I love the Hood to Coast relay, in case you haven't noticed. But I'm in a very large fan club. So large that it's about to burst out of its own skin. And maybe it already has, considering what happened this year.
We hear that they added 250 more running teams to make a total of 1700 running, walking, and high school teams. These numbers aren't verified, just mostly word of mouth. 250 means 500 additional vans and 3000 more runners funneling through those tight roads to the coast. And we all paid the price. The traffic was endlessly backed up at every exchange (where runners trade off) and what used to be a rare occurrence, of when your next runner wasn't there in time to start his "leg", became the norm. It was faster to run to each exchange, than to drive it. This meant endless hours in the van stalled in traffic and no time to sleep because we couldn't get to the sleeping areas, which were full anyway. Add to that, teams couldn't get into Seaside before their last runner got there. Not good.
But, that said, I'm going to focus on the MANY good parts of this year's HTC. First of all, Team Van Hailin' was beyond FABULOUS and each member is imbedded deeply into this team captain's heart.
Here are the highlights: Lightening and thunder woke me up much too early Friday morning, and I listened to the radio broadcasting severe storm warnings for east Clackamas county. Half of our team was heading into the thick of it. The skies unleashed on them at Timberline, and (studly) Dave ... (shown here in a later shot) ...
was literally pelted by the hail as he ran down the steep hill of leg 1 at 5:15 a.m. (Our team name may have been prophetic, although we had a completely different definition of hail in mind.)
The storm passed and the heat followed. It got close to 90 degrees by that afternoon.
Chery, suited up, waits to run leg 2. Anne B. is revving up for leg 3. It's a psyched-up moment when your leg is about to start.
Anne B. hands off to Jeff. (Judging by Jeff's face, the wrist thingy must not have been sweaty this year.)
Jeff breaks Mark's cardinal rule. "No hands on knees, Jeff."
Anne M. aka The Road Runner (She's DANG fast!) brings it in to Steve.
Then Steve, finishes his leg in Sandy, where we all meet up.
Van 2 is ready to go. Van 1, (nicknamed the vAnne or the Anne Van) heads off for a rest.
Ben covers leg 7.
Followed by Mark. Then Johnny.
Followed by Laura.
Then Justin hands it to me.
This pattern continued for the next 24-30 hours.
Some of my favorite pictures:
Lindsay's team passed through at the same time. She's just finishing one long HOT, sparsely shaded leg.
Dave takes off on his 2nd leg, and I'm blubbering about how I got lost and added an extra mile onto my already long leg. (Friend Lori commented something about my "warrior yell".)
Driver Bill. The MASTER of fun and food!
Van 2, in dire need of a bath.
Don't ya love it!
We almost killed Justin with the longest leg of 8 miles.
Then there were the ever popular porta -potties.
We were all trying to stay hydrated, due to the heat, and as a result, couldn't wander far from a toilet.
To appease Anne B. for including that last picture, here's this:
T'was at the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland where the trouble began. This is the starting point for the Portland to Beach walkers and the high school teams. Lots and lots and LOTS of merging.
Chery. Next year she wants the dreaded leg 5. Then she wants legs 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, in other words EVERY leg.
The two Annes and Chery.
Laura and me, the frizz-monster. Did you know we're 4th cousins?
In spite of my vows to NEVER do the HTC again(!), within 24 hours, I was already planning our next year. There's something about this relay. It gets into your blood. And THIS is why:
HTC 2011 Team Van Hailin'
|(L-R) Chery, Johnny, Jeff, Mark, Ben, Anne B., Steve, Dave, Justin, Bryce, Anne M., Brenda, Bill, Laura|