55K COURSE DESCRIPTION
The Tahoe Rim Trail 55K Endurance Run is a 34 mile course that takes place on high elevation alpine and sub-alpine forest trails and dirt roads in the Carson Spur of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The event is located on the northeast side of Lake Tahoe. All distances begin and end at the Spooner Lake State Park, which is at 7,000 feet. The highest point of the event is just below the 9,214 foot Snow Valley Peak (which also provides one of the best views on the course). The low point is at the bottom of the now "infamous" Red House Loop (A Taste of Hell) at approximately 6800 feet.
The start at Spooner Lake follows the North Canyon Road for approximately 1 mile before it veers left onto the Marlette Lake Trail. The Marlette Lake Trail meanders through conifers and Aspen groves as it climbs approximately 1,500 feet before descending about ½ mile to the shore of tranquil Marlette Lake.
Upon reaching Marlette Lake (7823 feet) veer right and continue to climb on dirt roads and connecting onto the Tahoe Rim Trail. After about a ½ mile you will come to the Hobart A/S at 8120 feet, 6 miles into the race. (Get ready for a trail running party at this aid station. Famous for great food, smoothies and a walk up bar.)
After leaving the Hobart A/S the Tahoe Rim Trail climbs past Marlette Peak (photo Op) and Harlan Peak before descending on an awesome single track to the Tunnel Creek A/S 11 miles into the race. Tunnel Creek A/S will be your home base during this race. As a 55K runner you will come to this aid station 2 times. (If you arrive here after 5:30pm you should have a headlamp to complete this race!) This is a huge aid station with an amazing array of food choices, a medical staff and medical tent.
Pay attention to the directions from the aid station staff at this aid station. There are two directions you will come and go from this aid station! It is your responsibility to be familiar with the course instructions. Be sure you know where to go.
Departing from Tunnel Creek A/S you go right and down the hill (1000 feet) starting the 6.3-mile loop to the Red House A/S and back. As you are descending this trail you continue to make right hand turns until coming to the Red House A/S. This is a wacky aid station and you never know what you will see when you cross the creek, but I guarantee they will take good care of you. Leaving the aid station you will be on a single track flume trail leading you back uphill towards Tunnel Creek A/S. There is one intersection that will be very well marked pointing you left, uphill, back to Tunnel Creek A/S. (If you find yourself desending after Red House A/S you are going the wrong way). There is a significant sandy climb near the top of the loop. (This loop is considered by most as the “glimpse of hell” part of the course.)
Upon returning to the Tunnel Creek A/S the 55K course will exit to the left South back towards Hobart A/S. (Every year someone goes north on the 50 mile / 100 mile course. Don’t let this be you. It will ruin your day!) During the daytime this 5 mile section will be hot, be prepared. Leaving the Hobart A/S you will come to a flat road intersection, you cross the road and veer left continuing on the Tahoe Rim Trail, if you get on a dirt road here you are going the wrong way! You will be on the TRT for three spectacular miles climbing 1000 feet to the Snow Valley Peak A/S. This A/S is famous for the special care you receive from Boy Scout Troop, these are not kids but young men earning their way to be Eagle Scouts and they really run a top notch aid station.
Leaving the Snow Valley Peak A/S you will continue along the Tahoe Rim Trail about 5.5 miles before reaching the Spooner Summit Trailhead A/S. This part of the course winds around many turns but there is nowhere to get off the trail, just keep descending for what will seem like a very long way. The Spooner Summit Trailhead A/S is manned by a Cub Scout troop and is a water and electrolite fluids stop only. You sweep around a corner at the aid station connecting with the Spooner Lake trail for the final 1.7 miles to the finish area along a beautiful aspen grove and the shores of Spooner Lake.
Upon leaving the single track trail and popping onto a dirt road you will make a right turn onto a single track trail that will lead you to the finishers chute.
Keep in mind this course averages 8,000 feet of elevation. Also the air is very dry, normally less that 10% humidity. It is actually easier to become dehydrated in this environment than in a humid one. Because your sweat evaporates on your skin you do not feel like you need to drink as many fluids as if you were dripping sweat, don’t be fooled. The foremost reason for dropping from this race other than just plain old fatigue is dehydration.
Congratulations on a great accomplishment!!!