Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Stevens Creek ultra marathon

I spent this Saturday morning immersed in the spirit of our local Stevens Creek. With several connections to that name, actually:
  1. Stevens Creek, the creek;
  2. Stevens Creek County Park;
  3. Stevens Creek Reservoir;
  4. Stevens Creek Striders, my Cupertino running club;
  5. Stevens Creek Trail;
  6. The Friends of Stevens Creek Trail;
  7. Stevens Creek Wildlife Corridor;
  8. Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh Trail;
  9. Stevens Creek Hetch-Hetchy Trails;
  10. The Stevens & Permanente Creeks Watershed Council (and their blog)
  11. Stevens Creek Boulevard;
  12. And Stevens Canyon Road.
My initial goal was to attend two dedications of new sections of the Stevens Creek trail this morning: the Moffett Boulevard Overcrossing and the El Camino Real to Sleeper Avenue. I ended up by running 31.2 miles (50K), from Cupertino to the Stevens Creek Reservoir, down to the Palo Alto Baylands, trough Shoreline Park in Mountain View and running through Los Altos and Sunnyvale. 4 hours and 15 minutes of running over 5 hours.
Most of my runs are now on trails so I usually don't use the street mode option in SportsTrack, but, since this run was more "suburban" than usual, here it is:
I hope you too enjoy these extensions of the trail. From Sleeper Avenue in Mountain View, you can know walk, run or bike as far as Byxbee Park near the Palo Alto Airport and Golf without crossing a road! The City of Mountain View and its partners have really done their part of the job to link the Cupertino hills to the Bay. Unfortunately, it now comes down to three cities, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Cupertino to resolve political imbroglios to find the way to finish this wildlife corridor.

In the meantime, please consider supporting the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail association, and join us at the TrailBlazer 10K or 5K race at the end of September (Sunday September 27, 2009). This is a great race (or walk), with ample parking and easy logistic (you start and finish at the Microsoft parking lot), for a good cause and with great company. I won the 10K race a few years ago, then PR'ed in 2007 getting just under 34 minutes; I look forward to running it again this year, between a few other ultra marathon races I have scheduled for the remaining of the season.

By the way, that was my own improvised version of a "Stevens Creek 50K", but the official one will be hold in September (9/12), directed by Steve Patt.

Here are some pictures taken along the way of my morning run. You can find more of them in my Picasa album.

I first ran from home to the main parking of Stevens Creek County Park, where our club, the Stevens Creek Striders meet every Saturday morning at 8:30 am, for a run in the hills before gathering for breakfast at Hobbie's.
From the Stevens Creek Reservoir, I then ran down to the new start of the Stevens Creek Trail, at the crossing of Sleeper Avenue and Franklin Avenue. On my way, I passed the last open field in Mountain View, a farm which is going to soon be likely transformed into a large housing development.
I was convinced that the dedication at Sleeper Avenue was at 10 am, and 11:30 for the Moffett Boulevard overcrossing, but it was the other way so I sprinted down the trail to arrive just in time for the ribbon cutting (after missing the speeches though).
After crossing the bridge for the first time with the rest of the 100+ attendees to the ceremony, I continued my run on this trail which I ran thousands of miles on, since I moved in the Bay Area in 1998. I did not have enough time to make it quite to Palo Alto's Byxbee Park, but far enough to see the pelicans who are back already at Shoreline and in the Baylands.
On the way back, I mused and stopped to observe an egret fishing:
I had run 24 miles when I arrived at Sleeper Avenue for the second time, and in time to hear the end of Mr. Patrick Kwok's speech (Santa Clara Valley Water District) and see the unveiling of the commemorative plaques by the Mountain View City Council:
On my way back to Cupertino I passed by my company, on Fremont (unfortunately, we are moving away from the trail to the IBM site on North First Street, in October):
Then over 85 on the old overpass between Belleville/The Dalles and Bernardo:
Then over 280 on the brand new overpass at Mary Avenue:
As you can see, a lot has been done in the area for bicycles and pedestrians, let's be grateful to our city representatives and... lobby for more so the Stevens Creek Trail can connect the Bay to our precious and well preserved South Bay and Mid peninsula hills and Santa Cruz Mountains.

In the meantime, let's thank some of major stake holders in getting the "Trail Ends" sign... "Further, Faster" (the name of my blog...): the City of Mountain View, Bay Area Quality Management District, California Natural Resources Agency, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and Intuit, Inc.

6 comments:

CupertinoRunningAgain said...

Jean,

I follow your blog regularly as I run Fremont Older, Stevens Creek Reservoir, and Rancho San Antonio regularly. This Saturday morning @ 8:17am, I drove past Monta Vista high school when I thought, "that guy is going pretty fast". Much more so then a weekend runner I guess, is what I thought. Then as I past you, I recognized it was you.

I missed the dedication ceremonies for the new trail entrances, but decided to run this morning from the Sleeper Ave entrance to Stevens Creek Trail. This is only my second time on the trail, the first was last year's Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail 10K.

It's a great local resource, and I can't wait for the other cities to open up connections to it, further south.

Your training, racing, and writing are inspiring.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Une belle "promenade"!
Bises
Maman

Aaron said...

Very cool blog. You do love to run!
We appreciate all the kind references to Stevens Creek Trail and the Friends.
Yes, we will keep on working in the upstream cities to continue the trail. Things are moving forwards, but it's slow.
See you at the Trailblazer in September!
Best regards,
Aaron Grossman, Executive Director
Friends of Stevens Creek Trail

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if you added a link to The Stevens & Permanente Creeks Watershed Coiuncil www.spcwc.org
and our blog www.blog.spcwc.org

Thanks,

Mondy Lariz
Executive Director
Stevens & Permanente Creeks Watershed Council

Jean Pommier said...

Thank you for your comment, Mondy. I added the link to your Council to the long list of Stevens Creek-related names in the Valley. Thank you so much for your leadership, time and energy to protect the wonderful natural environment of our local community!

Jean.

Jean Pommier said...

Aaron, thank you for the nice note and all these years spent on supporting these trail extensions.
Yes, see you in September. I have a double-marathon on Saturday that same weekend, so I may not be very fast at your race on Sunday... ;-)