FKT: Matthew Seidel - East Bay Skyline National Recreation Trail (CA) - 2022-07-29

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
4h 9m 48s

Not the first time I'd gone out to do the whole route for speed, but the first time it has been a success! Had made the intention to do this on my birthday for several months. Contracting COVID a week and a half out didn't help my final prep, but a few training runs in the week leading up to the effort gave me enough confidence to give it a formal go.

I started my route at 9 AM (admittedly on the later side for a summer effort). Made the conscious decision to choose extra sleep over an earlier start in hopes that the heat would not be too bad and it paid off. The fog was thick all the way through Skyline Gate and the high temp in Castro Valley was only 73 degrees. I started with 7 gels, a 16 oz flask of Skratch Superfuel, and 16 oz flask of Tailwind. 

Leaving Alvarado Gate, I had the intention of setting the overall FKT (3 hrs 59 min supported vs 4 hrs 12 min unsupported) and was on pace through the top of the Wildcat climbs, but the a strong headwind and lack of footspeed brought me off pace through Inspiration Point. Kept pushing up the Seaview climb and was feeling good until the mud began outside of Steam Trains. It was fairly muddy all the way from the connector through Sibley and Huckleberry and the Pulsars I was wearing were not the ideal grip.

I doused my head and filled an empty flask at the Silbey parking lot fountain and charged down the decent to Huckleberry. Made it though Skyline Gate 3 minutes off pace for the overall FKT and knew my body was not feeling great. Thankfully all my training runs through Redwood Regional had prepared me for the choppiness that is French Trail and was able to put in a solid effort through to West Ridge. 

The crux of the route (for me at least) was the 13+ mile stretch between fountains directly along the trail. I had roughly 16 oz of water on me leaving Skyline Gate and had run out by the time I hit Macdonald Staging Area. This coupled with being more than 5 minutes off the overall FKT pace made me re-shift my goals for the run. The supported FKT was very much still in reach, I just needed to get my body to the finish. I also knew this meant no detours off trail if I wanted the unsupported FKT as I did not have much time to play with.

I felt really strong on the ascent to Parkridge Road and then hung on for dear life until for 7 miles in the sun with no water. Somehow my body made it without falling apart to the Brandon fountain, just half a mile from the end of the uphill on the whole route. Despite only having 2 1/2 miles to go, I filled up both bottles and began the final charge down to Proctor. Legs seized up with big cramps right as the downhill started, but the pain was short lived and was able to fly down the rest of the downhill unbothered. Managed to touch the ending sign at Proctor three minutes under the previous FKT! 

Biggest of thanks to previous unsupported/current overall FKT holder Chris Thoburn for helping shuttle me back to Alvarado Gate at the end!