Race: Cuyamaca 100k

Runner: Stephanie G

Race Date: 10/05/2019

Location: Julian, CA (about 40 miles east of San Diego)

Results: 13:18, 4th female, 25th overall

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2768005227

cuyamaca 100k ultra race report

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

The logistics were easy and low stress
Having an indoor (warm) area to hang out in afterwards
The first half of the course

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

Not the fault of the race – but driving to the race, Google maps led me down a road for 15 minutes that ended up dead-ending instead of going to the starting area. I think the road probably used to go through, but it doesn’t currently. I was really glad I had left early! Be careful when you follow the directions to the start area.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

Nothing really weird – except that somehow aid station volunteers filled my bottles up twice (in a row) with Tailwind when I asked for water, which I didn’t find out about until I was back out running. I haven’t used Tailwind so I was a little nervous about that, and it’s definitely not as good to pour on your head.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I had a really strong first half where I felt in control and everything felt easy. The miles absolutely flew by and I couldn’t believe it when I was done with the first 50k.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

It gets warm out there! There’s a ton of trail that’s very fun and runnable, and there are a decent number of rocks (my toenails were more sore than any other part of my body in the days after).

The beginning gets quite backed up, with the trail narrowing to single track really quickly, followed by a creek crossing that can get a bit time consuming if you are behind a bunch of people. Keep that in mind when deciding where you want to start. It’s pretty hard to pass people the first 4 miles or so, but easy the rest of the race.

Loop 2 is the hardest section with what felt like the most climbing.

Though the heat sticks in my mind the most, the morning was surprisingly cold. I was in a Houdini, with the hood up, for the first 4 miles. I finished a little before 8pm and may have wanted a jacket if I had been out there much longer.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course is made up of three loops that all start/finish at Camp Cuyamaca. The first loop is 32 miles, so a nice mental boost when you’re done with half the race by the time you’re done with the first loop. The biggest factor for me was how warm it got as the day went on. There were also a couple of spots with slightly confusing course markings.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes – desert-like, but with trees as well.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I’d say it’s probably moderate.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

It was well run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Medium – most runners were local from San Diego.

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.

It does sell out quickly so register early. You can camp at the start or there are Airbnbs nearby in Julian (and maybe other towns). Julian is about 30 minutes away.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Pretty standard fare, although seriously lacking in grapes! 🙂

Weather and typical race conditions

Sunny and warm! Low 80s maybe?

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Nothing special necessary.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

If they hang out at Camp Cuyamaca they could see you as you came in from each loop. I’m not sure how long it would have taken to drive to another aid station.

How’s the Swag?

A shirt, medal, reusable cup

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I’d say 4 out of 5. It was a nice race – no big “wow” factor but well-organized and a good atmosphere. The majority of the runners seemed to know each other from a San Diego running group which created a friendly environment.