Last Sunday, we ran the Sasquatch Racing – Rattlesnake Ramble trail race in the hills of China Camp State Park in San Rafael, CA. This is our 3rd year running this race and the third time is a charm!
This race has 5k, 10k and Half Marathon distances. This year the Running Lushes ran the 10k and Half Marathon courses. The 5k is very family friendly while both the 10k and Half Marathon distances are considered more technical and require a level of fitness and trail running experience that none of us had in years’ past. This year was a redemption race for us and we nailed it.
The race start is at the Miwok Meadows Picnic Area which is about a .25 mile walk or jog from San Pedro Road. Miwok Meadows is a beautiful grassy meadow among oak and bay woodlands. The weather had been rainy the previous week, but we lucked out it didn’t rain on race day and the area was not too muddy. We checked our gear and picked up bibs, turn-by-turn instructions and made our way to the start area. Marathon Matt, the Sasquatch Racing producer, gave last minute announcements and instructions about course markers, safety tips and then counted down the start of the Half Marathon.
The 10k race start was 15 minutes after the Half Marathon, which allows for even spacing on the course as well as equal opportunity to find the coveted silver wood-allions which are part of a fun treasure hunt of sorts. Runners lucky enough to spot a wood-allion hidden along the course turn it in at the finish for a prize!
The course winds along the Shoreline trail with some rolling hills until approximately mile two. At that point there is a water stop supplied with nice volunteers, water, electrolytes, gels and a few other snacks. Miles 2-3 follow the Bay View Trail on an uphill grade including switchbacks and an elevation gain of about 800 feet. If you haven’t died on the ascent, you get some beautiful views of San Pablo Bay once you are on the other side of the hill. This area is isolated and once you spread out from other runners, you get the true “one with nature” experience — quiet solitude and waterfalls and sounds of birds chirping.
Around the 3.5 mile marker, you enter an area that looks straight out of Jurassic (Park) period with large ferns, thick brush and downed trees. This is actually Back Ranch Fire Trail, a single track trail with rocky terrain. Your skills as a trail runner are tested especially as you are sharing a trail with bikers, hikers and other runners and there are rocks, roots and other obstacles that like to trip you up ( see Trail Running – a different kind of animal and Trail Running – not just for the hardcore ) for examples.
After a steep descent in what looks like a washed up riverbed, you finally are able to pick up normal race speed again and bring it in to the finish. However, don’t let the music and cheering people fool you, there is one last bend to go around before you really get to the finish line and receive your finisher’s medal — which this year was a cool wooden coaster/magnet. The Sasquatch Racing finisher shirts are always great, and this year’s Rattlesnake Ramble technical T was no exception. Good quality shirt and fun design means it will stay in the race t-shirt collection!
We love the finish festival as it is a brew fest where you get a tasters of Standard Deviant beer, pictures with Sassy the Sasquatch mascot and a goody bag filled with Bare Chips, Hint water, RX bars and other sweet and savory snacks. Psoas Body work was there to give massages as well as New Balance Running shoe trials.
We had a great time running this race and the easy vibe of our fellow runners. It is a challenging course, but really rewarding to be able to conquer it! And even more rewarding to earn those Bloody Marys and Tater Tots at Flatiron San Rafael which is a sports bar nearby.
If you are still with us at the end pf this post, consider joining us for the next Trail Challenge – Sasquatch Racing Sasquatch Scramble on 4/28 or Honey Badger on 10/27. You won’t regret pushing your boundaries and getting back to nature!
Trail Tea Cocktail
6oz Green tea
1 oz of simple sugar
1-2 drops of vanilla extract
1.5 oz gin
slice of lemon
Steep Green tea according to directions adding 1-2 drops of vanilla extract and simple sugar during the process. Let cool. Pour gin into lowball filled 1/3 with ice. Stir in tea mixture and give a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with the Rosemary sprig.