Foothill Flyers Race Reviews
Last update August 5, 2014
Return to: Race Reviews - Run Routes and Maps - Foothill Flyers Home Page - Weekend Warriors

The Over the Hill Track Club Presents:
High Desert Ultra 50K / 30K
"The Friendliest Race You'll Ever Run"

1st weekend on a Sunday in December, Ridgecrest, CA, 7:00 AM Start - optional 6 AM.
Special sweat shirts to those that have done 5 50K's or 5 30K's - they don't have to have been done in consecutive years - and a jacket to those that have done 10.

Download the 2014 Application and Info.

This is a great course for one's first trail Ultra - see Team Couch Potato training. The Mojave Desert is nice and cool this time of year and the trail is all up and down the low hills on dirt jeep roads. This OTHTC event is a perfect training run for the Avalon 50 Mile a month later and in the right sequence after the Catalina Eco trail marathon. In fact, your Eco time is close to this 50K time due to the less climb and no additional endurace training is necessary. The 30K is good experience if you are thinking of getting into trail marathons and ultras. Club member Larry Gothard holds the 70+ age group record in the 50K. Past RD Chris Rios and The Over The Hill Track Club does a great job setting up this race and you wont find another race with so many raffle prizes waiting for you at the finish line. Great unique hand made awards and long sleeve tech finisher shirts.

The aid stations are great. The first one, 5.5 miles out at Hubcap junction and the split for the 30K/50K, has home made brownies and banana nut bread. Most have red potatoes, pepsi, Gatorade, candy, cookies, etc., which make it hard to leave. At right, Foothill Flyers founder, Sandy Johnson passes under the golden arch at the mile 22.5 Pack Rats hiking club aid station. The station is all decorated for Christmas compete with a tree and presents . Next, you can hear the music a mile away as you come down hill to the last 30K/50K combined aid station at Gracie's Mansion where you can dance around the camp fire and have a beer or bloody mary if you want. Then when you finish, you can take a shower at the gym (bring a towel) before coming back outside to the finish line to cheer others in or wait for the awards if you get in soon enough. Prior to 2008 the RD supplied a couple of kegs of cold Mojave Red and a slice of pizza at the finish.

Drive time is about 2.5 hrs from Arcadia on the 210 eastbound, north on the 15 and then Hwy. 395. Meet for lunch at 12 noon at the White House Saloon and Floozy House in Randsburg on the way up Saturday - great chili and burgers. Then go across the street to the General Store for their famous Black Bart (the best banana split you will ever have). The Cottage Hotel in "Uptown" Randsburg serves some great pizza's and hot dogs. If you like antiques, cruise the street, there are a dozen antique stores between the Saloon and the Cottage Hotel.

Some Photos from the 2008 event


Bob Spears still grinning about the course after 14 miles.
Is that a water pack or new sports bra?

Is Karen Johnson trying to recapture first place from the lead runner or his telephone number?



Is Roger Brown tempted to take the shorter trail at the 2nd 30K/50K split?

Jennifer Biddulph chows down at the mile 16.9 Wagon Wheel aid station.


Anibal Corsi's experience with the 2008 race

Hello runners! Before it gets any later, I want to share my experience at the Ridgecrest 50K last Sunday, 12/7/08. I started my race slow but I warmed up fast with the excitement of the race and the spectacular views of the high desert. The temps were in the high 40s yet it dropped some during the race. I don't know how low the temperature fell, but it was too cold to where I regretted turning in my sweater and gloves at mile 5 and then getting really cold. At one point, I didn't want to walk because I was afraid of freezing. So I kept moving. This helped me with my time at the end. I would have preferred a temp in the 50s, but I'm getting use to not having what I want in my races. You can tell I'm new to this stuff and still sane.

The course was openly beautiful with small rolling hills and a total elevation gain of only 2,540 feet. I had not trained for this race due to lack of time and plantar fasciatis in the last 2-3 months leading to the race. You know, excuses, excuses. To make things worse, a congested chest and sore throat during the week made me plan on just showing up to pick up my race packet and run 10 miles to get a taste of the "Friendliest 50K course." I drove the morning before the race and I planned on driving back after it. I thought to myself, "Driving back and for after the race is not as tough as a 100 miler," which I've never and I am scared of getting that insane to where I would attempt it.

In the back of my mind, I was hoping that all the time off from running would favor me with rested legs and in a worse case scenario of a bad weather, I would just drive myself straight to Kaiser if pneumonia hit me. As my son says, "It's always good to have a back up plan, Dad." Thank God none of this was necessary and I enjoyed every stretch of the course. I was happy with my time of 6:38:40 hours which could've been much worse not being for the help I received from a runner I met at the course. Her name is Karen C. Johnson from the Foothill Flyers.

I want to send a special thanks to Karen for her kindness at mile 22. I had stopped to stretch my tight muscles with cramps in calves, quads and hamstrings. You name it, it was cramping too. Karen didn't do the usual, "Are you okay?" and kept going as most of us, she actually stopped and offered something to alleviate those cramps that were making me consider a DNF (did not finish). She offered Tums! What a great idea! And right on target. If you know you've been drinking enough fluids (does beer count? 'cause they had it at the stations), you've been taking enough sodium, you've been running the course at different speeds, and you're still cramping, you might be lacking calcium! I never thought of that, but indeed. The Tums worked wonders on my legs. I felt as I've got new legs, and I ran mile 31 three minutes faster than my average that race.

