Wow! That was awesome!! The course was beautiful, really, really beautiful. It was nearly all shaded, which was so nice!! Now, I know Brazen has always said that Rocky Ridge is their most difficult 5k, but I would move this one to the top of the list.
First, holy climb!! The first half is entirely uphill, strava measured the steepest part at a 38% grade, which is steep. Second, you are in the woods, so lots of roots, pine cones, rocks, boulders, downed trees to go over and under. Third, everyone is on the same trail if you do the 5k distance. In other words, you have the 5kers coming back down the trail at you, as well as the 10kers and a few 13.1ers. On the way back down, you have the fast runners of the 10k and 13.1 coming up behind you, keeping in mind the trail conditions going down - steep!! Roots, pine cones, rocks, boulders, and downed trees to go under and over. And fourth, this is all happening on narrow single track. There's a lot of knowing when someones coming up behind you and then stopping and jumping off the trail, then going as fast as you can until you have to do that again.
And, by the way, none of that is a complaint!! We all had a blast and loved every second of the adventure!! It was very challenging, yes....but it was just such a beautiful setting and that made it enjoyable. We will for sure be back next year!
I should also mention that Rocky Ridge is super tough too, for me that's mainly because the climb is paved, and not shaded at all. However, it is easy to run down it because its paved and other than the occasional cow, there are no obstacles.
In the mean time, I'll post pictures soon, but please do click on the Strava link to this run and check out the Elevation map. This is one map that I actually do think captures the true extent of the epicness of the climb in this 5k. Usually I don't think you can really tell from the map how hard it was, but this map shows you exactly how hard it was. Myles and Sophie also did the 5k, and Myles actually finished nearly a minute ahead of me. I was a bit timid on the downhill and he had no fear!
Anyhow, Strava link is below on the left. Or, click HERE and scroll down.