Route: Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK - Rosie Ruiz Version*
Mileage:  12.6 miles.
Hillage: The first half is an almost constant uphill, with a one-mile downhill break. The last 6 miles is all down hill, with a mostly easy-on-the-knees grade.

Total elevation change: 1075 ft.
Average Grade: 4%.

The first climb, to Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK Transition Zone 1, climbs 760 ft in 3.2 miles. Some sections of this climb, particularly near the switchbacks, are closer to 10% grades. The 1-mile descent of over 250 ft on Laurel Run Rd is steepest near the beginning, but averages 5%. The 570 ft climb up Bear Gap and Gettis Ridge Roads again averages 5%, but is very steep at the start. The last 6 miles is a gentle descent with an average grad of 3% over 6.4 miles.
Description:  Start at the starting line of the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon, on Bear Meadows Rd in front of the south-most parking lot entrance for Tussey Ski Area. Head up Bear Meadows Rd. About 0.6 miles from the start, take the right on Laurel Run Road. For the next 2.5 miles, Laurel Run climbs past three switchbacks and crests at the transition zone to Leg 2 of the mOUnTaiNBACK Relay. Start down the steep hill. About a mile into Leg 2, start the Rosie Ruiz short-cut by making a left on Bear Gap Rd. Take Bear Gap up a very steep hill that thankfully gets shallower as you climb. After climbing for over a mile-and-a-half, turn left on Gettis Ridge Rd. You are near the top of the climb. About 0.3 miles later, you start a long, slow descent that takes you all the way back to Tussey Ski Area. About 0.3 miles past the crest, make a left on North Meadows Rd. Descend the pleasant slope of North Meadows Rd, being sure to take advantage of the overlook  of Bear Meadows Natural Area on your right. The descent flattens out after a couple of miles. After about 2.5 miles, North Meadows Rd ends at Bear Meadows Rd. This is about half a mile into Leg 12, the last leg, of the mOUnTaiNBACK Relay. Make a left and continue for about 3.7 miles on the rolling downhill stretches all the way to the finish at Tussey Ski Area.
Remarks: The Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK - Rosie Ruiz Version* is a very challenging 12.6 mile run. It takes in all of Leg 1 of the mOUnTaiNBACK, a nearly 800 foot climb, and a mile of Leg 2, which descends 250 ft, giving you a short break before the last climb of over 550 ft in about 2 miles. The gentle 6 mile descent is not too hard on the joints and offers some beautiful scenery. If you make a right instead of a left on Bear Meadows Rd from North Meadows, you can take a 1.2 mile out-and-back detour to the beautiful Bear Meadows Natural Area, which you viewed from an overlook above. The parking area at Bear Meadows Natural Area is the site of Transition Zones 10 and 11 of the mOUnTaiNBACK Relay.

*Rosie Ruiz 'won' the 1980 Boston Marathon, but was stripped of her title later in the day when it was found that she had taken the subway and skipped a good chunk of the race.



                   Added: 11/06