Trail Photography by David Wilcox
This is our third year running (pun intended) for the Wildwood Trail Sock. It started out as a fun way to support our friend Abby's simple quest for the end of the 30 mile trail of the same name. It is safe to say that it really hasn't evolved past that to any degree, but it is still fun to see her set aside the bike for a bit every year and lace up her running shoes instead. David on the other hand, who know's what's going on there? That man is just plain crazy and his thirst for adventure cannot be satiated with 1000k bike rides and the like.
Both David and Abby contributed their views from the Wildwood Trail this year as we prepared to launch a new wool sock and they prepared to run their little buns off.
Winter in Portland is a great time to switch sport gears from cycling to running. Running doesn’t take as long, and requires less clean up afterwards. Plus, with more rainy days than not in December and January it was easy to keep up with the running this winter.
For the 4th year in a row Abby Watson and Co. made a goal of running the length of the Wildwood Trail. To commemorate this feat and pay a bit of homage to an amazing 30 and 1/4 mile stretch of (bicycle prohibited) single track through Washington Park and Forest Park on the Northwest side of Portland we have come up with a new version of our Wildwood Trail Sock V3.0 to be exact.
The weekend of the run the weather was incredible, sunny and 65. This weather was hard to imagine considering most of our training runs this year had been in the cold rain — often times also in the dark.
Runners to your marks!
We made our way to the Washington Park end of the Wildwood Trail and got moving around 8:45 on Super Bowl Sunday morning. The trails are nice and quiet that early in the morning.
There were two planned support stops along the way at mile marker 10 and 25, so we only had to carry enough water and food to get us through 15 miles at the longest stretch. The trail keeps you honest with blue diamond shaped markers on the trees every 1/4 mile, so you always know how far you’ve gone or how far you have to go.
The trail conditions were almost perfect. Much of the mud we were accustomed to running in had dried up over a few sunny, dry days, and the biggest obstacles we had to deal with were a rogue couple walking their trail goat (see below), and a couple of blowouts caused by the torrential rain that had fallen over the past few months.
When we reached the end of the trail at Newbury Road, the only thing we could think about was what we were going to eat. That and maybe the fact that it was time to start riding bikes again.
I love Forest Park. The park itself is really the primary reason that I do this run. That, and at some point I got sick of changing brake pads on my road bike more than once a month thanks to Portland’s wintry mix of rain and road grime. So, when the Pacific Northwest cyclocross season began to wind down in November, I set my sights on running Wildwood for the fourth time.
When I first ran Wildwood, it seemed impossible to imagine running 30 miles. What would I eat? Would I have to walk? What if I had to go to the bathroom?!
My friend Sarah and I ran it that first year much like one would ride their first 100 mile bike ride; we were super nervous, tried to plan every detail, brought way too much food and in the end were both shocked at how doable it was.
Each year, we plan less, pack a little less food and just generally don't get worked up about the whole thing. In fact, this year it felt like we were winging it. We had all been running some, but were not committed to a date or even to doing the full run until two days before when we saw how perfect the weather was going to be. 60 and sunny? In February?
The run itself was largely uneventful this year. The weather was as promised and we held a pretty steady and comfortable pace for the bulk of the run. We did see a large billy goat out for a walk, and my legs gave up around mile 27, but neither was shocking because Portland is weird and running 30 miles is hard. So we finished, drank a beer, and swore we’d never run Wildwood again.