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Cascade Lakes Relay 2014: Race Report

My brain and body are still a bit rummy (pun intended – keep reading), but I am slowly recovering from last weekend’s relay. I ran with the same team as last year – We Thought They Said Rum – but in a different van.  The difference between the two includes new legs and different running/rest times.  Basically, you’re on when Van 1 is off.

Van 2 "We Thought They Said Rum": Martin, Jen, Amy, Rainie, Glenn, Kathy

Van 2 “We Thought They Said Rum”: Martin, Jen, Amy, Rainie, Glenn, Kathy

Our adventure began on Friday morning.  While runners from Van 1 were off and running at 7:20am, Van 2 was loading up gear, eating a quick bagel breakfast and traveling south to Exchange #6 – about a two hour drive. Members in Van 2 included two of my teammates from Van 1 last year, two teammates from last year’s Van 2 and “Jeeves” or “Maude The Motorhome’s driver” whom we got to know well during our rest periods in 2013. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for better Van mates.

Our first runner hit the road running at approximately 3pm. Instant support mode set in, and we stopped ahead during each leg to offer water or whatever our runner might need. The weather was hot and muggy, but soon cooled down with the evening hours approaching.  With a red ball dropping out of the sky, dusk turned to night and our van was headed back to La Pine High School for a quick bite and a couple hours of sleep.  My first leg was approximately seven miles, and while there were a couple of hills, the rest of the route was a fast one. I was happy I met my estimated goal of running 8:30/mile.

We devoured our BBQ’d chicken prepared by “Jeeves” (most of us know him as Ed), who greeted us with a smile and warm hug.  While some of us elected to shower, all of us hit the hay to try and get a bit of shut-eye.  Unfortunately, my mind could not rest and therefore I did not find sleep mode.  We were up again just a mere two hours later – on the road with full bellies and a bit of rest to tide us over.

Our second set of legs was a stretch from the depths of the woods to La Pine.  Our first runner, Glenn, was decorated in bright lights for a “rave run” competition and continued his rave run -lights, music and all- for the first three miles. Surprisingly, he only ditched a few of the lights during his 8.5 mile leg. As the sky began to get lighter, all of us woke up (with a little help from coffee) and we were back in support/party mode. I say party mode, because at 6am on no sleep, you kind of get a little party going in your head and the adrenaline kicks in.  Our van had a seriously fun time with good tunes and great peeps.

This image doesn't do Glenn's lights justice.

This image doesn’t do Glenn’s lights justice.

Rainie Runs Her Heart Out

Rainie Runs Her Heart Out

On my 2nd leg, I once again ran at my estimated pace down to Elk Lake. I ticked off over 11 road kill (or passed 11 people, if you will), and felt strong to the exchange with Van 1.  It was definitely time to rest before we headed back out for our final legs, which meant a little free time at the lake.

Unfortunately, we were not welcomed at the Resort restaurant as graciously as we’d hoped. And the food we were offered for purchase was quite miserable. But beyond that, Elk Lake was calm and about as relaxing as you can get.  We cooled off our tired muscles in the water, *tried* to nap, and enjoyed the reprieve from the relay chaos.  Only a couple hours later, it was “Finish Line or Die” time.

We departed the Resort (and Jeeves) with a “Farewell Until The Finish,” as I prepped for my uphill leg. I was runner #2 this time, and my leg was all uphill starting at 5450′ and traveling to 6350′ in 4 miles.  It was hot. 2pm in the afternoon. 80-some degrees. But I kept a steady pace and even passed people.  Starting with a nauseous stomach, I certainly was NOT in race mode, but with the support of my Van, I finished. And it felt good.  It was all downhill at this point in the relay, and we couldn’t be more excited.  Lots of great spirit in our van and FREE BEER from 10 Barrel Brewing Co. made our descent into Bend just that much better.

Martin for the photo bomb

Martin for the photo bomb

Finally, our last runner was on her way just as a rain/hail storm hit the Old Mill.  Not to worry as we were all able to crawl under tents. As the clouds parted, Jen crossed the bridge and made her way over the finish line.  What a wonderful ending to a truly fun adventure. CLR 2014 is a unique experience that is truly a “team” effort, and I’ve got memories I feel honored to be able share with all my van mates for years to come.

Favorite Memories from CLR 2014:

  • Watching the truck of firefighters pull up at the first van exchange with “Where our hose at?” scribbled on the side of their truck. And a keg in the back.
  • Getting “skittled” by another team (we left our van and came back to find dixie cups of skittles in our front seat.
  • Watching the “red ball” sunset
  • Hangin’ with my awesome van mates, and rockin’ out to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”
  • Rainie’s commentary on the scene at La Pine HS
  • The Rave Run competition – lights, music and the DJ at the van exchange
  • Glenn’s “ultimate raver attitude”
  • Running on Cascade Lakes Highway and all the support from other vans, as well as my own
  • Candy orange slices
  • Free Beer
  • Entrada pool peeps laying on their chairs cheering for passing runners
  • A rainy/hail-infused finish line
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