Race: Bridle Trails 50k
Location: Bridle Trails State Park, Kirkland, WA
Results: 3:49.29, 3rd place overall and 1st masters
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
Loop course – I found the loops to be not too long and not too short. 5.2 miles is enough to settle into running, but to know you have aid not too far away.
Trail – overall it was a nice trail and super runnable.
Local feel – this is a small, local northwest race. It’s fun to see familiar faces!
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Sharing with the horses – Generally I don’t mind this, but parts of the trail had uneven hoof prints that were frozen. These were avoidable when it was light out, but once it got dark I felt like I might twist an ankle. There aren’t a ton of them, so you get used to running the flat trail and then all of a sudden there will be uneven ground that you weren’t expecting. Also, runners have to give horses the right of way, so if you were unfortunate enough to run into one it could delay you.
Time of day – If you want some night running practice this could be a plus, but I’d have preferred to run this during the day. Given how cold it is this is also a challenge for spectators.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
There are actually 5 races happening at the same time: 5 mile, 10 mile, 50k solo, 50k pair, and 50k team. This makes it interesting as I felt like I was always getting passed or passing someone, and I had almost no idea if I was racing them or not.
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
This race was a training run for me, and I feel like the loops helped me nail it. I was targeting 50 mile effort and after starting the first lap a little fast I think I settled into it well.
Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
The one aid station at this race is a little out of the way and isn’t well appointed. If possible I recommend having your own drink and fuel refills, and ideally crew to help you with them as needed.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
My GPS had a really tough time from the start with the trees. I was going a lot faster than it was showing. If I had known this upfront I may have dialed in my pace sooner.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
There are some decent hills, but they aren’t long.
Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
Not especially, although the woods are nice. Once it starts getting dark about 2 hours into the race you can’t see much.
Difficulty – is it a tough course
This is a fairly easy course. It has about 2200ft of elevation gain, and the same loss, but I don’t think any individual climb is over 100 ft.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This is a small, local race. Overall it is well run, but isn’t as well oiled as some larger races. My two examples of this are the start, where they try and push the crowd of runners back to a barrel as the start line, and the lacking aid station. That said, for a small local race I would still say it is well run and most importantly everyone is friendly and helpful.
Competition – is there a strong field?
There are usually some local faster people that show up, but it isn’t a deep field. The next person behind me was about 20 minutes back.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Super easy and inexpensive registration on ultrasignup.
1 per 5.2mile loop, although as mentioned it is lacking.
Weather and typical race conditions –
Typically cold and/or wet… winter in the northwest!
Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
As long as you’re dressed appropriately this is pretty easy. Make sure you have warm clothes to change into at the end, and something warm to eat/drink!
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
Spectators can hang out at the start/finish area. It gets cold and dark, so make sure they are prepared!
Everyone get a horseshoe after finishing. The person handing it to me almost seemed apologetic for it…
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
I think this is a great local race, and would run it again. I wouldn’t travel for it or go out of your way to add it to your schedule though. 3 stars.