Friday, December 2, 2011

North Face Endurance Challenge, Course Preview

The fifth running of the North Face Endurance Challenge is tomorrow! I've run it the past four years, moving from the 50K distance in '07 to fifty miles in '08, '08, and '10. The course has had modifications every year, but the most dramatic have come this year. The 50 mile course last year felt long (~53 miles), and this course feels shorter at 51.2 miles (by NFEC). I predict a course record. Here's Jim Vernon of the Endurables awesome flyover of the 2009 course.

Hostel>Alta Water Stop> TV> Muir Beach look identical to prior years. However, before this was 13.1 elapsed distance, now 12.7. I think they moved the aid station at Muir Beach.

Mile 12.7 to Cardiac 18. Last year the aid station was at Bootjack (mile 18.9) in guide. I thought they hadn't wheeled it all the way up to Bootjack and the course was actually 20 miles to here. So definitely .9 mile shorter.

Cardiac 18 to McKennan Gulch (22.8). Again, I didn't think they'd wheeled the distance from Bootjack back to PanToll last year, and the official distance of 23.6 last year was short.

McKennan Gulch to Stinson Beach. Last year labeled as 4.7. This year labeled as 5.4. I think the 5.4 is more accurate.

Stinson Beach to Cardiac (formerly Bootjack). Last year 3.4. This year 3.7. Cardiac is 3/4 closer than Bootjack. Again, I think last year was never properly wheeled.

Cardiac to Old Inn. last year 5.6, this year 6.0 I ALWAYS thought this one of the toughest sections. Bootjack trail was super technical, and Lost Trail climb can seem endless. Bootjack is being reconstructed, so the trail is rerouted on Ben Johnson, a smoother, less technical trail. Distance is probably accurate now.

Old Inn to Muir Beach. last year 3.3, this year 3.7. I think the aid station must have moved to make up the .4 distance.

Muir Beach to Tennessee Valley. last year 4, this year 2.9. A killer climb up Coyote Ridge. The route used to continue ALL the way up Coyote Ridge, then around on Miwok. Now it descends immediately on Fox Trail, cutting out ~200 feet and some technical descent on Miwok. Definitely faster.

Tennessee Valley to Alta Water stop. Last year 3.1, this year 3. Maybe this finally got wheeled?

Alta water stop to FINISH!!! Last year 2.7, this year 3. Either they wheeled this, or the finish line is in a different postion in Fort Barry.

Total 2011 official distance: 51.2
Total 2010 official distance: 50.4

In working through the numbers, I think the 2011 mileage might be fairly accurate. This makes 2010 at least 3 miles under-reported.
2 miles longer for using Bootjack rather than Cardiac
1.1 for using Miwok rather than Fox.

The weather Friday was unseasonably warm, with a sunny 73 degree day in San Francisco. It's supposed to cool off to the 60s tomorrow, but still warm for December. It also hasn't rained, and the trils should be less muddy than prior years. I still predict (easily) a course record from the changed course.

1 comment:

  1. I registered almost exactly 50 (49.95) on my Garmin 310XT, for whatever that's worth. My mileage was running about 0.5 above theirs my the time we got to Stinson, and then Stinson to Cardiac was seriously shorter than they listed it as, and the rest was pretty close. I haven't run this race before, so I can't comment on prior courses.