The packet pickup was at Fleet Feet in Downtown Sacramento and there were no lines when I went Friday morning. It also gave me a chance to pick up some last minute fuel. There is also same day packet pickup and race registration at the event itself.
The race started at 8:00AM and we got there about an hour early. The race is located at Granite Point on Folsom Lake. It’s a state park and you have to pay $12 to enter the park, but there was plenty of parking right near the packet pickup and port-o-potties (which there were plenty of).
The start line is about ¼ mile from the parking lot and Hoka One One was there with shoes to demo. Fleet Feet was also there in case you needed some last minute shirts, hats, or other extra items.
There were two courses, the short course (6.6 miles) and the long course (11.2 miles). I did the long course and the course measured out exactly at 11.2 miles, which is the first race that was right on in terms of mileage. There was 571 feet of elevation gain on the long course and while there were a bunch of hills, there were only a few that were significant (although it’s all relative). The trails were clearly marked by orange tape on the trees and caution tape preventing you from going on the wrong trail. They also had chalk arrows for confusing points.
The race started on time and since this was my first trail race, I am only guessing that most trail races are like this, but it was rather jammed up for the first few miles. It was easy enough to pass people next to the trail through. There were aid stations at miles 4.25, 5.75, and 7.75. They had water and Nuun at each location.
It rained fairly hard the whole day before, but the course only had one or two muddy spots and the course was beautiful. The forecast from the day before showed steady rain and 20 mph winds predicted on race day, but that morning it was dry and the winds were almost non-existent. It was perfect!
At the finish line, they announced your name and time as you cross under the inflatable arch. They handed you a water and a stainless steel pint glass. Yolo Brewing was on hand where they had a few beers for you to try. You also got a burrito. They promoted fajitas, but there were no grilled peepers or onions. It was one awesome burrito, especially after a race. Much better than what I am used to at my half marathons.
There were tons of picnic tables and the atmosphere was really laid back. I loved the whole trail race experience and can’t wait to do another one. This was the inaugural Granite Head Trails and Ales. I plan on making this an annual event.