Earlier this month, I was privileged to take part in the annual Cascade Lakes Relay, a 217-mile running relay from Diamond Lake to Bend in beautiful Central Oregon. We had three teams this year: one regular 12-member team and two 6-member “ultra” teams. I was on one of the ultras. Part of the fun of having multiple teams is getting to see them out on the course throughout the run and engaging in a bit of friendly competition. This year, however, only two of our teams were able to finish…
About halfway through relay – in the middle of the night – the other ultra team sent us a note that they had to forfeit the race due to car trouble. Apparently, the van just wouldn’t turn on. Something was wrong with the steering column. Fortunately, even though they were out in the middle of nowhere, they were able to get ahold of AAA – which promptly dispatched a tow truck from the nearest town.
From what I was told, the tow truck driver looked the part of a backwoods mechanic. He had a gravelly voice with a cigarette between two fingers in one hand – which he never set down for anything. After confirming that they were, in fact, in need of a tow, the man set about preparing to hook up the van. Apparently, this involved hammering away at the boom winch (or whatever it was) with a sledge hammer for several minutes – still holding the cigarette. The team stood back and watched in silence. Minutes later, the van was hooked up and on its way to Bend for repair. The team met up with the rest of us later that day after the relay in Sisters.
And if you’re wondering what the deal is with that horn in the cartoon, it’s actually a vuvuzela – a loud “instrument” used frequently by cheering fans at soccer matches. My dad, who was on that team, had brought it for fun and to make noise (for team spirit, of course!). After the relay, the rest of his team jokingly agreed that their unfortunate turn of events was, in fact, all caused by the presence of the vuvuzela. Somehow, it sabotaged the relay.
Relay races are always a blast, but they are that much better when you’re with good people. I love that, despite having to forfeit the run, the whole team took it in good humor. Even if they didn’t reach the finish line, they still had an adventure. And that’s what running is really all about.
Looking forward to next year! We’ll probably leave the vuvuzela at home, though.