The Once And Future Baldy Peaks 50k

Luis Escobar getting his sponsored-ass kicked on the first pass over Baldy, 2004. One more to go. In 2012 he repaid the debt by calling me "the worst SOB RD anywhere" when I crossed the BTR50k finish line. He learned well.

Relevant Race History: 1988-2004

"A mildly disturbing event with a cult-like atmosphere" —Craig Holloway
Originated by John Davis, with his sons Ken and Stan. With the artistry, precision and eye to maximal sensory overload that can only come from the mind of an aerospace engineer (John) and a classically-trained musician (Ken) the race was born. Stan provided SysOps support.

Joe Franko adds that "Actually, as I recall, the credit should go to John's son Ken, who laid out the course as part of a college project at Cal Poly, Pomona. We were students together then. He was an undergraduate in mathematics and I a graduate student." So who said that science, math and pain don't mix?

The Inaugural "Zero-eth" Baldy Peaks was run as a trial effort in December 1988. There was no snow that month on top of Baldy. When the day was ended they all came home and Phyllis Davis made the lads dinner. Phyllis was a key element of the race that ended only with her sudden and untimely death in December 2000. She was missed by all of us.
All of your joy and delight on race day is thanks to Davis pere et fils. Be not stingy in your praises and hosannas.

The first official Baldy Peaks 50k was run in September 1989. The race has had a peripatetic presentation date over the years, hovering between mid July and late October--dodging the various weather and ultra-event bullets.

John decided to retire the race after the 2000 presentation. At this point Andy and Larry, the current RDs took it over and RD'd it until 2004. Incidentally, running the race is a psychic prerequisite for being a Race Director.

Ken Davis has since left the state to pursue a life that does not include Mt Baldy. Stan is our Hero Aid Station Dude at the Notch. John is The Ham Radio God, Emeritus.

The Race has gone into hibernation; a combination of HP Lovecraft and surly, Pall-Mall smoking Big Horn Sheep taking bets on the mountain somewhere.

And so it goes.


32.14 Miles. Two unequal loops with one ear. 10,775 ft climb..10,775 ft of descent. Main course landmarks are Ice House Canyon, Baldy Village, Bear Canyon, West Baldy, Baldy, Baldy Notch, Manker Flats, Sierra Club Cabin, Baldy, Notch, Thunder Mountain, Notch, Manker, Ice House Canyon. Refer to the topo map for reference.


We saw the rising monetization of ultras early in 2001, and frankly, we thought it was bullshit. So we decided to give Big Cash Prizes. We promised lots of zeroes. With bitchin' little commas in between them.
100 Million dinars, buckaroo.

But we were fair. The winner of the 2004 Race, got a laminated Japanese-Occupied Phillipines $1 bill. He looked at us in complete disbelief. Another Indian gentleman, now deceased, got a fistful of elderly Indian rupee notes. He practically wept, because they reminded him of his childhood in Madras.


Some lucky winner is quaffing ale from these beauties.

Literary Achievement: The Baldy Haikus

Baldy Peaks 2004: Haiku Standouts

This was the inaugural year for the Baldy Peaks 50k Haiku Köntest. With the dedicated help of our volunteers, Austin Grissom being the standout, runners pushed themselves to new heights of Artistical Expression. Were they inspired by the Baldy Muse? Or was it the sheer delight of being holistically hammered in Gawd's Creation? 

Read for yourself.


Poetry Slam Winner

Aldy Baldy on my mind
Had to come hop her one more time
Her trails were tough
She’s hard
Lordy, Lordy I’m fucking ‘tard (tired)
I think next year I’ll have to pass
Good ol’ Baldy will have to
Kiss my ass.
Josh Miller

Best Traditional Haiku

My feet bloody stumps
But tape them blisters real good
And I can go on.
Jennifer Evans

Best Conemporary Haiku

Sixteen lizards
To the Notch
I peed on my leg.
Mary Campilongo

From an "anonymous” volunteer

Enchanting Mountains
Adventure pass melts on dash
Parabolic Mirr’rs

Red ribbons went by
Time moves in pine needles green
Feet fly, get up twice
Michael Massoud


Anonymous said…
Great tough race. Knee-walking uphills followed by knee-smashing descents. Then repeat. Loved it!

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