Sierra Kilo Tango: 9 Hours of Bungholio

Course profile map with cryptic hand gestures.


I was passed by the finest names in SoCal ultras at least once. It helps when you're running different races to get the full impact of major talent. What bites was that twenty years ago I ran the 50-mile in the same time as I lurched thru the 50k.

There was an astonishing number of polite people out on the course, who also included newbies trying on their first trail run ever. It was great seeing them trying and getting it. They got their money’s worth.

I met people last year that I completely forgot until this year, when they called me by name. Holy fucking shit—that’s a mind-slip. But they were chill, still dropping me like they owed me money.

Race Particulars

The course is a perverse T-shaped out-n-back that humps over several ridge lines in northern LA Co. Last year I tried on the 50-mi outing for size, and got pulled at 29 miles, taking the drop-down to a 50k. Yes, it used to be a loop, but that was when the world was young and long before the war.

This can be insanely runnable. With 50mi winning times in the low 6hr range, compared to the technical challenges of Red Rocks 50, it justifies the “Cali Carpet Trail” moniker. You just have to bring that game.

The weather was magnificent. Even if you were wearing black capris and tights like I saw a lot of newbies in, you weren’t dying. A day later and temperatures had jacked into the 90s up on the Divide.

The Older I Get The Faster I Was

This is where my tortured narrative comes in—like Tori Amos riding that piano bench wailing about lost love. My stride has gone to shit for speed. It needs help. This gave me more time to dream up this low-level comedy fever. Insert the #InspirationalMeme of your choice, sideways.

Dropping That Deuce

I’d been running with a nice guy who fervently hoped he’d never have to pinch a loaf out on the course. You haven’t lived until you’ve solved that problem. Which struck a lonely half-mile after the 21.666mi turnaround at San Francisquito Cyn Rd. I credit the dill pickle slice for rebalancing my saline-chi and solid food. As I was taking a spur off to make the magic, a well-intentioned woman advised me etc. I was about to go into full detail when she got it, and dropped the conversation. That done, I dropped a log that was so dry it had bark and branches on it. Try to unsee that.

Finishing Up

I knew my time was gonna be loose and hard to swallow. So why not spend some time with friends out there? Spent a fine moment with Howie Stern, who was doing yeoman work taking race photos. Did the old-school thing, popped a can of canned apricots and split it with him. Strava®™ didnt give a shit, so fuck them. They haven’t upped their race categories above 26.2 either.

I crossed the finish line a hero of my own creation. The only thing that got pulled this time was the pud of my shriveled ego. I'll adjust.

You know you want this. Start at UltraLandia.


Bib #13 said…
You haven't lived until you've seen some running chick squat in front of you.
Mr Trail Safety said…
facts of life, Holmes!
Luke Barger said…
It's cool, most of us just aren't as memorable as you.

I had a food in to gas out routine locked in with impressive regularity until I had to wave off for fear of getting more than I'd bargained for. I spent about ten miles mid run sizing up likely spots by the side but every time I found a likely place I was feeling fine. There were similarities to that thing with your foot that you spend miles wondering if you should stop to address. I decided to get proactive at the San Fran porta-loo, and that was that.

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