The Los Padres National Forest and more specifically Big Sur, has played host to some of my greatest endurance challenges over the last decade of my life. Big Sur is widely known as one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, and rightly so. It’s an extremely rugged section of California’s central coast situated between Carmel and San Simeon. Bordered to the west by the great Pacific and to the east by the Santa Lucia Mountains, it’s only traversed by the narrow and winding Highway 1, known for stunning seaside cliffs and never ending views of the misty and jagged coastline.
I remember my first visit to Limekiln State Park and visiting the falls as a teenager fondly. Hiking up Hare Creek trail amongst larger than life Redwoods, it was a magical introduction to the wonders of Big Sur.
While attending Cal Poly SLO for college years later, we’d often explore the southern stretches of the wild terrain, visiting Plaskett Creek Campground for surfing, Gorda and the Whale Watchers Cafe for a warm meal, and Salmon Creek Falls for more hiking adventures. I’ve even been fortunate enough to spend a few remarkable evenings at the Esalen Institute, soaking my sore muscles in the natural hot springs.
After college, I got into bikes - more specifically road cycling and epic two-wheeled adventures around the globe. Trips to the French Alps, Italy’s Lake Como, and massive mountains in Taiwan and beyond can’t compare to the days I’ve spent riding through, and around Big Sur. One day in particular stands firm as one of my top solo adventures, dubbed “The Big Sur Loop” -- 165 miles in just under 10 hours in the middle of December with 16 minutes of stop time. I was absolutely flying that day in 2015 and circumnavigating the massive wilderness was one of the most satisfying activities I’ve ever completed by myself. It set me up nicely to have zero guilt leading into the impending calorie binge that was before me that holiday season.
Fast forward to 2019 and I’ve spent the past two years adapting my endurance engine into a run specific, finely tuned turbo diesel. I’ve run countless numbers of trail races, ten ultramarathons, and a couple of road marathons, but have had my eye on a special event for quite some time, perhaps even before I was a runner…
I’m very excited to join the Big Sur Marathon family for 2020 and happy to announce I’ll be running my third marathon on Sunday, April 26th, 2020 at the 35th Annual edition. I may be heading up the sinuous Route 1 in a new direction, but the feelings will be very much the same, albeit under a different mode of transport: my own two feet.
As with visiting any place you’ve spent many hours exploring, I expect a flood of memories from my past adventures in this beautiful place, all while creating new ones to look back on cherish for years to come.
In 228 days, I hope to join my friend D'Ann Arthur in becoming another first-timer to break the tape of the Big Sur International Marathon in Carmel, California. Follow along as I build toward this goal in the months to come, it’s sure to be a wild and twisty ride, just like the 26.2 miles of the course we’ll all face on race day next spring.