salmon falls 50k race report

Race: Salmon Falls 50K

Runner: Jami Barrett

Race Date: 02/29/2020

Location: Pilot Hill, CA

Results: 5th in age group, 50K PR at 6:04:16

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

  1. Slightly easier 50K with most of your climbing at the beginning and then rollers for the last 20ish miles.
  2. The unofficial aid station behind a guys house – just an igloo water cooler filled with cold water. Perfect for that stretch when I was out of water and still had a mile to the next aid station.
  3. Beautiful single track.

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

I don’t love running around Folsom Lake, so towards the end I was kind of over it. Also, running that levy at the end is evil. It’s probably a mile of flat, gravely “trail” with a head wind!!

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

Pretty standard race really. Not much weird about it.

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

Loved that unofficial aid station – best water on the course. Also, the last aid station was manned by some very enthusiastic volunteers who were wonderful. Actually, all of the aid station volunteers were amazing and helped me so much! They filled my bottles while I grabbed food.

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

Don’t go out too fast on those hills. They are totally runnable. But so is the rest of the course. If you blow it on those first hills, the rest of the race will feel long and drawn out.

Almost all of your climbing is in the first 13 miles or so. Be mindful of this and plan accordingly.

Buses – you take a bus from the finish to the start. Get on the first or second bus and sit at the front of that bus. When you get there, you’ll have clean bathrooms and short lines!!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

This race was probably my best executed ever. Gels and Tailwind mixed nicely as my primary fuels and I took them regardless of whether I wanted to or not (I wasn’t ever really hungry during this race). Supplemented these with fruit and chips at the aid stations. I felt well fueled throughout and I’m happy with how things went.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Hm…The climbing is in the first 13 miles. Know that and plan accordingly.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Most of it is. You get a variation of forest, open grasslands/hills, and running along Folsom Lake. There were a couple of beautiful mossy, green, vibrant sections around the lake that I really loved.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I would say no… Not compared to many other 50K and shorter courses that I’ve run in Auburn!

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

Super well run. They definitely know what they’re doing and have it down to a science. This is an established race and everything went according to plan.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Probably? I don’t really look at this stuff. But in our area, it’s a flatter 50K, so easier to PR. I suspect people show up with that in mind.

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.

Nope! You do have the option to get your entry back by raising $500 for the Juvenile Diabetes Fund, which is what this race supports. So that’s kind of cool if fundraising for races is your thing. Or if you know someone affected with Juvenile Diabetes.

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

Standard fare. No gels or PB&J’s for the first 2 or 3 aid stations, so plan accordingly. Later aid stations are stocked as expected. (Also, this was clearly stated in the pre-race email, so that’s nice).

Weather and typical race conditions

March in northern CA varies. It was beautiful for us this year. Two years ago it was literally freezing when the race started and still cold at the finish. You could expect anything from a perfect spring day to frost and/or rain.

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

Nope. You could run this with handheld bottles as long as you plan for the 9 mile stretch without aid stations.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

The finish line is super friendly for friends. My family met me half-way along the levy at the finish on their bikes and rode next to me until I hit the single track. Downside is they missed the finish. Upside is I got to see them when all I wanted was to be done.

How’s the Swag?

Eh. Past years have been better. This year was a t-shirt weight zip-up hoodie. In the past it was a jacket. Cool logo though.

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

5/5 and I’d recommend others run it for sure!

salmon falls 50k race report