The Ray Miller 5050 is a race that has been run on and off in Southern California for a while now. This year, with new race director Kiera Henninger at the helm, we see this race begin to evolve into a premier ultra race that expands upon it’s standard 50k & 50 Mile offerings to include 100k and 30k distance. The timing of this race is perfect for me to use the 50k race as a tune-up run for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler I’m running on December 5th. Having not spent much time in the area where Ray Miller is being held, I jumped at the opportunity to join a course preview run hosted by Kiera last Saturday morning.
We started at Sycamore Canyon in Newberry Park, CA at 7am. The race actually starts in Malibu, but starting at Sycamore Canyon would allow us to get a long run of about 23 miles with nearly 5,000 feet of climbing while previewing of a section of the race course. A group of about 15 people huddled around trail sweeper John for turn-by-turn directions of the route we would take before departing from the main parking lot at Sycamore Canyon.
The route was pretty straight forward as long as you remembered a few of the main trails you need to get to, but basically followed as such:
- Head from the parking lot east towards the visitors center and hang a right on the paved road.
- Follow the paved road down the hill for about a mile and half then continue on the main road baring left to Danielson Ranch(3.2 miles from the start)
- Hang a left once the paved road ends. There are bathrooms and water at Danielson Ranch if you need to use them.
- Hop on the Blue Canyon trail towards Chamberlain Trail. You’ll start climbing at this point and that will last for the about the next 6 miles.
- You’ll pass Sandstone Peak, the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains as you near the summit of Chamberlain. It’s about a .5 mile round trip to the peak, but we opted to skip it today since we were doing enough work already.
- The next section takes you down some steep and rocky trail (my nemesis) for about 1.5 miles down to the Yerba Buena road junction.
- Kiera and Kristina were kind enough to get up at 3:30 to hit the trail early and tie some ribbon course markers as they reversed our route from Yerba Buena to Danielson Ranch.
You likely won’t have the benefit of your own trail course marking team, so do yourself a favor and download my GPX file and upload it to your watch or cellular mapping tool like MapMyRun. This will keep you on track and prevent you from scurrying down one of the many wrong trails that intersect this route.