Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Silly grin and still breathing

The "Hood to Coast" relay is lauded as "The Mother of all Relays". Though there are others as long, like the "Ragnar" relay series, the Hood to Coast relay is said to be the largest in the world.
The entire course is a distance of 197 miles. This is not a race for the faint-hearted. The race starts at the Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood in Oregon through the city of Portland and along the Oregon coast to the beach town of Seaside. It consists of 1000 teams of 12 people, plus 3000 volunteers and additional official staff. It sounds like a lot to fill, but when you consider that all slots are filled within the opening day of registration, and that our team applied three years in a row before we got in, it could be much, much, larger. It really is an amazing race and is put on primarily as an American Cancer Society fundraiser.

Anyway, we had an amazing time. Each team splits up between two vans and take turns running. We would drop one runner off, race ahead to the next exchange point and pick up the previous runner and drop off the new. Of course we would spend time at each exchange point for a bit and had fun on the way to each. Our rental van, the one I was in, gave us a bit of problems during the race. The transmition started going out. We traveled most of the 197 miles in second gear. Good thing we weren't traveling much faster than the runners. Also, it gave us an excellent opportunity to "steal" a car. We borrowed the PB Portland (most of us work for Parsons Brinkerhoff) company Ford Escape, after hours and without letting anyone know, at first. So here is how it went:

First van exchange. I don't believe there was a single space for regular customers at this Fred Meyer.

Our team at the Fred Meyer (minus Kevin Sakai, a friend who consults with PB but not a PB employee taking the picture, and Eric Forsyth from the Portland Oregon office) John McMillan, Melissa Stowe (friend from Microsoft), Laura Wojcicki, me, Kelly Kozdras, Mike Colyn, Mari Dougherty (Murry, Utah office) Eric Kelley, and Sunny Rose.

A few of us before the runner before my first run. My first run was at about 9:00 at night and dark, so no pics.

Just after my second run at 6:30 in the morning. It was about 40 degrees. Not my first choice in running temperature.
A simply decorated van at the race. There really were some extravagantly decorated vans, one team put wings, missiles, and jet engines on theirs, as their name was Top Gun.

The exchange points were often a little small, so the lines to get in were a bit long. I think we waited for 2 miles here, the runners were a lot faster than the vans.
We got a little bored.
This is the end of my last run. My legs were as follows, #1, 4.39 miles, #2, 4.18 miles, #3, 7.28 miles uphill. Aside from the distance and being uphill, the last leg was by far the hardest. We had been going since the previous morning without any sleep. We tried once while the other van was running, but with all the excitment and runners coming in and out, it was just impossible. This was the second to last leg of the race.
The finish line and finish line party. It was an amazing time.


Naomi said...

Congrulations! My friends want me to do this next year so it's good to see someone who survived. I'm still debating. Mabye if Bree will do it with me...:)

Mynamyn said...

People who can run long distances amaze me. Great job, Clif! You looked alternately exhausted and exhilarated! I'm so glad you got the chance to do this, and you look great!

Emily K. said...

Great job! That sounds like so much fun! I would love to do something like that!

Mindy said...

This looks awesome!!! congrats Clif! Now I'm super excited for Ragnar!!!
We have got to get a family relay team going !!!