This weekend I participated in the 30th Hood to Coast Relay, reaching from Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood to Seaside on the Oregon Coast. I’ve already read one million different blog entries about how bad the traffic was and how stupid the race organizers are, so I won’t get into that – except to ask, has Hood to Coast traffic ever been good? If you don’t want to get stuck in traffic, don’t sign up for an event that involves driving on a route that 1200 other vans are driving on. In general, nothing bad about the Hood to Coast are bad things that you can’t predict. Traffic is bad, keeping 12 adults together is like herding cats, and the weather might be hot or cold. Moving on.
While technically I was on a new team this year, it was the same group of people. The Maple Bar Gang has been a HTC team for a good number of years, but last year they added a supplementary team, the Apple Fritter Avengers, which was the team I was on. This year we were back to just the Maple Bar Gang, but the spirit of running and eating donuts and telling other people to eat donuts and supplying the people who ought to be eating the donuts with donuts remained the same. The only difference was the kind of donut, which was an unfortunate one since I like maple bars way more than apple fritters, so I ate way more of them and felt way sicker.
A big difference for me personally was being in Van 1, instead of Van 2 like I have been every other year. This was essentially like running a new race, since I had never run any part of the Van 1 route. I also got to go up to Timberline Lodge for the race start. Upon arriving at the Lodge, our team decided to immediately lock the keys in the car to make a fun challenge for ourselves, ten minutes before the race started. The people of Timberline Lodge spoiled our fun challenge by having an extremely efficient service to remedy this obstacle, and we once again were with keys in hand within seven minutes. We made it to the starting line with time to spare, but I didn’t have a chance to spend very long looking at the tents giving out free stuff that I wouldn’t have really wanted (but it was free!).
My turn came to run at leg 4, around 3PM. At this point I was half-regretting skipping all my hot-weather training, and half glad I hadn’t put myself through any more of that than necessary, because running in the heat is terrible (as I explained earlier, here). I also hadn’t run the length of my leg since my half marathon in May, so I was a little concerned. It turned out to be just as hot and miserable as I expected, but in a fun and exciting way. There was close to no shade at all the entire way, and any shade I did come across refreshed me enough to make me run quite a bit faster. I should have run slower in the shade so it would last longer, and faster in the sun to get through it quicker, but somehow that didn’t happen. Luckily my team gave me some water around mile 2, then some old people sprayed me with a hose, at the halfway point a special friend’s team cheered me on, and with 2 miles left the firemen asking for money in a boot gave me some water. With the help of all these people I was able to do the run in 7:59 miles.
If it hadn’t been so hot, this would have been a very easy run.
End of my last leg. You can see The Maple Bar Gang’s Van 2 in the background with the giant inner-tube/donut on the front.
Anyway, that’s the gist of my HTC experience this year. People keep asking me about it so I don’t really feel like writing a whole ton about it. If you want to know more, you should hang out with me more. Or you should have been there. If you don’t want to miss out on any exciting parts of my next big race, make sure you sign up for Pints to Pasta. I’m headed out now to register at the Portland Running Company to avoid the $3 online-registration fee.