On July 25th, I set out to run the complete Lost Coast Route from Mattole Beach to Usal Beach in Unsupported style for the second time in 11 months.
Back in August 2020, during the heart of COVID on a moderate amount of training, I was looking for a challenge; needless to say, this route exposed all of my weaknesses. Finishing in 17 hours and 36 min the wheels fell off with 10 miles to go, and I ended up hiking it out to the end.
Within 24 hours, I knew I would be back.
As a solid middle-of-the-pack ultra runner, I made the Lost Coast my "A" goal for the year with tons of specificity built into my last training block for this effort. I knew that I would need to treat it like a race to put up a respectable time on this route.
Almost 11 months to the day, I was back to throw down on this rugged and ruthless course; the Lost Coast did not disappoint.
Setting off at 5:15 am in the deep sandy trail heading out from Mattole beach, I planned to keep it even and steady on the beach section and focus on not missing the two opportunities to get up on solid trail between the three areas of beach unpassable during high tide. The conditions on the day would turn out to be perfect for efficient movement on the beach with a really low tide and a light fog with overcast cast skies keeping the sand moist and firm. Besides the scattered sections of boulder hopping, I felt cool and collected and made it to Shelter Cove in just over 5 hours.
The 2.5k 4mile road climb out of Shelter Cove is where my training would start to shine on the day, and I would run all the way to the Hidden Valley Trailhead to start the Siskyone Wilderness section. Finishing the climb to the top of Mt Chamise, I would take the quad shattering decent nice, and easy to save my legs for the final 6k of climbing in the last 15 miles of this grueling route.
Besides going slightly off course at Wheeler Camp and losing about 10 minutes, I would move well on the rugged, primitive trails in the last 12miles, my climbing gear well oiled.
Making it to Usal Rd in just over 14.5 hours, I was super stoked to knock 3+hours off my first attempt and establishing a solid time for this diverse, incredibly technical, steep, and rugged route.
It is so hard to describe just how steep and primitive the trails are in the last 15 miles of this route, more elk track than trail and overgrown to the point of bush watching in so many places.
This is an adventure route of a lifetime that throws everything at you and then some.
On the day, I saw a huge hawk, a mother elk with her faun, and female elk by herself drinking from a creek as filtered water not 10 ft from her.
A truly magical place.
Full write up at: