Billed as the world's hardest half marathon, Pier to Peak starts at the Santa Barbara wharf and climbs 4,000 feet to the top of La Cumbre peak. Gina has raced this event several times, but this year I talked her into riding bikes with me up to the top. We cheered on the runners and enjoyed the drama of good racing and epic suffering.
It was about 70 degrees for the 7:00 AM start and the mercury rose quickly from there. By the time the leaders hit Gibraltar, it was well into the 80's and it didn't stop climbing before reaching about 95. A cruel irony of this event is that the slower you are, the hotter it gets.
Eric Forte running by the mission.
Ted Cotti and Shigy Suzuki were the early leaders. They hit Gibraltar with several minutes advantage on Eric.
But as we all know, climbing is Eric's forte...
...and he methodically mowed down the leaders and didn't look back!
On the steep stuff, Eric runs darned near as fast as I can ride up the hill. So after helping Gina fix a flat tire, there was no way I'd make it to the top in time to see him finish. But I caught the award presentation ...promoter Jake Clinton giving Eric a nice placque.
Our favorite D.A. Lee Carter finishing strong...
She was the early leader in the women's race. Her form was perfect and she looked to be running effortlessly. Alas, she was caught and passed on the climb. Perhaps the extra weight was too much?
Race results posted on active.com.