Update: Our GRR teammate Audrey crashed her bike and broke her jaw in three places. Go send her some comment love!
After sending Ames Megan off for her last leg, we managed to crash in a nice air-conditioned church, that was almost too cold. But seriously, by the end of the day, I'd be glad that I started out chilled. We made our way up to Exchange 30 and waited for Van 1 and chatted some more with Team 26 (their actual name was "High Performance. Delivered." which I am totally going to make fun of as a team name because it is the Accenture slogan).
All of a sudden we see Tim coming and I got ready to roll. In a valiant effort, he tried to chase down the guy ahead of him and almost succeeded but cramped up. The dude had no clue what hit him and collapsed on the grass after handing off to his teammate. I think this showdown is nicely summarized by the photo below:
I set off for my last leg of 4.9 miles. My leg was entirely along a dirt path again, but there was no shade whatsoever. It was brutal. I just kept trudging along. We were all running on the left side (like the Brits!) to try and desperately get what little shade occasionally covered the trail on that side. It was rough. I trudged along without any worries about how fast I was going - just needed to get it done. Then out of nowhere, the end emerged! Oh what a sweet sight! I ran towards the transition and Mark evilly forced me to do a running handoff where I had to catch him. I believe I called him a bastard and slapped that slap bracelet on him hard enough to leave a mark. Do you see his mocking smile?!
Mark then had what I would say was the worst leg of the entire trip. It was a sweltering 8 miles, mostly in the sun thought a sketchy town and an industrial park. He said he was pretty sure he saw a drug deal go down. Add to that his Achilles tendon acting up and it was a long time to be out there.
Megan and Caroline did their runs with minimal incident (besides suffering through the heat). Shaun set out, we met him half way with water, then went to Exchange 35. We were all waiting at the exchange, expecting him any minute. After about ten minutes past his expected time, we started to get worried. Ten minutes prior, Shaun had called everyone on the team and the only two people who had answered were Chris and Lauren in Van 1, who were both on their way to other places post-race. My phone wasn't in my pocket after answering a call from Ames Megan and apparently everyone else's phone was in the car still as well (except for Joe's, which he had on him, but didn't hear while he was stretching and getting ready). We finally got a hold of him and Chicago Megan and her sister navigated us to find him to get him directions back (thank goodness we had some Evanston peeps on board!). He was looking pretty dead when we found him, but he managed to make it to transition... two minutes after the race was held because of storms. On the plus side, that meant that Joe didn't get stuck out in the storms on the path along Lake Michigan where there was pretty much no shelter.
So then we waited.
And waited some more.
And about 5:50 they gave us the go ahead to finish the race. We were a little concerned they were going to hold to the 7pm finishing deadline, but as someone said "What would they do with all the leftover medals anyways?" So Joes set off for his 7.5 mile leg. At least it was overcast so the heat wasn't as brutal! But I am sure the wind and the torrential downpours sucked. Ames Megan and I got hailed on while we waited for Joe to finish.
Finally, a little after 7pm, we saw Joe roll in and those remaining team members all ran in with him (I couldn't keep up in my bare feet though- I had been wearing flip flops). Our final finishing time was 30:30, although I am not sure if they subtracted our first stop or not.
Team 26 managed to get off before they stopped the race, so they crossed the finish line waaay before us. This e-mail was sent to the MC200 Yahoo Group yesterday and I presume it was from them:
"After such an accomplishment though, it would have been nice to have a
more grand celebration (or any for that matter) at the end to share
success amongst teammmates and other teams for that matter ("the
Scientists" as we called them!). There were many "rivalries" formed
and nothing is more enjoyable than trading barbs over a cold frosty
while talking about the trials of 200 miles of pure enjoyment."
Unless there were other scientist teams afoot!
So far I would say that the Wild West Relay has still been my favorite (We're currently recruiting for that one! August 1-2!), followed by this one, then the Great River Relay. Of course the WWR might be my favorite as it was the only race we didn't get lost in and the only race we actually ran as a full team :-) That and the race director reads our blog (Hi Paul!). Last year at the GRR we didn't really have any rivalries either, so that made it a little less fun I think!
Okay, time to work or something. The water was out in the building where my office is today (seriously there were signs on the door telling us to go across the street to use the bathroom because a construction crew broke the main for the second time) so I stayed home and then the storms that rolled through this morning cut our power. Last night I kiddingly told someone that after scoring two major research victories last night that I was pretty sure a tornado would hit our house. No tornado, but some electricity would be nice!
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