Jun 5, 2016 9:00:00 PM
This year was my first attempt at the Pengelly Double Dip. I ran in the Pengelly Single Dip last year and it was my first race that had some dirt trail in the race. I committed to running in the Double Dip early this year and spent my spring trail running in an attempt to prepare for this race.
This would be my first trail race with over 2000 feet of elevation gain with a total just over 3100 feet. I was definitely nervous for weeks, days, even hours leading up to the race but overall, everything went according to plan. I wanted to finish in under two and a half hours and it worked out as I crossed the finish line at 2:27:12.03.
The course consists of four distinct climbs. The first is the climb the historic "M" on the face of Mount Sentinel. This climb is crowded with runners and consists of the first 500 feet of elevation gain. After the "M" the course traverses the face of Sentinel and then works its way towards Crazy Canyon. This was fast part of the course with easy climbing grades and nice views. The climb to the saddle between Sentinel and University Mountain is steep in places and an area where I could definitely improve. Once at the saddle, The hardest part of the race starts with the climb to the Beacon. It is very steep in places and also loose. I really felt the need for more leg strength during this part of the course. Definitely the hardest part in my opinion. After descending back the way you just came, the only climb left is to the top of Mount Sentinel. It is not a very long climb from the saddle and knowing it would be downhill or flat from that point made it easier. The descent down the Smoke Jumper trail is long but open enough to be able to carry good speed. The final leg is around a mile on the Kim Williams trail into the finish.
I did experience calf cramps and hot spots on my heels going down the Smoke Jumper trail and also when entering the Kim Williams trail near the finish. I found the transitions between climbing, descending and then flat ground to be painful near the end of the race.
Next year the key will be to improve my climbing strength as the steep climbs proved to be the hardest part for me. I look forward to giving it another try next year.
Kudos to those who run the course twice as well as the guy who completed the course three times. I can't even imagine that strength and determination to accomplish that.