Archive for August, 2012

Big Weekend Coming Up – Road Trip!


Starting H2C 2010

For the SEVENTH time I will be heading off for the Hood to Coast Relay (aka Mother of All Relays). For the Fifth time, I will be doing Leg #1. Most people can understand the first statistical factoid, but only veterans of Hood to Coast will fully understand the implications of the second. At Seven, I will admit I don’t even begin to match the records of some. However, around here I have a pretty good repeat record.

Although there might be some out there, I have never met anyone who didn’t think Hood to Coast was a special, even amazing experience.  I have my own copy of the Hood to Coast Movie (and even feature in the second disk as one of the ‘shout-out’ teams). In looking at the four teams the movie followed, I have actually been on something resembling three of them.  I talked about this before so won’t go into it all again, except to say I have been part of everything from a strictly goofy, all for fun team, a memorial team and something resembling the fun but serious team.

Bob's Border Busters

  Each one had its own charm and appeal. My first event was in 1986 and not counting the one we are about to do, my most recent was 2010.

Our present team, PRR – Going Coastal, is a Mixed Open team with an age range of 27 to 67. ‘Mixed’ very well describes our relative abilities. I can pretty much say right now that we aren’t going to win anything.  Of course, that isn’t really the point. All team members are serious about the running but more than equally serious about the experience and the fun. Isn’t that what it is really about?

For any readers who haven’t done or don’t know about the Hood to Coast Relay, try to imagine a team of 12 running 198 miles through the State of Oregon, starting at 6,000 ft on Mt Hood, through Portland and on to the Pacific Coast at Seaside. Now imagine 1,000 such teams, each with just two vans with six runners in each and each runner doing three legs.  Try to imagine running continuously until your team reaches the finish. Then, imagine the biggest beach party you have ever seen when everybody hits Seaside sometime Saturday afternoon/evening.

Some teams will be very serious.  They call them ‘elite’ and based on past performance, you can expect those teams to be moving at about 5 minutes per mile – the whole way. They won’t be having much fun (no time) and unlike the rest of us who will be able to savour the experience over a much longer period, they will probably finish in about 16.5 hours.  PRR – Going Coastal is probably going to have at least 10 hours more FUN! But there will be teams that have DOUBLE the fun of those elite guys (and more).

Some teams will be all about the fun and costumes.  The Jungle Hunters and Great American Heroes are two such.  Oh yes, and did I mention the names and decorated vans?

Expect to hear more after the event. Don’t want to upstage my own report so will wind this up for now.

What’s that? What is so special or different about Leg #1, you ask? And, why is it my favourite?

At the Start - 1989 Canadian Club, Eh?

Well, it is my favourite because the fastest I have ever run over a decent distance (5 miles plus) was on the Hood to Coast Leg 1 in 1989. We had a very good team that year, finishing 20th in Open Men’s category. I sustained sub-six miles, and running in the dark with just a hand-held flashlight, it felt like I was flying. I started with 19 others and when we hit the exchange at Government Camp, only three were ahead of me. I continue to run that leg when I can, because I like to compare what I’ve done before with what I can do now, and although it requires age-grading the results over more than 20 years, I have slowed a little, but not as much as the clock suggests. I actually like running downhill and many don’t, so lucky (?) for me I don’t get a lot of argument about taking Leg #1.  Oh, did I mention Leg #1 drops some 2,000 ft over about 5 miles? The other two legs in the combo are relatively short and relatively flat, and let me tell you that is a very good thing.

So, the excitement builds and in no time at all, PRR – Going Coastal will be headed for Mount Hood and one more go at the Mother of All Relays!