On Saturday I had the pleasure of helping with a 22 mile group training run for the Zion 100 coming up in a few months. Our group included Justin, George, Jared, and Kelly.
Our destination was Grafton Mesa, one of my favorite parts of the course. The route starts out mellow enough but with the mesa ahead, it's clear that there is only one direction to go: up.
Lots of up.
There are some grunt sections with good climbing and technical trails, but I think the climb up this mesa is considerably easier than other mesa climbs on the course (particularly the Gooseberry climb and the Flying Monkey Trail - see last year's race report if you want to check out those gnarly trails).
It is impossible to run in places like this without stopping every once in a while to check out the incredible scenery surrounding you.
The view once you reach the top is downright beautiful. Here is Kelly soaking in the view:
Once we reached the top, we took a side connector trail that I had never been on before. I really loved it. There is nothing like running a trail for the first time and seeing your surroundings in a way you've never seen. There was a great shot of Gooseberry Mesa in the distance.
Jared and I missed a trail junction somewhere and got separated from the rest of the group which wasn't a big deal because we both knew where we were going. Our destination was the rim of Gooseberry:
Jared and I spent many, many hours together during the Alpine to Slickrock 50 miler and I always have fun running with him. He is a great technical downhill runner (of which I'm not).
Our loop finished with a descent down Crybaby Hill, a steep dirt road. We will be going down this during the race which has the potential to trash quads. I'm not ruling out the possibility of being a crybaby by this point in the race.
The view from the bottom of Crybaby Hill after the quad thrashing has taken place:
The Zion 100 is definitely shaping up to be an epic race adventure! I can't wait.