Santa Barbara Nine Trails Half (training run),
20 miles, 6,200 feet gain
by Jim Wolff

24 October 2004

All words and photos by Jim Wolff unless otherwise noted.

Rob, Dana, and I all met up at Starbucks on Topanga and Ventura at 5:30 A.M. We decided that it would be a good idea to take two cars and this turned out to be a good decisions. In Santa Barbara we stopped at a Denny's and got a bite to eat then headed up to San Roque to the Jesusita Trailhead. Patsy, the race director, was there along with about 18 other runners and soon we all headed out in cars to the start in Romero Canyon.

We took off around 8:05 A.M. and soon Rob, Dana, and I were the last runners. We immediately agreed that it would be okay to be in hiking mode due to the steep climb. About half way up the canyon we encountered an arrow which seemed to direct us left across the creek but the trail was not clear and seemed to dead end. For whatever reason, we did not find the trail and continued up the main trail to the next intersection climbing about 1,200 feet in about 1.25 miles. At this point we met some other runners (not with the training run) who directed us to go back down to the arrow. It took about 25 minutes to get back down and by this time we had lost about one hour. This time we found the trail and also our first of many encounters with poison oak.

From here on out we didn't have any trouble finding the trail and all the intersections were clearly marked with caulk or later with sticks and rocks. At one point before reaching Gibralter, we called Pasty and told her we had gotten back on course so she would not have to wait for us if we took too long. When we got to Gibralter some people were there who told us that Patsy had just left about 2 mintutes before we arrived. It was a good thing because I was seriously thinking of dropping out. Rob got some water from the people and I made sure I still had enough to finish and we took off again. When we got back to the Jususita trailhead again no one was there. Dana called Patsy to let her know we made it back and Patsy was surprised that we had finished. I guess she thought we would have turned around after the rocky start.

We changed clothes then went to a great Mexican resturant on Milpas Street. Then drove home. All in all it was a great day. The course really kicked my butt and I'm not sure if I will want to try the full 35 mile Nine Trails Ultra in November. Time will tell.

Topo map of our route. Notice the slight detour at the start up Romero Canyon that took us 2.5 miles off course and added an extra 1,200 feet of gain.

The official 9 Trails Map.

Topo elevation mileage profile. I can't seem to get Topo to compute the correct mileage.

Runners at the Romero Canyon start.

Rob down below on the Edison catwalk.

Rob and Dana climbing up the Edison catwalk.

Rob and Dana strike a pose. Notice the power lines above hence the name Edison catwalk.

View of Santa Barbara and Pacific Ocean.

As the day went on the clouds got thicker but the trail remained rough.

Rob taking a little break on the Tunnel Trail.

Jim is all thumbs up after eating a powerbar. Photo by Dana Grenier.

Rob and Dana negotiate a rough trail leading down into Mission Canyon.

Near the end of the Jesusita Trail two horses grazed along the side of the road.

Rob and Dana take a moment to get aquainted.

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