Monday, June 11, 2012

Reno-Tahoe Odyssey

Last weekend, I spent a little bit of time chasing Ethel and her Patagonia team as they navigated the 178-mile relay run called the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey.  It's a big production, with 250 teams converging upon Reno from all corners of the US.  Each member of a 12-person team runs three times over the course of roughly 18-30 hours, and it's a study in sleep deprivation, caffeine intake, and odor control.

For my part, though, I suppose I should clarify: by "chasing," I mean that I saw them at the start Friday morning, then as dawn broke in Virginia City Saturday, and then at the finish Saturday afternoon.  Here are a few photos.

The team does their best tough guy impression at the start in downtown Reno

The assembled crowd at the exchange point in front of the storied Bucket of Blood

Some teams are rightfully serious (they're in contention for the win), and many others are really only out there to have fun (Team Sparkle Ponies, you know who you are).  Yet other teams are a wee too serious (thankfully not Murphy's team), and that leads to inevitable infighting, tantrums, and meltdowns, all for something like 80th place.  Really, guys, it'd be more fun without all that!

A team shepherds their runner in after the atrocious climb through Gold Hill

Johnno aka DJ Rhino wakes the locals with decibels

Ethel makes short work of the long slog out of VC

Personally, these relay runs aren't really my cup o' tea.  If I want to run 15 miles, then by god I'll just leave from my front door after a good breakfast and not have to stay awake for 30 hours bouncing around in a van!  Team Patagonia finished in good spirits, though, and they're all still friends, too.


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