownership ended production by mid-1892.  Total gold ore production from 1888 to 1892 (first three months) was 57,754 tons with a dollar value of $906,063.  According to a 1963 California Division of Mines & Geology report, Stonewall Mine was the most productive gold mine in current San Diego County with a total yield of approximately two million dollars over its entire span of operation. (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25011)

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Six Brave Souls – LB50 training run

Six brave souls showed up for today’s 20 mile run on the Lost Boys 50 Mile course. At 7:20am it was cold and started to rain and the rain became more substantial as we approached the 7:30 launch – we each stayed warm in our cars as long as possible. At 7:28 there was actually a light sprits of snow! It may seem we were in for treacherous weather for the day but that was not necessarily so. Sure we had scattered showers and chilly temps on the mountain (I’m guessing high 30’s to low 40’s up top), but the rain was never severe, and as long as we kept moving the coldness was a welcome change from our long hot San Diego summer. I guess perspective is important because to the six of us, this is what we expected and what we came for.

Most runners had never been to the area; it was great to share in their new experience and show them the trails.

"Airplane

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Look careful, do you see snow?

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Just starting out, on our way to connect with the official course. (Photo by Rheeah)

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Good to see the Cuyamanca creeks flowing again (Photo by Rheeah).

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Approaching the top of Cuyamaca Peak (Photo by Rheeah).

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Lost Boys 50 Training Run Dec 13, 2014

MiddlPeak

We’ve had such good weather lately we’ve decided to have a training run on the mountain section of the Lost Boys 50 course. Soon the weather will turn and runs to the top of Cuyamaca Peak will be more frigid, (no promises for this weekend though!).

    • When: Saturday Dec 13,2014. Launch at 7:30AM
    • No need to RSVP
    • Total Miles: Approximately 20 miles
    • Water: Water will be dropped at West Mesa (approximately 6 miles into the run). So carry enough for the final 14 mile stretch.
    • Training Run Details: We will start and finish off the official course but 95% of the run will be on the official Lost Boys course. Leaving Big bend we will head East until we meet Stonewall Creek Fire Road (mile 33.3 in the race). We will turn right here and follow the race course and loop all the way around to Marty Marshall trail (MMT). At MMT we’ll continue straight to finish back at Big Bend.
    • See the Maps page for turn-by-turn directions of the course and especially the TRAINING RUN MAP.
    • Where: Meet at “Big Bend.” (AKA Milk Ranch Road). This is the big turn in Highway 79:
      0.8 miles SOUTH of the Cuyamaca Lake Store
      1.7 miles NORTH of Paso Picacho Campground

All are welcome to join even those that are not planning to run Lost Boys. Remember that each person is responsible for themselves, we will not be keeping track of who is where and we encourage runners to run in pairs.

See you on the trails.

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