To the Top of the City

Coming into this weekend, I felt like I had a lot of time and space – there was very little on my schedule, though I knew I would have some writing and recording to do. Mostly, with the sun doing its best, I was looking forward to getting some exercise.

Between the summer weather and continuing tendon issues, I have barely been running for months; I don’t remember the last time I ran in the city, though I did make it out on my last two visits to Wilbur. So while my cycling legs are in reasonable shape – I got up to the top of Tam, well above the damp fog, a week ago, and have in mind to get up Diablo before I go to England (again!) – I realised I ought to at least try to get my running legs back so that I can enjoy the runs I typically get to do once I am over there.

It’s also a while since I felt the need to run around a roam route; mostly I am on familiar grounds now. McLaren Park was such an unknown quantity that walking round it with a phone map at hand seemed a better option. For the next roam, while I am well acquainted with the high points of San Francisco, either on foot or on a bike, the open-ended route I had planned took in a few places I wanted some refreshing to get back into my body. So on a sunny afternoon, I took the N-Judah outbound from Duboce Park to Cole Valley, and started trotting, quite slowly and self-consciously, at least until I got on the trails, where it became a matter of tackling what was at hand.

A lot of the climbing is fairly gentle – especially the trails on Mount Sutro, where I was least familiar with the North Ridge trail, which meanders about Medical Center Way to the summit; I also wanted to tackle the new Clarendon connector from the other end to the one I usually come into the mountain from.
I hadn’t planned my food intake very well prior to running, so while my legs were doing okay at the first peak, my blood sugar felt off; luckily I had a bar with me, and in time that took effect, as I sweated up both of the Twin Peaks. And then realised that I was also going to be approaching Mount Davidson from an unfamiliar angle. In the end, I was able to use visual cues – like the covered reservoir – to get me to the entrance on La Bica, and from there to the summit. On the way down, I tried a different trail to the usual one, and ended up at the top of Dalewood, a fearsome road I have not dared to climb on my bike for a few years, and only ever attempted when I was at my fittest. And then it was a short trot to West Portal station, where the T took me back home in a matter of minutes, a little stiff after the exertions.

I only hope that there isn’t a repeat of the McLaren Park roam, which was scouted on a gorgeous day, and then largely fogged in on the day itself.

Mt Sutro woods statue.jpgLooking back at my photos of the woods on Mount Sutro from a few years ago, I noticed how much more overgrown things seemed on my last visit. This water-guardian is much less visible now.

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