Sunday, July 27, 2014
Bad Bass Half Marathon Lake Chabot, California Saturday, July 26, 2014 On Saturday, July 26, 2014 I race walked the Bad Bass Half Marathon in Lake Chabot, California. The weather was wonderful as the skies were sunny, the wind was gentle, and the temperature ranged from 64 to 79 degrees. This was a very challenging trail half marathon which had about 270 finishers. The course went around Lake Chabot through the surrounding hills and had no place that was flat for more than a few feet. The first mile and a half utilized a paved bike path with went mostly up gradually; however, there were a few steep up and downs for short distances. The next 8 miles were single lane dirt fire roads which had numerous ruts, holes, rocks, and fallen limbs with some serious ascents and descents. Just before mile 2 was the first major climb that rose nearly 400 feet in one mile with very steep sections. Next was a half mile of steep descents which was extremely hard on my knees as the footing was terrible and it was impossible to take any kind of normal step because of the steepness. This situation repeated itself for most of the steep descents for the rest of the course. After mile 4 was the most challenging uphill as it rose almost 600 feet in a little over a mile. I actually like the ascents as it does not bother my knees and I am able to maintain a fairly fast pace where I pass many runners. Of course most of these runners pass me on the descents. After reaching the top of this hill, the fire roads continued with more down than up and many challenging short ups and downs. Next came a mostly steeply down single path trail having worse footing than the fire roads for about one mile. The rest of the course used fire roads and a paved bike trail than went mostly down with a few steep ups and downs thrown in. It finished where we started. There were only 4 water stations along the route with 4 miles between stations 2 and 3 and 5 miles between stations 3 and 4. You were expected to carry your own water/Gatorade etc. and could be resupplied at the stations by the enthusiastic volunteers. This fact was well pointed out on the website and emails from the race director. Carrying your own supplies is a normal occurrence in trail races. The course never crossed any roads and motorized vehicles were not allowed on any of the fire roads. We did have to share the space with mountain bikers and hikers, but this was not much of a problem. The race was extra well organized and the people involve were very friendly. Both my wife, Gerda, and I would rate this course as the most challenging half marathon that we have ever completed and accomplishing it was very satisfying.