20 Mile Peterson Ridge Rumble

"The first mile is a liar... and so are the next nine!"

View of Mount Washington from the Peterson Ridge Rumble course!

Cost: $45.00
Type: Trail
Length: 20 miles (32 kilometers)
Elevation Gain: ~1300 feet (396 meters)

I registered for this race as a kickoff to my 50K training for the Siskiyou Outback (SOB!) down in Ashland. A 20 mile race was a bit much this early in the training cycle (technically this was week 1 of 16), but it looked fun and I love central Oregon, so what the heck.

I ramped up my running a bit in the month leading up to this, but I still hadn’t run anything more than 14 miles. I also spent the weekend prior to the race in San Diego doing nothing but eating badly, sleeping badly and drinking lots of alcohol. My fitness was definitely messed up.

The weather was amaze-balls! Sunny, clear, temperatures in the fifties. You couldn't ask for better running weather. Well, maybe a few clouds wouldn't have hurt. I do most of my running near Portland, after all. I'm not really used to running in a lot of sunshine!

The start was at Sisters Middle School. We saw the 40 milers off at 8 AM, and then the 20 milers started at 9 AM. We ran out immediately to a single track trail. These trails were dusty and dry, not like the soft and squelchy trails around Portland. We ran this trail for over a mile before hitting a gravel road.

The gravel road was wide and straight and almost two miles long, and then we turned onto some sweet single track. The trails appeared well maintained. There were a number of small rocks and some sections were pretty rocky, but there was nothing horribly technical.

The trees were sparser here than around Portland, although they generally provided a decent amount of shade, and there wasn’t much understory. Some sections were very exposed, and while the temperature climbed up to just above 60 fahrenheit, it felt much warmer under the sunshine.

The first aid station was about four miles in. I was feeling good and blew through it. Shortly after that, I took my first of two falls. The most dangerous time for falling while trail running is when you’re around other people. It’s hard to see what’s coming on the trail in front of you if you’re close behind someone. I cut my hand up on some of the small rocks on the trail and skinned my knees, but I was able to keep going.

Peterson Ridge left some scars! Ouch!

There were several moments during the first half of the race where the trees parted and you got some beautiful views of the Cascades, specifically the Sisters and Mount Jefferson! If you’re looking for a race with some great scenery, this is certainly up there, especially if you get clear skies like we had!

The second aid station was at mile seven. I stopped and a volunteer cleaned and bandaged my hand for me – it was bleeding pretty badly! A word about the volunteers in this race – they were awesome! They were happy to be there and happy to help the runners. They really made the race so fantastic! I grabbed a quick bite to eat, refilled my handheld and loped on up a few more miles to the halfway point and the beginning of the downhill!

Still smiling around mile 10!

Somewhere around mile 10 or 11, I took my second fall. I was barreling down a hill, once again close behind some other runners, when my toe struck a small rock and I fell forward. No lasting damage, but I did skin my knees up even more. I got up, brushed myself off and ran on. That was my last fall, but I did hit my knee on a boulder around mile 12. That stung!

Thirteen miles in, my recent lack of training at distance began to show itself. I began to feel tired and my muscles were beginning to get sore. Shortly after mile 13, a runner behind me said, “Here comes the climb!" I looked up and saw he was right… A hill! And a relatively steep one! Ugh!

I made my way up the hill slowly and steadily, cursing the entire way. But it was worth it! The view from the top of that hill, featuring Black Butte and Mount Washington, was stunning! I had just commented to another runner that all the views had seemed to be in the first half of the race, but this made a liar out of me!

Almost 17 miles in, we hit that straight gravel road again. This is where I broke down a bit. I struggled to even break a jog here. It was hot. I shuffled forward and took my shirt off. There was no shade. This stretch of road was the toughest part of the race for me. Hills, no problem. Rocky sections, no problem. Straight flat gravel road, just kill me.

I sped up again once I hit some single track. Just over a mile to the finish! I passed a few folks in that last mile. My watch beeped the 20 mile mark just as the school came into view. One of the volunteers told me there was still a lap to do around the track! Urgh! That track looked huge for some reason!

A gal came up behind me during the lap and managed to pass me. I fought for a bit, but I was just too sore at that point to race. I made it in to the finish with a time of 3 hours 38 minutes. Not fantastic, but hey, not horrible for not being in shape for 20 miles of trails. I was glad to receive my “Peterson Ridge Rumble" finisher socks!

Post race food included burritos, brownies, and several other goodies. I can’t usually eat a whole lot right after a run like that, so I only managed to eat half a burrito and down a couple cans of Coke. I hung with my friend, Ian, for a while, saw the first of the 40 milers come in, and took a shower before driving 2 1/2 hours back to Portland.

Ian and I were happy to be done!

I have nothing but good things to say about this race. It’s well-organized, the volunteers are amazing, and the course is very well marked. Starting line bathrooms are in the school, which is nicer than the usual port-a-potty. And the views! On a clear day, the views from this course are fantastic!

I wasn’t thrilled with my race results, but I’m OK with them since I didn’t train very hard. The hard training starts now for the SOB 50K in July!