I just finished a mini-training camp to build on my solid endurance and add some strength before the upcoming spring races. The camp was local. And individual. Just me here in Berkeley. And this little hill called Wildcat Peak.
Wildcat Peak is a beautiful local summit sitting above Berkeley due East of the famed Golden Gate Bridge (it’s also known as “Peace Grove“). On a clear day, it provides 360 degree views of the SF Bay, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, San Francisco, Angel Island, Alcatraz…OK, OK, I feel like I’m bragging here. Point is: it’s beautiful up there.
The idea for this little camp was based on Anton Krupicka’s 100 Green Mountain summit attempts in 100 days. This also inspired fellow Leadville 100 winner Duncan Callahan, who attempted a similar training ‘project’. Why not train like the champions? I thought, and dreamed up my Wildcat Peak project. 10 summits in less than two weeks was the goal.
The top of Wildcat Peak is a shade over five miles one-way from my place (directions from N. Berkeley are below for those who want to replicate this run) and it takes somewhere around 1,800 ft of vertical to get there. That’s a pretty tough run back-to-back-to-back… About a year ago this run would take me about 1:51 round trip.
My first of the ten runs this month was 1:37. Solid PR. By the tenth run, I was able to push it down to 1:27. Even though I was pretty tired and my legs were wondering what I was doing to them, I felt myself getting stronger with each and every step.
The question now is: will there be a positive effect on my race results? We’ll find out starting this Saturday…
Quick: Cedar to Euclid up to Tilden. Take Memory Trail to Jewel Lake and then Laurel Canyon Trail to the top of Wildcat Peak.
Detailed: Starting point: Cedar/Shattuck intersection; take Cedar East to Euclid and make a left to head north; stay on Euclid all the way past Marin to Grizzly Peak Blvd (2.2 mi); take a left onto Grizzly Peak; less than .2 miles you will encounter a five-way intersection with a church – hang a sharp right here onto Woodmont and then veer immediately left onto Wildcat Peak: the trail head is here. You’ll be on the Selby Trail for a few feet before making a left onto Memory Trail. Stay on this trail (eventually called Upper Packrat) until you hit Jewel Lake. Go around the lake to the left and take a right immediately after the wooden bridge onto Wildcat Peak Trail and then on a left onto Loop Road; take a left onto Laurel Canyon and work your way up, up, up. Eventually an unnamed single track trail opens up on the left. Go up that, take one more left at the end of that and follow to the top.