Thank you, thank you Karen! You were my hero for pulling me off the DNF list.
Ed. note: Karen is known as the Tum's Fairy

Just a Little Walk in the Sun - The 2006 High Desert 50K
By Bill Dickey

Roger Brown and I were sitting in his camper in the Cerro Gordo College parking lot. We'd signed up for the race and had our fill of spaghetti hours before and now, being bored out of our skulls and after too much wine, we decided in a drunken moment to go with the 6 a.m. early start. Of course we were to rue that decision later on, but nevertheless about 6 a.m. Roger and I and a small band of other hung-over runners took off to run amok all over the desert.

It was a nice day...not too much wind, a pretty sunrise, a generally nice day, a pretty sunset, and finally the crystal clear constellations of the evening sky, all sandwiched in between the start and finish lines. Not bad for $65.

We hadn't really planned on running together, but it sort of worked out that way...two old fogies lurching their way across the landscape. Things went well for about 20 miles, cruising and site seeing without much interest in getting anywhere in particular, or getting to wherever at any particular time.

My hangover was wearing off though and I began to notice that one foot was being a bit cranky...uneven surfaces and hard dirt clearly not to its liking. Well, that was just too bad because in a senior moment (one of those things that seem to occur with increasing frequency upon reaching 29), I had forgotten to bring any Advil. But Roger, who doesn't forget anything, reached into his stash, and after a few furtive glances at some apparently suspicious tumbleweeds, slipped some little pink pills into my hand. Innocuous little things, he said. Innocuous perhaps, but now I know why coyotes howl all night. I guess he had some too because pretty soon we were both prancing and skipping down the trail heading for home.

We were in good spirits, asking the aid station people where the Ridgecrest pleasure palaces were located (there is reported to be more than one), and other important stuff as well, like is there more water, damn, those little pink pills of Roger's sure make you thirsty.

By now Roger was regaling us (me and the suspicious tumbleweeds that seemed to never be too far away) with stories like the time he met up with an oversized Jacuzzi filled with virgins at the bottom of the cave of the Winding Stairs, a famous cavern near Essex on Hwy 66. They had expected certain favors from Roger, but he could only bribe them with a fresh 5# box of See's candy that he kept in his knapsack for just such emergencies. It wasn't what they wanted, but since they presumably, according to Roger, couldn't get blood out of a turnip, they accepted.

By now, we were at the finish and thanks to Bill Dietrich's track workouts; we were able to sprint the last two yards to finish in a couple seconds under eight hours. I was sprinting because just past the finish was the former race directors', Chris Rios, pickup truck with a keg of Mojave Red on the tailgate. Roger was sprinting so he wouldn't have to listen to anymore of my cockamamie stories, or perhaps since this was his first ultra, he just wanted to get the damn thing over with. And although Roger never forgets anything, he would probably like to forget, if he could, or at least deny, that he ever was so silly as to have spent a cold, dusty, windy Sunday in December in the seemingly endless Mojave Desert searching for a lost community college campus last seen in the pre-dawn darkness after being led astray by a pink pill popping pair of running shoes held together somewhat by a loose collection of something akin to DNA. With only coyote and sagebrush available for meaningful and lucid conversation, Roger, against all odds, persevered. At least that is what he claims; but no doubt about it, Roger rocked!

The 2004 Run according to Scott Cline:

Genetics. It had to be genetics because it sure wasn't the best of training.

To Randsburg for lunch on the way up - Home of the Chopper Chicks from Zombie Town movie (ask Tom). What a great place to acclimatize to the old-west high desert. And getting right into the Randsburg White House Saloon spirit, Larry Gothart, the vegetarian, ordered a hot dog! But there was method to his madness; he heaped on lots of condiments, cut up the hot dog itself, put it into his wife's chili, then chowed what was left.

We City Slickers definitely needed to slip back a gear to slow down enough to enjoy the service at the marble-counter ice cream parlor at the General Store. But it tastes great!

The dinner meeting before the race was fun. I saw lots of people indulging in their one-time-a-year visiting. Perhaps you should eat before you go, dinner was way less than great.

Knowing that I was no contender for awards, I elected for the early start at 6 am. Just enough light to not kill yourself running. Great fun to hear the whoops of the rest of the early starters. This is an appropriate option to have for this race, and has a nice side benefit: you get to see great runners go by later! They are so fast and run so well. Wow!

For a little while, I ran with a gal who has done Badwater, and who knew John R. I wondered out loud about the noisy birds being "buzzards." We laughed and I mentioned the cartoon I had heard about of buzzards at the 24 mile-marker, one of them saying, "This was a good spot last year!" More laughs. A little later she pointed to a bush at the side of the road and said, "This IS the Ladies room, isn't it?" I guess it was. Most of the runners were like this; friendly, happy, and easy going.

Trying to be a good-guy, I didn't drop my empty water bottle in the desert. But I also forgot to drop it at the first aid station! I had to go back about 100 yards, and got razzed about running the wrong way by the good natured aid people. Aid was wonderful: friendly, plentiful, and good stuff.

The Flyers were so well represented out there! Many runners and their "crews." Very warming to see them on the course and to be able to share support and care. And more at the Finish. We had a nice "tailgate" party with the Finish-line cheering section. That hot dog bun and relish certainly worked for Larry. He finished with a new 70-plus course record!

The club has been a wonder for me. My engineer nature and poor memory for names and faces has compounded all my life to give me a difficult time socially. The people of the Flyers have been as openhearted as I could hope for. I love coming to club to be with you all and to train. Oh yeah, training. I know that I do my best to push myself very hard every Wednesday night, but I really should have trained more than just Wednesday nights for Ridgecrest. All in all, I guess there is one thing I did correctly: pick my parents.

Directions for the Ridgecrest 50 K Run.
1) Place one foot approximately 3 feet in front of the other.
2) Repeat 56,000 times, as rapidly as possible.


The domain of this page is Foothillflyers.org copyright ©2014 Tom O'Hara. All rights reserved. Webmeister contact: tomsmb at aol dot com