THE 50K Course
The 50-Kilometer course will depart the lower end of Ski Santa Fe parking area on the Rio en Medio Trail. The trail starts off steep and rocky with a few short sections of smooth single track before a short diversion along the historic Chupadero acequia. The course crosses forest rd. 412 and continues up and around Aspen Ranch before descending back to the Rio en Medio. The course continues down the Rio en Medio drainage for several miles traveling through meadows and canyons with numerous short creek crossings before reaching the first aid station. Most crossings can be easily made dry but a few may cause wet feet so plan accordingly. From Ski Santa Fe to the first aid station runners will have run almost the entire 6 plus miles downhill.
The 50k course merges with the 50m course at the REM aid station and travel together for the remainder of the events. Be careful of ankle twisting pine cones in the narrow dry washes and canyon. Once the course reaches and crosses over the small Rio Chupadero it merges onto an old jeep road that bring runners out of the mountains and into the desert. There is a stark contrast at this point in scenery with sweeping vistas of the Jemez and Sandias to the West and South. Once reaching Pacheco Canyon road, the route tilts upward and travels roughly a mile along dirt road before arriving at Pacheco Canyon aid station.
From Pacheco canyon, runners will scramble up a short ridge parallel to the road for a ¼ mile before connecting with the Discount trail. The course cuts across the grain of the lower juniper studded foothills above the village of Tesuque. There are countless short ascents and descents. At times it is very rocky but runnable, and runners will notice distinct differences in vegetation with every change in elevation and aspect. With over 8 miles of distance, 2800 ft. of elevation gain and 1500ft of elevation loss there is very little flat terrain here. There is one particularly long, continuous climb through a drywash that will take runners to the top of Jawbone trail and another several miles downhill to the lower Windsor trail. The course braids its way up valley with Big Tesuque creek until it reaches the Bear Wallow trail. Runners climb away from Tesuque creek and tag hwy 475 at Borrego aid station.
13.6 miles separate Borrego aid station from the finish line. That and over 4000 ft of elevation gain and 3,000 ft. of elevation loss. There is some very nice smooth single track between Borrego and Big Tesuque aid station, but this section all the way up to Tesuque Peak will challenge any runner for its continuous uphill. Fortunately, much of this section is shaded under a canopy of pine and aspen. Aspen Vista Rd. will lead to sweeping vistas of the Rio Grande Valley and beyond in addition to Summit aid station. Unfortunate, for the tired and weary Summit aid Station is not quite the top. The course regains single track status, travels toward the top of Deception Peak before descending along Raven's ridge and finally the upper Windsor trail to the finish line.